Tom H. Shea in Minnesota sent a letter to that most seductive of online journals, Southern Cross Review. Southern Cross Review, as you already know (because I told you, if nothing else), publishes the First Class lessons, the fourth lesson is available in the latest issue) in Frank Thomas Smith’s own translation. It worries some people, and some of them write to him. I’m not sure if I should be flattered by this, but my choice is, well, I will be. Thank you, Tom Shea, it was lovely! He writes:
On ‘The Ethereal Kiosk’, a blog by a very intelligent young Swedish woman, you can already find humorous remarks occasioned by her reading of your published translations. This young woman is a Steiner critic whom I have a great deal of respect for. She can be intellectually rigorous and is quite passionate in her exposing of what she sees as the weaknesses and fallacies in anthroposophy and its institutions. She purports to be a complete skeptic about spiritual matters but nevertheless has read Steiner widely and deeply in the original German. She is painfully truthful about herself and how she sees the world. These are qualities which are rare nowadays.
If you read ‘The Ethereal Kiosk’ on Class Lessons, it is not reverential. it is humorous without resorting to ridicule, but through the blog it is now available to people who will and do ridicule Steiner. You have put this temptation in their way.
You must view the entire letter for his other arguments against publication (scroll down, it’s the last one on the page). It’s worth noting that Tom Shea is not too keen on Frank’s seductive women pictures either. We could discuss that. It’s tempting, frankly! (I kind of like them, most of the time. But I’m odd.)
Anyway, I’d like to say some things, of course. No, it’s true, I’m not reverential. I don’t think it’s necessary. Displaying reverence would be even more unnecessary. I know Steiner put emphasis on reverence, in some contexts at least. As a non-anthroposophist — and complete skeptic… well, hm… — it would be silly to be reverent. I try to understand what he’s saying — to the best of my ability (sometimes, when writing, humour is more important than displaying one’s level of understanding) — not to be reverent. But, in some ways, I think that trying to understand is a kind of reverence, you know. Not the big gesture reverence or the undue respect kind of reverence. I don’t believe that the ‘truly human response is a reverential one’ as Tom Shea puts it.
Well. And as for the ‘wrong’ people reading the esoteric lessons. I don’t know — I say with a little sadness — if I’ve managed to influence one single individual to read the lessons. Unfortunately, people — non-antroposophists — are just not all that interested. That’s the sad truth. No harm in trying again though. Read read read! Perhaps I need to add some seductive art that you could all revere; properly, thoroughly, deeply.