At the Goetheanum, this fall of 2012, there will take place a psychiatry conference for anthroposophical doctors. Here’s a part of the description, taken from the program:
… since the nineteenth century we have been able to observe the rise of forms of illness such as neurotic disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, traumatic disorders, attention deficit disorders and many others which are connected with the challenges of our time and which Rudolf Steiner described as “cultural disorders”: “That is where all the cultural disorders, the cultural decadence, all the psychological emptiness, hypochondria, eccentricities, dissatisfaction, crankiness and so on come from, also all the aggressive instincts which attack a culture, which reject a culture. Because either one accepts the culture of an age and adapts to it, or one develops the corresponding poison which is deposited and which will only dissolve through acceptance of the culture.”
The ethereal kiosk would be classified as at least half-way insane, no doubt, due to its general decadence and eccentricity. Other than that, we do not recognize anything in the description above that resembles our particular culture. A slight neuroticism may perhaps surface from time to time and some of us are a bit attention deficit (especially mr Dog, attention deficits are part of the terrier condition, in case you didn’t know, but he’s getting older now, we may need anthroposophical trauma treatment for that).
I love reading anthroposophical medical conference programs. I don’t know medicine, you know, but they’re always eminently readable compared to much else in the field. ‘The human soul, a dramatic battleground’, ‘Depression as an existential experience at the abyss of being’ (that’s got to do with transformation in the face of the Great Guardian of the Threshold) — this stuff is at times more ‘literary’ from me than it is medical, I suppose, and that seems more interesting and enjoyable from where I come, being neither a medical doctor nor a proper anthroposophist (although I’ve had my encounters with smaller guardians of small thresholds; they were gnome-like). There’s a lecture on karmic consequences of psychopathology. It’s something I’ve wondered about many times. On page 8 we learn not only about soul exercises but also about a workshop on ‘fairy tale work with acute psychiatric patients’. I’m not dismissing the idea; quite the contrary. I’m only noting its existence. I’m saying, because I think you may think I’m laughing and thinking about gnomes and bats in the belfry (you know, in Swedish we can combine these themes into one, it’s called ‘tomtar på loftet’ in case you ever need the expression), but I’m certainly not. In fact, I suspect fairytales and fiction can be helpful in almost any situation. On p 18: ‘Incarnation of the borderline ego through the psychotherapeutic use of mentalisation.’ That one kept calling for my attention. The one immediately after is about psychotherapy based in the spirit-self, for healing of a fractured soul (from unconscious threshold crossings). All in all, quite interesting reading. I highly recommend this conference brochure.
H/t Michael Eggert, whose post (in german) about it is well worth reading.