Daisy, who was writing a BA dissertation on waldorf critics and criticism (but who might have given up by now, grinding her teeth and tearing her hair from her head in frustration), asked if waldorf education was perhaps better off without anthroposophy. My answer is no (you can read about it in the previous post). Walking in the forest this evening, one thing hit me: is it not the other way around?
That is: is anthroposophy not better off without waldorf?
It certainly can exist without waldorf. (Unlike waldorf which can’t exist without anthroposophy.) But I wonder if it is not possible that it would be better off without it than with it. I suspect — I don’t know — that the answer might be yes.
And in the case of waldorf more and more wanting to distance itself from anthroposophy or at least be more or less deceptive or dishonest about it — why would anthroposophy allow itself to be bogged down by this? Moreover, waldorf education is suffering under PR-related problems, it has to deal with political issues and meet regulatory demands of all kinds, there are various practical problems, worst of all among them, there’s having to be able to staff all these schools with competent teachers who are also anthroposophists (or at least people who know a fair bit about it and sympathize with it). It’s almost impossible. Yet, when people hear the word anthroposophy, they usually think: waldorf schools! Waldorf education, in the eye of the public, must seem to hold a fairly dominant position in anthroposophy, being, to a certain extent, where anthroposophy is publicly displayed. It’s through waldorf, if at all, people know anthroposophy exists, and even though they don’t know what it is, they often associate to waldorf when hearing the word anthroposophy. Depending on how the waldorf education movement evolves, it might not reflect well on anthroposophy.
Diana posted two comments to my questions:
Interesting. I’ve always assumed anthroposophy was embarrassing Waldorf, but maybe Waldorf is embarrassing anthroposophy – holding them back in completing their true mission, rather than helping.
In conversations with (often disingenuous) anthroposophists about Waldorf teacher training, who want to downplay the way anthroposophy dominates the teacher training, I have pointed that it’s not that the training includes anthroposophy … it’s more that anthroposophy includes Waldorf teacher training. I think this is something like what you’re getting at. I think you’re on to something.
As this was not among Daisy’s questions, or related to her dissertation, I thought we could ponder this question in a brand new thread. Does anyone else have any thoughts?