karma and evil

Diana Winters wrote a post on Waldorf critics in which she compared the beliefs of some American politicians to certain anthroposophical beliefs. Ted submitted a comment here, in which he (somewhat confusedly, in my opinion) objected to what she had written, saying:

I notice Diana agrees with the extremism and has recently said that she believes that anthroposophy is a right-wing ideology that  justifies rape on her WC list.  It’s worth pointing out that this kind of extreme tone and content is not untypical for her.

To this Diana wrote a reply on critics. I will quote it in full:

Ted Wrinch has replied to this post on Alicia’s blog, but there is no substance to the reply, just a complaint about my “extremism” and my “tone.”

https://zooey.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/we-are-headed-for-a-crisis-in-the-human-condition-good-grief/#comment-19851

I would be happy to take on any disagreements or rebuttals regarding the content of what I wrote. For instance, is it incorrect to note that Steiner’s karma theory suggests that we bring suffering on ourselves in order to improve spiritually? Would this theory not offer a possible explanation for why a woman was raped? Please explain then.

Regarding how we attack our own internal organs in order to alter or destroy them in order to take on “spiritual tasks,” does this not posit a similar mechanism as is implied in Todd Akins’s notion that a woman could “secrete a substance” if she didn’t want (or deserve, really) to get pregnant? Both imply that humans are capable of directing our destinies by a sort of magical control over physiological and hormonal processes that is quite unknown to science (and which most of us recognize is not possible in reality, or we would all be doing it …) – but which make sense in spiritual worldviews that include notions like karma or “God’s will.” Karma and God’s will, of course, are not the same notions, by far – but the implied mechanism of control or regulation of cellular level processes in our internal organs, by spiritual means, is quite similar, and fascinating.

Finally, did Steiner not teach that we “choose our own parents”? Then, is it far-fetched to posit that a child who is born as the result of a rape chose that situation? Is this ideologically or theologically distant from the notion that a child born as the result of a rape is a gift from God? How does it differ?

If anything, the “choosing your parents” notion is more repugnant. Rather than blaming God for the child born of rape, far worse it blames the CHILD, it becomes the child’s CHOICE. The child is thought not to be the unfortunate victim of this terrible circumstance, but to have sat up in the clouds watching his mother get raped, and decided to hop on board, thinking, “Yes! That’s exactly the family for me.” This is because, of course, this child carries some kind of horrible karma owing to his or her own sins in past lives. He/she will be able to “grow spiritually” if raised by a severely traumatized mother and with a violent criminal for a father.

I saw no answer to any of these points in Ted’s dismissal of my alleged “extremist tone.” Explanations of where I have either gotten Steiner wrong, made faulty comparisons, or reasoned wrongly would be welcome.

It is these theories that are extreme, not my observations of them.

She added in a second post:

“Steiner’s karma theory suggests that we bring suffering on ourselves in order to improve spiritually? Would this theory not offer a possible explanation for why a woman was raped? “
And as long as Ted is ‘splainin’, maybe he or some other anthroposophist can ‘splain why anthroposophists often don’t want to talk about karma in these situations? Why is there such reluctance to look at the implications of these beliefs in the real world? If you believe it, why don’t you defend it? Over the years I have observed that a code of silence prevails among anthroposophists when phrases like “rape and incest” are used in the same sentence as “karma.” It’s like a wartime censor clamps down, blacking out or fuzzing over the essential “need to know” information that is restricted to high-level operatives. You have to be highly, highly spiritually advanced to be allowed to talk about how karma explains rape and incest.

I would like to think that my carping on this point on this list, many times over the years, has resulted in at least one or two anthroposophists privately in their minds allowing themselves to question whether they really believe karma explains why a child may be abused or hurt, or why a child is born with disabilities or contracts an illness. Even if they aren’t able to speak up about it, I hope that it causes them to at least hesitate in applying beliefs like this in the real world, for instance if there are children, or other vulnerable people, in their care in day to day life.

I closed the thread which Ted used to object to Diana’s posts, because this topic wasn’t relevant there. I do think it’s interesting though, and I do think we can have a thread about these things. At least I hope so. It’s fine with me that these questions are discussed here, and I think perhaps it’s good with an alternative venue since not everyone who might want to reply is on the critics list. But rather than contentless complaints about Diana’s supposed ‘tone’, I’d like to hear explanations of where she has ‘either gotten Steiner wrong, made faulty comparisons, or reasoned wrongly’, as she put it.

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453 comments

  1. helene matz · ·

    actually the whole arguement about choosing parents etc chososing to be murdered etc is sick pathetic and sadistic so did those fascist types chose to be fascists and anthros in that case they did it deliberately ergo anthros can be fascist and nazis cause they chose it,smack smack wake me up ime getting confused how much weed went into the brew,alice couldnt have cooed that oneup herself even after a very long time down the bunny hole haha

  2. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Don’t bother opening a thread on this for me, Alicia. I can see that there’s lots to discuss here but just not with Diana: as she’s happy with the kind of tone I’ve provided examples of from her list I’m happy not to respond to her.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  3. Ted Wrinch · ·

    For anyone that does want to take up the discussion, it seems to me what Diana’s talking about here is allied to the problem of theodicy: how does one justify the presence of evil in the world in the face of a just and divine providence.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  4. “If anything, the “choosing your parents” notion is more repugnant. Rather than blaming God for the child born of rape, far worse it blames the CHILD, it becomes the child’s CHOICE.”

    Not only is this true, it goes beyond that. Children, in choosing their parents, also choose their destiny to some degree… each and every child chooses the best circumstances within which to fulfill their karma. So whatever happens to the child – it must have been their karma. Adults in Waldorf environments are careful not to intervene with the child’s (supposedly) chosen destiny… even when, as in my child’s case, the child is on a path of self-destruction (literally). Adults have a *responsibility* to intervene. Only EVIL adults would see this happening and not try to stop it! Some worked to PREVENT my daughter from getting the help she needed to save her life. And only EVIL adults would support the EVIL adults who would do this.

  5. “I would like to think that my carping on this point on this list, many times over the years, has resulted in at least one or two anthroposophists privately in their minds allowing themselves to question whether they really believe karma explains why a child may be abused or hurt, or why a child is born with disabilities or contracts an illness. Even if they aren’t able to speak up about it, I hope that it causes them to at least hesitate in applying beliefs like this in the real world, for instance if there are children, or other vulnerable people, in their care in day to day life.”

    Yeah, it must suck to be a sheep.

  6. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I think that Peter Staudenmaiers’s post to me on his blog applies, mutatis mutandis, to Diana:

    “In general, I think it is a bad idea to engage in extended exchanges with antisemites, holocaust deniers, apologists for fascism, and so forth, because it degrades public discourse….”

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  7. Ted, readers can see there is nothing offensive in my tone here. How you reply is your business. If you have comments only on my “tone,” I will assume you have no substantive replies on the topic.

  8. This is nothing to be shocked about either.

    ‘Shock as it emerges serial sex offender was employed by private school to teach music to kids
    4 Nov 2012 07:14
    STEVE BIRCH refused a check at The Steiner School in Glasgow and was allowed to remain in position for four years’

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/serial-sex-offender-was-employed-by-private-1416155

    Was it karma that the kids should meet him?

    *

    Ted wrote:

    ‘I can see that there’s lots to discuss here but just not with Diana: as she’s happy with the kind of tone I’ve provided examples of from her list I’m happy not to respond to her.’

    Thing is, Ted, Diana provides something of substance — something that can be discussed (even if viewpoints diverge, it’s possible to debate the things she brings up). You, however, talk about her tone. And perhaps it’s appropriate to be clear about one thing: you chose to respond to her, even if you did so without any substance whatsoever. She then wrote an intelligent reply that I was more than happy to post here. (Although it didn’t at all fit the thread where you chose to open the subject — which she realized and posted it on critics instead. Where we don’t get many replies from anthros, while here we might get a few. Not necessarily from you — there are others!)

  9. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “even if viewpoints diverge, it’s possible to debate the things she brings up”.

    Sure, just not with she and I: must be Karma, I guess!

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  10. I suppose so. I think it’s not so difficult for most readers to figure out why you don’t want it. What might puzzle them more is that you initiated it. Although you must have known you had nothing else to say but to complain about her ‘tone’, which, by the way, like Peter Staudenmaier’s, is more in your own perception than a matter of reality. They both use arguments about the actual topic. Some people tend to find that just slightly too uncomfortable for their taste.

  11. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Although you must have known you had nothing else to say but to complain about her ‘tone’…They both use arguments about the actual topic.”

    Well, at the risk of disagreeing with my hostess – I disagree (of course – and the arguments I’ve offered here on other topics show that having ‘nothing else to say’ is not the problem). And I think it’s pretty clear from what’s passed by here that there’s something to my point of view concerning ‘tone’.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  12. “Sure, just not with she and I: must be Karma, I guess!”

    This is turning rather comical. I’m the one with the “tone” problem? If you wish not to talk to me, nobody is forcing you, but it seems thus far you’ve chosen to simply be rude.

    A couple of comments on theodicy. Max Weber famously said karma was the most airtight theodicy ever invented. I think since then this view has been mitigated; anthropological accounts of karmic belief systems usually stress that, basically, few people believe the theory in a literal and totalizing way. There are always exceptions to karma, contradictions, ambiguities, etc., cases where karma doesn’t apply, other beliefs mitigating or taking the focus away from karmic explanations, and (in many societies) often an extensive set of techniques and rituals for countering karma or reversing karma or transferring karma etc. (most of this doesn’t hold in anthroposophy, however). To quote Steiner’s followers, “Steiner is difficult.” In fact I suspect that most people who believe in karma are ready to quickly abandon the notion when it is applied to loved ones, especially children. The discomfort anthroposophists feel in these conversations, and the reason they are inclined to huff and puff about other people’s “tone,” instead, is quite understandable.

    I don’t have a problem with people believing in karma. Millions of people do. The problem comes in when the belief system is applied to other people’s children (or other vulnerable individuals) without their parents’ or caregivers’ consent or knowledge. That is the situation in which “karma” becomes an offensive notion, particularly when parents suspect that it is being used to excuse inexcusable behavior, duck responsibility for a child being hurt, or worse, deliberately allow a child to be hurt.

  13. Yes, I think we should note that Ted brought the topic here. Ted, If you find my posts or comments or presence distasteful, it is quite possible to ignore me, you know. Bringing my posts here from elsewhere and then stating that YOU don’t talk to ME is really quite boorish.

  14. “”Don’t bother opening a thread on this for me, Alicia. I can see that there’s lots to discuss here but just not with Diana: as she’s happy with the kind of tone I’ve provided examples of from her list I’m happy not to respond to her.”

    I missed this charming opening comment yesterday, skimming quickly. I don’t think Alicia opens threads to please particular individuals; she opens a thread if she’s interested in the topic. And it isn’t really necessary to make announcements about who you want to talk to and who you don’t want to talk to. Anyway.

  15. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi Diana,

    Since you were surprisingly polite, even civil, in some of your comments I thought I’d respond to your questions.

    But first I should note that people have been explaining this to you for maybe a decade and I’m sure what I say will not provide any more enlightenment for you than the other respondents did.

    You say:

    “For instance, is it incorrect to note that Steiner’s karma
    theory suggests that we bring suffering on ourselves in order to improve spiritually? Would this theory not offer a possible explanation for why a woman was raped? Please explain then.”

    Yes (we bring *some* suffering on ourselves) and no. Steiner never said that the karma of the individual is all that operates in a situation – there is group karma, world karma, karma of the age, etc, and, as one would expect in a system that seeks to explain the realities of good and evil, good and bad fortune, how karma operates in a particular example maybe very, very complex. Furthermore, most of us are not clairvoyant and karma is a ‘holy mystery’ (of which Christ, replacing Moses, is now ‘lord of’), which should dissuade people from easy speculation on the subject.  In your example we do not know the karma involved: there maybe no personal factor at all and the woman has suffered a blow of fate, that is not aimed at her spiritual advancement, and which will be, at some time and point, be made up to her. 

    “Regarding how we attack our own internal organs in order to alter or destroy them in order to take on “spiritual tasks,” does this not posit a similar mechanism as is implied in Todd Akins’s notion that a woman could “secrete a substance” if she didn’t want (or deserve, really) to get pregnant?”

    An embryo is an ‘organ’?! Phew! I’d try re-reading what he said, which I grant is strange and perplexing enough (and a good reason to be careful in drawing conclusions, I’d have thought). From my reading, he is talking of organs that are ‘defective’ in some way, where the debility is in terms of an inability to express the spiritual through the physical. The re-construction of the organ (should we believe that’s possible) allows it to be improved by being better able to express the spiritual. It’s pretty extreme, as I’ve said, and frankly perverted, to see this as equivalent to terminating an embryo: what faculty, allowing better expression of the spiritual, is being improved by that?

    “Finally, did Steiner not teach that we “choose our own parents”? Then, is it far-fetched to posit that a child who is born as the result of a rape chose that situation? Is this ideologically or theologically distant from the notion that a child born as the result of a rape is a gift from God? How does it differ?”

    Yep, it’s ‘far-fetched’ (other, less polite descriptions come to mind). The child is a ‘gift of God’, regardless of whether it is ‘born as the result of a rape’, not because of it. The child’s spirit chose the mother, not the rape. The father as the source of this evil act can be expected to have to make it up to both mother and child in the future (though most of us, not being clairvoyant, will not be able to say when or how, and certainly should refrain from  idle speculation).

    “It becomes the child’s CHOICE. The child is thought not to be the unfortunate victim of this terrible circumstance, but to have sat up in the clouds watching his mother get raped, and decided to hop on board, thinking, “Yes! That’s kind of horrible karma owing to his or her own sins in past lives. He/she will exactly the family for me.” This is because, of course, this child carries some be able to “grow spiritually” if raised by a severely traumatized mother and
    with a violent criminal for a father.”

     I think that this expresses your whole warped view on the subject of ‘karma’ pretty succinctly. As I’ve said, I’m sure nothing I say here will affect your view on the subject (which seems clearly formed elsewhere than where you respond to the subject). The response to this is the same as above: neither child or mother ‘chose’ the situation; it was forced upon them as an act of evil, for which the perpetrator will at some point have to make recompense.   The child chose the mother, not the father.

    “I would like to think that my carping on this point on this list, many times
    over the years, has resulted in at least one or two anthroposophists privately
    in their minds allowing themselves to question whether they really believe karma
    explains why a child may be abused or hurt, or why a child is born with
    disabilities or contracts an illness. Even if they aren’t able to speak up about
    it, I hope that it causes them to at least hesitate in applying beliefs like
    this in the real world, for instance if there are children, or other vulnerable
    people, in their care in day to day life.”

    I see, people that think about karma seriously let their children fall over terrace walls and kill themselves because ‘ it’s karma’? You can’t see yourself can you? Tarjei used to have these kinds of conversations with you, where he drew out the absurd implications of your words, back in ’04, but here you are, still carrying on carrying on.  

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  16. Ted Wrinch · ·

    There’s another question you’ve you’ve raised, at least implicitly, exemplified by your “Even if they aren’t able to speak up about it, I hope that it causes them to at least hesitate in applying beliefs like this in the real world”, that I haven’t addressed. This too has been said by others many, many times before and I’m sure will also not change your view on anything (though why you ignore it after all these years I can’t say): karma is not incompatible with free will. We are intended to and should act to right or prevent wrongs. If we fail, after having tried our best, well then perhaps we can speculate on what karma maybe afoot in the situation. This can be a theodicy: an explanation maybe apparent from considering the situation from a karmic perspective that is not otherwise visible.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  17. “This can be a theodicy: an EXCUSE maybe apparent from considering the situation from a karmic perspective that is not otherwise visible.”

    There, fixed it for ya…

  18. David Clark · ·

    While the terms are fashionable now, I’m slightly intrigued by references to “ideology” and “theory” in this connection. I reckon social scientific language can obscure attempts to address practical issues of everyday through spiritual scientific endeavour. Is the blog seeking to critique or denote realities or “beliefs”?

    I live in the English Midlands, an area where many people in the Region’s cities have beliefs relating to both karma and reincarnation. Meeting people from BME communities on assess to mental health services, these questions arise, affecting use of services and potential treatment options. Against this background, comments in the blog appear slightly abstract.

  19. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi David,

    ‘Realities’ some would say, ‘beliefs’ others (you can probably see how the groups split yourself).

    Certainly the practical aspects you mention are interesting, and may create further discussion, but this thread was started as a response to the particular topic and take on karma outlined by Diana Winters on Waldorf Critics in her post a few days ago. Waldorf Critics exists to ‘criticise’ (I quote the word because true criticism is balanced and multi-sided, which WC is not) Waldorf education and Steiner’s various ideas. This may explain the rather ‘abstract’ perspective you see here.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  20. Ted Wrinch · ·

    David,

    On ‘practical karma’, I quite like this random factoid that has come my way, demonstrating the Western approach to karma (but perhaps not so different from that of the BME community, that you mention). Steve Parks in his interesting short book How To Be An Entrepreneur has an opening chapter where he lists the basic attitudes that he’s found are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur (which he is himself, having founded The Red Group). Number two is being ‘principled’. In his example he describes two entrepreneurs, only the first of who is principled (and, ultimately, successful). This person, when his business needed re-financing, rather than just taking the money and letting the staff be made redundant took no money and handed on a going concern.  Parks describes this as: 

    ‘Real entrepreneurs have principles, and they stick to them even when it hurts.

    They’re rewarded for this by the system of karma which means that the things you do for or to other people, good or bad, will be repaid to you eventually in some way’

    This is future karma, of course, rather than that of the past, that Diana has focussed on. However, critics also look at future karma when they claim that Waldorf endorses bullying and *must* do so by virtue of its conception of karma.I think my exposition above demonstrates that if indeed some Waldorf teachers do behave in such a shoddy and unprofessional manner it’s certainly not in accordance with Steiner’s idea of karma.

    T. 

    Ted Wrinch

  21. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Also, I wonder how much karmic credit this lady is chalking up (lots, I’d say!):

    Jackie Samuel, a professional snuggler in New York, charges $60 per hour for cuddles.

    http://mobile.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/professional-snuggler-jackie-samuel-video

  22. I’ll be back with replies soon – a bit distracted by election day USA ..l

    Quickly, Ted, I am not sure why you think I focus on either past or future karma – I don’t think I said anything to suggest that. Also:

    “However, critics also look at future karma when they claim that Waldorf endorses bullying and *must* do so by virtue of its conception of karma”

    Critics do not say Waldorf supporters “must” do anything.

  23. I have to agree with Diana about the complaints about tone — comical. It’s also quite interesting that Ted brought the topic here, rather than post on that hideous mailing list, where I would not have noticed anyway.

    Ted replied to Diana, about karma, after — quite hilariously — noting her tone of voice, once more:

    ‘But first I should note that people have been explaining this to you for maybe a decade and I’m sure what I say will not provide any more enlightenment for you than the other respondents did.’

    I suppose it’s never occurred to Ted that Diana knows this topic better than he does. That perhaps she is not the unenlightened one — despite still not believing in karma herself… Then he, quite hilariously again, goes on to educate Diana about ‘group karma, world karma’ which exist in addition to individual karma, as though Diana was not aware. The admonishment hat karma should not be speculated about is nonsense — Steiner himself speculated about karmic connections, often using very concrete examples. Sure, one can never say for sure but that never stopped speculation… Ted uses an example — the raped woman — to say that maybe karma wasn’t involved, and maybe there was no spiritual lesson. Note though: whatever lessons there are, or not (the lesson isn’t necessary the woman’s, but somebody else’s, somebody who’s somehow involved in the events, their aftermath, et c), there are no events that have nothing to do with karma, no events that take place in a spiritual vaccuum.

    Ted quoting Diana:

    ‘“Finally, did Steiner not teach that we “choose our own parents”? Then, is it far-fetched to posit that a child who is born as the result of a rape chose that situation? Is this ideologically or theologically distant from the notion that a child born as the result of a rape is a gift from God? How does it differ?”

    Yep, it’s ‘far-fetched’ (other, less polite descriptions come to mind). The child is a ‘gift of God’, regardless of whether it is ‘born as the result of a rape’, not because of it. The child’s spirit chose the mother, not the rape. The father as the source of this evil act can be expected to have to make it up to both mother and child in the future (though most of us, not being clairvoyant, will not be able to say when or how, and certainly should refrain from idle speculation).’

    The child doesn’t only choose the mother, it chooses the father too. It chooses both parents. That is the anthroposophical view. Whether that is somehow compatible with empty phrases such as ‘the child is a gift of god’, I do not know. I can’t remember reading Steiner explaining that children are a gift from god, so it can’t be a big part of his philosophy. The child, rather, is an eternal spirit who chooses when to incarnate, where, to which parents, et c. That to me suggests something very different from being a passive gift from someone to someone else.

    David wrote:

    ‘Is the blog seeking to critique or denote realities or “beliefs”?’

    The comment thread or the entire blog? I thought of asking. Then realizing I have no idea what the answer would be anyway…

    Ted:

    ‘However, critics also look at future karma when they claim that Waldorf endorses bullying and *must* do so by virtue of its conception of karma.’

    I have rarely, perhaps never, seen a critic say that waldorf *must* endorse bullying by virtue of karma. What critics have often said is that waldorf schools tend to ignore bullying and that the background explanation of this is the conception of karma.

    ‘I think my exposition above demonstrates that if indeed some Waldorf teachers do behave in such a shoddy and unprofessional manner it’s certainly not in accordance with Steiner’s idea of karma.’

    It doesn’t surprise me that Ted has such a tenous grip on Steiner’s ideas on karma. In fact, applying Steiner’s ideas one might come to different conclusions — one is that the bully and the bullied have a (previous life) conflict which needs to be resolved by those two, the other is that those around the children have a karmic duty to prevent or alleviate suffering they see. What side of the issue you come down on probably has more to do with laziness than with anything else.

  24. David Clark · ·

    Hi. As a skeptic, my critical attention was caught by aspects of the “tail”. We are hearing a lot about the election here.

    Yes. “Critics” sounds almost aiming to be a (separate?) profession. Quaint. In nineteenth century Germany there was the expression “the sociologists of the chair”. Sounds a little similar?

    While I’m not clear where such isolated notions of “critics” on karma come from, my reading of Steiner’s approach suggests that students must build upon prior indications (i.e. tests and work). Personally, I struggle with these tasks in parallel with the urgent demands of everyday life. That is, I can’t spend too much time “cherry picking”, listening to lectures or surfing the web.

  25. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “The admonishment hat karma should not be speculated about is nonsense — Steiner himself speculated about karmic connections, often using very concrete examples. ”

    Yes, he could. But he said we shouldn’t, in the concrete manner you point out. We don’t know, most of us, and the most we can do is consider possibilities.

    “The child doesn’t only choose the mother, it chooses the father too. It chooses both parents. That is the anthroposophical view.”

    The ‘anthroposophical view’ is that this is an approximate process, where the incarnation is the best the soul can find. In the case of something like rape the process is further off still and, as I say, maybe the best of a bad situation around the fact that the child does chose the mother.

    “The child, rather, is an eternal spirit who chooses when to incarnate, where, to which parents, et c. That to me suggests something very different from being a passive gift from someone to someone else.”

    Not sure what this means, but no, the child is active and is no one’s ‘passive gift’ (perhaps you are getting confused by Diana’s expression ‘gift of God’?).

    “What critics have often said is that waldorf schools tend to ignore bullying and that the background explanation of this is the conception of karma.”

    Ok, strike out ‘must’ and you agree with what I’ve said. This conception of ‘karma’ is the critics’, not Steiner’s.

    “In fact, applying Steiner’s ideas one might come to different conclusions — one is that the bully and the bullied have a (previous life) conflict which needs to be resolved by those two, the other is that those around the children have a karmic duty to prevent or alleviate suffering they see.”

    Yes, your second conclusion is the one I’ve outlined and the one Steiner frequently admonished his hearers to adopt. The admonishment suggests that he may have had a hard time getting people to move away from the fatalistic (and traditional) first one. Still, Steiner’s view was that we should intervene.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  26. Ted Wrinch · ·

    On ‘tone’, as I’ll say again,  it’s hard to top Peter Staudenmaier’s post to me on his blog:

    “In general, I think it is a bad idea to engage in extended exchanges with antisemites, holocaust deniers, apologists for fascism, and so forth, because it degrades public discourse….”

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  27. “The admonishment hat karma should not be speculated about is nonsense — Steiner himself speculated about karmic connections,”

    If I’m recalling correctly “Karmic Relationships” is an 8-volume series of Steiner’s sweeping speculations on karmic connections throughout history. We’re only “not supposed to speculate” when the speculations will make some people uncomfortable, or the speculations will be repugnant to people with a conscience, or the speculations will spread around the parent body at the school and lead to some families withdrawing. — Otherwise (i.e., when non-anthroposophists are not listening), speculation is fine.

  28. “Ok, strike out ‘must’ and you agree with what I’ve said. This conception of ‘karma’ is the critics’, not Steiner’s.”

    Amazing… (LMAO)

  29. Ted Wrinch · ·

    More occurred to me on this:

    “In fact, applying Steiner’s ideas one might come to different conclusions — one is that the bully and the bullied have a (previous life) conflict which needs to be resolved by those two…”

    Why does it always have to be eye for an an eye, the bully in the previous life being beaten up by the (now) bully in this life? What could happen is that the bullied in the previous life has something nice done for them by the previous bullier – the wrong is rectified by an equal good. Now wouldn’t that be better all round? This is indeed something Steiner says can happen, and, further, even a giving up of the karmic debt by the holder altogether. He also mentions complex things about people swapping bodies at the point of incarnation to take on the burden of someone else’s problems – I think this is a sixth epoch ideal, that begins now.

    Also:

    “I suppose it’s never occurred to Ted that Diana knows this topic better than he does…Then he [Ted]… goes on to educate Diana about ‘group karma, world karma’ which exist in addition to individual karma, as though Diana was not aware. It doesn’t surprise me that Ted has such a tenous grip on Steiner’s ideas on karma.”

    I should have thought that what we are interested in here, rather than some competition about who know the most, is evidence of a balanced, comprehensive and fair application of Steiner’s ideas to the topics Diana has raised. If Diana has a less tenuous grasp of the subject than I supposedly have then it should come out in discussion. I don’t see that Alicia’s simply asserting that she does adds much.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  30. “What could happen is”

    Yeah but it didn’t Ted. You’re turning into Sune… inventing Steiner as you go along. If you have an example from Steiner, provide it. Your speculation about what “could” happen, karmically speaking, is, I’m quite certain, of interest to almost nobody but you.

  31. Ted Wrinch · ·

    ‘Yeah but it didn’t Ted’

    I’m pretty sure he’s described all these.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  32. Ted Wrinch · ·

    As a *critic*, Pete – someone who takes a balanced, comprehensive and fair view of Steiner’s ideas- I’m sure that you will have come across them too.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  33. Ted Wrinch · ·

    There has been a call for Steiner quotes but I don’t see much point in that. This stuff – that karma does not hinder free will, that everything that happens to us is not part of our karma alone, etc – are karma 101 and are ideas that are throughout Steiner’s work. From this perspective, Diana’s post is indeed ‘extreme’ and it appears neither she, nor Alicia who defends what she’s posted, know much about the subject. Why this could be when both have ostensibly been reading Steiner as ‘critics’ (sorry for the quotes, but perhaps people can see why I can’t take the term seriously) for respectively over a decade and, as I understand it, half a decade respectively is a perhaps bit of a mystery, but people can no doubt think of probable reasons. Anyway, maybe one Steiner quote, somewhat at random, and the first I’ve come across this morning, may do some service:

    “Just as the merchant is not hindered by his ledger from doing new business, so in life a man is not hindered from making a new entry in his Book of Life. And if the merchant got into difficulties and asked a friend to lend him a thousand marks to help him to recover, it would be nonsense if his friend replied that he really couldn’t do anything because it would mean interfering with the state of his friend’s account-book. In the same way it would be nonsense if I refused to help another man in order not to come into conflict with the law of karma. However firmly I believe in the law of karma, there is nothing to prevent me from relieving any misery and poverty.

    Christian clergymen often raise the objection: “Your Theosophy is not Christian, for it ascribes everything to self-redemption. You say a man must work out his own karma quite alone. If he can do this, what place is there for Christ Jesus, who suffered for all mankind? The Theosophist says he needs no help from anyone.

    All this indicates a misunderstanding on both sides. Our critics do not realise that free-will is not restricted by the law of karma. The Theosophist, on his side, needs to see clearly that because he believes in karma he does not depend entirely on self-help and self-development; he must recognise that he can be helped by others.

    If someone has more power than this, he may be able to help two or three or four others if they are in need. Someone still more powerful may be able to help hundreds or thousands and influence their karma for the better. And if he is as powerful as Christianity represents Christ to be, he may help the whole of humanity just at a time when it is in special need of help. But that does not make the law of karma ineffective; on the contrary, Christ’s deed on Earth is effective precisely because the law of karma can be built upon.

    The world does not consist of single “I’s”, each one isolated from the rest; the world is really one great unity and brotherhood. And just as in physical life a brother or friend can intervene to help another, so does this hold good in a much deeper sense in the spiritual world.”

    At The Gates of Spiritual Science, 1906

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  34. “There has been a call for Steiner quotes but I don’t see much point in that.”

    The point is that we have something to discuss if you provide the quotes. If you’re just blathering… well, you’re just blathering. Seriously, do you have sources for the stuff you insist Steiner said? I know it’s unlikely, but you’ve been wrong before Ted. How about providing Steiner’s words instead of putting words in his mouth? THEN it might be worth discussing this stuff with you.

  35. “Just as the merchant is not hindered by his ledger from doing new business, so in life a man is not hindered from making a new entry in his Book of Life. And if the merchant got into difficulties and asked a friend to lend him a thousand marks to help him to recover, it would be nonsense if his friend replied that he really couldn’t do anything because it would mean interfering with the state of his friend’s account-book. In the same way it would be nonsense if I refused to help another man in order not to come into conflict with the law of karma. However firmly I believe in the law of karma, there is nothing to prevent me from relieving any misery and poverty.”

    This one is the one parents show to Waldorf teachers AFTER they have encountered bullying at their schools… and ask why the teachers didn’t follow Steiner.

  36. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “This one is the one parents show to Waldorf teachers AFTER they have encountered bullying at their schools… and ask why the teachers didn’t follow Steiner.”

    Glad they do that – seems to suggest that some Waldorf teachers have a poor understanding of the idea of karma. Another good reason to avoid idle speculation.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  37. “everything that happens to us is not part of our karma alone, etc – are karma 101 and are ideas that are throughout Steiner’s work”

    Again am way behind trying to follow this – let alone respond – but just wanted to add quickly here that this is correct. Definitely, Steiner says that not everything that happens is karma. I never said that Steiner said that, however, and it’s certainly not implied in what I wrote.

    Nor is the idea that “an embryo is an organ” in what I wrote, or implied in what I wrote. I pointed out the similarities in positing a physiological mechanism that is somehow magically activated to abort a fetus under the “wrong” conditions (“legitimate rape,” as suggested by Todd Akins) and positing physiological mechanisms that are somwhow magically activated in attacking our own internal organs to damage or destroy them for karmic reasons.

    I pointed out a similarity in these far-fetched medicobiomystical musings. You don’t see it eh? (Here’s a hint: the biggest similarity is that they are ridiculous and impossible, but fulfill spiritual fantasies.)

  38. Again, Ted, please explain what I wrote that is “extreme.” You seem unable to counter it factually, or to reply when asked for specifics where what I said was wrong.

    Critics are capable of grasping your notion that karma does not restrict free will. That does not mean that we ACCEPT the notion. That seems to be a possibility you are having trouble wrapping your mind around.

  39. “This is indeed something Steiner says can happen, and, further, even a giving up of the karmic debt by the holder altogether. ”

    Again I apologize that I am not taking these responses on systematically, I just can’t right now. But the above interests me – do you have a source for it? I have read quite a bit about karmic beliefs in many societies, where karma is often a much more, let’s say, vivid and lively notion than it is in anthroposophy. Many peoples have considered karma to be an actual physical substance, and and to be readily transferrable among individuals (usually family members). Steiner’s karma, of course, is much more abstract – a theory, or abstract laws governing events, not an entity. There are few vestiges of these (much older and generally Eastern) aspects of Karma in Steiner’s westernized version. I am interested in where these vestiges remain. The idea of cancelling a karmic debt strikes me that way. What is the source?

  40. I pointed out to Ted:

    “Definitely, Steiner says that not everything that happens is karma. I never said that Steiner said that, however, and it’s certainly not implied in what I wrote.”

    In fact I said the opposite. I noted clearly that in my view anthroposophists, like most who believe in karma, are very willing to point out karma’s inconsistencies and contradictions, or disavow karma altogether, when a bad circumstance affects them or their loved ones. I would venture to say it is a universal in “karmic theories” that there are thought to be many situations in which karma does not apply or cannot be known. This is certainly nothing unique in anthroposophy.

  41. I invite Ted to go back to the post I wrote that upset him so:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25330

    … and point out for me where it says, or implies, that everything that happens is karma, or that karma contradicts free will per Steiner. Look for it and show me, please.

  42. Sorry to harp on one point … will be back later to actually reply point by point to Ted’s attempts at rebuttals of my original post. Will probably be tonight. Still bleary-eyed post-election, and some people here expect me to work …

  43. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Definitely, Steiner says that not everything that happens is karma”

    Not what I said, which was ‘everything that happens to us is not part of our karma alone’, i.e. it is subject to other kinds karma than ours (Alicia was quite right to point this out in her earlier post).

    “the biggest similarity is that they are ridiculous and impossible, but fullfill spiritual fantasies”

    So not a serious comparison at all; in which case the unpleasant example and suggestion of right-wing political affinity can be equally dismissed. It helps to know that we needn’t take what you say seriously. But I suppose it’s worth saying that, after al,l that you didn’t actually respond to my point: ‘what faculty, allowing better expression of the spiritual, is being improved by that [terminating an embryo]?’.

    “Again, Ted, please explain what I wrote that is “extreme.” You seem unable to counter it factually, or to reply when asked for specifics where what I said was wrong.”

    Hard to find any that wasn’t. This’ll do for one:

    “…I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed that really, the flurry of vicious pronouncements from right wing cretins about rape sometimes being God’s gift to women aren’t terribly far removed, ideologically, from anthroposophical notions?”

    Saying that rape is justified by anthroposophy is pretty extreme, to most people, but is, as I’ve shown (in posts on the ‘approximate’ nature of the incarnation process; that karmic factors go beyond the individual; etc), anyway wrong or ‘counter-factual’.

    “Critics are capable of grasping your notion that karma does not restrict free will. That does not mean that we ACCET the notion.”

    No, quite clearly – you just ‘accept’ the bits of anthroposophy that suit your agenda, not mentioning the other, balancing, completing bits that don’t.

    “the above interests me – do you have a source for it?”

    Wasn’t going to post any more quotes, but since you ask, I found this step towards your question:

    “For example, a man who puts out the eyes of another is more imperfect that one who does not, and in his later Karma it must come to pass that he does a correspondingly good deed, for only then will he be inwardly again the man he was before he committed the sin.

    I may meet a man today, and if through grace I am permitted to know something about his Karma, I may perhaps find that some misfortune or stroke of fate that has fallen on him stands in his Karma, that it is an adjustment of earlier guilt. If I turn to his earlier incarnations and examine what he did then, I do not find his guilty deed registered in the Akashic Record. How does this come about?

    The reason is that Christ has taken upon Himself the objective debt. In the moment that I permeate myself with Christ, I discover the deed when I examine the Akashic Record. Christ has taken it into His kingdom and He bears it further, so that when I look away from Christ I cannot find it in the Akashic Record. This distinction must be kept clearly in mind: karmic justice remains, but Christ intervenes in the effects of the guilt in the spiritual world. He takes over the debt into His kingdom and bears it further. Christ is that Being who, because He is of another kingdom, is able to blot out in the world our debts and our sins, taking them upon Himself.”

    Christ and the Human Soul, 1914

    This is the re-incarnated ‘kind bully’ conception I outlined above. It’s the new conception of karma, beyond eye for an eye. As Steiner says, it has been made possible through Christ’s taking over the role of lord of karma, and so forgiving our erstwhile objective karmic misdeeds; a perpetrator can now repay their debt by good deeds, rather than reciprocal suffering. I expect someone can find the quote confirming the karmic debt cancelation, that I think you’re asking about, in the sixth epoch I think, if they can be bothered to look.

    “In fact I said the opposite ['not everything that happens is karma'] . I noted clearly that in my view anthroposophists, like most who believe in karma, are very willing to point out karma’s inconsistencies and contradictions, or disavow karma altogether, when a bad circumstance affects them or their loved ones.”

    At the point you say that they should ‘disavow’ it it is probably the most valuable – a potential ‘theodicy’. But, in fact, what you actually said, or at least implied, was the opposite, that there’s *no freedom* in the concept of karma – otherwise why do people need to ‘disavow’ it?.

    “and point out for me where it says, or implies, that everything that happens is karma, or that karma contradicts free will per Steiner. Look for it and show me, please.”

    My comments about that post concerned the supposed anthroposophical concepts of spiritually motivated disposable babies and raped women having children from God. My point about free will was in response to your other comments.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  44. “Not what I said, which was ‘everything that happens to us is not part of our karma alone’, i.e. it is subject to other kinds karma than ours (Alicia was quite right to point this out in her earlier post). ”

    We agree on this, not sure why we’re arguing. I never made any comments at all regarding distinctions between personal and group (or other types of) karma, although I’m certainly aware Steiner made these distinctions (nations, “peoples,” races, etc., all can have karma), so I don’t see a point of dispute. But in fact, Steiner did say that not everything that happens to us is karma. Although as Alicia has pointed out, to piously suggest that we are not supposed to “speculate” about someone’s karma is bunk –anthroposophists do it all the time.
    “But I suppose it’s worth saying that, after al,l that you didn’t actually respond to my point: ‘what faculty, allowing better expression of the spiritual, is being improved by that [terminating an embryo]?’.

    As I made clear, I have not responded to many of your points but will do so when I get past a work deadline. I most definitely have an answer to what faculties “allowing better expression of the spiritual,” if you will, may be improved by the termination of an embryo in certain circumstances. For starters, I consider the wellbeing of the woman who has been raped to be a spiritual good in itself. I was a rape victim myself many years ago, and can assure you that (although I didn’t get pregnant), if I did,it would not have been spiritually beneficial for me to carry a pregnancy to term. The prochoice position is based on the notion that – guess what – the woman’s wellbeing – in the event of rape, her life and her sanity – count too, not just the potential unborn child’s. This is a spiritual value.
    I haven’t even read all of your latest post, so don’t get all in a twist about stuff I haven’t responded to yet.

  45. ” expect someone can find the quote confirming the karmic debt cancelationthat I think you’re asking about, in the sixth epoch I think, ”

    Does this mean we can’t do the karmic debt cancellation thing yet – we have to wait till the 6th epoch? Not so practical in real life then?

  46. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Does this mean we can’t do the karmic debt cancellation thing yet – we have to wait till the 6th epoch? Not so practical in real life then?”

    I know you love your sarcasm but it really isn’t necessary: are you really not able to have a discussion without it?

    I don’t know: maybe you will have to wait, but if so it’s up to you and, actually, anyone that wants to make the effort can be doing sixth epoch things whenever they like. Steiner says this everywhere, but as it’s pretty clear that ‘critics’ don’t much bother reading the words of the person they criticise I’m not surpassed that you aren’t aware of this.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  47. What did you think was sarcastic? Don’t you think you’re a wee sensitive? How do you expect to discuss such things with someone who doesn’t share your spiritual beliefs? Steiner was quite specific and explicit about what is possible in what era; the eras are well delineated temporally for a reason, I assume? Sure, there’s bound to be some fluidity and I can’t recall these dates offhand but if I’m not mistaken the 6th epoch is QUITE a good ways off in the future. It isn’t like next week. Sorry if this seems sarcastic to you … I would think by now you’d get over the idea that everyone you discuss anthroposophy with ought to bow and scrape before the supposedly enlightened things said by Steiner. Not everyone finds them so. I’m interested in discussing them with a REALITY basis. His “sixth epoch” is WAY off, cosmically, not SOON.

  48. What I mean is, I am not at all being sarcastic when I point out that if he said we can do a certain thing in the “sixth epoch,” he means a long time from now. He is not giving practical advice. Literally. I’m not trying to offend you when I point out what Steiner MEANT. If he meant “you can do this now,” he wouldn’t have said it would be a feature of the sixth epoch, it seems to me.

  49. Of course, I do understand that Steiner maintained that SOME PEOPLE were advanced enough to do things better than the rest of us klutzes. On any anthroposophic message board, one finds blowhards hinting not too subtly that THEY themselves are probably among the unusually gifted ones that Steiner referred to, forbears of a new era, etc. etc.

  50. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “His “sixth epoch” is WAY off, cosmically, not SOON.”

    Yes, but we can advance the epoch individually by doing the spiritual exercises. You really haven’t read any of this, have you?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  51. Ted Wrinch · ·

    And thanks for trying not to be sarcastic.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  52. David Clark · ·

    Hello Alicia. I’ve looked back at the blog and this tail and am seriously wondering how/whether to contribute further. For me, your careful thoughts as “moderator” were very helpful, perhaps promoting reflection, at least for me.

    As a peer advocate in mental health, I meet vulnerable people who may have also suffered abuse and voice their concerns. For me, some of the themes at issue here can best be approached through specific examples met in life. In this way, it is possible to be both more specific and accurate in developing testable insights that can help people.

    By the way, I don’t take this to mean that I am more advanced than psychiatrists, for example. I’m only suggesting that, having taken various aspects of my homework seriously, I may notice aspects of a situation that have been missed by health professionals. When I point out such omissions in clinical meetings, they are generally taken seriously and acted upon.

    In my experience, anthroposophy is generally about recognising the subtleties of everyday life. Frequently, I find that its insights are taken to be much more complicated. I repeat, this is a personal view.

    Growl!

  53. I don’t think I’ve read “Christ and the Human Soul,” no. Speaking of being sarcastic, there isn’t a need to act superior regarding which Steiner titles you’ve read. There are thousands of lectures. I have no idea, but I suspect you’ve read more than I have, though I’ve read quite a lot. I’m not terribly interested, personally, in the so-called “Christological” stuff. Perhaps I’ve missed a lot relevant to karma there, I don’t know. I’m more interested in karma than any other topic in anthroposophy. I have been making a project of expanding my knowledge about the history of the idea of karma (in Eastern religions, in other words, well predating Steiner). I’m finding this to be more productive in understanding “what to do with” some of Steiner’s ideas, than reading more Steiner. Or maybe I’m just sick of reading Steiner … but it seems a reasonable approach to me, as the karma ideas in anthroposophy come from Eastern religions much more than from Christianity.

  54. But I take your point that it might theoretically be possible to “advance the epoch” by doing certain exercises. He did say in any epoch there are people who are (spiritually) ahead of the curve, so to speak, as well as those who have lagged behind. So it does make sense he would have said this.

  55. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “I have been making a project of expanding my knowledge about the history of the idea of karma (in Eastern religions, in other words, well predating Steiner). I’m finding this to be more productive in understanding “what to do with” some of Steiner’s ideas, than reading more Steiner.”

    Sounds a good idea.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  56. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “…there isn’t a need to act superior regarding which Steiner titles you’ve read.”

    Sorry, I also over-react from time to time. I was probably being defensive over Alicia’s claim that I have a ‘tenuous’ grasp of these ideas.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  57. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia. Rather lexical, I’m afraid. Nothing to add. Bark! Howl!

  58. Ted Wrinch · ·

    David,

    You said:

    “As a peer advocate in mental health, I meet vulnerable people…”

    In case you’re not familiar with it, you might find this lady’s work of interest (she used to work at Southampton hospital, now maybe the New Forest):

    “Psychosis and Spirituality. Finding a Language.”

    http://www.isabelclarke.org/psychosis_spirituality/finding_a_language.htm

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  59. David Clark · ·

    Hi Ted. Thanks for the link. OK. My rererences referred to ways to in which clients are faced with clinical interviews within the DSM IV TR framework. Aiming for objectivity through replication, professionals’ responses are assembled through interview surveys that derive diagnoses through statistical aggregates and a form of logical clustering.

    While there is a considerable critics and survivor literature, my experience suggests that this professional striving for parity of status with physical medicine can be highly problematic. Currently planned revisions for a DSM V are increasingly recognised as demonstrating that diagnoses are neither consistent or secure. In addition, increasing aspects of life are being caught up.

    Meeting clients in acute settings, I generally encounter highly distressed individuals and very stressed health professionals. For me, this is the field of biographical understanding. Theirs and mine. What is really happening on the Ward today? Generally, they have little in common except the physical space that they occupy. Much may be said about diagnoses. They change. There is frequently no clear link with medication, except what works.

    Please note that I’m pleased to note that I’m glad that the medication does “work” for many. In my view, people gain greatly by co-operating. I also support and promote the recovery model on discharge, but that’s another story.

    Of necessity, distressed people from all backgrounds and heritages bring their biographies and their consequences. Highly personal, these also transcend my own personal experience and biography. I learn a great deal and am humbled frequently. Frequently, people may have shared these stories of vulnerability before with staff. Professional hierarchies and training may obscure such realities and these stories may be hard to receive, bearing closely upon the intimacies of life.

    For me, the importance of “homework” here sits in several areas. 1) It is applied to my life’s tasks and can be effectively tested there – have I understood the client, am I receptive in my conversation, can I then communicate sensibly with health professionals? 2) It is applied to my institutional environment – can I share my concerns about the setting and my advocacy role in ways that receive recognition and understanding? 3) Can I protect my own well-being around these varying directions of my life?

    Spiritual science provides much that is important for me in this environment. Perhaps it was important that I met Anthroposophy before the advent of the Internet. My meeting and arguments were with people in the same room and were personal to me, providing context and information. While a few lectures have been important to me, I have generally put away those that were either unhelpful or incomprehensible at the time. I would also say thet only aspects of a lecture may help on a particular occasion, but that’s another story.

    Personally, I have struggled with exercises and instead have focused upon the “Philosophy of Freedom” and “A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception”. As a student, I assume the right to choose. Indeed, each path is a meditative one, in the same way as the serious study of mainstream economics (to take just one example from my own experience) is meditative.

    After the “homework”, the examination!

    Apologies for this long message.

  60. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi David,

    “my experience suggests that this professional striving for parity of status with physical medicine can be highly problematic. Currently planned revisions for a DSM V are increasingly recognised as demonstrating that diagnoses are neither consistent or secure…

    Much may be said about diagnoses. They change. There is frequently no clear link with medication, except what works.”

    All to be expected. As that lady’s article demonstrates, many unnecessary problems have been created by aping ‘physical medicine’ (which is, after all, materialism in action). My brother’s had schizophrenia for 20+ years and it’s been a sadly hopeless and deteriorating situation for him. The early interventions appeared to be almost exclusively physical, which do little more than all those narcoleptics: he has spent many years in a state of reduced consciousness, unable to read or concentrate, depressed and increasingly struggling to speak (the drugs take a toll on the organs eventually – as we know they all have ‘side effects’ and the only choice is whether the benefits outweigh those). But the tide has begun to turn in the last few years and psychotherapies, often of the CBT variety, have begun to become more widely available. Unfortunately it maybe too late for my brother as he rejects them, being seemingly increasingly content to live out his remaining years (schizophrenics loose around a couple of decades of life compared to what one might expect without the disease) in a drugged twilight state of awareness.

    I too hoped for something from the biographical, personal approach a few years ago, especially when John Nash’s story became well known (the book seems to be better than the film). I used to tell my brother stories from Nash’s life in the hope that the inspirational struggle he put up against the illness, resulting eventually in him returning to academic life, would help my brother to find a path through his own illness Sadly, it didn’t seem to help much; maybe he’d had too many years of semi-institutionalised stasis by then to be able to really believe in change any more.

    You’re right about the importance of trying to gain understanding of the patient, their inner life, struggles, sometimes strange perceptual disorders, often angst and emotional stress, and this is not easy. But I have found some of Steiner’s ideas helpful in trying to approach such understanding. Also, I met a Catholic priest in the Royal Manchester Infirmary when my brother was in intensive care last year and we talked quite a lot about world views, the medical model (and its inadequacies), life after death , etc. This was my first intimate conversation with a Catholic or a priest and though we differed much in our worldview we also shared much, some of which I also found helpful in trying to increase my understanding of my brother’s situation. I’ve found that one takes what understanding maybe available gratefully, wherever it comes from.

    Yes, it’s all a meditation – Steiner wrote all his stuff to stretch its readers. Those books are good; I took a similar path when I began, avoiding the ‘dubious’ occult stuff until I could gain a better appreciation of the man and his worldview.

    No need to apologise; perhaps our attempts at communication share something of worth.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  61. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Also, I met a Catholic priest in the Royal Manchester Infirmary when my brother was in intensive care last year…”

    Actually two years ago; how time flies.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  62. Okay, I’ve dug back into this dialogue.

    I asked: “For instance, is it incorrect to note that Steiner’s karma theory suggests that we bring suffering on ourselves in order to improve spiritually? Would this theory not offer a possible explanation for why a woman was raped? Please explain then.”

    Ted replied:
    “Yes (we bring *some* suffering on ourselves) and no. Steiner never said that the karma of the individual is all that operates in a situation – there is group karma, world karma, karma of the age, etc, and, as one would expect in a system that seeks to explain the realities of good and evil, good and bad fortune, how karma operates in a particular example maybe very, very complex. Furthermore, most of us are not clairvoyant and karma is a ‘holy mystery’ (of which Christ, replacing Moses, is now ‘lord of’), which should dissuade people from easy speculation on the subject. In your example we do not know the karma involved: there maybe no personal factor at all and the woman has suffered a blow of fate, that is not aimed at her spiritual advancement, and which will be, at some time and point, be made up to her.”

    So why then, after giving this very careful and complete explanation, did you say that the answer to “Is karma a possible explanation for why a woman was raped?” was “No”? You are contradicting yourself. Quite clearly, from your own explanation, karma is a possible explanation for why a woman was raped. I’m quite puzzled as to how you can then say “No” after writing a paragraph explaining why it is exactly so.

    The dispute is not about what kind of karma. I don’t dispute there is personal karma, group karma, probably many other kinds of karma. And I don’t dispute that Steiner said not everything that happens to you is karma.

    But the question was, is karma a possible explanation for why a woman might be raped and the answer in anthroposophy is certainly YES.

    I asked:

    “Regarding how we attack our own internal organs in order to alter or destroy them in order to take on “spiritual tasks,” does this not posit a similar mechanism as is implied in Todd Akins’s notion that a woman could “secrete a substance” if she didn’t want (or deserve, really) to get pregnant?”

    And Ted replied: “An embryo is an ‘organ’?! Phew!”

    I believe we’ve dealt with this. It has nothing to do with an embryo being an organ. The comparison was between two similar magical processes by which a person might control internal, physiological/hormonal/biochemical processes in their own body, for a spiritual purpose.

    “From my reading, he is talking of organs that are ‘defective’ in some way, where the debility is in terms of an inability to express the spiritual through the physical. The re-construction of the organ (should we believe that’s possible) allows it to be improved by being better able to express the spiritual. It’s pretty extreme, as I’ve said, and frankly perverted, to see this as equivalent to terminating an embryo: what faculty, allowing better expression of the spiritual, is being improved by that?”

    I gave a very emphatic answer to this yesterday (haven’t seen you reply, unless I’ve missed it in the busy whirl here). Your answer assumed we were talking about the embryo’s karma (so to speak; I personally have a rather hard time even musing over the idea of an embryo having karma). The “faculty” allowing “better expression of the spiritual” that is sometimes improved when a pregnancy is terminated is the woman’s LIFE – her very being. Not spiritual enough for you?

    Re: choosing our parents; child born as a result of rape, Ted defends the shockingly offensive comments of the American senator Todd Akins that: “the child is a ‘gift of God’, regardless of whether it is ‘born as the result of a rape’, not because of it. The child’s spirit chose the mother, not the rape. The father as the source of this evil act can be expected to have to make it up to both mother and child in the future (though most of us, not being clairvoyant, will not be able to say when or how, and certainly should refrain from idle speculation).”

    I think Alicia dealt with this handily. Its logical flaws are blazingly obvious. Why would you think the child chose the mother, and not the father? Sorry, that’s not what Steiner said. You admonished us not to speculate about karma but that’s what you’re doing when you decide, on no reasonable or logical basis, that the child chose the mother rather than the father.

    Why, if we should refrain from idle speculation, do you then announce that the father will have to make it up to the mother some day? What if the father is ALREADY making something up to the mother? Maybe the mother did something horrible to the father in a past life.

    Breaking this into a couple of posts hopefully to avoid total unreadableness.

  63. I wrote:

    “It becomes the child’s CHOICE. The child is thought not to be the unfortunate victim of this terrible circumstance, but to have sat up in the clouds watching his mother get raped, and decided to hop on board, thinking, ‘Yes! That’s kind of horrible karma owing to his or her own sins in past lives. He/she will exactly the family for me.’ This is because, of course, this child carries some be able to ‘grow spiritually’ if raised by a severely traumatized mother and with a violent criminal for a father.”

    Ted replied:
    “I think that this expresses your whole warped view on the subject of ‘karma’ pretty succinctly. As I’ve said, I’m sure nothing I say here will affect your view on the subject (which seems clearly formed elsewhere than where you respond to the subject). The response to this is the same as above: neither child or mother ‘chose’ the situation; it was forced upon them as an act of evil, for which the perpetrator will at some point have to make recompense. The child chose the mother, not the father.”

    Again, this is simply not a tenable reply. You inform us here quite decisively as to who chose what, karmically. You would have no way of knowing. My scenario makes as much sense in Steiner’s karmic scheme as yours, and you offer no justification for yours, just insist we shouldn’t speculate, although you’re allowed to speculate. Nowhere in Steiner, to my knowledge, does he say that in choosing birth a child chooses its mother but not its father.

    I really don’t mean to sound terribly harsh. It’s quite understandable to me that it’s difficult to post replies to this stuff that make sense. It’s very nasty. I would much rather think Steiner meant what you said here – that an attack such as a rape is random evil and that we should assume “the child chose the mother and not the father,” and “the father will have to make it up to them some day” – unfortunately it isn’t a tenable interpretation of anything in Steiner that I’m aware of.

    Ted:

    “I see, people that think about karma seriously let their children fall over terrace walls and kill themselves because ‘ it’s karma’? You can’t see yourself can you? Tarjei used to have these kinds of conversations with you, where he drew out the absurd implications of your words, back in ’04, but here you are, still carrying on carrying on.

    This is a content-free reply, “You can’t see yourself, can you”? A reply with content would need to explain to me how the karma theory does NOT support the scenarios I’ve raised.
    As I’ve said a couple of times now, I definitely don’t think that people who believe in karma let their children fall over terrace walls and kill themselves because it’s karma. I’ve said the opposite quite doggedly. I believe that people who believe in karma REJECT THAT VERY NOTION more often than not when faced with a personal tragedy. You are exhibit A, you are doing that right now – rejecting the unpleasant parts, and blaming them on someone else (me, for pointing them out).

  64. “Nowhere in Steiner, to my knowledge, does he say that in choosing birth a child chooses its mother but not its father.”

    Or to my knowledge. I’d be very surprised if Ted could convince anyone he hasn’t made this up. Um… do you have a quote Ted?

  65. This is a bit of a jumble now; this doesn’t perhaps follow in the discussion but I wanted to reiterate this piece:

    Ted:

    “This is future karma, of course, rather than that of the past, that Diana has focussed on. However, critics also look at future karma when they claim that Waldorf endorses bullying and *must* do so by virtue of its conception of karma.I think my exposition above demonstrates that if indeed some Waldorf teachers do behave in such a shoddy and unprofessional manner it’s certainly not in accordance with Steiner’s idea of karma.”

    There is no sense in which I have “focused on past karma” rather than “future karma.” I’m not aware there’s even such a distinction in Steiner. Karma is karma.

    The problem, when Steiner teachers invoke karma as an explanation for unprofessional means of dealing with problems in the classroom, or mention it in connection to a child’s injury, illness, etc., is decidedly NOT that they “don’t understand Steiner.” The problem is that they do.

    The reality on the ground, I’m fairly sure, is that (now please listen and truly take note of this, because it’s quite important): MOST STEINER TEACHERS IGNORE KARMA.
    MOST Steiner teachers are well intentioned individuals who care about children. Karma, applied to bad or evil things befalling children, is an insidious, inhumane, and quasi-sadistic notion at best. I assert that it is ALWAYS ignored by a caring adult in responding to a child in a crisis. Things go well in a Steiner classroom WHENEVER THE TEACHER IGNORES STEINER on this point (and many other points).

    And in reality, I assert that this is what MOST OFTEN happens.

    Sorry for all the capitals; I took a swig of whatever it is that Pete takes before he posts :)

    The point I am making is that the bad stuff happens when the teachers DON’T ignore Steiner on karma. These are either inexperienced teachers or Steiner zealots, the ones who believe every word Steiner said is gospel. They are probably a minority; unfortunately they are also often in charge – they ascend to directorship or senior teacher positions. (Those who don’t buy into Steiner in this fanatical way often can’t get ahead, or end up leaving. They do not remain at the school and achieve master teacher status.)

    It is the THEORY that needs to be ditched, so that inexperienced, junior teachers are not bullied by senior teachers into falling back on it or evoking it as an excuse in crisis management.

    It is very important to realize that – not just in anthroposophy but anywhere a creed including karma is followed – people quite often reject it when faced with a crisis involving their loved ones.

  66. Alicia:
    “The child doesn’t only choose the mother, it chooses the father too. It chooses both parents. That is the anthroposophical view.”

    Ted:

    The ‘anthroposophical view’ is that this is an approximate process, where the incarnation is the best the soul can find. In the case of something like rape the process is further off still and, as I say, maybe the best of a bad situation around the fact that the child does chose the mother.

    Wait … what’s this bit about “the process if further off” all about? What do you mean by that, and where did you get it in Steiner?

    Regarding intervening in suffering, Ted to Alicia:

    “Yes, your second conclusion is the one I’ve outlined and the one Steiner frequently admonished his hearers to adopt. The admonishment suggests that he may have had a hard time getting people to move away from the fatalistic (and traditional) first one. Still, Steiner’s view was that we should intervene.”

    Wait again. Can you back up this assertion that Steiner frequently admonished his hearers that karma did not mean non-intervention in suffering? Other than the passage you quoted – of which we’re well aware – can you point us to other times and places when Steiner emphasized this? This is an interesting possibility – that Steiner was actively trying to urge his followers to understand karma in a less fatalistic way – but I’d be more interested in it if there were any evidence for it.

  67. “Just as the merchant is not hindered by his ledger from doing new business, so in life a man is not hindered from making a new entry in his Book of Life. And if the merchant got into difficulties and asked a friend to lend him a thousand marks to help him to recover, it would be nonsense if his friend replied that he really couldn’t do anything because it would mean interfering with the state of his friend’s account-book. In the same way it would be nonsense if I refused to help another man in order not to come into conflict with the law of karma. However firmly I believe in the law of karma, there is nothing to prevent me from relieving any misery and poverty.”

    Pete: “This one is the one parents show to Waldorf teachers AFTER they have encountered bullying at their schools… and ask why the teachers didn’t follow Steiner.

    You have a very good point there, Pete. This is a very sad scenario, but common: after a disaster, usually involving multiple families leaving the school, the Big Dragon anthroposophists (leaders of College of Teachers etc.) start trying to explain to everyone that the problem is that the school isn’t anthroposophical ENOUGH – the teachers are not all Steiner trained, or the teachers don’t understand Steiner, the teachers don’t have enough time to study Steiner, or to meditate. It is a tragedy, because the opposite path is the way to save the school: read LESS Steiner, make sure you hire teachers who DON’T understand Steiner.

  68. So I’m up to, like, yesterday afternoon, in replies. But I’ll stop after this as it seems like I’m rather monopolizing the blog …

    I did want to come back to the notion of theodicy.

    Ted defined the problem of theodicy as:
    “how does one justify the presence of evil in the world in the face of a just and divine providence.”

    That is close but not QUITE it, as far as Eastern religions are concerned.

    This is going to be another quite gross generalization, but I’ll throw it out anyway for the sake of expanding the discussion about karma here to a more global context. The problem as conceived in most Eastern religions is not “the presence of evil in the world” but the presence of *unequal* evil in the world. It’s a huge distinction. The Eastern religions (again, generalizing) tend to posit evil and suffering as fundamental and inescapable and they do not posit a just and divine providence (at least, not in an overarching sense). It’s important to keep this in mind as it’s probably the origin of theories of karma. (Actually, this point is disputed too – some anthropologists have noted their presence in indigenous societies elsewhere around the globe – but the religions of the east are certainly the historical origin of the karmic notions adopted in theosophy and anthroposophy.)

    In simpler terms, we all suffer, and suffering is not escapable, it’s the basic condition of existence. Trying to figure out why a “just and divine providence” allows it at all is quite different from trying to figure out why suffering is UNEQUAL – that is, why do some suffer more than others. It may sound like a small difference but it’s actually huge.
    Out of time and brain power …

  69. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “So why then, after giving this very careful and complete explanation, did you say that the answer to “Is karma a possible explanation for why a woman was raped?” was “No”? You are contradicting yourself.”

    Karma, in toto, sure. In some way, or other – the man had reasons, of some sort for, a history behind, the act. But that was his karma impacting the life of the women and potential child. Your example was designed to show that ‘Steiner’s karma theory’ *justifies* rape: you put it in the category of ‘vicious pronouncements from right wing cretins’ who say ‘rape [is] sometimes .. God’s gift to women’ . Steiner’s theory does not justify rape; rape is a crime in his theory and the karmic interpretation is that there will be a future balancing of some sort.

    “I believe we’ve dealt with this.”

    Yes (there’s problems with my interpretation of what you said) and no (there’s still problems with what you said). But I don’t think this is important.

    “Why would you think the child chose the mother, and not the father? Sorry, that’s not what Steiner said.”

    I’ve indicated further things that Steiner said, that modify your starting point (that the child chose its parents). However, I’m quite happy for you to continue to ignore what I’ve said (as Alicia did).

    “The “faculty” allowing “better expression of the spiritual” that is sometimes improved when a pregnancy is terminated is the woman’s LIFE – her very being. Not spiritual enough for you?”

    Sure. But how has the ‘organ’ been modified to ‘better express the spiritual’, which is required for your (extreme) parallel?

    “Ted defends the shockingly offensive comments of the American senator Todd Akins that: “the child is a ‘gift of God’”

    Of coursed I do – rather like I’m an ‘antisemite’. From your comment, he expressed the notion that the *rape* (as well as the child) was a gift from god. Of course, to you the child is not a ‘gift from god’ because *no* child is (after all, there’s no God or eternal spirit to you either).

    “You admonished us not to speculate about karma but that’s what you’re doing when you
    decide…”

    You’ve misunderstood this for several posts but I haven’t thought it worth responding to until now. Of course we can think and reason and consider possibilities about karma, as long as we’re aware it’s a serious, weighty topic and not a subject for gossip; what we shouldn’t do is throw out ill thought out opinions – such as that from a famous footballer in this country a few years ago – or make decisions, based on idle speculation. Your criticism of me for supposedly being contradictory, when I talk about karma, is obviously itself contradictory: how can one reason about something when one is prohibited from reasoning about it?

    “Maybe the mother did something horrible to the father in a past life.”

    The expected response. But it’s wrong isn’t it? As we’ve seen, you’re using the old, eye for an eye karmic theory; as we’ve also seen, this is not Steiner’s. You can of course continue to ignore what I say, but then it’s reasonable that I can’t be bothered to answer any more (with everything staying the same, exactly as I predicted it most probably would when I joined the discussion).

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  70. “your example was designed to show that ‘Steiner’s karma theory’ *justifies* rape: ”

    No. My original comment stated:

    “And Richard Mourdock’s notion that if a woman who is raped becomes pregnant, the
    child she is carrying is God’s gift, well I’m sure I don’t need to point out
    that this is compatible with Steiner on karma.”

    Indeed what Mourdock said is quite compatible with karma. (Let’s pause to note: voters tossed this moron out.)

    “you put it in the category of ‘vicious pronouncements from right wing cretins’ who say ‘rape [is] sometimes .. God’s gift to women’ .”

    Yes, it belongs in that category. The category is not “justifies rape”; the category is spiritual theories under which crimes like rape can be understood as some sort of spiritual necessity. In one it is God’s will, in the other it is karma.

    about choosing the mother but not the father:

    “I’ve indicated further things that Steiner said, that modify your starting point (that the child chose its parents). However, I’m quite happy for you to continue to ignore what I’ve said (as Alicia did). ”

    No, you have not.

    I wrote:

    “Ted defends the shockingly offensive comments of the American senator Todd Akins that: “the child is a ‘gift of God’”

    Ted: (sneering) Of coursed I do – rather like I’m an ‘antisemite’.

    Ted, you defended the comments EXPLICITLY. You stated your complete agreement.

  71. ” has the ‘organ’ been modified to ‘better express the spiritual’, which is required for your (extreme) parallel?”

    I’m not sure w hy you’re coming back to this. In the case of an abortion, the embryo is “modified” in that it is destroyed. Todd Akin (apparently) believes women can do this, at will, or via some mysterious “secreting” business that’s perhaps not under conscious control, but nevertheless somehow the woman’s body does it. I am comparing this process to Steiner’s notion that we can destroy our own internal organs if they are spiritually insufficient in some manner. In both cases, after this process the organ, or embryo, is not there anymore. The organ or tissue or what-have-you that gave offense – that wasn’t spiritually “right” at this time – is removed. These are the processes I am comparing.

  72. “Maybe the mother did something horrible to the father in a past life.”

    “The expected response. But it’s wrong isn’t it? As we’ve seen, you’re using the old, eye for an eye karmic theory; as we’ve also seen, this is not Steiner’s. ”

    I don’t understand. How is it wrong? You haven’t said how it’s wrong. It is most certainly compatible with Steiner.. It is not the ONLY possible karmic explanation but it is a perfectly viable one per Steiner. You don’t dispute this. You say “it’s wrong” apparently because you believe it’s okay for you to “speculate” about karma, but not the rest of us. I don’t see a justification for that.

  73. I’ve gotta run, will probably be back tonight.

  74. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Oh, there’s more. Should I respond? I suppose so.

    “Again, this is simply not a tenable reply. You inform us here quite decisively as to who chose what, karmically. You would have no way of knowing.”

    Ok, change the tone of what I said a little; the *contents* still stand. You reason, I reason – neither ‘has a way of knowing’.

    “My scenario makes as much sense in Steiner’s karmic scheme as yours, and you offer no justification for yours,’

    My account takes into consideration all, or at least more, of Steiner’s theory (the approximate, imperfect nature of choice in the incarnation process; the multiplicity of karmic factors). Yours sticks to eye for an eye and fixed, perfect embryo parental choice. You can say that your ‘scenario makes as much sense in Steiner’s karmic scheme as [mine]‘ only if you miss out chunks of his scheme.

    “Nowhere in Steiner, to my knowledge, does he say that in choosing birth a child chooses its mother but not its father.”

    He, to my knowledge, doesn’t explicitly say the child-to-be chooses the mother and father either. What he does say is: the child-to-be chooses its parental line; the choice is often imperfect, approximate, the best that can be made; many other karmic factors can interfere, beyond the child’s choice (that we may speculate about, but mostly can’t know).

    “This is a content-free reply… A reply with content would need to explain to me how the karma theory does NOT support the scenarios I’ve raised.”

    The content was implied by the discussion above: your scenario rules out freedom, part of the karma theory.

    “you are doing that right now – rejecting the unpleasant parts, and blaming them on someone else (me, for pointing them out).”

    No, I’ve said all the notions of karma may exist and apply – it’s possible to still have eye for an eye karma being operative – but we need to take into account all of them when trying to reason about the supposed operation of karma in a particular situation. If we restrict the set of notions that can apply – the way you do – then we can end up with extreme and possibly repugnant examples.

    “There is no sense in which I have “focused on past karma” rather than “future karma.” I’m not aware there’s even such a distinction in Steiner. Karma is karma.”

    No. Sorry to have to ask this: have you actually read much Steiner on karma? You say you haven’t paid much attention to his Christology but I think that you can see that this is important for understanding his ideas on karma. There is past karma, that which has happened in the past to cause what’s happening to us now, and future karma, deriving from the choices we make now about how to act, that can be, if we are sufficiently aware, ‘creation out of nothing’ (Steiner’s phrase). Fairly clearly, I’d have thought: past karma is fixed, future is in the making and something influenceable by us.

    “The problem, when Steiner teachers invoke karma as an explanation for unprofessional means of dealing with problems in the classroom, or mention it in connection to a child’s injury, illness, etc., is decidedly NOT that they “don’t understand Steiner.” The problem is that they do.”

    If you really mean ‘unprofessional’ (and anyway for injury or illness) then no they don’t. This is just what I (and Steiner) was admonishing against with my expression ‘idle speculation about karma’. Such people would do better to forget about karma, as they are just using it as an *excuse* to *justify* bad behaviour, which is pretty much the opposite of the theory or the sober, careful reflection that it should provoke (‘a holy mystery’).

    “The reality on the ground, I’m fairly sure, is that (now please listen and truly take note of this, because it’s quite important): MOST STEINER TEACHERS IGNORE KARMA.”

    Well, for the good ones, not ‘ignore’ perhaps, but refrain from gossipy speculation or ignorant actions.

    “Karma, applied to bad or evil things befalling children, is an insidious, inhumane, and quasi-sadistic notion at best. I assert that it is ALWAYS ignored by a caring adult in responding to a child in a crisis.”

    My point: careful reasoning about possibilities, after one has done all one can to prevent the injury, heal the illness, avert the evil, is good, educational, valuable. Ignorant, speculative, application is bad – how would most of us know what the karmic factors are (there maybe those that do know, but they would act in a balanced, considered and healing manner)?

    “The point I am making is that the bad stuff happens when the teachers DON’T ignore Steiner on karma. These are either inexperienced teachers or Steiner zealots, the ones who believe every word Steiner said is gospel. They are probably a minority; unfortunately they are also often in charge – they ascend to directorship or senior teacher positions. (Those who don’t buy into Steiner in this fanatical way often can’t get ahead, or end up leaving. They do not remain at the school and achieve master teacher status.)”

    That is a shame: zealotry and fanaticism were anathema to Steiner (Alicia has a Steiner quote to the effect) . To the extent that this happens it seems unlikely there’s a healthy, well functioning school.

    “It is the THEORY that needs to be ditched, so that inexperienced, junior teachers are not bullied by senior teachers into falling back on it or evoking it as an excuse in crisis management.”

    Bad application of theory leading to bad results. In that case, I agree that less theory is probably more. But we seem to be talking about severely dysfunctional organisations here, where more than tinkering with things needs to be done.

    “It is very important to realize that – not just in anthroposophy but anywhere a creed including karma is followed – people quite often reject it when faced with a crisis involving their loved ones.”

    We’ve been here already – no, not necessarily.

    “Wait … what’s this bit about “the process if further off” all about? What do you mean by that, and where did you get it in Steiner?”

    I’ve been saying this throughout my posts, but, as you ask, I’ll repeat it: the process of choice of incarnation is approximate, imperfect, the best the soul can find (we don’t, any of us usually, fit our parental situation perfectly) . This degree of imperfection can obviously vary – hence ‘the process [maybe] further off’.

    “Wait again. Can you back up this assertion that Steiner frequently admonished his hearers that karma did not mean non-intervention in suffering? Other than the passage you quoted – of which we’re well aware – can you point us to other times and places when Steiner emphasized this?”

    No I can’t. His writing is stuffed full of the idea and I don’t see why I should hunt through the stuff to find things people can do so for themselves, if they’re really critics that is.

    ” This is an interesting possibility – that Steiner was actively trying to urge his followers to understand karma in a less fatalistic way – but I’d be more interested in it if there were any evidence for it.”

    Loads of evidence but see above.

    ” Trying to figure out why a “just and divine providence” allows it at all is quite different from trying to figure out why suffering is UNEQUAL.”

    I see one as a subset of the other. ‘Evil’, to my mind, includes the notion of inequitable distribution (but I’m running out of juice now and haven’t really thought it through in any depth).

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  75. Ted Wrinch · ·

    This is getting silly. What I responded to was:

    “I’m sure I’m not the only one
    who noticed that really, the flurry of vicious pronouncements from right wing
    cretins about rape sometimes being God’s gift to women aren’t terribly far
    removed, ideologically, from anthroposophical notions?”

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25330

    “the category is spiritual theories under which crimes like rape can be understood as some sort of spiritual necessity.”

    i.e. the justification of rape. Bored now.

    “No, you have not.”

    Yes, I have.

    “I’m not sure w hy you’re coming back to this. In the case of an abortion, the embryo is “modified” in that it is destroyed.”

    In criticising my original post you said an embryo is not an organ. Now you’re saying it is. Sigh. I can’t bear much more of this.

    “I don’t understand. How is it wrong? You haven’t said how it’s wrong”

    I have.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  76. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Pete:

    “Um… do you have a quote Ted?”

    I, in answering Diana above, answered your last request to provide a quote. The quote showed that Steiner indeed held the view, as I’d said,  that karmic debt can be repaid by doing good, rather than suffering. You asked for the quote, yet said nothing when it was given. And actually, as I’ve said, if you were a real critic, that took a balanced, fair and comprehensive cognisance of what Steiner had said, you’d know about the quotes anyway.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  77. “if you were a real critic”

    Well, you have mistaken me for someone else then. I’m someone whose children were harmed by Waldorf! I don’t need to be “balanced” about anything AT ALL. I simply point out FACTUALLY what Waldorf people did to my kids… and the fact that NOBODY in Waldorf gives a shit! I don’t even care WHY they did what they did… I ONLY care that they will be held accountable.

  78. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Pete,

    That’s sadly all too apparent, but is – perhaps you can see this – why no one takes you seriously when you take a critics’ role. Or WC much these days, either.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  79. “Again, this is simply not a tenable reply. You inform us here quite decisively as to who chose what, karmically. You would have no way of knowing.”

    “Ok, change the tone of what I said a little; the *contents* still stand. You reason, I reason – neither ‘has a way of knowing’.”

    I’m sorry, but I simply don’t see how in response to “Can rape be explained as karmic, according to Steiner?”, you would reply “No.” The answer is plainly yes. I’m quite certain you understand this is so. Perhaps you’re simply demonstrating the cognitive dissonance that comes with believing two contradictory things? 1) that to blame a person who was the victim of a violent crime is, in the civilized world, generally considered inhumane, reprehensible, as well as illogical and 2) in Steiner’s theory of karma (or virtually any theory of karma), it may sometimes be the case (not always, but doesn’t have to be always) that a person who is the victim of a violent crime did something to deserve it.

    Naturally, I understand that one could reason in a nice way or in a not so nice way regarding a particular occurrence. A woman could be raped, and if we were allowed to speculate, we might equally say it was karmic or not karmic, according to karma theory, since not everything that happens to us is karmic; and even if we speculated that it was indeed karmic, definitely we can bring in all the possibilities you raise about paying off karmic debts etc. (or the possibility that it was not her personal karma at issue, but some sort of group karma).

    Frankly I don’t see where we disagree on any of this. It isn’t a complicated problem to reason through and the doctrine itself is truly not a complex doctrine, it’s quite straightforward. We just differ in choice of emphasis or preference for one train of thought versus another, both of which are equally valid according to the doctrine.

  80. “My account takes into consideration all, or at least more, of Steiner’s theory (the approximate, imperfect nature of choice in the incarnation process; the multiplicity of karmic factors). Yours sticks to eye for an eye and fixed, perfect embryo parental choice. You can say that your ‘scenario makes as much sense in Steiner’s karmic scheme as [mine]‘ only if you miss out chunks of his scheme.”

    I don’t “stick to” parts of the theory preferentially; I acknowledge all of them. The question at issue was whether in Steiner’s scheme, rape can be accounted for karmically. Again, it’s quite evident we both see that it can be. Yes, obviously, we can write up any number of quite varied scenarios regarding a particular scenario. It is certainly reasonable that you PREFER your scenario (where the child chose the mother but not the father, or where a mechanism of karma other than what you are quite reasonably calling “an eye for an eye” is at work). The question though is why any one of these explanations would somehow be MORE correct than another. I see no justification for that. I see merely your preference for one of the nicer scenarios. I understand that. I prefer them too. But I don’t ignore that the eye for an eye scenarios are straight-up Steiner as well. I see old fashioned irrationality in your blunt replies of “No” when I ask is this scenario compatible with Steiner’s theories of karma. Wishing it weren’t so, won’t make it not so.

    “I’ve said all the notions of karma may exist and apply – it’s possible to still have eye for an eye karma being operative – but we need to take into account all of them when trying to reason about the supposed operation of karma in a particular situation. If we restrict the set of notions that can apply – the way you do – then we can end up with extreme and possibly repugnant examples.”

    The point I am making is that these extreme and repugnant examples come from the theory, Ted. They don’t come from Diana. They are accounted for, accommodated for, and perfectly reasonable within the theory. Do they make all of us uncomfortable, anthroposophists and nonanthroposophists alike? Yup. It is common, as I’ve pointed out, that adherents to karma doctrines perceive many loopholes and frequently invoke exceptions, contradictions, etc., when confronted with extreme and repugnant examples of these beliefs.

    Really, in the end I’m happy to hear anthroposophists deny the implications of the karmic beliefs. It meshes quite well with anthropological and sociological accounts of how adherents to such beliefs use them in context, and really we should be a lot more worried if anthroposophists DIDN’T disavow the extreme and repugnant examples.

    You might consider, however, whether it’s useful to project your discomfort onto other people or blame other people for this discomfort. I didn’t make up the extreme and repugnant examples, they are accounted for in the belief system. Karma does indeed offer an explanation for rape. That’s part of its power and its attractiveness – the fact that it at least theoretically offers to explain even what is otherwise truly horrific and unexplainable. The director at our Waldorf school was fond of reassuring us, “Steiner is difficult.” Don’t back away from the difficult parts, Ted, if you really believe the doctrines. It isn’t a soft fluffy doctrine, it has some nasty parts, but I think that’s a strong part of the appeal.

  81. I asked :
    “Wait … what’s this bit about “the process if further off” all about? What do you mean by that, and where did you get it in Steiner?”

    Ted:
    “I’ve been saying this throughout my posts, but, as you ask, I’ll repeat it: the process of choice of incarnation is approximate, imperfect, the best the soul can find (we don’t, any of us usually, fit our parental situation perfectly) . This degree of imperfection can obviously vary – hence ‘the process [maybe] further off’.”

    Yes, I get that the process is approximate and imperfect. You asserted however that it was somehow *especially so* in this extreme and repugnant example we’ve been discussing. I don’t see the justification for that. I thought perhaps you had a source for this in Steiner – the idea that if a child “chooses” parents who are obviously going to make bad parents (the father, for example, is a rapist), somehow this child’s incarnation process was “further off” from the norm than … than I don’t know what. Again, I suspect this is simply how you wish it would be, I don’t know of a justification in Steiner. The opposite would seem to mesh better with the karma theory overall: it would seem like there would have to be a pretty good reason for the incarnating soul to make such an extreme and (seemingly) completely inappropriate choice. It’s exactly the kind of situation where a karmic explanation has the most appeal – a situation where its explanatory power would be greatest. Karma is there to offer explanations when there seemingly is no explanation – karma takes on the really hard cases, in terms of understanding why bad things happen to people.

  82. “That’s sadly all too apparent, but is – perhaps you can see this – why no one takes you seriously when you take a critics’ role. Or WC much these days, either.”

    I’m a whistleblower – not a critic (in the sense that you believe critics must be “balanced”). And people take me VERY seriously precisely because I don’t pull any punches when it comes to dishing out the truth. I’m sure I’ve cost Highland Hall hundreds of thousands by now. Do you think they aren’t taking me seriously? They know how serious I am… even they aren’t that stupid. AWSNA is also taking me seriously… Joan Jaeckel is jumping every time I catch her lying in public, now that she’s trying to start a new Waldorf charter in my neighborhood. Patrice Maynard’s ears must ring every two or three days. They all know they are going to have to deal with me soon. Like I said, I don’t pull punches.

    I have no problems, for example, calling Steiner and his followers racists – because racists are people who hold racist beliefs. Steiner held racist beliefs and Steiner’s followers haven’t distanced themselves (collectively) from those beliefs. Furthermore, when interrogated on an individual basis, they (Every one I’ve encountered… Diana, Alicia, do you know of any exceptions?) hold Steiner’s racist beliefs (but they don’t acknowledge or understand that they are racist beliefs). I call them as I see them – racists, child abusers, pedophiles… depending on the occasion and the topic… let the Anthros be held accountable for their despicable actions. You’ll be hearing a LOT more from me… deal with it Ted.

  83. “Wait again. Can you back up this assertion that Steiner frequently admonished his hearers that karma did not mean non-intervention in suffering? Other than the passage you quoted – of which we’re well aware – can you point us to other times and places when Steiner emphasized this?”

    “No I can’t. His writing is stuffed full of the idea and I don’t see why I should hunt through the stuff to find things people can do so for themselves, if they’re really critics that is.”

    You can’t produce similar Steiner quotes because there aren’t any. The notion that karma does not preclude intervention in suffering is simply not something Steiner stressed.

    Re: whether an embryo is an organ, for the life of me I can’t see where you got this or why you keep harping on it. It’s IRRELEVANT. The argument never required an embryo to be an organ. I made a comparison between processes that seemed similar to me … two processes described by two very different people (Rudolf Steiner, and a particularly ignorant American politician), yet seeming to work in very similar ways, for similar purposes. The point was a form of magical (and very dramatic) control over internal physical processes, for spiritually dictated ends or purposes. For all it matters, it’s like one guy said, Well, you can do this with the spleen and the other guy said, Well, you can do it with your eyeball, and you want to go on and on making sure everyone understands that a spleen isn’t an eyeball.

  84. “In criticising my original post you said an embryo is not an organ. Now you’re saying it is. Sigh. I can’t bear much more of this.

    As far as I can see, what happened was, when you persisted in trying to make me clarify how “destroying an embryo” could ever lead to better fulfillment of a spiritual purpose, somehow, my agreeing to answer the question, you took as my acknowledgment that the embryo was an organ. This sort of thing occurs pretty regularly in discussions with you. It isn’t a very competent way to debate a point. I apparently made a comparison that you couldn’t understand or didn’t like, and you clutched at some imaginary similarity that was never needed for the purposes of the argument, and somehow you feel that if we can establish that these two things are not alike then the similarity that I invoked will not exist. But it does exist. Try to focus on WHAT I said was similar.

  85. Here, Ted, what I originally said:

    “Regarding how we attack our own internal organs in order to alter or destroy them in order to take on “spiritual tasks,” does this not posit a similar mechanism as is implied in Todd Akins’s notion that a woman could “secrete a substance” if she didn’t want (or deserve, really) to get pregnant?”

    to which you replied:

    “An embryo is an ‘organ’?! Phew!”

    Check over what the original quote actually said. I ask, “Does this not posit a similar mechanism.”

  86. A woman is raped.
    The child is a gift from God.

    Only a fool or someone lacking in humanity would look at the woman and think/say, ‘she chose for this to happen to her’.
    The child is a gift from God. What a vile God it would be who would plan that she should be raped so a child could be born.

    The act of raping someone is evil. Full stop. No equivocation about it.

    When we are confronted with a person to whom a tragedy has happened – in this case being raped, it calls on everything that is highest in us to find an appropriate response. How can anyone imagine that theorising about the karmic antecedents of this evil happening is either a right or humane response?

    We cannot know when something is karmic or not. There are many reasons why something may happen to someone. I have said on this blog before that the only person who can decide whether a happening is part of their karma is the person themselves, and even they will not know for sure – it is a kind of moral choice which people can sometimes make usually long after the event happened to them.

    An onlooker thinking ‘This is her karma’, is no different from those evil minded people (usually men, but not always) who think, ‘She must have brought it on herself, — by the way she dressed, moved, spoke, didn’t speak , by walking down that road…’, or whatever.

    But the child is a gift from God.

    What can this mean? Well, for those who believe in a benevolent God
    / spiritual hierarchy, I don’t think it should mean , ‘God planned this rape so the child would be born.’

    If they do think that they believe in an evil God.

    What it can mean is that every child, no matter how they came into the world, whether via a petrie dish, an act of love, an act of hatred, an accident, whatever… no matter what their antecedents, is a precious human life deserving all the devotion, love, nurturing and respect that every other child deserves.

    It is a kind of moral choice available to every human being who comes into contact with that child.

    The mother herself may be unable to feel this way because of the terrible thing that was done to her and she too deserves love, respect and devotion. Maybe she too will one day be able to honour, love and nurture the child when she has coped with the trauma.

    That is what, “The child is a gift from God” can mean.

    Nothing to do with how the child came into the world.

  87. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi Diana,

    Little of what you describe matches my ideas on or the way I act concerning ‘karma’. I’ve tried to describe Steiner’s ideas, which are a source for mine, showing, I think, how you misrepresent and fail to fully represent them. It would be possible, I think, for you to move away from such extreme formulations as ‘the idea of karma in anthroposophy justifies rape’ (which is the meaning of your example ) if you wanted to. I don’t see that there is any more that I can say on this.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  88. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tom H-S,
    \
    I’m not sure if your post was directed at anyone in particular but I think everyone agrees with most of what you’re saying. In particular:

    “The child is a gift from God. What a vile God it would be who would plan that she should be raped so a child could be born.”

    Yes, I think you see the problem with that guy’s statement. But then Diana said in her comment around it that this is equivalent to Steiner’s idea of karma; in other words, anthroposophy justifies rape, which was what I objected to.

    “How can anyone imagine that theorising about the karmic antecedents of this evil happening is either a right or humane response?”

    Yes, idly, coldly theorising, rather than doing what one could to help, would be lacking in humanity – but one is allowed to think about the situation, isn’t one? Or do you think karma is not a category of thought that should actually be used, except presumably by initiates (if so, you seem to be agreeing with Diana that no one takes karma seriously when it matters) ?

    “We cannot know when something is karmic or not…the only person who can decide whether a happening is part of their karma is the person themselves, and even they will not know for sure …”

    Yes. I didn’t mention the bit about the individual’s precedence, but of course that’s the implication of ‘not idly speculating about karma’, that I’ve mentioned a few times.

    “What it can mean is that every child, no matter how they came into the world, whether via a petrie dish, an act of love, an act of hatred, an accident, whatever… no matter what their antecedents, is a precious human life deserving all the devotion, love, nurturing and respect that every other child deserves…Nothing to do with how the child came into the world.”

    Yes, exactly my point. The child is a ‘gift of God’, not the rape.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  89. Further to my last. If the raped woman becomes pregnant and chooses not to bring the pregnancy to term then that is her choice. Karma has nothing to do with that either. It makes no difference to what I said about the meaning of every child is a gift of God. That statement is to do with how we can treat a living child – not an aborted embryo.

    Ted says,’…but one is allowed to think about the situation, isn’t one? Or do you think karma is not a category of thought that should actually be used, except presumably by initiates (if so, you seem to be agreeing with Diana that no one takes karma seriously when it matters) ?

    To me, “This is my karma’, is a thought/insight that can only be arrived at by the person to whom the event has happened. For everyone else it IS just theorising. And looking at the victim of a traumatic event and thinking ‘I wonder if this is karmic?’ is regarding people as objects of study. I can understand why someone might find it repugnant.

    Until one experiences such a situation for one self, regardless of the shed loads of stuff Steiner said, it is just theorising.

  90. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tom H-S:

    “If the raped woman becomes pregnant and chooses not to bring the pregnancy to term then that is her choice. Karma has nothing to do with that either.”

    Yes, it’s her choice. I have nothing to say about whatever karmic factors maybe involved in her choice – I haven’t thought about it (but saying that ‘karma has nothing to do with [it]‘ is something you don’t know, if you take karma seriously) . Furthermore, I don’t very often think about the subject, and when I do it’s mostly in connection with my own or nearest’s lives (it’s an invasion of another person’s privacy to do so in general). The only reason I have been reasoning about karma here is in response to Diana’s saying, through her example, that ‘anthroposophy justifies rape’. That you apparently have some positive connection with anthroposophy but don’t seem to see a problem with this assertion seems rather odd to me.

    T
    Ted Wrinch

  91. When my daughter was raped, you don’t think the piece of meat she calls her mother thought it was her karma? Don’t you think the monsters who had been abusing her throughout her childhood felt that it was just her karma playing itself out? They assisted her abusers for crying out loud! That you don’t see a problem with people who let (and cause) children come to harm and then excuse it away seems rather odd to me Ted.

  92. Ted Wrinch · ·

    An example: there has been a tragic case reported in the press recently about a young man who strangled to death an older gay lover. The real depth of the tragedy only came out in the court hearing: the young man had been abused as a child; he was confused about his sexuality and the older man – from the account a respected member of his community – had offered mentorship and guidance, that then developed into a liaison. After this the young man apparently experienced flashbacks from the period of abuse and lost control.

    As I pondered this case, I tried to think about the issues that fed into it, to try to understand the situation better. But I have insufficient detail, knowledge of the people involved, their backgrounds, their history and I could not get far in understanding this sad, shocking and tragic in the Greek sense incident. Did I think about karma in this? Beyond a brief, ‘I wonder what they may have brought from previous lives?’, not particularly. I know too little to speculate with the information that was available about the exoteric aspects, let alone the esoteric. But from Tom’s apparently blanket prohibition against karmic speculation it seems that, to be consistent, not only should I not have had that brief thought about karma, but I probably shouldn’t have tried to reason about the inner lives of people I don’t know about either, since isn’t that also an invasion of their privacy?

    I also notice Tom’s:

    “An onlooker thinking ‘This is her karma’, is no different from those evil minded people (usually men, but not always) who think, ‘She must have brought it on herself, — by the way she dressed, moved, spoke, didn’t speak , by walking down that road…’, or whatever.”

    Which is a strange line of thought. Does he think anyone here has said any of this?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  93. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “That you don’t see a problem with people who let (and cause) children come to harm and then excuse it away seems rather odd to me Ted.”

    That’s the opposite of my argument as, in some recess of your awareness, you well know, Pete. But, since you’ve admitted you aren’t interested in balance, fairness or comprehensiveness in your thinking, and are instead just out to get the perps (as you see them), you’re welcome to add me to your ever growing list of miscreants.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  94. A couple of points, not exactly in sequence (so please, Ted, hold off on noting if there is some point of yours I have not yet replied to – I do hold a full time job and have not been able to answer everything I’d wish, despite multiple lengthy posts).

    Anyway:

    I don’t get why you’re now complaining to Tom that you’ve got a right to speculate. YOU were the one insisting that nobody should speculate about karma, remember?

    This discussion is indeed rather abstract, as David Clark complained. We keep leaving out a lot of real world context. I don’t think anyone disapproves of what you think about when you read a news article. I’m sure we all do that when we read about a terrible crime – wonder what went wrong in this person’s life, what kind of childhood did they have, what kind of parents, etc. If you believe in past lives and karma, naturally you wonder what they “brought” from a past life.

    This is a very different scenario from a teacher in a classroom, or a caregiver for the disabled, or perhaps an anthroposophic physician or some other person inspired by anthroposophy who is working with actual individuals.

    Of course when you read a newspaper account you don’t know the individuals and have very little to go on. The teacher in the classroom has – or thinks she has – a LOT to go on. He/she interacts with the children for hours a day and acquires a lot of information about a child’s family, health and/or medical history, developmental or behavioral concerns, etc. Waldorf teachers actually do observe and ponder all sorts of real-world details about their students, in addition to close observation of the child in the classroom. All kinds of seemingly trivial observations about the child’s physiognomy, facial expressions, gait, complexion, hair, shape of ears or feet, size of the head, etc., are thought to offer clues to past lives. You have yourself – I’m certain – seen it happen on anthroposophic message boards where people post pictures of two different people to show a facial resemblance, suggesting one is the reincarnation of the other. Waldorf teachers are certainly looking at children and thinking these thoughts (“speculations”). These matters are actually discussed in faculty meetings. These people have actual control and influence over children’s lives, and in crisis situations, they can (and often do) do incredible damage offering misguided and judgmental observations.

    Not the same thing as you reading the newspaper and wondering about the lives of strangers

  95. Secondly:

    Tom – later quoted by Ted:

    “An onlooker thinking ‘This is her karma’, is no different from those evil minded people (usually men, but not always) who think, ‘She must have brought it on herself, — by the way she dressed, moved, spoke, didn’t speak , by walking down that road…’, or whatever.”

    Ted:

    “Which is a strange line of thought. Does he think anyone here has said any of this?”

    Again to bring some context, this is not by any means a “strange line of thought.” This is exactly what has traditionally been thought of rape victims – that they brought it on themselves, that a good woman can’t “really” be raped, so she must have been asking for it, or at the very least, it’s her own fault if she was in an unsafe place at the wrong time, or somehow behaved or dressed provocatively. Karma’s a different spin on a very old idea, karma isn’t some ideologically or pragmatically DIFFERENT interpretation of rape.

    It’s important to keep this in mind as the context for these discussions. The reason the karmic explanations are troublesome – and deserve to be called out – is that they echo and reinforce very widespread societal views. They aren’t something new and weird, they’re old and traditional. They are still held by many, many people. It’s unfortunate, and needs to be publicly aired, that some people (many of whom) consider themselves liberal and progressive, hew to a worldview that actually supports these reactionary notions.

  96. Ted:

    “saying that ‘karma has nothing to do with [it]‘ is something you don’t know, if you take karma seriously”

    Then why did you say exactly that to me when I asked (originally) if karma might be an explanation when a woman is raped?

  97. “What it can mean is that every child, no matter how they came into the world, whether via a petrie dish, an act of love, an act of hatred, an accident, whatever… no matter what their antecedents, is a precious human life deserving all the devotion, love, nurturing and respect that every other child deserves.

    It is a kind of moral choice available to every human being who comes into contact with that child.”

    Please. The discussion itself is immoral without recognition of the political context. The political context is the attempts of the right wing in US politics to repeal legal abortion – the Republican party platform calls for the repeal of Roe v Wade which legalized abortion in this country. The Republican vice-presidential nominee (who thankfully we won’t be hearing much from for awhile now) proposes a constitutional amendment granting fetuses full civil rights as persons, making abortion UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER equivalent to murder.

    Get it?

    PLEASE do not discuss notions such as “every child, no matter how they came into the world” deserves love and precious, blah blah blah. This is disgusting smarm seen in its political context. Don’t you get that?

    Don’t you get my ultimate point, anthroposophists need to LOOK at such doctrines and understand their ACTUAL real-world implications. They really aren’t all nice and liberal. When there’s a war on women’s choice there are TWO SIDES and a karma theory that says if you were raped and got pregnant that might have been your karma – and proceeds from there to revolting speculations about the child choosing this mother – just a tiny guilt trip for mom there? – is quite disgusting. It’s a theory with consequences – for women’s lives. Please take a look at which side of this war on women you’ve found yourself fighting on.

    Possibly this is far from clear to you in the political context in the UK. In the US it’s different. Try to imagine the potential consequences of declaring fetuses to be full legal persons. THIS is the context for the remarks of the two US congressmen who made the vile statements about rape, God’s will, how you supposedly can’t get pregnant after a “legitimate” rape, etc.

  98. David Clark · ·

    Hi Diana,

    You wrote:

    “David Clark complained”.

    I merely intended to make an observation. Nothing personal intended.

    Hope that’s OK.

    David

  99. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Maybe the topic’s moved on. In response to Diana’s posts,

    Yes, the context has been abstract – which is one reason why it seems strange to have experienced so much resistance to reasoning about the subject. Sure, that newspaper incident is a few steps removed from my actual life; but the stark, rawness of it I found narrowed the gap, making one think about it more than one might otherwise – and this feeling of emotional empathy brought something of the pain in the incident into focus too. This is when I find karma does become something that comes to mind – isn’t it often the painful events where this happens (‘we learn from our pain; give thanks for our good fortune’)? This is similar to my experience in my own life, with people close to me. I don’t speculate about karma as a rule, but sometimes, when something goes wrong, something comes up, I may add it as a possible line of thought, that could lead to better understanding. This is no different from your example of teaching as a practical context. I’m a parent and from time to time I make karmic speculations; I don’t act on them at that point, I just consider them as possibilities, that might augment the list of possible choices I need to consider in a situation. And actually, as my awareness of karmic issues is very weak, I’m not sure if I remember ever acting on such a possibility. If teachers in the Waldorf school are speculating willy-nilly on the possible karmic facts in their children’s situations, without actual knowledge, that seems an example of the very thing that’s been admonished against here.

    “Again to bring some context, this is not by any means a “strange line of thought.”

    My point was that no one here has been discussing that line of thought. But certainly the kind of thinking that you and Tom describe does go on in the wider world. But that’s what I’ve been referring to as ‘idle speculation’ – the people making such assertions appear to know nothing about the karmic factors (they would most likely keep quiet if they did) and instead project their various prejudices onto the situation and then use ‘karma’ to justify it. Clearly, that’s nothing to do with ‘karma’, but human weakness and prejudice (or ‘societal views’ as you call them).

    “They [societal views] aren’t something new and weird, they’re old and traditional. They are still held by many, many people. It’s unfortunate, and needs to be publicly aired, that some people (many of whom) consider themselves liberal and progressive, hew to a worldview that actually supports these reactionary notions.”

    Again, human weakness and prejudice are always with us. But this is nothing to do with ‘karma’.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  100. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Then why did you say exactly that to me when I asked (originally) if karma might be an explanation when a woman is raped?”

    Sorry – this is part of the silly part of the conversation that I can’t be bothered with any more.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  101. Silly is saying one thing to me (“No” and “Don’t speculate”) re: can rape be karma, and the exact opposite to Tom (“Yes” and “Why shouldn’t I speculate?”)

  102. Hi David Clark, I didn’t mean “complain” in a negative way really – your comments have been very interesting and I hope to come back to them at some point (maybe after I retire in 20 years …) – just kidding, maybe this weekend.

  103. David Clark · ·

    Hi Diana,

    Thanks, that’s OK – as, if and when.

    David

  104. “you’re welcome to add me to your ever growing list of miscreants”

    I don’t need your permission Ted… The shoe fits!

  105. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Maybe you missed the irony, Pete.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  106. That the worst child abusers are also the strongest Steiner supporters? No, I noticed that…

  107. On 9th Nov Ted said, quoting from my post, ” (‘but saying that ‘karma has nothing to do with [it]‘ is something you don’t know, if you take karma seriously) “.

    What I meant is that speculating about whether it is karma is actually inhumane and morally wrong. It is like trying to find something in the woman’s behaviour, in this life or a previous one in the case where a karmic antecedent is sought, which somehow justifies what happened to her. Nothing can justify rape.

    Ted also asks if I am supporting this proposition, ‘‘anthroposophy justifies rape’. The short answer is no. I think that it is a tragic misunderstanding of anthroposophy to imagine it could ever be used in such a way.

  108. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Pete:

    “That the worst child abusers are also the strongest Steiner supporters? No, I noticed that…”

    It maybe that, with the logic apparent from statements like this, added to the unfair, uncomprehensive and unbalanced thought you’ve  admitted to using here, that your court case is not going to go how you imagine it. How’s it going, BTW?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  109. It’s going exactly as I imagined it Ted… timing and everything. Highland Hall has admitted in writing to everything I’m suing them for… they just didn’t know they were breaking the law? Imagine that… it’s kinda like their position on racism. Now *that’s* irony…

  110. Okay, I’m going to add a few responses, though I’m not sure I’ll actually cover every comment that’s been addressed to me. It’s important to leave Ted room to state that I didn’t answer something :)

    Tom wrote:

    “What can this mean? Well, for those who believe in a benevolent God
    / spiritual hierarchy, I don’t think it should mean , ‘God planned this rape so the child would be born.’
    If they do think that they believe in an evil God”

    Plenty of people, historically, have believed in an evil god or gods. Hinduism has quite a few nasty gods, and of course the Greek and Roman pantheons were full of evildoers. The god of the Old Testament is hardly a nice guy. His demand to Abraham (that he sacrifice his son) is practically the definition of evil. Just sayin’ – the idea that God would set evil in motion by demanding, for instance, that a woman submit to rape because God has decided this is how a particular child should be born is not really a problem, theologically. (Remember how Jesus was conceived? Mary, mother of Jesus, is not exactly a role model for women in charge of their own sexuality.)

    “God’s will” works quite a bit like karma in that sense. Logically, there’s no point in abandoning the theory when the case described is “extreme or repugnant,” as Ted calls the rape scenario. The theory is THERE to handle the extreme and repugnant cases.

    What the theory says and how people understand the theory in relation to events in their own lives are two different things, of course. In reality, that’s exactly when many believers in karma balk at the implications of their belief system.

  111. A questions for anyone well read in Steiner:

    It’s been asserted (in this thread and often elsewhere) – by anthroposophists confronting the suggestion that karmic judgments are often bleak and inhumane – that only the person affected can determine whether something is karmic. Tom states in this thread, for instance, that it is reprehensible to respond to a rape victim by wondering if maybe it was her karma. He then “rescues” the karma theory, so to speak, claiming basically that it’s all right to speculate, but the only person who can really know the answer would be the victim herself.

    My question is: is there support for this view in Steiner? Has anyone got a Steiner quote that speaks to this? It sounds humane, but seems to be contradicted by Steiner’s own practice, which was to … speculate about people’s karma, left and right. Remember the 8 volumes of speculation about people’s karma, through history?

    It would seem there’s at least one exception to this rule, then: two sorts of people are allowed to speculate about karma. 1) We can all speculate about our own karma. 2) Spiritually advanced people – perhaps “clairvoyants” – can speculate about other people’s karma, not just their own.

    A lot of anthroposophists consider themselves in this advanced category. They’re enraged when people like ME speculate about the workings of karma – or rather, about their beliefs about the workings of karma – but between themselves, some anthroposophical message boards and study groups online are basically All Karma Speculation All the Time. As were many of Steiner’s own lectures. And when you consider that quite a few anthroposophists hint very unsubtly that they believe they are the reincarnation of the circle of people around Steiner in his own lifetime(s) – hence believe they are a rather “select” group, spiritually – you have a pretty high proportion of anthroposophists who feel entitled to speculate, I suspect.

  112. Another point that feels unresolved to me:

    Re: the child choosing its mother but not its father – Ted admitted he doesn’t know of anywhere Steiner said this explicitly. He suggests that the process by which a child chooses its parents is always imperfect, an “approximation” spiritually speaking – and then goes further out on a limb suggesting that in a case where we’re to believe that a child chose a rape victim for mother, somehow, in this case the process is even “further off” from optimum.

    If a justification for this “further off” bit has been posted, I’ve missed it (i.e., a Steiner quote even vaguely relevant to this concept).

    It seems to me the opposite would be more likely: it’s in these very stark and extreme scenarios that – according to the karma theory itself – it makes the most sense to invoke karma. That is, karmically if a child “chooses” such parents, it must have had damn good reasons. Remember how wise and all-seeing we are supposed to be in the period between death and a new birth? (After death, our souls spend a period reviewing our most recent incarnation and making detailed plans for the next incarnation, including choosing new parents.)

    Best I can see, Ted asserts that pulling in various other Steinerian bits mitigates my “starting point”: group karma, karmic debt cancellation (a policy that won’t really take full effect until the “Sixth Epoch,” though forward looking individuals can give it a shot now), Christ taking on our karma, and a sort of “paying it forward” karmic mechanism whereby people submit to victimization to aid the karma of others, etc.

    I do not see how any of these things “mitigate the starting point.” They CONFIRM the starting point. The starting point was whether rape ever had a karmic explanation and plainly Ted agrees that sometimes it does. He has basically used the thread to offer numerous very interesting karmic explanations for rape, all the while insisting heatedly that … karma can’t justify rape.

    I never, from the start of the discussion, claimed that the karma in question had to be the mother’s. I quite understand that the karma in such a situation could be the father’s, or the child’s, or potentially even that of other bystanders or a larger group of individuals. In reality, when any member of a family undergoes a serious trauma, there are ripple effects in many lives – you might as well say the whole thing was about the karma of the rapist’s brother, or the rapist’s ex-wife or sister-in-law, or the other children of the woman who was raped, or the rape victim’s parents or her best friend or her next door neighbor. Whatever. The possibilities are infinite.

    How about this: the rapist is sentenced to prison, and in prison, undergoes a spiritual conversion and in future lives devotes all his time to doing good works, perhaps even speaking out against rape. In such a scenario the woman who was raped originally was sacrificed for (or if you prefer a more positive formulation, contributing to) some larger “group karma” – the wellbeing of future rape victims? Quite an elegant scenario, karmically.

    Or, perhaps it’s the child who is born as the result of the rape who is in some way special – it’s his or her karma that’s actually at play. This isn’t unfamiliar in mythology. Again think of the Virgin Mary, who was about as passive in conception as it’s possible to imagine, and this is directly linked to the special nature of the child she gave birth to.

    The novel “Discovery of Heaven” (Harry Mulisch) which I think has been discussed on this blog before, actually posits a scenario similar to this. An extremely spiritually gifted child, with a special destiny, is born to a mother who, in the novel, is basically a receptacle or vessel for incubating the child. After his conception she is in a terrible accident and never regains consciousness. She ceases to be a character in her own life or anyone else’s – she was there, for plot purposes, to conceive and birth the special child. (She wasn’t a rape victim exactly – she’s unable to choose between two men, sleeps with both of them in the space of 24 hours such that the paternity of the child remains in doubt, etc. – so while she isn’t a rape victim exactly her passivity, her lack of choice, is similar.)

    In any event, all of these are karmic explanations for rape. Which our anthroposophist friends are insisting in shocked, shocked tones isn’t possible.

  113. Past karma and future karma – I’m still waiting for an explanation if this is a concept with any weight to it, or is really as trivial as it seems to me. Here is Ted’s explanation:

    “here is past karma, that which has happened in the past to cause what’s happening to us now, and future karma, deriving from the choices we make now about how to act, that can be, if we are sufficiently aware, ‘creation out of nothing’ (Steiner’s phrase). Fairly clearly, I’d have thought: past karma is fixed, future is in the making and something influenceable by us.”

    I’m afraid that’s not “clear” so much as trite. Yes, the past already happened and the future hasn’t happened yet. Past karma is the karmic things that happened to you in the past, as a result of your karmic choices, and future karma is the things that will happen to you in the future from your karmic choices (among other influences).

    Ted, to point out that we can’t change the things that happened in the past, but still have some control over future events, through choices we will make in the future, is not a profound concept, and adding “karma” to it does not complexify it. The words “past” and “future” already work well for the concepts you are describing. These aren’t esoteric concepts; the rest of us really do get that the past already happened but that we might still influence some things in the future.

    I do not see how “past karma” and “future karma,” therefore, are useful categories of analysis in karma.

  114. I would just like to take one more shot at what I consider a proper framing of the dialogue I started on the critics list, a dialogue which Ted likes to summarize as “Diana says anthroposophy justifies rape.”

    Such a mindless formulation permits (and is phrased to invite) easy outrage from anthroposophists. Of course anthroposophists aren’t in favor of rape.

    Nevertheless, the context for the dialogue I started matters. Perhaps it’s not of as much interest to European readers of this blog, but I’m an American, and my comparison derived from the current political situation in the US, where the outcome of the presidential election may have been at least partly related to voters’ decisive rejection of prehistoric misogynistic attitudes like those of Todd Akins and Richard Mourdock. Akins asserted that when a woman is “legitimately” raped, her body has a means of secreting a mysterious substance that prevents pregnancy – suggesting, of course, that there’s a whole category of “not legitimate” rape in which, if she gets pregnant, too bad for her, she deserves the pregnancy and subsequent birth as a sort of punishment. Mourdock, meanwhile, asserted that if a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, the child is a “gift from God.” Voters, fortunately, told these two to take a long hike, we do not want people like this in public office.

    The context was abortion politics in the US. Americans do realize that most of the rest of the civilized world finds it amazing we are debating this at all.

    Rape and abortion are very closely linked. If abortion is illegal, the consequences of rape are potentially even more dire for women than they already are. If rape is ever justified – and karmic explanations certainly lend themselves to this – then even “exceptions for rape and incest” are called into question.

    This is about control of women’s bodies. We narrowly escaped electing a bunch of nasty old men who would pass legislation returning us to a bygone era where women submit to men, require male protection, and have no choice but to submit to traditional sex roles. Without the ability to control our fertility, we roll back the clock on women’s gains in the workforce, our improved economic status, health, educational advancements, etc.

    In this context, “karmic” scenarios that might explain a rape are particularly offensive. It is not adequate to dismiss them as “only a matter for private speculation” in a political climate where politicians are trying to completely overturn abortion rights, and force even rape victims to bear children against their will.

  115. Fortunately, we haven’t yet heard karmic explanations for incest. Doesn’t incest have karmic explanations as well? It is interesting that neither Akins nor Mourdock invoked incest.

    Presumably they sense that more than losing elections, they’d be run out of town on a rail if they made the same statements they made about rape victims and abortion, inserting the phrase “incest victims” instead. NOBODY would buy that – right? (Right?)

    Isn’t a child born as a result of incest equally a “gift from God”? Can incest be explained karmically?

  116. To be as explicit as possible about the issue here, if an incest victim becomes pregnant, and the child who is conceived is a gift from God, or the incest and resulting pregnancy has a karmic explanation, shouldn’t we be eliminating abortions even for incest victims?

    Is this a separate question from the questions about rape? Is there more hesitation to make the claims that have been made above, regarding incest victims as opposed to rape victims? Will there be more talk of love and precious? Are the scenarios even more “extreme and repugnant”? If so, why?

  117. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I’m still not sure this is going anywhere, Diana. 

    I think that it’s worth pointing out that the ‘child of God’ expression in this conversation has just been a token, for the notion that ‘the child is a spirit’, and isn’t important: you don’t believe in it and it’s too vague from an anthroposophical perspective to be useful . Similarly for the term ‘God’: too vague, sweeping, general. In fact, it could be this vagueness that makes you think that there’s a good parallel between the terms ‘God’ and ‘karma’, which there isn’t.

    “It’s important to leave Ted room to state that I didn’t answer something :)”

    It’s not so much that you’re not answering my points – that has happened (you have still completely failed to make the spontaneous abortion-  organ reconstruction parallel) – as you’ve failed to incorporate the full set of ideas in the ‘theory of karma’. It’s like using a child’s construction set where you’re insisting on sticking to the square shapes and refusing to use the others. For some reason you don’t want to and I obviously can’t make you (and wouldn’t want to even if I could). 

    “Remember the 8 volumes of speculation about people’s karma, through history.”

    Yes, and great trepidation in doing so: only done in the last year of his life, with warnings that the knowledge was easily abused, and admonishments against what I’ve called ‘idle speculation’. But I agree there is a something close to a contradiction here. The best I can say is that it’s important to keep the distinction between what I’ve called ‘idle speculation’ and just speculation. I think that if we keep a due sense of seriousness and respect for personal privacy, plus what I’ve called the notion of karma as a ‘holy mystery’ (again, of which Christ is now lord), people should be able to do the right thing. Steiner said that it’s particularly bad taste, damaging even,  to speculate about the previous incarnations of living people (though he knew his *he* didn’t reveal them) – in the way you mention people on those anthro discussion groups doing.  

    “Best I can see, Ted asserts that pulling in various other Steinerian bits…”

    You forget the simple  modification that I described, that I called ‘the kind bully’ concept, where the perpetrator may simply repay the karmic debt with an equivalent degree of good (the objective debt having been wiped out by Christ). In general, so many aspects of the karmic system have been raised that uproot the fatalistic, traditionalist, and now reactionary notion that ‘she deserved to be raped’ that it’s just perverse for you to continue to assert that this is *the* karmic explanation of the situation. It isn’t.

    ” The starting point was whether rape ever had a karmic explanation and plainly Ted agrees that sometimes it does. He has basically used the thread to offer numerous very interesting karmic explanations for rape, all the while insisting heatedly that … karma can’t justify rape.”

    Anything can have a karmic explanation – we’ve been trying to, very roughly, speculate here on the karma that could exist in a situation of rape. Your use of concepts such as ‘rape is God’s gift to women’, to supposedly parallel anthroposophical notions of karma, has the meaning  that ‘its the woman’s fault’ – the situation is *justified* (ie not merely *explained* but responsibility attributed, in your example to the woman) by karma. I’ve shown that there are other notions, that, though you seem acknowledge their existence you don’t use, that when applied mean that you could equally say ‘it’s not the woman’s fault’ (karmic explanation does *not justify* the situation; a wrong has been committed against the woman and potential child, which will have to be re-paid).

    “Remember how wise and all-seeing we are supposed to be in the period between death and a new birth”

    All-seeing relative to our physical awareness but not absolutely. Many still see through a glass darkly and the planning required to match all those required life experiences to the parental line,geographic and temporal situation, etc is too complex to be perfect (the closest to perfection was Christ’s birth and we know what Steiner said went into *that*: Zarathustra, Moses, the ‘Nathan soul’, the entire, -directed by Jehovah and others- history of the Jewish people, etc) 

    “I never, from the start of the discussion, claimed that the karma in question had to be the mother’s.”

    Ok, now we get to the meat: your comment says exactly that, else why the concern? 

    “In any event, all of these are karmic explanations for rape. Which our anthroposophist friends are insisting in shocked, shocked tones isn’t possible.”

    Sure, all are possibilities. So what?

    “I’m afraid that’s not “clear” so much as trite…Ted, to point out that we can’t change the things that happened in the past, but still have some control over future events, through choices we will make in the future, is not a profound concept, and adding “karma” to it does not complexify it. ..These aren’t esoteric concepts…”

    Future karma can create effects over multiple lives, one’s own and others, and  for other groupings. That’s certainly ‘esoteric’. As to whether the distinction between ‘past’ and ‘future’ is ‘trite’: I beg to differ and suggest notions of free-will, the ‘arrow of time’ in physics (the laws of physics are symmetrical with respect to time, so what makes the ‘past’ different from the ‘future’ at all?) suggest otherwise.

    “Such a mindless formulation permits (and is phrased to invite) easy outrage from anthroposophists….when a woman is “legitimately” raped…that there’s a whole category of “not legitimate” rape in which, if she gets pregnant, too bad for her, she deserves the pregnancy and subsequent birth as a sort of punishment.”

    Yes, your re-formulation represents the same extreme concept I ‘mindlessly’ objected too originally. That formulation *justifies* rape (‘she deserved it’). Your parallel with anthroposophy says anthroposophy *justifies* rape. It doesn’t.

    “If rape is ever justified – and karmic explanations certainly lend themselves to this…”

    No, only the extreme ones do. 

    “This is about control of women’s bodies. We narrowly escaped electing a bunch of nasty old men who would pass legislation returning us to a bygone era where women submit to men, require male protection, and have no choice but to submit to traditional sex roles.”

    Yes, I understood this to be your motivation. Not that I suppose my personal view matters much here but I was bought up in a single patent family, without much money, where my mother carried out a heroic task to try to bring us kids up to be healthy, educated, and responsible people. In this context, do you think that your distaste for what you describe is greater than mine? Nevertheless, you did say anthroposophy justifies rape and I, naturally, had to object.

    “In this context, “karmic” scenarios that might explain a rape are particularly offensive.”

    There you go again, back to your  extreme. 

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  118. Ted Wrinch · ·

    In my “There you go again, back to your  extreme.”

    in response to Diana’s “In this context, “karmic” scenarios that might explain a rape are particularly offensive.”

    I meant to add:

    It’s important to distinguish between ‘explain’ and ‘justify’. As I’ve show above and etc, the usage in your examples is ‘justify’.

    Diana continues:

    ” if an incest victim becomes pregnant, and the child who is conceived is a gift from God, or the incest and resulting pregnancy has a karmic explanation, shouldn’t we be eliminating abortions even for incest victims?

    Is this a separate question from the questions about rape? ”

    You’re on a roll here, aren’t you? Seems almost the same to me.

    I think we better start by dumping the ‘gift from God’ thing; as I’ve said it’s only been left uncontested for convenience up to now. If we replace that with the secular notion of ‘at what point in the pregnancy has the developing embryo become a child?’ I think that it’s clearer what’s being discussed. This also parallels Steiner’s notion that, though the child’s spirit tries to make that far-sighted choice we’ve discussed, it’s only some time after the point of conception when it unites with the body. If this is taken into account, and we don’t use some incomplete, rigid notion of ‘karma’,  the moral factors that need to be weighed in connection with the choice for abortion seem the same in Steiner’s notion of incarnation and the secular one of development.

    As I’ve said, the karma stuff seems similar to me, and with that our disagreements. Put simply, the notion of karma not disallowing free choice applies here, as everywhere, and the woman of course gets to choose whether she wishes for an abortion, though the moral choice concerning the developing embryo would still need to be faced, from a secular or spiritual perspective.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  119. I also suspect we aren’t going to get much further with this. The same points are being rehashed, with you saying I “haven’t replied” when I have indeed, you just don’t like the answers. I have actually listed out MORE possible karmic explanations with a wider range of scenarios than you have, and I did NOT forget the ones you say I’ve forgotten, I’ve listed them repeatedly, acknowledged and even expanded on them, yet you say I didn’t. Why is that?

    You also say I haven’t “used” them, whatever that means. What could I do to “use” them, other than acknowledge them as possibilities?

    We AGREE on all these karmic scenarios – except for one, which you insist is not valid without offering any reason other than it is “extreme.” Of course it’s extreme, life is extreme and karma is supposed to be an explanation for why extreme things happen to people! I didn’t make this up.

    I acknowledge all the possibilities – you stubbornly refuse to acknowledge one: the one you don’t like.

    A “parallel between God and karma” has nothing to do with anything – just like the goofy “embryos and organs” thing where you say I have “failed” to establish a parallel LOL. Why establish a pointless parallel irrelevant to the argument? When it is explained to you repeatedly why it is irrelevant, why then omit responding to those arguments?

    About the publication of “Karmic Relationships” you write:

    “Yes, and great trepidation in doing so: only done in the last year of his life, with warnings that the knowledge was easily abused, and admonishments against what I’ve called ‘idle speculation’. ”

    That’s pretty funny, Ted. Sure, he published eight volumes of karmic speculation with “trepidation.”

    Then there’s several further pointless and rather desperate sounding bits – “speculation” is not the same thing as “idle speculation” – one’s allowed and the other’s not. That’s ‘cus it’s all a “holy mystery.” Well, you know how impressed I’m going to be by a holy mystery! Please – here is where you are required to indulge yourself in musing about how inferior I am to you, in your deep spirituality, as opposed to my reckless dismissal of “holy mysteries.” Don’t let me down here!

    “Future karma can create effects over multiple lives, one’s own and others, and for other groupings. That’s certainly ‘esoteric’. As to whether the distinction between ‘past’ and ‘future’ is ‘trite’: I beg to differ and suggest notions of free-will, the ‘arrow of time’ in physics (the laws of physics are symmetrical with respect to time, so what makes the ‘past’ different from the ‘future’ at all?) suggest otherwise.

    Um … then aren’t you agreeing with what I said, then, that the distinction between past and future karma doesn’t mean much? Karma is just karma?

    You know, although I don’t think Steiner said anything like this, I’ve read New Age authors who insist that when you reach a REALLY high level of spiritual advancement, you eventually find out that past and future are the same, so that all those “past lives” you thought you had, weren’t exactly past after all … although “learning about your past lives” was a necessary stage of spiritual development that you had to go through …

    I wrote:
    “Such a mindless formulation permits (and is phrased to invite) easy outrage from anthroposophists….when a woman is “legitimately” raped…that there’s a whole category of “not legitimate” rape in which, if she gets pregnant, too bad for her, she deserves the pregnancy and subsequent birth as a sort of punishment.”

    Ted:
    “Yes, your re-formulation represents the same extreme concept I ‘mindlessly’ objected too originally.”

    Indeed, but there I’m characterizing Todd Akins’s view, not Steiner’s.

    “That formulation *justifies* rape (‘she deserved it’). Your parallel with anthroposophy says anthroposophy *justifies* rape. It doesn’t.”

    It’s your “anthroposophy justifies rape” formulation that is too simple and hence strikes you as extreme. But it isn’t what I said, or what I think. You’ve been whacking mercilessly at a straw man. What I said was that Mourdock’s formulation about the child of rape being a gift of God was compatible with Steiner on karma. It is. In certain karmic scenarios, rape is indeed a punishment. There can be many other possible karmic explanations – but one of them is that the woman who is raped did something terrible to the rapist in a past life.

    “If rape is ever justified – and karmic explanations certainly lend themselves to this…”

    “No, only the extreme ones do.”

    MANY possible karmic explanations readily lend themselves. In fact the possibilities are essentially infinite. We agree there are SOME karmic explanations that do NOT suggest the act was justified. That is not relevant to the argument. It is not necessary for there to be ONLY karmic explanations that justify rape, in order for us to assert that karmic explanations can lend themselves to this. This is pretty simple reasoning, Ted, and it’s hard for me to believe it’s lost on you.

  120. “This also parallels Steiner’s notion that, though the child’s spirit tries to make that far-sighted choice we’ve discussed, it’s only some time after the point of conception when it unites with the body.”

    That’s quite interesting. Where does it come from in Steiner? Does he say exactly when after conception the soul unites with the body? If I’ve read it, I’ve forgotten. If you can find a citation, thanks.

  121. I appreciate your reply to the “incest” question. I think it’s interesting and perhaps telling that 1) the word “incest” doesn’t appear in your reply and 2) I can’t really make sense out of your reply. I’d take bets it would be quite hard to find an anthroposophist who would do better, however. Nobody wants to think about this.

    What does your reply SAY?

    Does “seems almost the same to me” mean that, indeed the child born of incest is equally a gift from God, and/or that the situation could be karmic? I get that you think abortion should be allowed, but how you see karma working with this situation is murky. Understandably so. Nobody wants to think about incest being karmic, although IMO some of the stuff about a parent being reborn as our child or vice versa certainly calls incest to mind. I guess, though, one could say the same about all the traditional peoples who have believed that their children are their ancestors reincarnated – those boundaries get murky pretty easily – and yet they also usually have taboos against incest.

  122. So I posed several questions that I haven’t seen an answer to:

    Where does Steiner state that the only person who is allowed to speculate about karma is the person affected, i.e., we can only speculate on our own karma, not other peoples’?

    (Ted replied that Steiner himself did it “with trepidation,” but deleted the part preceding it – my question. I’m still interested in a quote where he tells people that only the affected person can determine if something was karmic, as it is obviously contradicted by Steiner’s own practice.)

    Regarding: “in a case where we’re to believe that a child chose a rape victim for mother, somehow, in this case the process is even “further off” from optimum.”

    I asked where the “further off” bit comes from in Steiner, and haven’t seen a reply. In response to this, Ted, you reiterated that the process isn’t perfect, just an approximation, we “see through a glass darkly” etc. That didn’t answer the question. The question was how this is somehow particularly so in the “child chooses rape victim for a mother” scenario, as you previously asserted. I asked for the justification that it is particularly so in this case. The “further off” part.

    I proposed that the opposite seems more compatible with the karma theory: an extreme choice made by the incarnating child seems more likely to have a karmic explanation than an ordinary choice. That seems to me the function of karmic theories in general – to explain the extreme cases, so to speak.

    I’d be interested in why you dismiss this reasoning.

    We don’t tend to look around us in life and look for “explanations” for ordinary events, or for big cosmic explanations when things are basically going well for us. It’s when “extreme” things happen that anyone invokes karma in the first place.

  123. Here’s the introduction to the “Karmic Relationship” series:

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA235/English/RSP1972/Karm01_intro.html

    I would agree Steiner seems to feel some “trepidation” in putting this material out there. He mentions its possible misuse or misunderstanding. He speaks of a necessary “earnestness” people should bring to the study, and he would prefer that people attend the whole series, or they may find it hard to follow if they come in at a later point – these are sentiments that I think most speakers would feel on presenting 80 lectures to an audience – hey, people, please keep up and attend the whole thing or else don’t ask me stupid questions later …

    He is hesitant for the material to reach the non-anthroposophical public, who of course “won’t understand” without the necessary preparation. That’s standard anthroposophist apologetics.

    I don’t see, however, anywhere that he says that the only person who can decide whether something was karmic is the person affected. That would seem to rather undermine his project …

  124. Ted Wrinch · ·

    No sense, Diana.

    Your tone seems to agree with my feeling that we’ve had enough of this. I’ll leave to yours and you can ignore mine.

    Adios,

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

    Ted Wrinch

  125. No? No more answers? The questions I asked weren’t polite and respectful enough?

  126. So we’re back where we started, with “tone”?

  127. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “So we’re back where we started ..”

    Of course, that’s where we always were going to end up:

    Nothing Ever Happens, Del Amitri

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  128. I’m sorry I’m not here. Tried to get a new computer working, and I absolutely hate it. I sure as hell don’t know what people see in macs. I got it because working with linux ubuntu is sometimes quite annoying. Mac was supposed to be better and simpler. Really. It’s complicated, annoying and slow. I have no idea what to do. Huge waste of money.

    I’m going to post some blog posts that were written earlier, but I can’t contribute meaningfully to comment threads right now, because I’m in despair and tired and angry. If something bad happens in threads, please alert me via email. I’m trying to keep an eye on things, but I’m far behind.

  129. No worries Alicia… nothing bad happening here. We’re rediscovering that Ted’s more of a talker than a listener (the “full-of-himself” factor is probably why I had his posts confused with Mellett’s for a while)… he demands answers to questions that have already been answered… can’t make sense of the answers he’s acknowledged receiving, and when backed into a corner, he discusses the “tone” of his debate opponent’s arguments rather than the topic. He wants to be treated with respect, but doesn’t have the intellectual chops to demand that respect. Around here, truth talks and bullshit walks.

  130. LOL! Nothing new then.

  131. So I’m gonna be as respectful and tone-conscious regarding anthroposophical sensitivities as I can possibly be (ignorant atheist heathen that I am, it ain’t easy) and actually REPEAT some of the questions I wish Ted would see fit to offer his thoughts on before adios-ing.

    Pretty please?

    Unanswered remain the following, and respectfully resubmitted:

    1) Where does Steiner state that the only person who is allowed to speculate about karma is the person affected, i.e., we can only speculate on our own karma, not other peoples’?

    2) Regarding: “in a case where we’re to believe that a child chose a rape victim for mother, somehow, in this case the process is even “further off” from optimum.” What is the source in Steiner, for the “further off” bit?

    I proposed that the opposite seems more compatible with the karma theory: an extreme choice made by the incarnating child seems more likely than an ordinary choice to have a karmic explanation. I am interested in what Ted sees as the flaw in this reasoning.

    3) At the risk of REALLY dissing the holy mysteries, I’m going to add a third question – forgive me if it was answered, but I don’t think so: what’s the source in Steiner for the idea that the incarnating child chooses his/her mother, but not father? (I think for that I got that the child chooses “through a glass darkly,” but why it would be tougher to spec out the father than the mother wasn’t clear, especially when the father is busy doing something particularly heinous like raping the mother – you would think that in such a case the child’s choice would be clearcut – karmically, indications say RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION HERE – yet it is here that Ted asserts that the incarnational choice is particularly murky.)

    So is it a general principle somewhere in Steiner, or a statement of likelihood, that we choose our mothers but not our fathers?

  132. Maybe it is Ted’s karma to be hypersensitive to the ‘tone’ of heathen atheists and deaf to the tone of himself.

  133. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Pete:

    “the “tone” of his debate…”

    Your tone – wasn’t it something about ‘gutting people with a fish knife’?

    “but doesn’t have the intellectual chops …”

    People who make arguments about other people’s  supposed ‘dimness’ and intellectual lack usually do so due to their own insecurities. 

    “”Around here, truth talks and bullshit walks.””

    You refute your own statement. 

    Special ‘adios’ to you (and Alicia).

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  134. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi Diana,

    “So I’m gonna be as respectful and tone-conscious regarding anthroposophical sensitivities as I can possibly be (ignorant atheist heathen that I am, it ain’t easy)…

    Pretty please?”

    It’s so hard to actually communicate, isn’t it? Pete the K, all anger and bluster (‘Yosemite Sam’); Alicia, echoing ‘the antis’; and you – what do you want, I wonder? You do seem to want to let down a few planks of the drawbridge but then…

    Well, I do really like Del Amitri: the macho, Scottish hunk, Justin Currie, singing about failing to communicate with and the tragedy of relating to women. What a metaphor for failure for all of us!

    Del Amitri – tell her this

    Del Amitri – Be My Downfall-Drowned On Dry Land

    See ya,

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  135. Back on November 8th I wrote: ” I’d be very surprised if Ted could convince anyone he hasn’t made this up. Um… do you have a quote Ted?”

    This isn’t the first time I’ve asked Ted for quotes from Steiner to support what he claims Steiner said. I really DO believe Ted is attributing to Steiner what Ted believes he *must have* said. In this way, Ted reminds me a lot of Brad Martin – confusing Anthroposophy with “new age” philosophy. To me, he hasn’t demonstrated the slightest understanding of Steiner and his unsupported positions he attributes to Steiner are hardly worth debating with him. I applaud Diana for her patience. Like I said, Ted doesn’t have the chops to debate this stuff… he’s basically making up what he thinks Steiner should have said and can’t provide the evidence to support his case. So now he’s off (walking?) to find people who will swallow his BS without evidence, I imagine. Bye Ted… You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.

  136. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Bye Ted… You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”

    By you, Pete, by you. The quote battle has been joined ad-infinitum on WC over the last decade – and that went nowhere: what was lacking was *thought*. The same lack of thought you have demonstrated throughout this non-exchange. (Remember asking me for a quote and then ignoring it here? No, I thought not).

    “To me, he hasn’t demonstrated the slightest understanding of Steiner and his unsupported positions he attributes to Steiner are hardly worth debating with him.”

    What would you know, Pete? 10 years+ on from your starting point as a ‘critic’ and you still haven’t the foggiest (there, I can trade ad-homs with you too; but, as we know, this doesn’t make an argument).

    “…he’s basically making up what he thinks Steiner should have said…”

    It’s hardly worth debating with someone that on WC demonstrated that they are a HYPOCRITE – there, I can do shouty statements too, Pete (and mine have the advantage of being true, too). Thing is, none of this is an ARGUMENT.

    “So now he’s off (walking?) to find people who will swallow his BS without evidence, I imagine.”

    Yes, you would imagine. Can’t quite help lowering the tone as you walk off into the sunset, can you Yosemite?

    “you have been found wanting.”

    By you? Ha ha ha haha ha! Come one Pete – you’re an intellectual joke – everyone knowns it but you. Look at your performance here – insults, accusations, bluster – no arguments.

    As I look back at this: God, what a pile of s*t every exchange with you becomes!

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  137. “By you, Pete, by you. The quote battle has been joined ad-infinitum on WC over the last decade – and that went nowhere: what was lacking was *thought*.”

    Thinking outside the box? Outside of what Steiner actually said? Yawn…

    “What would you know, Pete?”

    I know BS when I hear it.

    “It’s hardly worth debating with someone that on WC demonstrated that they are a HYPOCRITE – there”

    More wishful thinking I’m afraid…

    “Yes, you would imagine. Can’t quite help lowering the tone as you walk off into the sunset, can you Yosemite?”

    I imagined you were walking off (Guess I was wrong). I wasn’t imagining that you’re inventing evidence.

    “As I look back at this: God, what a pile of s*t every exchange with you becomes! ”

    My BS meter is on high – that’s why you don’t get anywhere with me Ted. You actually had my attention for a short while when you were debating Peter… until I realized you were full of crap and since then you’ve never disappointed me in my assessment of you. You’re a blow-hard who enjoys hearing himself blow. Blow away… but I’m not wasting my time with you – other than to point out how ridiculous your arguments are. Any time you want a debate on what Steiner ACTUALLY WROTE, I’m your huckleberry…

  138. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “My BS meter is on high…”

    Yet you keep posting.

    “You actually had my attention for a short while when you were debating Peter…”

    I remember – you dropped the argument as it required you to think.

    “You’re a blow-hard who enjoys hearing himself blow. Blow away”

    Right…Yosemite.

    “..but I’m not wasting my time with you – other than to point out how ridiculous your arguments are.”

    Yes, you point…but don’t use any arguments of your own.

    “Any time you want a debate on what Steiner ACTUALLY WROTE, I’m your huckleberry…”

    You’ve already failed to do that here. Also, isn’t this contradicted by your “I’m not wasting my time with you”?

    Yours for thinking (like old times, huh?),

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  139. Everything moves on at the speed of light on this thread. There are many interesting points being made.

    Diana said, “I don’t see, however, anywhere that he says that the only person who can decide whether something was karmic is the person affected. That would seem to rather undermine his project …”.

    I don’t know if he ever said it like that but I think it is implicit in the teaching.

    He did say in other places how the ‘logic’ of the spiritual world is not the same as that of the ‘material’ world. In a certain sense it can only manifest in what appear to be paradoxes.

    If you say there is a karmic explanation for a certain event it is not like saying there is a chain of events which led to an airplane crash. In the material world we CAN investigate how a particular disaster has come about, and using scientific knowledge, evidence and reasoning we can often come to a secure understanding of how and why a particular crash has occurred. In that process of trying to establish how the crash came about, questions of meaning will not be part of the ‘universe of discourse’, – unless the investigators come to the conclusion that it was a deliberate act by a human being that brought about the crash. If the latter happens then a different kind of evidence will be sought and the whole thing will enter a different universe of discourse, one involving for example intention and motivation. Difficulties of a different nature become part of the investigation. Notions of defeasibility will enter in (in contrast to the indefeasible reasoning typically, but not exclusively, used by the engineers.)

    If you say there is a karmic reason for an event then already you are in a different universe of discourse, to the crash investigators. One where every statement has a moral implication or overtone. And here is where the paradox comes in. The discussion has a superficial resemblance to the crash investigation. One seems to be looking for an explanation. But saying something is karmic does not explain in the same sense how something happened. There is nothing that would count as ‘evidence’ for or against the statement, ‘this is karmic’. ‘This is karmic’ is a statement in a universe of discourse which is about ultimate purposes, about how events that to all intents and purposes look meaningless, can have a meaning for the person they happened to.

    Diana’s second sentence, ”That would seem to rather undermine his project …”. would apply if we were talking about investigating an airplane crash. It doesn’t apply in the realm of spirituality because the sort of consistency sought is not that of a coherent logical system such as mechanical engineering. There is a logic but it is closer to the logic one finds in a piece of music. It either means something to you or it doesn’t. You either feel it or you don’t. And our experience of ‘spirituality’ is like that. There is nothing IN THE EXPERIENCE which compels you to accept it – unlike the experience of burning your hand on the oven for instance.

    It is true that Steiner lectured about sequences of lives. His intention was to show how events in people’s lives which might otherwise seem random have value which goes beyond what is apparent. It looks like an explanation, but it is a description of why events may have meaning, not an explanation in the sense that an air crash investigation is an explanation. I am not aware of any lecture where there wasn’t a moral element in his outline of the development of a soul through several lives.

    I believe that apart from one notable exception the people Steiner spoke about were all dead.

    I don’t recall that anywhere did he say things like, ‘ X (a living person) fell off a ladder last week. Now he is a paraplegic. This was a karmic event brought about by his chopping bits off his enemies in a previous life.’ , – or some such cruel and unusual description of someone’s situation.

    I believe one cannot say, ‘this is karma’, without making an implicit moral judgement. This why it is so morally repugnant when someone makes a reference to karma, or speculates about it in relation to someone else’s tragedy.

  140. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hey Pete,

    Congratulations! We’re right slap bang in old-tyme, WC land again. All we need now is for Peter S. to step into our ad-hom fest, non argument jamboree and it would be complete. Why don’t you invite him over?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  141. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Maybe you need to chill out a bit, Pete. It seems like years of anger are maybe taking their toll to me. Tarjei has loads of cool, peacenik stuff on his FB pages. Maybe this pic will show up for you:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=443129719080555&set=a.138766666183530.25347.138763606183836&type=1&relevant_count=1

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  142. “I don’t recall that anywhere did he say things like, ‘ X (a living person) fell off a ladder last week. Now he is a paraplegic. This was a karmic event brought about by his chopping bits off his enemies in a previous life.’ , – or some such cruel and unusual description of someone’s situation.”

    Have you read “Manifestations of Karma”? There are abundant examples there.

  143. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Pete wrote:
    We’re rediscovering that Ted’s more of a talker than a listener (the “full-of-himself” factor is probably why I had his posts confused with Mellett’s for a while)…

    Wow, Pete, this is really heartening for me as a teacher to see that you are finally learning to differentiate between me and Ted Wrinch. It was somewhat entertaining for awhile to contemplate that Ted was my greatest troll, but now the truth is emerging that we are indeed separate and distinct entelechies in our present incarnations.

    But let’s get really quantitative about it, shall we? After all, you have an engineer’s view of the world and that requires quantification for best evidence. What I mean is that we may actually be able to establish conclusively the fact that my megalomania is greater than Ted’s. And if so, then I would have to correct your implication above that I m “full of myself.”

    You see, Pete, it is my testable hypothesis here that Ted is indeed “full of himself” but that I am not. Rather, the proper phrase that applies to me would be that I am “out of myself.” The critical issue is that of ego boundaries. For a person to be “full of himself,” he or she must have in place strong enough ego boundaries to create a container, as it were, in which to fill with the self. On the other hand, a true megalomaniac, as I believe myself to be (and not Ted) would have almost no ego boundaries at all and therefore no containment of self would be possible and thus such a person could not be “full of himself.” He would therefore be “out of himself.” (Or perhaps more colloquially: “out of his gourd.”) I hope you see the distinction, Pete.

    Anyway, the hypothesis testing is quite elegant and simple. The experimental protocols only involve tape measures, conversion from inches to centimeters, if necessary, and a calculator to compute a simple ratio of two numbers.

    Now all the protocols and experimental results are laid out in the commentary to Alicia’s blog entry of December 21, 2010 entitled: “Not Incarnating Enough.”
    https://zooey.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/not-incarnating-enough/

    The anthroposophical issue is, of course, the distinction Rudolf Steiner makes between large-headed children (Fatheads) and small-headed children (Pinheads) when evaluating the developmentally disabled folks at any given Camphill residential facility.

    I quantified these distinctions for adults by creating the HHR coefficient, which is the “head to height ratio” of each adult. As you can see, I myself represent the Fathead extreme with an HHR = 0.348 while Alicia represents the Pinhead extreme with her HHR = 0.304. And — because of her quiet and competent sanity in the midst of all this madness — I had predicted a “Goldilock’s value for Diana, HHR = 0.326 which is the exact mean between me and Alicia. And even though Diana did not take her own measurements, nonetheless she gazed into the mirror and evaluated herself as “just right.”

    Thus the only data we need from Ted Wrinch is his cranial circumference in cm, which is directly given as the European hat size. And then we need Ted’s height in cm.

    I ought to set up a One-Tailed Hypothesis test, with a p-value of 0.05, making the Null Hypothesis: Ted is full of himself.

    That would mean that if Ted’s HHR comes in at 0.330 or less, then the Null Hypothesis is verified and Pete’s judgment of Ted is correct. If it is greater than that figure, then we must reject the Null Hypothesis and conclude that Ted is just as “out of himself” (or “out of his gourd” as I am).

    But Pete, I am confident that Ted’s HHR will fall in the range that will not only validate your judgment of him as “full of himself,” but also validate your other judgment that Ted and I are indeed distinct individualities and not one being the troll of the other, as you had previously conjectured.

    OK, Ted it’s all up to you now to take those measurements and supply us with the data.

    (I’m tempted to place odds and bet on the outcome, but somehow I don’t feel it is ethical to wager on such karmically-ordained characteristics such as hat size. )

    Tom

  144. David Clark · ·

    Phew. Hi. Fascinating range of views. Looking back at Alicia’s header blog and concerns, I’m slightly intrigued. Where your initial suggestion about anthroposophy come from Diane? At this stage, I have to apologise in advance for any seeming lack of knowledge about American public life. I have to share my computer with others. Still, I hope you can help me here. Thanks in advance.

  145. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tom M:

    “We’re rediscovering that Ted’s more of a talker than a listener (the “full-of-himself” factor is probably why I had his posts confused with Mellett’s for a while)…”

    Wow, Pete, this is really heartening for me as a teacher to see that you are finally learning to differentiate between me and Ted Wrinch.

    You see, Pete, it is my testable hypothesis here that Ted is indeed “full of himself” but that I am not. Rather, the proper phrase that applies to me would be that I am “out of myself.”

    I know you’re having fun here, Tom, but you’re trying to analyse the unanalysable. I think for someone to have thought this indicates similar problems of perspective and balance to those you’ve admitted having yourself. I think that the years of rage and ‘plotting against the perps’ brought it on and a bit of chill, peace and love would fix him. That’s why I posted that hippy peace freak pic in my earlier post for him; that ought to get him started on his Damascene road to redemption!

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  146. Ted Wrinch · ·

    BTW, Tom, I liked your post to Badly Shaved Monkey on the quackometer. Do you think he understands gnomes now? And classic piece of Mellettism: pit both ends of the argument against each other and stand back and watch the fun!

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  147. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tomfortas,

    I do have a physically large head :).

    I think Pete the K needs to enter a period of metanoia and have a good talk with Jesus,  Tarjei lovathon style (we can bring sick buckets for those that disagree).

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  148. Tom, you’ve made my point for me. I don’t know which of you two should be more embarrassed.

  149. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Tom, you’ve made my point for me. I don’t know which of you two should be more embarrassed.”

    We’re never embarrassed, Pete, we know we’re ridiculous (isn’t everyone, at some level). How about you?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  150. Thank you to Tom H-S for thoughtful replies – to you and both David Clark, I’ll be back but maybe not till tonight. David Clark, I am not sure what you are asking me exactly – are you asking how did I become interested in anthroposophy? And what do you want to know about American politics: We re-elected Obama :) and we explained to the nearly dead Republican party that they are in their dotage and no one is amused by them anymore.

    Re: ““I don’t recall that anywhere did he say things like, ‘ X (a living person) fell off a ladder last week. Now he is a paraplegic. This was a karmic event brought about by his chopping bits off his enemies in a previous life.’ , – or some such cruel and unusual description of someone’s situation.”

    This is quite easy to refute. Steiner says hundreds such things.

    How is this –

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ManfKarma/19100521p01.html

    “If you understand that a person may experience deeper layers of consciousness, you will also understand that not only external causes of illness may be sought by man, but also external strokes of fate which he cannot explain rationally, but the rationality of which works from the deeper strata of consciousness. Thus it is reasonable to suppose that a man would not out of his ordinary consciousness place himself where he may be struck by lightning; with his ordinary consciousness he would do anything to avoid standing where the lightning may strike him. But there may be a consciousness active within him, which lies much deeper than the ordinary consciousness, and which from a foresight which is not possessed by the ordinary consciousness leads him to the very place where the lightning may strike him — and wills that he should be so struck. The man really seeks out the accident. ”

    I cannot see how a rape would somehow be exempt from this category, no matter how much Ted might like to think somehow everything’s “approximate” and “further off” in a really bad case. But no – the really bad cases are the test of the theory. If a man can jump directly into the path of lightning on purpose, then a woman can literally take a stroll somewhere where a rapist is waiting to jump out of a bush at her (that’s what happened to me, btw), and an incarnating child can literally survey possible candidates for parents and choose the guy who is raping this woman, for parents.

    Of course Steiner gave many explicit examples of karmic causes of illness. A few -

    measles – comes from self-absorption in previous life
    malaria – comes from overbearing Ego consciousness in previous life
    smallpox – comes from unlovingness in previous life

    etc.

    Ted, it’s disappointing that you’ve decided now it’s just for fun, when there’s an actual numbered list of questions for you above still. You know, one option is to note that some of your claims in this thread were mistaken. Steiner never said we choose our mother but not our father, and the idea that karmic choice is murky or muddled or somehow “one off” in “extreme” cases is incorrect. Steiner makes clear, those are the cases where karma is especially relevant and the individual most clearly chooses a misfortune.

    We literally position ourselves where the lightning is going to strike, Ted – that’s what Steiner said. An incarnating child can quite literally pick a father to rape his mother.

  151. Thank you, Diana. In the link Steiner is speaking in a general way. He does not name a real living person. And I think this is significant. It is inappropriate to look at someone else and make the judgement -’What is happening to you is your karma’.

  152. Can someone show me where Steiner names a living person and says, ‘See, this happened to him/her yesterday and it was his/her karma.’ ?

  153. David Clark · ·

    Hello Diana,

    Thanks for responding. Definitely no problem for me. Without your help, i certainly cannot know about circumstances and themes that preceded Alicia’s blog. You’re right, i was wondering whether the election result was important.

    Having access to hard copies of such fragile material, i read a helpful caveat that is regrettably omitted from publicly available texts that are on the Internet. i suggest that this lack of guidance does not help us and is a consequence of an “open book” approach. My views on questions of “theory” are on record.

    Hello Tom H-S

    Thanks for responding. i’m not sure what this question refers to. When i am faced with such riddles, i feel prompted to pursue my own investigations. How have you been getting on so far?

  154. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Bullying

    I thought this article (in spite of it containing the apparently ominous sounding sub-title ‘Conflict is a Form of Initiation’) might be a balancing, karmic contribution to the Alan Howard Waldorf School article, that has again come up on quacks and been posted to critics, that supposedly created a, partial at least, endorsement of bullying. This latter article contains an apparently more up to date view of the school’s policy on bullying. It’s good that (even Waldorf) schools can learn and that, hopefully, the whole school system is getting better at handling these issues (it was rubbish when my wife and I were young – both pupils in state schools – and you were always on your own with bullies).

    —-
    Social Inclusion Corner Written by Christine Margetic

    The Social Inclusion Coordinating Group has been meeting weekly since our August in-service training with Kim John Payne. Here is an excerpt from the draft policy we have been working on: “Marin Waldorf School (MWS) is committed to promoting a social environment in which working, playing, and learning take place in ways that foster inclusiveness and recognize mutual humanity, even while addressing conflict. With this goal in mind and in support of deepening existing practices, the College of Teachers mandated the adoption of the Social Inclusion Coordinating Group (SICG) in April, 2012.

    MWS recognizes that social conflict is an integral part of human growth and development that benefits from guidance rather than avoidance. As a school and community we strive to help each other learn how to resolve conflict and foster understanding. The SI approach provides a structure that guides us through conflict and effects meaningful change in social behavior. This is an explicit process that provides age appropriate practical tools for use at school and at home, which is implemented by a committee e of faculty and parents.”

    [Extensive quote shortened. -alicia]

    http://www.marinwaldorf.org/newsletters/10.25.12%20Wings.pdf

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  155. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Sorry the formatting’s so cr*p – it looked fine when I edited it on the ‘puter.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  156. Tom H-S:
    “Can someone show me where Steiner names a living person and says, ‘See, this happened to him/her yesterday and it was his/her karma.’ ?”

    Yes. (I’m lifting this verbatim from a recent post Dan D. wrote on critics, but I doubt he’d mind.)

    In 1915 a Waldorf student was killed when a moving van overturned and crushed him. Steiner mentioned the incident in a couple of lectures:
    “Superficially, the death of young Theodor Faiss could also be described as a most unfortunate accident. In reality, however, the karma of this child was such the the ego, to put it bluntly, had ordered the van and the van overturned to fulfil the child’s karma.[Steiner, 1915, DIN p. 126] The situation with little Theodor was that his karma had expired, so that it is actually possible to say, “He himself ordered the van to the place of the accident.” …[A]nyone attuned to occult perception who is working artistically on the building in Dornach or is there simply to pursue his thoughts will know that the entire ether body of the child, with all its powers, is enlarged in the aura of the Dornach building. … I will never hesitate to assert that the powers needed for intuition are those of this ether body that was sacrificed for the building.[Steiner, 1915, CRLA p. 27]

    I find the above case fascinating, not only because it answers directly what you were asking – a terrible accident ascribed to karma, with a named individual, a child no less – but also because it fits with very old traditions about human sacrifice in the construction of new buildings. See for a fascinating fictional depiction: Ismail Kadare, The Three-Arched Bridge (a really great read, btw).

    Again I don’t have time to write more today and really must have the self-discipline not to even look here again today – deadlines loom that I have been living in denial about, but as I’d like to stay employed I will need to try to be a professional today and ignore these more interesting topics than the papers on my desk.

  157. Ted quoted:

    “In some situations bullying is a selfperpetuating situation because kids crave familiar and known situations. They may walk right up to
    the bully and get hit or shouted at. The child who tempts the bully (and the bully) are selfmedicating. They are looking for an adrenalin rush. ”

    oh dear, dear dear dear dear … sometimes I wonder if they will ever really learn.

    Really off now.

  158. Tom H-S I guess you actually asked, “Can someone show me where Steiner names a living person” and the case I indicated involved a dead person. I don’t think that changes what we were talking about, though?

  159. Thank You, Diana, it is an interesting case which I knew of, but again the child was dead, and Steiner does not attribute the incident to a particular happening in a previous life. Essentially Steiner says in the case of little Theodor that we chose the moment of our death. (But not necessarily the manner). I await the example of him speaking about a living person

  160. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    @The Other Tom,

    I was tempted to say Woodrow Wilson, but then I checked that Wilson had died 2 months before Steiner spoke about Wilson’s previous incarnation in KR, Vol. V.

    Now this brings me to an issue that I would like to address to all the Critics here because I have been puzzled at the Critics’ lack of outrage against Steiner for this issue. Let me introduce it by quoting Steiner on Wilson’s past life.

    KR: Volume V, Lecture 4, April 5, 1924, Prague, GA 239

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA239/English/RSP1966/19240405p01.html

    In Dornach recently I was able to call attention to another connection of karma, one which caused me repeatedly during the War, and especially at the end of the War, to warn people against allowing themselves to be blinded by a certain outstanding figure of modern times. In the Helsingfors [Note 4] lectures of 1913 I had already spoken of the very limited abilities of the person in question. This was because the connection between Muawiyah
    [Note 5: Muawiyah, Caliph in Syria from 661 to 680. Founded the dynasty of the Omayyads.],
    a follower of Mohammed in the 7th century, and Woodrow Wilson, was clear to me. All the fatalism which characterised the personality of Muawiyah, came out in the otherwise inexplicable fatalism of Woodrow Wilson — in his case, fatalism of will. And if anyone wants to find corroboration, to discover the origin of the well known Fourteen Points, he has only to turn to the Koran.

    So Woodrow Wilson’s famous “14 Points” come directly from the Koran? Wow, I thought fear of Sharia Law taking over the United States was just a Post 9-11 phenomenon!

    So where is the Critics’ outrage against Rudolf Steiner for his blatant Islamophobia?

    Just read through all 8 volumes of KR and you will find that so many of the nasty “materialistic bad guys” in Steiner’s view — like Woodrow Wilson, Charles Darwin, the reincarnated Tarik, Arab commander in 711 (see KR V,10), Sir Francis Bacon as Haroun al Raschid — all had immediate previous incarnations as some Arab. (One notable non-Islamic exception is Karl Marx, an erstwhile 9th C. French landowner.)

    Notice that none of them are Jews in their previous lives; instead they are, to a man (no women, of course) representatives of what Steiner calls elsewhere the “Arabic Stream.” (I love the homophony it makes with “Arab Extreme.”)

    Now consider Thomas Aquinas, whom most Anthros believe was the immediately preceding incarnation of Rudolf Steiner himself. Who was Aquinas’ greatest foe?
    Abu i-Walid Muhammed bin’ Ahmad bin Rushd, the great 12th C. Islamic philosopher we commonly know as Averroes.

    Check out KR, Volume III, Lecture 8, August 1, 1924, Dornach, GA 237
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA237/English/RSP1977/19240801p01.html

    Now in the Middle Ages there was a great conflict between the leading men of the Dominican Order and those who, in a continuation of Asiatic Alexandrianism, had found their way over into Spain, — Averroes, for example.

    What was the substance of this conflict? Averroes and those on his side — the Mohammedan followers of Aristotelian learning — said: “Intelligence is universal, common to all.” They only spoke of a pan-Intelligence, not of an individual human Intelligence. To Averroes the individual human Intelligence was but a kind of mirrored reflection in the single human head. In its reality it had only a general, universal existence.

    . . . So it was for Averroes, who was attacked so vigorously by Thomas Aquinas. For Averroes — in the tradition of the old Michael epoch — Intelligence was pan-Intelligence, one Intelligence and one only, which the several human heads reflected.”

    Now if a discussion is to ensue about Steiner’s Islamophobia, I think it best to focus on Woodrow Wilson and his 14 Points being derived from the Koran. Indeed this issue is sure to be the best bait that I can dangle in front of Frank Thomas Smith who is so keen on Rudolf Steiner’s 3-fold social order — the flip side of which is anti-Wilsonism.

    Thus I will leave you all with a quote that Steiner made about Wilson just 6 weeks after Wilson’s death in early 1924.

    KR Volume I, Lecture 10, March 16, 1924, Dornach, GA 235
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA235/English/RSP1972/19240316p01.html

    Muavija rules not long after Mohammed. He thus stands entirely within Mohammedanism, within the religious life of Arabism. He is a genuine representative of Mohammedanism at that time, but one of those who are growing away from its hide-bound form and entering into that mode of thought which then, discarding the religious form, appears in the sciences and fine arts of the West. . . . .

    If we follow this Muavija, one of the earliest successors of the Prophet, as he passes along the undercurrent and then appears again, we find Woodrow Wilson.
    In a shattering way the present links itself with the past. A bond is suddenly there between present and past. And if we observe how on the sea of historical happenings there surges up as it were the wave of Muavija, and again the wave of Woodrow Wilson, we perceive how the undercurrent flows on through the sea below and appears again — it is the same current.

    I believe that history becomes intelligible only when we see how what really happens has been carried over from one epoch into another. Think of the abstraction., the rigid abstraction, of the Fourteen Points. Needless to say, the research did not take its start from the Fourteen Points — but now that the whole setting lies before you, look at the configuration of soul that comes to expression in these Fourteen Points and ask yourselves whether it could have taken root with such strength anywhere else than in a follower of Mohammed.

    Take the fatalism that had already assumed such dimensions in Muavija and transfer it into the age of modern abstraction. Feel the similarity with Mohammedan sayings: “Allah has revealed it”; “Allah will bring it to pass as the one and only salvation.” And then try to understand the real gist of many a word spoken by the promoter of the Fourteen Points.

    — With no great stretch of imagination you will find an almost literal conformity.
    Thus, when we are observing human beings, we can also speak of a reincarnation of ideas. And then for the first time insight is possible into the growth and unfolding of history.

  161. And even though he says we choose the moment of our death, in other places he says there are accidental deaths. Deaths in which karma is not involved.

  162. Comment by Tom Mellett was held in moderation. See above Tom H-S’s comment.

  163. Ted W. Many of the stories on the internet are from people who are disillusioned with Steiner school because of the alleged incompetence of colleges of teachers in responding immediately to situations involving children’s safety and well-being.

    I wonder how long it takes to get a process such as you describe with many meetings of different groups, and the ready cooperation of the bullies, to the point where a child is actually being protected from harm by bullies? It would be interesting to hear of the experiences of parents of bullied children how effective they found this process to be.

    ” In some situations bullying is a selfperpetuating situation because kids crave familiar and known situations. They may walk right up to
    the bully and get hit or shouted at. The child who tempts the bully (and the bully) are selfmedicating. They are looking for an adrenalin rush.”
    This reminds me of the sort of people who think that a woman in an abusive violent marriage must be doing something which causes the husband to behave like that i.e., it is her own fault. The more I reflect on this and things I have known the more horrible it seems.

    The phrase about the child who walks up to the bully, ‘looking for an adrenalin rush’ is really quite vile. Do you think Alicia was seeking the attention of the child who constantly kicked her in the back to the point she could barely breath or stand?

    ‘..kids crave familiar and known situations.’ This may be true. They seek comfort, belonging, their mother’s arms. It doesn’t mean they seek being hit, kicked, punched, stabbed, etc.

    ‘Adult intervention that “bullies a bully into stopping bullying” may unintentionally contribute to this rush, and is a hardly a way to model problem
    solving.’

    Is it not a way to model problem-sloving? To intervene in order to protect the weak from harm? Is that not a way to model problem-solving?

    “Better not stop this kid from breaking this other one’s ribs. He might feel bullied and its not a good way to model problem solving.” Says the teacher on duty to her colleague…!!?

    There is difference when adults use their legitimate authority and power to prevent suffering/harm to a child.
    Is using an adult’s legitimate authority and power to prevent harm, bullying?

    In my experience (over 30 years in schools) bullies are good at recognising potential victims. They bully the people who they can bully and continue as long as they can get away with it with impunity. If the adults intervene successfully then it can’t happen. When it does happen it nearly always means the ‘responsible’ adults are not paying attention, or worse, refusing to intervene when it comes to their attention.

    This latter is exactly what some parents say happens in Steiner Schools.

    ‘Conflict is a Modern Form of Initiation’. This is a phrase worthy of Ayn Rand, a woman with fascist leanings. Strange to find it in the context of a Steiner school.

    Thank God I didn’t make the mistake of sending my children to MWS.

  164. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tom h-S,

    It’s remarkable that your thirty years school experience has allowed you to pretty much miss the point of this article and focus on what you take to be the negative pre-amble. As someone who’s experienced bullying several times in my childhood,  after moving into a new school environment when I was nine, I can see a lot more in that article that you apparently can. Bullies getting off on adrenaline? Absolutely – my, unconscious, strategy therefore was to not provoke them, so that they got bored and left me alone. And there are more factors than the bully ‘recognising potential victims’ at work in the playground – they often are weak people that fear difference: in my case due to my being from the South, having a different accent, and being of a naturally studious disposition. The article is quite right to focus on the bully’s problems,  as well as the issues created for the victim, and I would have loved the opportunity to have been able to confront the bullies in my childhood, with the support of older, hopefully wiser, teachers and peers, within a safe environment, with their actions and to try to get them to understand the deeper motivations behind them. More advanced children are able to do this naturally, even without adult aid, and even stand up for other bullied victims (which was my wife’s path).

    “This reminds me of the sort of people who think that a woman in an abusive violent marriage must be doing something which causes the husband to behave like that i.e., it is her own fault.”

    You seem to like this example. Perhaps you’ve heard of co-dependency? The article is not endorsing this but discussing ways of breaking such relationships,  in ways such that the participants can understand what was happening (which lack of understanding was part of what caused it in the first place).

    “I wonder how long it takes to get a process such as you describe with many meetings of different groups, and the ready cooperation of the bullies…”

    But that’s not what the article says: bureaucratic procrastination is not the point:

    ” Without voluntary cooperation, the
    school’s disciplinary approach is applied.”

    “Conflict is a Modern Form of Initiation’. This is a phrase worthy of Ayn Rand, a woman with fascist leanings.”

    Hmm – Ayn Rand a fascist (I can imagine plenty of criticisms of her but they wouldn’t include that)? Maybe you think Nietzsche, in some ways similar to Rand, was a fascist? But here’s a question: have you not through your life learnt from conflict?

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  165. Ted — unfortunately, I had to shorten your quote (from the school newsletter) in the comment above. This due to copyright issues. I left the two opening passages, and of course I recommend that people read the document and discuss it, but please limit quoting so that it is within fair use.

    (Ted, I chose the two opening passages because I didn’t know which passages you would have chosen as the most important. I can edit if you think some other passage(s) make(s) more sense.)

  166. David Clark · ·

    Hi. At this stage, nothing to add.

  167. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Oh, fine, Alicia.

    I don’t know a great deal about copyright and I thought 3 pages from a 12 page journal might have been ok. But I suppose it’s the author’s, rather than the journal’s, copyright we’re concerned about.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

    T

  168. I think one would look primarily at the particular text/article, not the journal as a whole. Though it’s always a matter of interpretation, context, et c. It’s difficult to know exactly where the line should be drawn in each and every situation. If one wants to discuss particular statements, of course it’s often necessary to quote. But copying an entire text without permission is basically always a potential problem.

  169. Ted, I know bullies get an adrenalin rush. The sentence referred to, ‘The child who tempts the bully (and the bully) are selfmedicating. They are looking for an adrenalin rush’, is about the victim getting an adrenalin rush.

    Does this sound OK to you? To describe the plight of a suffering child who might well try to ingratiate themselves with their oppressor, as a way of avoiding further torment, as ‘self-medication’?
    Your own experience led you to avoid the bullies, you were apparently not one of those victims who was ‘selfmedicating’(sic).

    Yes, I have heard about ‘co-dependency’. It is one of those psychological concepts used in the sort of dialogue which seeks to remove the blame from a violent man for his behaviour towards his partner. The sort of dialogue which I believe many feminists and people who work in Women’s Refuges reject as simplistic.

    The ‘No Blame’ approach to bullying became more widely known in England in the 90′s of the last century. As head of a primary school I investigated it.
    I know bullies need help too. I came to the conclusion that it was only tangantially about protecting the victims of bullying from further abuse. Yes, it is a useful tool with children who are already capable of modifying their own behaviours.
    I never discovered any comparative studies which showed its effectiveness. It is, as your quote implies, a model for problem solving. But nowhere have I seen evidence that it solves the problem of bullying quickly and effectively from the victim’s point of view.

    I did ask how long the process would last. As a parent, if my child comes home in pain I need to know that when they go to school the next day they will be safe from further harm. Where does it state that categorically in your piece?
    Can you also provide any links to studies which show that from a victim’s point of view it ended their suffering?

  170. Anonymous was me, Tom H-S

  171. The thing about the adrenaline rush was about the VICTIM as well as the bully, Ted.

    I find the whole idea that victims of bullies tend to walk right up to them, seeming to “ask for it,” to be probably usually not true. I think that observation is a case of seeing what you’re expecting to see. You have a theory of karma, where these two kids are drawn to each other, the victim wants to be bullied as much as the bully wants to bully – this is what the teachers THINK so this is what they SEE. These teachers *think they see* the victim asking for it. I feel pretty certain if you could measure it objectively, say with cameras set up to observe these interactions and with objective observers to describe what happened, you’d find that the bit about the victim walking right up to the bully is simply not true. The teachers’ reports about these situations are not reliable.

  172. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hi Tom H-S,

    Yes, I picked one side of the bullying ‘relationship’ to describe, one that I understand a little. I do not have experience of ‘bullying [being[ a self perpetuating situation', which was the alternative expression in the article for 'self-medication' and do find this a somewhat strange description of events. But I cannot imagine, as you call it, 'ingratiating myself with an oppressor,' either. But, in general, I cannot rule something out just because it's beyond my experience - it may happen, perhaps kids do do this and then the question is what to do about it. You say the Social Inclusion approach is inadequate, and the article disagrees with you. I don't think I know either way (but I can see no reason why their approach shouldn't work and it sure seems a lot better than anything I experienced at school).

    "Yes, I have heard about ‘co-dependency’. It is one of those psychological concepts used in the sort of dialogue which seeks to remove the blame from a violent man for his behaviour towards his partner. The sort of dialogue which I believe many feminists and people who work in Women’s Refuges reject as simplistic."

    That all may be true - any psychological concept can be abused - but, though I have not experienced it personally, I have seen it happening, outside of a context of violence. People with the best of intentions can end up interacting in ways where they mutually and unawares exploit and are exploited by each other (as you will know, one side usually takes the role of exploiter, the other of exploited). The solution, as that article points out, that breaks the pattern and prevents it reoccurring, is to help either or both parties become more aware of how they are interacting.

    "Yes, it [No Blame] is a useful tool with children who are already capable of modifying their own behaviours.”

    You seem to be in agreement with the article, then, which talks of ‘voluntary cooperation’.

    “I never discovered any comparative studies which showed its effectiveness.”

    But nowhere have I seen evidence that it solves the problem of bullying quickly and effectively from the victim’s point of view.
    ..
    I did ask how long the process would last….Where does it state that categorically in your piece?”

    Well, it seem to be based within Waldorf on the experience and expertise of Kim John Payne, who claims it is in operation in hundreds of schools (http://www.socialsustain.com/socialinclusion.html). I guess that ought to stand for something. I don’t believe they answer your question concerning immediacy in that article, though I would assume that they would act promptly and effectively, or what would be the point of their ‘dealing with bullying through the discipline stream’? Perhaps you could ask them.

    “Can you also provide any links to studies which show that from a victim’s point of view it ended their suffering?”

    No idea – not my field! But obviously KJP must think it’s doing something.

  173. I will only be able to comment sporadically for the next few days… family matters.

    “We literally position ourselves where the lightning is going to strike, Ted – that’s what Steiner said.”

    I think he even contemplated the karma of someone who drops a shingle off the roof and runs down in time to be hit by his own shingle.

    “Can someone show me where Steiner names a living person and says, ‘See, this happened to him/her yesterday and it was his/her karma.’ ?”

    There’s the case of the boy who was crushed by the truck. Steiner named him by name as I recall. He names “The girl LK” who was possessed by demons. In the same statement he talks about a famous professor (presumably at least the people in the room knew who he was talking about) who reincarnated into the body of a negro. In fact, he names several children by name in Faculty Meetings, and he links many of his indications/suggestions for those children to their karma.

    “Ted W. Many of the stories on the internet are from people who are disillusioned with Steiner school because of the alleged incompetence of colleges of teachers in responding immediately to situations involving children’s safety and well-being. ”

    There’s a reason for this… http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25368

    ” It would be interesting to hear of the experiences of parents of bullied children how effective they found this process to be.”

    Here ya go: http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=bullying

  174. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I think that the way schools handle bullying today is better than when I was young and it seemed less of a problem when our kids were growing up (though now there are new problems of cyber bullying, which may have pushed the clock back). But I do remember a case that somewhat fits the victim dependency model that the article describes. It involved two girls and the dynamic was that one would boast about something – money she’d been given for her birthday, rich relatives, etc – and the other girl would punch and hurt her. I think that after a while the girl hit her for other reasons. This went on, sporadically, for over a year. The school was aware of the situation and did what they could to fix it, but nothing really changed until the second girl moved away. Would ‘no blame’ have helped? It’s very hard to say: the first girl was also dyspraxic and had a general problem with learning from experience (if she hadn’t had this she’d probably have stopped the provocative behaviour when the second girl first responded with violence).

  175. Ted says,

    “You seem to be in agreement with the article, then, which talks of ‘voluntary cooperation’.”

    That’s too simple. I support ‘social Inclusion’, I support peer intervention and mentoring, I support changing the culture in a school so that bullied children feel they CAN get help without being seen as a tale-bearer, I support immediate adult intervention to prevent any child from coming to harm .

    What is not clear to me is whether the MWS article is genuinely focused on safeguarding children from being physically and psychologically damaged. Especially when such questionable/inhumane language is used.

  176. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Tom HS,

    “That’s too simple. I support ‘social Inclusion’, I support peer intervention and mentoring, I support changing the culture in a school so that bullied children feel they CAN get help without being seen as a tale-bearer, I support immediate adult intervention to prevent any child from coming to harm .”

    We agree, and clearly they support all that in that article, and more.

    “What is not clear to me is whether the MWS article is genuinely focused on safeguarding children from being physically and psychologically damaged. Especially when such questionable/inhumane language is used.”

    Seems clear to me they are doing all that…and more. I can’t really see what you are objecting to.

    I’ve had a discussion with my wife on the subject of bullying as she, as a full-time homemaker, has had a greater experience of these issues in the modern context than I have. Both from her own childhood and what she’s seen across the state system in Winchester (which has three highly rated schools) she agrees that co-dependency *is* problem, as is unreported bullying. For girls, of course, bullying is not usually in the form of physical violence so much as emotional and verbal attacks; but these are no less damaging for that. Both my kids experienced bullying, which was mostly effectively addressed, using the systems you mention, in the primary school they went to. But it was ignored (in spite of country-wide mandated standards supposedly being in place) in the secondary school, until my wife intervened at the level of the school head (as the lower echelons had refused to do anything). Reports she received indicated the two other schools were no better in their (ineffective) bullying policies.

    Perhaps you find the language ‘questionable’ in that article, that addresses co-dependency, because you seem to be denying it exists. Obviously if it does exist, and I’m pretty sure it does, then talking about it, and finding ways to address it, are vital first steps to alleviating it.

  177. David Clark · ·

    Hi.

    Some brief comments.

    Hi Diana. From Alicia’s Blog header, i reckoned anthroposophy was being related to political campaigning. After the Election, i appreciate you may have changed your mind on blogging themes. i would suggest that comments that i heard second-hand would be unacceptable here and potentially damaging to the individual concerned. Using my imagination as a man, i would have felt both violated and vulnerable. Quite Awful.

    Struggling to understand the “lectures” (with others), i bear in mind the need to be skeptical. I reckon this is both safe – for me and good practice – supporting my attempts to understand difficult material. Having pursued this approach to study, i reckon it requires commitment and hard work.

    Hi Tom, Ted and Pete, Diana and Anonymous. For many reasons, i wouldn’t seek to belittle the damage and pain caused by bullying. While there are many interpretations about causes and a rapidly growing literature in the UK, bullying is by definition occult, hidden. Thereby lies its effectiveness and success. In some ways, i reckon the UK (and by definition the government of England-UK on these matters) is currently ahead of some other places, with policy advice and recommendations that may be used for example in decisions about educational need, family litigation, professional referrals and indeed behavioural monitoring.

    In a compact, diverse and relatively populous country such as England-UK, bullying is quite correctly viewed in my view as an important aspect of public policy. My Internet searches have suggested that the situation in New Zealand for example is far less developed. I am firmly of the view that all bullying must be condemned and have recently stated this clearly/publicly in an adult context. That said, despite Government plans to support mentoring of individual families (generally identifiable to “services”), this is seen as a difficult area and the expenditure is being challenged at a time of “austerity”. Realistically, with such an area as bullying, schools are just one of a number of “partners” needing to be involved.

    While i can’t see easy solutions here, it just seems important to try and not give up. You will have seen by now that i regard bullying as a “rights” matter that is distinct from thc “cultural” sphere of education. Of course, you can see by now where this logic is headed!

    NB, some bullied children from elsewhere, frequently with particular needs do well in Waldorf Education, an important part of value added. Sadly, in my view, others do not.

    Hi Hollywood Tomfortas. Quite strong medicine when in print, especially from across the Pond.. For me, “investigation” must mean closing the book. :-) A scan of the press, viewing Al-Jezeera (maybe the BBC:-) and perhaps casual conversation, at least in the UK would suggest that all is not well now. In 2012, we have the dubious privilege of hindsight, while Steiner was painting a picture for some. In the Uk: Libya, Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo and others have shaken both opinion and governments, especially as the UK has Security Council membership.

    Together, the “Versailles Treaties” embodied the points in many ways, even though they were not ratified by the US – no blame, just fact. They broadly covered Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Over many years, these areas (and perhaps more importantly their populations) have been the perpetrators and victims of many trials. Some (will we know the total) are on the public record. As Noam Chomsky would say – “You can look it up”. Academics have also suggested that President Wilson was ill at the time. I don’t know one way or the other.

    Sorry. Hobby horse.

  178. David Clark · ·

    Hi Tom,

    Sorry i missed your question above. Hope you have made some progress in sourcing your enquiry.

    David

  179. David, I’m sorry I’m so absent, but I wonder about this: ‘From Alicia’s Blog header, i reckoned anthroposophy was being related to political campaigning. After the Election, i appreciate you may have changed your mind on blogging themes.’

    I’m not sure whether you say this to Diana or to me, although you address her, it seems to be me as I’m the one blogging. It doesn’t make sense to me. What did you see in my blog header? (I see a picture of tulips.) I have never been doing anything about any political campaign. I’m not in the US. I have not changed anything based upon anything to do with the US elections.

    I’m sorry if the context of this is evident from the thread. I’m simply lost, and I can only apologize for it.

    ‘i would suggest that comments that i heard second-hand would be unacceptable here and potentially damaging to the individual concerned. Using my imagination as a man, i would have felt both violated and vulnerable. Quite Awful.’

    Are there any such damaging comments in this thread about an individual? Could you be so very kind to alert me to them? (If I’m irresponsive, my email is, as usual, zzzooey@gmail.com.) I would be very grateful.

  180. David Clark · ·

    Hi All,

    Questions of karma and reincarnation. For me, these may be more connected with experience and observation than with lexical considerations.In several key books, i reckon Steiner gave indications that may be extended (through homework) to these questions. i’ve not done this, but could well envisage the possibility. Considering the prospect of my relying on lectures, I am quite concerned at the risk of what mainstream philosophers call “self reference”.

    With Waldorf for example, there may be serious risks. While practitioners Waldorf Education can make claims that are performative and ontological, the printed/internet anthroposophical oeuvre can frequently be seen as cognitive and epistemological. With such widely different realms of knowledge and understanding, it is perhaps no surprise that views differ or become polarised. Tricky.

  181. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia,

    Many apologies. I’ve not been clear myself, relying only on media “speculation”. Consider my comments in their entirety withdrawn. Referring to the first two paragraphs in an unattributable way, i was trying to focus matters back to themes on the top of the text. If this is a moderation query, you are very welcome to delete this entry.

    David

  182. David, no worries, thanks for explaining! I can, I hope, sleep peacefully now. On my to-do-list for tomorrow I have included: reading the comments I’ve missed.

  183. Ok, I’m a bit late to these old comments, but will try to focus on a few things directed towards me.

    Ted wrote: ‘maybe the best of a bad situation around the fact that the child does chose the [raped] mother.’

    I find the entire idea revolting. I suppose I prefer to think about what’s best for the one person who is actually in this world, not in the ‘spirit world’. That would be the mother. I can’t see many a situation when the best of a bad situation is for a woman to give birth to the result of a rape. The spirit might need a foetus to incarnate into, but that woman needs an abortion. My intuitition her very much aligns with Diana’s perspective from personal experience. (She wrote: ‘The prochoice position is based on the notion that – guess what – the woman’s wellbeing – in the event of rape, her life and her sanity – count too, not just the potential unborn child’s. This is a spiritual value.’ — The woman’s well-being is, in my opinion, the only value to take seriously in that situation.)

    ‘(perhaps you are getting confused by Diana’s expression ‘gift of God’?)’

    I had the impression you agreed with it (I know Diana didn’t use the expression as a believer in gifts from god!), as you wrote: ‘The child is a ‘gift of God’, regardless of whether it is ‘born as the result of a rape’, not because of it.’ The child is, as though it were a fact.

    ‘This conception of ‘karma’ is the critics’, not Steiner’s.’

    I guess that in the 100+ comments since, it has been shown to you that the critics’s perception of what Steiner’s said about karma is more accurate than what you think he thought.

    Of course, Steiner doesn’t work in kindergartens and schools. Anthroposophists do. And they use karma as an excuse. They do blame the victims.

    ‘Still, Steiner’s view was that we should intervene.’

    Problem is — he spoke at length about various karmic explanations as to why things have to happen in a certain way. The times he talks about a karmic duty of intervention are far easier to count. Reading him talk about the importance of past life conflicts playing into this life, you certainly get the picture that this is something between the two to work out, or it will continue to ‘haunt’ them. Diana then asked ted about this in a later comment (#20002). I don’t remember which passages Ted quoted and can’t find them now (jumping back and forth between comments, while trying to make progress reading the thread…). But Steiner talks about this in Manifestations of Karma. I remember it very well from the context of disease intervention. He says that karma should not stop us from doing what we can to cure, alleviate suffering, et c. In a way that is applicable on all karmic situations. But still — I don’t think it’s possible to say that he admonishes his followers about it frequently.

    Diana: ‘If I’m recalling correctly “Karmic Relationships” is an 8-volume series of Steiner’s sweeping speculations on karmic connections throughout history.’

    That was the one I had in mind. It’s brimfull of wild speculation.

    Diana: ‘Definitely, Steiner says that not everything that happens is karma.’

    Is that so? I had the idea that everything can be placed in some kind of karmic perspective, forward-looking or backward-looking, whatever. Everything has or is a cause, and there’s a karmic aspect to every causal relationship. He does say that nothing happens by chance, if I’m not mistaken. I may be overestimating the karmic aspect of the trivial though… (That anthroposophists can find ways to ‘reason’ themselves around the notion of karma when they need to… now, that’s another matter! (It doesn’t seem to be a result of their karma to have people criticizing their schools, e g ;-)) I agree however that Steiner thinks his version of karma does not contradict the existance of free will.

    David: ‘In my experience, anthroposophy is generally about recognising the subtleties of everyday life.’

    Which isn’t bad, of course, were the individual able to become more ‘accomplished’ in this manner with the help of anthroposophy. I’m not sure that is the case, generally speaking.

    Diana: ‘But I take your point that it might theoretically be possible to “advance the epoch” by doing certain exercises.’

    He does say (and not in Christ and the Human Soul, which I don’t think I’ve read either) that doing ‘work’, spiritually speaking, makes the progress of humanity possible. When people have evolved sufficiently, they reach new stages in consciousness and this is a prerequisite for a the new epoch to begin. So I suppose that if not doing things might obviously mean a risk that development is delayed, so should speedy progression (let’s say everone turned anthroposophist tomorrow and sent their kids to Steiner schools, ensuring that the kids weren’t ahrimanically hardened…) mean we were ready for the next epoch much faster. Although it would still probably be way into the future. But as far as I can remember, he does connect the epoch ‘turns’ to the progression of humanity which is dependent on the spiritual work being done by humans. (This babble only to say it makes sense to me too to think that it’s possible to advance the epoch…)

    David and Ted — interesting stuff about situations where you’ve found Steiner’s ideas meaningful/useful. I can, in a way, see what you mean.

    Diana: ‘Why would you think the child chose the mother, and not the father? Sorry, that’s not what Steiner said. [...] What if the father is ALREADY making something up to the mother? Maybe the mother did something horrible to the father in a past life.’

    Exactly. The child (spirit) chooses the parents, says Steiner. He doesn’t make any difference between the mother and the father. In this case, it might be that the most important thing was for that spirit to have that father and to have the experience of living with a mother who had not chosen the situation. I bet that impacts on the relationship between the child and the mother, providing a challenge that the child’s spirit needs. And it is indeed so that a murder victim in this life can have done something to the perpetrator in the past life (Steiner gives historical examples of such and similar sequences of events). There’s no reason why a a rape victim might then not have done something bad to the perpetrator in a past life. It is then even ‘fair’ that things are evened out this way. I have seen anthroposophists suggest that if there was no karma and no reincarnation, things would never be fair. As it is, if we suppose this is correct, karma takes care of fairness. Cosmic justice.

    The logical consequence of such reasoning is that it is actually potentially a question of fairness that the raped woman was raped. And if it wasn’t fair, in some retributive sense, it was at least some kind of karmic lesson for someone, all in the interest of spiritual progression of humanity.

    Ok, got to quit for now…

  184. oh, by the way, Diana — are there any more general book on karma — various conceptions of it, history, anthropology, et c — that you can recommend?

  185. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia. i reckon this may be the start of an appropriately skeptical enquiry. You wrote:

    “I’m not sure that this is the case, generally speaking”.

    While i am aware of several sources, i would be very interested in learning about anything you may discover independently. Perhaps we could compare notes after a while.

    David

  186. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Alicia,

    Rather than calling professor Karen Priestman a ‘fervent Waldorf suporter’ on quacks maybe you should try reading her work. It’s very good and presents a balanced account of a fraught situation in a controversial period of history.  Though you won’t want to hear this (as Melanie said of me on quacks on Staudenmaier), it is something very different from the politically motivated, biased scholarship that Peter Staudenmaier writes. 

    Illusion of Coexistence: The Waldorf Schools in the Third Reich, 1933–1941

    http://scholars.wlu.ca/etd/1080/

  187. I’m trying to understand what you’re going on about and why, but Priestman has not been mentioned in context of the discussion here. I know you mentioned her elsewhere, but there’s enough for me in this thread to catch up with anyway. Sorry, too tired. And no, someone who calls someone else, for no good reason, an ‘anti-anthroposophist’ is not worth it. That kind of crap coming from anthroposophists is nothing but a testament to their own simplemindedness and closed-mindedness. So I hope for Priestman’s sake that you just made that up.

    Peter writes about Priestman here:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/23832

  188. Sorry, I’m just generally irritable. But I’m sure someone has replied reasonably to your comments on the quackometer. I hope so at least. I’ve simply run out of time and have not managed to return to that thread. Will try to later.

  189. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “That kind of crap coming from anthroposophists is nothing but a testament to their own simplemindedness and closed-mindedness.”

    She’s declared herself unaffiliated.

  190. Hi all, I’ll be back later too … these threads are just too much to keep up with at the moment!! And I really don’t know what David Clark is talking about at all.

  191. Quickly – Alicia, thank you for putting this so plainly:

    “The spirit might need a foetus to incarnate into, but that woman needs an abortion.”

    Exactly. The spirit (of the embryo, looking for somewhere to incarnate) can wander off and look elsewhere, thanks anyway.

  192. ‘She’s declared herself unaffiliated.’

    They ALWAYS do.

    *

    Diana, I know exactly what you mean. I tried to read this thread yesterday and reply to some of the things. I got half way through. I had read parts of the quackometer thread the other day when I replied to it, but I bet it’s run away too at a high pace. Me standing behind looking at its tail disappearing in the far distance. Like mr Dog chasing a bunny. I’m hesitant to comment anywhere these days, because I know I will have to neglect following it up.

  193. Alicia, you questioned this – “Diana: ‘Definitely, Steiner says that not everything that happens is karma.’

    Well, I’ve certainly learned from talking to anthroposophists that they don’t understand Steiner as claiming that everything is karmic. Sometimes, you trip and fall over something in the street because there was something there to trip over, or because you’re clumsy. Not every trivial incident has karmic meaning.

    Of course, as I’ve been saying we have to distinguish between what Steiner taught and what his students think he taught. This is further complicated by the fact that what Steiner taught is itself often contradictory.

    I think I would sum it up as: Yes, everything is karmic. However, to understand a particular incident, you need a rather large understanding of karma, and you shouldn’t overestimate your own place in it. Remember there’s group karma, racial karma, etc. Also, the karma of individuals intersects in mysterious ways.

    What this means practically is that you can’t claim that a particular incident happening to a particular person is karmic. The karma in the situation could be someone else’s. So you can’t – theoretically – say that if a woman is raped, it’s her karma. It might be someone else’s karma, and she’s just a bit player in the scenario – for instance, the scenario discussed above where a very “special child” is born from a rape. It’s the child’s karma at issue, not his mother’s.

    Personally, I find this situation equally ghastly, if not even more so in some respects. Sometimes it seems to me the things religious believers can dream up have quite the opposite of the intended effect of somehow extracting a more or less benign sense of the world. A world in which you can actually be USED in other people’s karma makes less sense, really, than the simple, random, materialistic universe that anthroposophists often tell us would be so appalling. I’m really happier to think I was assaulted when I was 23 because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and crossed paths with a bad person. (He did literally leap out at me.) Scenarios where – even if I wasn’t karmically, somehow, to blame, or needing to “learn a spiritual lesson,” or necessarily even karmically *involved* – I’m some kind of hired hand in someone else’s karmic action plot? are really even more fiendish.

  194. Just quickly, too: ‘Sometimes, you trip and fall over something in the street because there was something there to trip over, or because you’re clumsy.’

    But — why are you clumsy? To learn something in this life from being clumsy. See, there’s one potential karmic aspect.

    I guess that’s what I mean — there’s a karmic aspect to everything, or in everything. Of course, it’s all speculation anyway.

    ‘However, to understand a particular incident, you need a rather large understanding of karma …’

    Exactly. It’s not, as you point out, necessarily that particular person’s karma, it can be group karma, someone else’s karma, and so forth. But were you able to ‘read’ the situation fully and in every aspect — which would require perfect clairvoyance! — then you’d be able to find karmic considerations that play a part in every event.

    ‘Scenarios where – even if I wasn’t karmically, somehow, to blame, or needing to “learn a spiritual lesson,” or necessarily even karmically *involved* – I’m some kind of hired hand in someone else’s karmic action plot? are really even more fiendish.’

    I agree with you, it is absolutely horrifying to think that, for example, it happened so that the perpetrator could learn some kind of lesson and become a better person — perhaps after a few more incarnations, who knows — because you, as an individual, is treated as nothing more than a brick in a big Lego building that at some point in the distant future is supposed to turn into magnificent 6th epoch architecture.

    I do wonder, however, Steiner actually dared to understand all the potential implications of this.

    It seems to me like what superficially might seem fair or just might, when taken to another level, be unfair and unjust.

    And the problem is, of coure, that if we consider the (very likely) possibility that there is no reincarnation, this life is all there is, then karmic speculation is potentially cruel, here and now.

  195. Here is a random thought that will probably mainly reflect the fact that I didn’t get any sleep, but anyway –

    It occurs to me that there is only so much meaning to go around. We’re all trying to make meaning out of the universe, and out of our lives. Karmic theories attempt to account for a really huge amount of meaning in the world. Meaning is constantly having to be redistributed. It’s like we’re walking around saying, “Meaning is HERE. No, wait, it’s HERE. If it’s here, it can’t also be over there.”

    If you have a scenario where a woman is raped and you don’t like the idea that maybe it was her karma – she did something bad to the rapist in a past life – so you say it wasn’t really *her* karma, it’s someone else’s karma – the child’s maybe. (Or perhaps, part of a larger group karma – might this explain mass rapes in war?)

    Okay. So, to HER, now you’re saying (pretty much what Ted tried to claim, above) that the incident has no karmic meaning. But it’s like she’s been used. The incident wasn’t meaningless, it was just about somebody ELSE’S meaning-production. In order for the child to fulfill his/her destiny, this poor woman, essentially karmically in the wrong place at the wrong time, has just been used like her own life was meaningless, worthless, of no account. The world is full of meaning, chock full, overflowing – but not for her, right now. Her suffering is not accounted for – it didn’t matter. In order to distribute a huge amount of meaning to this about-to-be-born child, the woman’s life had to be completely discounted, in the universe of meaning.

    Does it really make any sense to posit that the world overall works according to a guiding karmic principle, yet sometimes, people are just OUTSIDE the whole operation of karma? In this formulation, when something bad happens that’s NOT your karma, it’s like you’re nobody. Utterly drained of meaning, ‘cus someone else is having an uber-meaningful experience at your expense, existentially.

    Maybe I’m quite wrong about this, but it seems like the theory is about continual and strenuous efforts to distribute meaning, recognizing – which I think we all do whether we believe in karma or not – that there is only so much meaning to go around. Meaning really can’t be everywhere, attaching to everything. If everything is meaningful, then nothing is meaningful. Adherents to a karma doctrine recognize that and spend a lot of time adjusting where meaning gets placed.

    Like I say, I’m going to need a lot of coffee if I’m going to get anything done today …

  196. David Clark · ·

    Hi Diana,

    Hello Diana,

    Hope i’ve been clear about scenarios. Is the aim to use ghastly ones as heuristic devices that support our conversation, like historians sometimes try to do? Suggest it may be good to flick through an introductory text on philosophy or a Dictionary. These themes have been in the public domain for some time but are more recent than Steiner :-) Ah! Where is Noam Chomsky? {i’m joking – i know where his web site is – quite interesting and thought provoking.}

    David

  197. “Suggest it may be good to flick through an introductory text on philosophy or a Dictionary. ”

    Ya think.

  198. That’s brilliant! I think you didn’t get any sleep so that we could benefit from these insights. One might say this blog thread had an über-meaningful experience at your expense!

    But yes. It is a closed system of meaning and these units of meaning need to be distributed around in various complicated ways.

  199. Brilliant was referring to (as is obvious I guess) the karmic/meaning distribution system. It really makes sense.

  200. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Diana says:

    ‘It occurs to me that there is only so much meaning to go around… In order to distribute a huge amount of meaning to this about-to-be-born child, the woman’s life had to be completely discounted, in the universe of meaning.”

    Some of us beg to differ:

    “…
    Why on earth are you there?
    When you’re everywhere
    Come and get your share.
    …”

    JOHN LENNON – INSTANT KARMA (WE ALL SHINE ON)

  201. “Some of us beg to differ:”

    Ok Ted. But then you’ve undermined your own earlier arguments, you do realize? My argument takes your earlier arguments seriously … that everything isn’t karma, that the karma of interest in the rape scenario isn’t necessarily the woman’s karma, etc. You’re changing your mind? (Remember all that stuff you insisted I wasn’t acknowledging, or wasn’t “using”? are you done claiming I’m not acknowledging all that, and moving on to pretending you never claimed all the stuff I was supposed to acknowledge anyway?)

    That would fit with your decision awhile back that we were “done,” so no more point in trying to reply to any of my questions or points. And yet you didn’t exactly drop the thread. Maybe you think we’re all going to forget you just dropped the points where you were shown wrong (e.g., your notion that Steiner said we choose our mother but not our father), without acknowledgment, claiming the problem was my “tone.”

  202. ‘It occurs to me that there is only so much meaning to go around… In order to distribute a huge amount of meaning to this about-to-be-born child, the woman’s life had to be completely discounted, in the universe of meaning.”

    “Some of us beg to differ:”

    Seriously Ted which is it? Is the woman’s karma involved or not? Try to remember I was *agreeing* with the point you are now disavowing.

  203. David Clark: “Hi Diana. From Alicia’s Blog header, i reckoned anthroposophy was being related to political campaigning. After the Election, i appreciate you may have changed your mind on blogging themes. i would suggest that comments that i heard second-hand would be unacceptable here and potentially damaging to the individual concerned. Using my imagination as a man, i would have felt both violated and vulnerable. Quite Awful.”

    I have no idea what this was about. Did it ever get cleared up?

  204. well, David replied here: https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20201

    I’m not sure I understand what it was actually about, but all I wanted to know at that point was whether there were any comments I needed to attend to. And if I understand it correctly, there weren’t. Other than that, I really don’t know.

    I didn’t bother anymore about the header stuff; I happen to know there’s been a picture of tulips there all the time… (Unless some tulips have turned themselves into Romney and Obama, without me knowing it.)

    As he is actually addressing you, perhaps he can explain what he meant. What is the context, what and where are the comments or media speculation referred to (not on this blog apparently?), why are they damaging, et c.

  205. Thanks, I read his reply, but it’s completely baffling.
    The comment that you started the thread with was from me, and you took it from the critics list. It was thoughts about karma, rape, and abortion that occurred to me in the context of the US election. I am not sure if David’s comments are to do with my original comment, if he is perhaps somehow mixed up between your blog and the critics list. Then he said he thought maybe I changed my mind about something, after the election – I have no idea what. It would be hard to mistake this blog for a political blog. By “header,” I assumed he meant “Karma and evil,” but that doesn’t seem to have political connotations either, strictly speaking. I really never got a handle as to what most of his remarks were even about.

  206. Oh, indeed, the initial comparison between a certain kind of fundamentalist christian view (which is the same, election or not) and the anthroposophical view. I felt it was more inspired by things that occurred during the election campaign than with the election itself. If it can be put that way.

    Well, I’m not sure. I’ll try to read the other half of the thread tonight, and I’ll see if I understand some more. (It’s so annoying that I’ve read some comments, not all. Still have to skim through all of them, otherwise I miss the context…)

    ‘Seriously Ted which is it? Is the woman’s karma involved or not? Try to remember I was *agreeing* with the point you are now disavowing.’

    This reminds me of discussions on critics…

  207. It’s going to be difficult to read all the way through. I’m partly to blame for that because there is a lot of repetition. I really persisted in putting direct questions to Ted and pointing out which points he refused to answer. (For my trouble I got mainly complaints about “tone.”)

  208. I read about half yesterday! (I think I will have to reply less when I read the rest of it though.) In any case, your comments are always a delight.

  209. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Pete K to me on quacks:

    “You’re here to throw your own feces hoping to make critics look bad.”

    It seems to me that Karaiskos has been showing increasing signs of mental unbalance (such as threatening to ‘gut like a sack of fish’ people he didn’t like at Highland Hall last Spring). Melanie in general lauds his performance on quacks and has in this instance accused me of attacking him, when the reverse has been apparent from the evidence. It seems to me that you do him no favours here when you support his delusion that he is capable of rational debate, and instead could help him by pointing out that anger has overridden  logic and that his notion of ‘reason’ has become very shaky, certainly on the evidence of his performance on quacks. For his own safety, on quacks I said that he seemed psychologically unbalanced to me and that I thought that he ought to seek professional help. His response was:

    “That, I won’t argue with. But, whether I’m psychologically balanced or not has absolutely nothing to do with the points I’ve made Ted.”

    Indicating that he appears to agree – a cry for help?As part of his social network,  perhaps critics, quacks and the kiosk ought to be concerned for his future too.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  210. Ted wrote, in reply to Diana (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20013): ‘If you really mean ‘unprofessional’ (and anyway for injury or illness) then no they don’t. This is just what I (and Steiner) was admonishing against with my expression ‘idle speculation about karma’. Such people would do better to forget about karma, as they are just using it as an *excuse* to *justify* bad behaviour, which is pretty much the opposite of the theory or the sober, careful reflection that it should provoke (‘a holy mystery’).’

    Oh. So speculation about karma is allowed — even recommendable — for teachers if they do it ‘professionally’?

    Who is to judge which speculations are professional and which ones are unprofessional? Which ones are idle and which are not?

    The person who is considered most clairvoyant?

    I have to say I think it does seem like a sounder idea to get real professionals involved — pedagogues, psychologists, doctors — than to try to ascertain that teachers only speculate about karma in a ‘professional’ manner and not an ‘idle’ manner. Nobody can know the difference anyway.

    ‘Well, for the good ones, not ‘ignore’ perhaps, but refrain from gossipy speculation or ignorant actions.’

    This is perhaps just as worse — are they telling the child’s parents that they speculate about the child’s karma at all? Does it matter if they don’t do it in a gossipy way or that their actions aren’t ignorant? They speculate about karma — why are they so hesitant to advertise this? How do we know that they child is not hurt by these speculations, even if they aren’t gossipy or ignorant? Because, no doubt, these speculations must require the teacher’s time and energy — time and energy that could have been used on meaningful interventions. I know this is peripheral to the topic at hand, but it makes me quite irate that this is going on and that these schools ask for state funding to pay for this nonsense when it could be used to pay for methods that have some chance of working.

    *

    I agree with Tom’s interpretation of what ‘a child is a gift from god’ (and similar sayings) might mean (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20032): ‘What it can mean is that every child, no matter how they came into the world, whether via a petrie dish, an act of love, an act of hatred, an accident, whatever… no matter what their antecedents, is a precious human life deserving all the devotion, love, nurturing and respect that every other child deserves.’

    Unfortunately, that is so often not what religious zealots think of when they invoke the notion of the child as a gift from god. They don’t see it as a (one might almost say required) humane, moral attitude towards the child as an individual human being once it’s born, but as a way of imposing a duty — often one that is terribly burdensome — on the woman. They don’t see it as a call for showing respect, love, et c for this child, but as a justification for disrespecting the woman and her choices. Which is why, of course, it is so troubling.

    (I later noticed Diana’s comment here: https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20047. I suspect that what Tom wrote really is more politically obnoxious from an american perspective as in the US there are forces trying to restrict women’s rights — and there are very real dangers in this regard. Obviously, this is the case with some european countries as well, though luckily not the UK — I believe? — or Sweden… But what Tom wrote could easily pass as completely sane, sound and normal where I am, and nobody would think that the person saying it was thinking of restrictions in the right of abortion. Not that there aren’t some people who are against abortion, but they are much less a political problem here, which means such utterances would probably be interpreted somewhat differently. I think. Although, of course, we’ve got to recognize how they have been used.)

    Tom (in his subsequent comment): ‘If the raped woman becomes pregnant and chooses not to bring the pregnancy to term then that is her choice. Karma has nothing to do with that either.’

    I suppose someone might have jumped on this already. I’m thinking: if you buy the concept of karma, you can’t say karma has nothing to do with it. It might very well have something to do with it. Various speculations about karma might however be far off the mark. Rejecting speculation about karma is and especially in this context is usually a sensible approach (as you point out, such speculations make the individual an object of study in an unpleasant way). But it must be impossible to say karma had nothing to do with any of the events — from the evil act to the woman’s choice. I mean, if karma is to have any meaning, it can’t just be considered absent in certain contexts and present in other (or stronger in some contexts and weaker in other contexts).

    And I notice (gah! reading and replying at the same time) that Tom adds a similar explanation in a later comment… so no disagreement there. (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20078)

    *
    As Diana pointed out, we always, to some extent, speculate as to why something happened, we try to figure out the reasons and causes and find out about the history leading up to an event (perhaps something we read about in the newspaper). This is inevitable. The problem arises if people think they have insights into someone previous lives (or upcoming ones) or other unknowable factors and lets this affect their moral judgments of the person or the treatment of or attitude towards him/her. What is described here: https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20044 does become a problem because actual children are subjected to this. The child is not a newspaper story to the teacher.

    *
    Diana (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20091): ‘Perhaps it’s not of as much interest to European readers of this blog, but I’m an American, and my comparison derived from the current political situation in the US, where the outcome of the presidential election may have been at least partly related to voters’ decisive rejection of prehistoric misogynistic attitudes like those of Todd Akins and Richard Mourdock.’

    Their statements were reported here too, but mostly because they appeared so shocking, ignorant, reactionary and evil. However, I suspect this stuff *should* interest us more also here in Europe — and not interest us only as a freak curiosity –, as these horrible attitudes are not entirely gone. As we were reminded when a woman recently died in Ireland because doctors refused to abort a dying foetus. Not exactly the same (no rape situation), but the event is a symptom of exactly the same attitudes.

    ‘This is about control of women’s bodies. We narrowly escaped electing a bunch of nasty old men who would pass legislation returning us to a bygone era where women submit to men, require male protection, and have no choice but to submit to traditional sex roles. Without the ability to control our fertility, we roll back the clock on women’s gains in the workforce, our improved economic status, health, educational advancements, etc.’

    Absolutely.

    ‘Fortunately, we haven’t yet heard karmic explanations for incest. Doesn’t incest have karmic explanations as well?’

    Of course. It must.

    *
    I’m also, after having read the entire thread, interesting in answers to Diana’s questions. https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20112

    It’s not a quote battle, but Ted does make quite distinctive claims as to what Steiner taught in these regards, and I have not seen these claims verified in Steiner. Which means either that I haven’t read the particular passages where Steiner says these things (entirely possible) or Ted is presenting his preferred version of what he hopes Steiner said!

    If Steiner said that the child (the spirit) sees more clearly when choosing the mother than the father, well, then he said so. But I’m not sure he did. And this question isn’t answered by noting that the process is never perfect, it’s always approximation, different karmic considerations can apply and so forth. The question is about a particular difference between the choice of father and the choice of mother.

    *
    Tom (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20121): ‘There is nothing that would count as ‘evidence’ for or against the statement, ‘this is karmic’. ‘This is karmic’ is a statement in a universe of discourse which is about ultimate purposes, about how events that to all intents and purposes look meaningless, can have a meaning for the person they happened to.’

    And for other people, and for humanity, and for the world. The meaning is certainly there, whether we speculate on it or not. If karma is true.

    *

    Tom (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20159): ‘The phrase about the child who walks up to the bully, ‘looking for an adrenalin rush’ is really quite vile. Do you think Alicia was seeking the attention of the child who constantly kicked her in the back to the point she could barely breath or stand?’

    If Ted wonders (for real), the answer is no. I kept away. If I could. Some of these kids had been there since kindergarten (this incident was late, 5th grade perhaps) and back then I certainly held my distance; I was terrified of other children because of it, I never sought contact with other children voluntarily, and much less, of course, would I have done that with kids I was afraid of. If I played with other children, it wasn’t on my initiative.

    The notion that the bullied child seeks an adrenalin rush is completely abhorrent. (Referred to by Tom here: https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20177.)

    (One might ask: is there a difference hypothesizing that the victim seeks the situation for an adrenalin rush/self-medication or to speculate that it is for karmic reasons? Isn’t this a waldorf school trying to put seemingly acceptable modern words for situations that they would have used karma to justify earlier. Diana is raising a similar point when she says that such ideas colour how teachers’ interpret a situation.)

    … and now, a sigh of relief from me, I have read through the thread!

  211. Um, Ted, speaking of rational debate, maybe you should worry about your own performance rather than Pete’s. A number of questions have been directed your way which you have rather petulantly refused to answer.

  212. “there are forces trying to restrict women’s rights — and there are very real dangers in this regard. Obviously, this is the case with some european countries as well, though luckily not the UK — I believe? — or Sweden…”

    Ireland …

  213. David Clark · ·

    Nothing to add.

  214. If I remember it after a night’s sleep, I’m going to bring up the topic of bullying situations where there actually is a kind of symbiosis between two parties *and* where it might, to observers, appear as though both of them benefit from it. Or perhaps what we’re talking about, then, is more a situation where there’s emotional and even physical violence under a cloak of friendship. Because this happens among children too, and perhaps even easier among children because some children are starved for someone — someone at all — to be with. Loneliness is scarier, at least in social contexts such as school. (Being lonely, furthermore, attracts even worse bullies. A risk buillied children will shun at any cost. No matter what you’ve got to put up with.)

    But I must sleep.

  215. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Bravo, Diana! A standing ovula- . . . I mean . . . ovation for your tour de force of karmic questioning of Ted.

    Therefore, Lady Diana, may I be the first to say it at the Ethereal Kiosk

    You are going to make one hell of a man in your next incarnation!!!

    You go girl!!! (And when you go far enough, you be a boy!!!)

    Check out what Rudolf Steiner said about you — and all your sisters at the EK — in Lecture 9 of Manifestations of Karma given May 26, 1910 in Hamburg, GA 120
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ManfKarma/19100526p01.html

    ==========================
    Let us suppose that a woman lives in a certain incarnation. It cannot be denied that this woman, by reason of her sex, will undergo experiences which differ from those of a man, and that these are not merely dependent on her inner soul life, but for the most part they are connected with external happenings, with circumstances in which she will find herself simply because she is a woman, and which will again react upon the whole of the condition and disposition of her soul.

    We see, therefore, that certain deeds of woman are most intimately connected with the fact of her womanhood. Only in the realm of spiritual companionship is there any equality between man and woman.

    The further we penetrate into the purely spiritual and into the outer aspect of the human being, the more is accentuated the difference between man and woman in relation to their lives. We can say that woman differs from man also in certain qualities of the soul, and that she inclines more towards those impulses which must be termed emotional.

    For this reason we find that psychic experiences come to her more easily than to man. Intellectuality and materialism are, on the contrary, more natural to man’s life, and these strongly influence the soul life.

    So the psychic and emotional predominate in woman and the intellectual and materialistic in man.

    Thus it is that there are certain shadings in woman’s soul life by virtue of her womanhood. It has already been described how the qualities we experience in our souls force their way between death and a new birth into our next bodily organism.

    That which is psychically and emotionally the strongest and that which in the life between birth and death penetrates most deeply into the soul, will have a greater tendency to enter more profoundly into the organism, and to impregnate it far more intensively. And because woman absorbs psychical and emotional impressions, she also receives the experiences of life into the profounder depths of the soul.

    Man may have richer and also more scientific experiences, but they do not penetrate his soul life as deeply as do those of woman. The whole of the world of her experiences is deeply graven into a woman’s soul. Therefore those experiences will have a stronger tendency to affect the organism, to modify the organism more closely in the future.

    Thus woman’s life absorbs the tendency towards deeper intervention in the organism by means of the experiences of one incarnation, and thereby towards the formation of the organism itself in the next incarnation. A deep working into and working through the organism will bring forth a male organism.

    A male organism appears when the forces of the soul desire to be more deeply graven into matter. From this we see that the effect of woman’s experiences in one incarnation results in a male organism in the next incarnation.

    Occult teaching here shows that there is a connection which lies outside the bounds of morality.

    For this reason occultism states ‘Man is woman’s karma.’ The male organism of a later incarnation is the result of the experiences and events of a preceding female incarnation.

    At the risk of arousing in some of those present reflections which may possibly be uncongenial (it always happens that modern man is terrified of incarnating as woman), since these matters are facts, I must illuminate them objectively.
    ================================

    The next section is about the terror of us guys becoming girls.

    (I’m about to swoon. Alicia, is there a fainting couch at the EK? I need one now, please!)

    Now, Lady Diana, I would be remiss if I did not append an ancient Greek inspired “satyr play-like farcical sketch” to cap a serious pontification by Steiner, so — I don’t know if you recall this post I made to WC exactly two years ago, defending your virtue against Frank by calling attention to his “pre-incarnational penis envy.” — But here it is dated Nov 13, 2010.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/15740

    And here is Frank’s response:

    Au contraire! By the time I reincarnate women’s lib will have reached its
    culminating orgasm and they will rule society with iron loins – and I will be
    one of them. Can’t wait.

    Françoise [Thomasina Smith]
    ——————–

  216. Ted over on the quackometer:
    “Asking someone to produce an argument is a standard part of debate.”

  217. LOL, Diana! Perhaps, when the situation changes, it’s suddenly bad ‘tone’ to ask someone to produce an argument. Or viewpoints are suddenly the opposite of what they were yesterday, without any recognition that they appear to have changed…

  218. “It seems to me that Karaiskos has been showing increasing signs of mental unbalance (such as threatening to ‘gut like a sack of fish’ people he didn’t like at Highland Hall last Spring). Melanie in general lauds his performance on quacks and has in this instance accused me of attacking him, when the reverse has been apparent from the evidence. It seems to me that you do him no favours here when you support his delusion that he is capable of rational debate, and instead could help him by pointing out that anger has overridden logic and that his notion of ‘reason’ has become very shaky, certainly on the evidence of his performance on quacks. For his own safety, on quacks I said that he seemed psychologically unbalanced to me and that I thought that he ought to seek professional help. ”

    And yet, you’re the one left looking like the idiot Ted. How did a mentally unstable, delusional man do that to you in a public forum? Maybe publicly recommending people seek professional help isn’t as sound of a debating tactic as you believe it is…

  219. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Maybe publicly recommending people seek professional help isn’t as sound of a debating tactic as you believe it is…”

    It was no debating technique, Pete. It seemed too much mention in my post, but you believing it was is another indication of your unbalanced state of mind. You appear to be increasingly mis-reading the facts. We are all ill in various ways but some of us can see some of them and in doing so begin to do something about things.

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion!

    The Louse, Robert Burns

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  220. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Probably worth saying too that your performance was far from making me ‘look like an idiot’. But you are far from being able to see that…

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  221. “For his own safety, on quacks I said that he seemed psychologically unbalanced to me ”

    Ted, give it a rest. Do you seriously expect anyone in the debate, anywhere in the spectrum of opinions, believes you are concerned about Pete’s safety?

  222. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Do you seriously expect anyone in the debate, anywhere in the spectrum of opinions, believes you are concerned about Pete’s safety?”

    Probably not here, no – but it seemed worth airing anyway. As you’ll know I think, I’m not the only one to be concerned. Like most things, it does depend where on the ‘spectrum of opinions’ (not covered here) one is as to what one thinks.

  223. No, I meant here or anywhere. Sorry.

  224. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Ted, Pete! I’ve come up with a brilliant idea that will solve many of our difficulties together. And Pete, it will involve me becoming your agent, so we can later negotiate about my cut of the money being in the 10% to 15% range.

    OK, let’s unpack this gift box. Here’s where I got my inspiration. I was reading this article on Alternet about the recent re-election of President Obama entitled:

    2012 Reasons Why Progressives Should Love Right-Wing Media
    Thanks so much, Roger Ailes – we couldn’t have done it without you!

    http://www.alternet.org/media/2012-reasons-why-progressives-should-love-right-wing-media

    The article revels in the brilliant strategy of the Obama team to gain the crucial “Independents” vote. They succeeded by NOT demonizing Romney at all, but rather by presenting him as a kind of likable guy who is simply wrong in his political beliefs.

    So the appeal to those voters was: “OK, you may like Romney and that’s fine. But if Romney is re-elected, then he is going to open the floodgates to let in all these far-right wing Tea Party wackos, like the two men Diana has so much schadenfreude over: Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock.

    Now I realize that we are deep into the digital age, but I am old enough to be able still to make analogies. So here goes,

    The proliferation and thriving of Waldorf schools today represents the re-election of Obama.

    Dan Dugan represents Mitt Romney

    Pete K. represents the far-right extremist Tea Party wacko element. (Maybe Pete’s like Karl Rove or Rush Limbaugh more than Aiken & Mourdock, but those optics can be worked out later.)

    OK, so y’all see where I’m going with this. And Ted, specifically to you, I urge you to change your attitude about Pete in your blog comment interactions with him. Rather than oppose him directly and argue with him, instead, agree with him, encourage him, humor him. Let him hold forth even more . . . unplugged! (Actually I think it’s more “unhinged,” but I digress.)

    OK, now Pete, here’s my proposal to you. I have good connections at AWSNA. I will propose to them that Waldorf schools invite you to special parent evenings where you will be able to hold forth for at least an hour, presenting all your charges against Waldorf, followed by a Q & A session. I want to become your agent to set up these school visitations and since you will be coming into a giant windfall from your lawsuit against Highland Hall, then I’m even willing to come down from the standard agent’s 15% cut to 10%. (See I’m not greedy though I do smell lots of moolah in your future! And wouldn’t it be good karma to plough some of that money back into Waldorf schools?)

    Here’s how the parent evenings would go. Somewhere in the Q&A session, we will arrive at the evening’s climactic moment, what I call the CQM. That is the “Captain Queeg Moment.”

    (For those who miss this cultural reference, I refer to the great movie of 1954 “The Caine Mutiny” adapted from the novel by Herman Wouk, in which Humphrey Bogart played one of his last but arguably one of his best movie roles ever as the paranoid and delusional Captain P.F. Queeg of the USS Caine.
    See this 1:31 clip from the court martial at the end. Jeez, Pete, you actually do resemble Bogart. Take a look.)

    So you see, Pete, when we reach the CQM at the parent evening, (I would be standing in the back of the room to signal the CQM by rattling the 3 steel balls) and then all the “independent voter” parents, the ones who are on the fence about Waldorf, they will realize that Waldorf can’t be as bad as you paint it. Thus they decide to reject Romney, i.e. Dan Dugan, and the moderate realistic Critics. They then feel OK about enrolling their kids in the school.

    See, Pete, it’s all about Public Relations and you are a rock’n’rollicking PR disaster for Dan Dugan and the WC just as, say, Todd Aiken with his rape comments was such a PR disaster for Romney.

    But wait, there’s more! Preceisely because you are also just as clueless as Todd Aiken about the PR message you actually send, then everybody wins, Pete! It’s win-win-win all around. You get to speak to parents about the evils of Waldorf, I get to be your agent collecting my fee and rattling the 3 balls, Waldorf schools keep on keeping on and thriving, and hey, somebody ought to make a movie about it all. (Hmm, my name’s Hollywood. Maybe I should! Ya think?)

    Hollywood Tom Mellett

  225. Alicia picked up on Ted’s fuzzy thoughts about “speculating on karma” – Is it all right? Sometimes, always never? (Answer was “Depends.”)

    “Oh. So speculation about karma is allowed — even recommendable — for teachers if they do it ‘professionally’?
    Who is to judge which speculations are professional and which ones are unprofessional? Which ones are idle and which are not?”

    I’ll tell you how this is determined. *Every* anthroposophist believes that *his* or *her* speculations are professional and duly reverent as regards the “holy mysteries.” It’s always *other* people’s speculations that fall into the category of “gossip” or irresponsible etc.

  226. “I have to say I think it does seem like a sounder idea to get real professionals involved — pedagogues, psychologists, doctors — than to try to ascertain that teachers only speculate about karma in a ‘professional’ manner and not an ‘idle’ manner.”

    Yeah. (Understatement.) Apropos of this, this morning I was helping an author who planned on submitting a paper to a scholarly journal on child abuse and neglect. On an impulse I typed the word “karma” into the search box at the journal, to see if this term came up anywhere in any paper the journal had ever published. It didn’t. “Your search returned 0 results …”

    Professionals don’t consider karma, when trying to assist children who are victims of abuse. It isn’t one of their working concepts. Of course anthroposophists are much, much smarter than people who have gained actual professional knowledge and experience working with victimized children (sarcasm).

  227. Ted – ‘Well, for the good ones, not ‘ignore’ perhaps, but refrain from gossipy speculation or ignorant actions.’

    Alicia – “This is perhaps just as worse — are they telling the child’s parents that they speculate about the child’s karma at all? Does it matter if they don’t do it in a gossipy way or that their actions aren’t ignorant? They speculate about karma — why are they so hesitant to advertise this? How do we know that they child is not hurt by these speculations, even if they aren’t gossipy or ignorant? Because, no doubt, these speculations must require the teacher’s time and energy — time and energy that could have been used on meaningful interventions. I know this is peripheral to the topic at hand, but it makes me quite irate that this is going on and that these schools ask for state funding to pay for this nonsense when it could be used to pay for methods that have some chance of working.”

    Not peripheral at all – to me it’s the whole point of the topic. The point is not to diss anyone’s private beliefs. Lots of people believe in karma, religion is a private matter, and I have no interest in what religion any teacher follows on her own time, or what she believes privately about karma, her own or anyone else’s.

    Regarding the children in her care in the classroom, teacher needs to get with it, go out and acquire the professional knowledge and skills that are needed to help children in crisis situations. This is in short supply in Waldorf teacher training, in which trainees send a FULL SOLID YEAR reading anthroposophy before even getting around to how to work with children, and then it’s mostly, or at least very heavily, information that Rudolf Steiner supposedly discovered through “clairvoyance.” It’s still light on up to date discipline techniques, classroom management, and accountability, and heavy on irrelevant stuff like ancient Atlantis.

    Speculating on children’s karma is at BEST a waste of the children’s time and a betrayal of trust of both the children and the parents, not to mention their parents’ money, which could be spent on qualified professional help.

    In the classroom “karma” is a crutch for people without the proper skills or background to be working with children.

  228. “It’s not a quote battle, but Ted does make quite distinctive claims as to what Steiner taught”

    Yes, quite distinctive, but he seems to have lost interest in his claims now. He’s acting like a Waldorf teacher now, looking out the window and pretending to be interested in pretty butterflies flitting by, and seems not to hear the questions anymore.

  229. Ted Wrinch · ·

    As usual, I had to laugh Tom. I think you fulfil the role of the fool here (which seems better than being Melanie’s monkey puzzle tree!), someone that can speak truth to power, like King Lear’s loyal accomplice. Obviously, though, you’re not always reliable and whether it’s truth, hyperbole, egomania or something else you speak in a particular situation  involves everyone in their own, existential choice. 

    In parentheses : loved your ‘man is woman’s karma’ quote: so true, also why the arc of culture has been through materialism – patriarchy! – and is now on the re-ascendent – women’s liberation! – since the end of Kali Yuga around around 1870.

    Here, though, you say specifically:

    “And Ted, specifically to you, I urge you to change your attitude about Pete in your blog comment interactions with him. Rather than oppose him directly and argue with him, instead, agree with him, encourage him, humor him. Let him hold forth even more . . . unplugged! (Actually I think it’s more “unhinged,” but I digress.)”

    I’m glad you see the ‘unhinged’ element – that’s what worries me and what I was pointing to when I recommended he get help. However, and this is you having fun, for me to do what you say would likely just make him worse. Maybe precipitating breakdown can be therapeutic but I think there are other, more humane paths to recovery.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  230. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “In parentheses : loved your ‘man is woman’s karma’ quote: ”

    Better expresses what I meant as:

    “In parentheses : loved your ‘woman is man’s karma’ quote: ”

    But as the idea contains both formulations it doesn’t much matter.

  231. “See, Pete, it’s all about Public Relations and you are a rock’n’rollicking PR disaster for Dan Dugan and the WC just as, say, Todd Aiken with his rape comments was such a PR disaster for Romney. ”

    This would matter to me why exactly? Do you suppose I’m supporting the proliferation of Waldorf Critics? My biggest hope would be that there is no longer any NEED for Waldorf Critics. I think I’ve been more of a PR disaster for Waldorf. That’s what the numbers show anyway… ;)

  232. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Exactly! And, another “exactly.” So what exactly would those numbers be?

  233. The level of delusion around here is mind blowing.

  234. To clarify, I’m referring to things like 1) Ted’s fantasy that he could “precipitate a breakdown” in Pete, and 2) oh, why bother, you guys are all nuts.

  235. Oh, that was it “speaking truth to power” – are you having us on? This is totally delusional. Out there.

  236. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “The level of delusion around here is mind blowing….This is totally delusional. Out there.”

    Always happy to oblige :) (“we’re ridiculous (isn’t everyone, at some level).”).

  237. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Diana,

    What do you expect? After all, Rudolf Steiner taught that after the world karma disease of leprosy in the early Middle Ages, followed by the world karma disease of tuberculosis in the 19th century, that we would — and he was very specific about this prediction timewise — in the beginning of the 21st century, we would all begin to suffer from the world karma disease of . . . . insanity!

    Now I’ll have to find the German and check it, but the phrase I remember Steiner saying was either “epidemics of mass insanity” or else “mass epidemics of insanity.” I’ll get back to you on that.

    So isn’t this exciting, Diana? A prediction of Rudolf Steiner that is coming true right before your very eyes, well, at least before your eyes on your computer screen.

    I happen to think that this prediction trumps those other two that the Anthro Defenders love to trot out, you know, the mad-cow disease prediction and the bee colony collapse disorder.

    This one is so much better because it’s not about cows or bees. It’s about us people. All of us going . . . bonkers.

    Oh, wait, Diana, let me reassure you. This world karma disease of bonkerhood may not be contagious, at least not in the traditional microbial sense, but stiil, as a precaution, you might want to monitor more closely the content of what you read online, as it is electronically based (of course I mean Ahrimanically based) whereas if you read traditional Gutenberg Galaxy books of real paper and ink, (Luciferically based), you should be immune from this world karma disease.

    And Alicia, I was worried that my comment would go off topic, but then since this thread is all about karma, well, perhaps we can discuss all these world karma diseases that RS told us about.

    Happy Bonkerhood, everyone!

    Tom

  238. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Oh, Diana! Before I forget:

    Do I ever have a book for you to read! (Of course, as per my above safety indications, please order the paperback and not the Kindle version. )

    It really explains very well how the judgments of delusional thinking that you project on to me and Ted are simultaneously your own delusions as well. Now this does not mean that you have already caught the world karma disease of bonkerhood, but, even if you do catch it, be reassured that we’re all in it together, so what the hell, we might as well make the best of our common . . . . insanity. We’re all bonkers on this bus, right?

    I give you title author and blurb.

    Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind
    by Robert Kurzban

    We’re all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind.

    Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind’s design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don’t always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and over-inflated views of ourselves.

    This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a “self” with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no “I.” Instead, each of us is a contentious “we”–a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world.

    In clear language, full of wit and rich in examples, Kurzban explains the roots and implications of our inconsistent minds, and why it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite.

  239. “So what exactly would those numbers be?”
    One easy number to watch is Highland Hall’s waiting list. Well, they used to have one… now, they don’t… in fact, they are running at less than capacity (by something like 16 students) and are having to put on more fundraising events to take up the slack (see Crosby, Stills and Nash) and trying to pull high school students from public schools. They are also having trouble finding grade teachers and many of the current grade teachers are parents from within the school. I’ve been focusing on Highland Hall for much longer than I have other schools, so this is possibly the precursor to more global problems. Unlike yours, Tom, Pete’s big mouth actually makes a difference.

  240. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    OK, I found the earliest version of the statements about “epidemic insanity.” This one is from 1906, and also mentions fear of Attila the Hun causing leprosy. I know he returned to the same theme sometime during the World War I years and got specific about tuberculosis in the 19th C. and the 21st Century for insanity. Of course I may be deluded about that.

    Lecture 7 from At the Gates of Spiritual Science

    Workings of the Law of Karma in Human Life
    August 28, 1906, Stuttgart, GA 95

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GateSpiSci/19060828p01.html

    This then is how diseases affecting whole peoples have originated, and in ancient times some knowledge of it survived. The Bible has a true saying, very often misunderstood, when it speaks of God visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, even to the third and fourth generations. This does not refer to the successive incarnations of individuals, but to a karma affecting whole generations. We have to take the saying literally, as indeed many such statements have to be taken more literally than is usually thought.

    From what has been said you will realise that habits and feelings, which first belong to the spiritual life, can later express themselves in physical life. There is an important principle here: if care is taken to inculcate good habits, not only will the moral life of subsequent generations be improved, but also the health of a whole people, and vice versa. This is then their collective karma.

    There is a form of illness, very widespread today, which was hardly known a hundred years ago — nerves or neuroticism — not because it was unrecognised, but because it was so uncommon. This characteristic illness springs from the materialistic outlook of the 18th century. Without that, the illness would never have appeared. The occult teacher knows that if this materialism were to continue for a few decades more, it would have a devastating effect on the general health of mankind. If these materialistic habits of thought were to remain unchecked, people would not only be neurotic in the ordinary sense but children would be born trembling; they would not merely be sensitive to their environment but would receive from everything around them a sensation of pain.

    Above all, mental ailments would spread very rapidly; epidemics of insanity would occur during the following decade. This was the danger — epidemic insanity — that faced mankind, and the possibility of it in the future was why the leaders of humanity, the Masters of Wisdom, saw the necessity of allowing some spiritual wisdom to be diffused among mankind at large. Nothing short of a spiritual picture of the world could restore to coming generations a tendency to good health. Theosophy, you will realise, is thus a profound movement which has been given out to meet the needs of humanity. A hundred years ago a “nervous” man meant one with iron nerves. Simply from the change in the meaning of the word you can see that something quite new has come into the world.

  241. David Clark · ·

    Hi All. Hello Everyone.

    Another perspective on this thread.

    As a student many years ago, my studies were paper-based. As a result, sometimes, I feel empowered and able to control my direction. Now that’s a theory – sadly a testable one among those who know me.

    Anyway, I digress.

    Paper-based sources can be both helpful and valuable. They have to be sought out. They are sources. Frequently, access to them may involve other people. They can be quite difficult to get hold of – i recall moving a ladder to the right place and then climbing up – to discover the book wasn’t there. On the card system but long before electronic catalogues and information systems. Libraries were much quieter then – except when the wind tunnel roared, marking the aeronautical engineers’ practical (during the period when computers didn’t have much memory or processing capacity). Libraries were much more quiet then. Just imagine the depth of concentration that was required to obtain (or share) a book and extract the information required. Just imagine what was needed to develop an argument. At Hatfield, I remember that the librarians insisted upon and maintained silence – offend and be sent out.

    A quite different world. Now, it is possible to assemble a vast amount of information from the Imternet. You will already entered “History of the Internet” or “Joseph Weizenbaum” into your browser and will know just how vast the Internet has become from very small beginnings. Search. Explore.

    Even now, it can be quite good to speak with librarians. Probably better to catch the ear of an Academic Librarian. Do try to speak with someone and get some practical advice. I can’t emphasise how valuable this can be. Human contact – over a coffee. They love it.

    For now, i can offer some quick tips, especially as this is a rather spoecialised area. Having studied International Political and Financial Relations much more recently, i’ve some other suggestions. Before starting out, it can be very helpful to get a pen and some paper. A technique used by some is to isolate keywords around a theme – perhaps from a textbook, Dictionary or Thesaurus. Thinking creatively and independently from various sources. Working it out for yourself. If asked, i’m sure a caring and responsible librarian may help with this. At this stage, i suggest the computer should be kept switched off.

    No gnomes so far. i feel so much better.

    OK. Elsewhere, i’ve suggested some specific sites that you may wish to explore for yourselves. OK. They may seem quite unfamiliar, but explore them once again. Do they suggest areas of thought and experience that aren’t familiar to you? Isn’t that great! Just look at the number of items searched. I reckon this is an amazing world that may open up quite new areas of for discovery and themes for exploration. Wow!

    So far. our search has been quite limited. Perhaps it’s best that way. Yet, it is possible to broaden our horizons a little. Thinking of Martinmas once again, i recall my many visits to what was once West Germany. At that time there were four “Sectors”. You may wish to see what may be discovered on the Browser for yourself. Many happy memories of the world since 1945. So much has happened since Rudolf Steiner’s day. Of course, there are many interpretations of these events. i’m sure your search will reveal many facets of a lively international and interdisciplinary debate. For me, this was quite personal. I remember standing outside Spandau Prison in the 1960′s (no longer there – suggest you look it up) and visited Plotzensee Prison (still there – a harrowing memorial – look it up).

    Once started, the question is. Just where do you stop. You xan turn off the computer once again and perhaps revisit the list of key words. Preparing for Doctoral research into Rudolf Steiner’s perspective on economics, i’ve taken a look at what is available on that aspect. i have to say that the internet literature on these aspects is quite varied. Recalling my recent student days, one of the lecturers tore into a member of the tutorial group for inappropriately using internet sources. That person nearly failed. You can see the sort of difficulty here. Confirming my own search(es), threads have identified two historians with an interest in Postwar Germany You may wish to look at both of them for yourselves. They are affiliated to different institutions, in different countries. Just imaging that your children wished to attend one of them from 2013. What subjects? What Faculty? What are the strongest areas of specialism covered? That kind of thing. Oh yes, and one of them is a woman. While i’m not a great advocate of “herstory”, that can matter. Is that debate relevant here?

    You may wish to follow up some of these suggestions.

    Enjoy. Above all switch off the computer from time to time and meet people.

    Bye for now.

  242. Believe it or not, David, most of us grew up and studied in an age without internet. Most of us are very familiar with ‘paper-based’ sources. I have a number of those in my own book-shelves. Most of us are familiar with libraries. (I worked one summer in a library. Before computer catalogues.) Most of us are even familiar with university libraries. Your comment is plain odd. You write:

    ‘You may wish to follow up some of these suggestions.’

    What suggestions? That we recognize there are books printed on paper, that there are libraries where you can do research? Well, did we ever give you the impression we didn’t know this? This, if so, is not ‘another perspective’, you’re only stating something banal that everyone knows. Or do you try to say that we, unlike you (?), don’t get off the computer?

    Honestly, I have no idea what you’re trying to tell us now.

    *

    I’d like to share a couple of links from the critics list, if they haven’t been shared in the thread before. The karma of genocide: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25363 and karma and trauma: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25373

  243. Diana: ‘I’ll tell you how this is determined. *Every* anthroposophist believes that *his* or *her* speculations are professional and duly reverent as regards the “holy mysteries.” It’s always *other* people’s speculations that fall into the category of “gossip” or irresponsible etc.’

    Ah, thank you. I had a hunch that in reality it was quite a simple and quick procedure to determine this…

    ‘On an impulse I typed the word “karma” into the search box at the journal, to see if this term came up anywhere in any paper the journal had ever published. It didn’t. “Your search returned 0 results …”’

    Surprise…

    ‘Lots of people believe in karma, religion is a private matter, and I have no interest in what religion any teacher follows on her own time, or what she believes privately about karma, her own or anyone else’s.’

    Exactly.

    As for delusional level, well, again, exactly.

  244. “Libraries were much more quiet then.”

    In my experience (I’m in a library almost daily), libraries are quieter now, because so much more communication is electronic. Despite librarians’ shushing, libraries were noisier when people mainly talked out loud to each other. Today even the kids are quiet, ‘cus they’re texting. Also, many more people are using the library electronically without being physically present, so they’re not crowded. At least, that’s the case at the university where I work, which has several libraries, often silent as tombs in my experience.

    “Just imagine what was needed to develop an argument.”

    The same things that were needed to develop an argument then are required to develop an argument now. Try it some time. It does require an attention span longer than that of a fruit fly.

    “Confirming my own search(es), threads have identified two historians with an interest in Postwar Germany”

    Really?! You’ve found two whole historians with an interest in postwar Germany?

    “Oh yes, and one of them is a woman.”

    No!!!!!! They let women study history now?

  245. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Pete,

    Since you are a fellow engineering-type gear-head, I trust implicitly and explicitly your number crunching data. And you are right. I’ve noticed a definite “malaise” at the school when I last visited there back in early May for the spring festival. But there’s a definite reason for that and it has nothing to do with the volume of your voice or mine.

    Consider that Highland Hall was founded in 1955. So it falls smack in the middle of what I call the “Waldorf Era I” in charting the history of the development of Waldorf schools in the USA. Here’s my table of the 3 eras.

    Waldorf Era I – 1928-1979
    Waldorf Era II – 1979-2000
    Waldorf Era III — 2000-present

    I start Era I with 1928 since that was the founding of the first ever WS in the USA, Rudolf Steiner School in NYC. Just about all the schools founded during that era were like “hothouse plants,” in the sense that the German European model of Waldorf was over-protected like a fragile tropical plant brought over to the USA and kept in a “hothouse” to keep it well insulated from the harsh Ahrimanic conditions of American society.

    The crucial year of 1979 represents the “coup d’etat” at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento that overthrew the tyranny of the Era I model and started the proliferation of schools growing in the harsh soil of America on their own. Now I find it significant that the coup was engineered by 3 Jewish Anthroposophists: Rene Querido, a Dutch Jew who had fled the Nazis, and the then married couple, Franklin and Betty Kane from my hometown of NYC. They overthrew Rev. Carl Stegmann, the German representative of Rudolf Steiner himself, the man whom Steiner commissioned to bring anthroposophy to America. Betty Kane Staley is the only surviving member of this group.

    (I also find it quite telling that the San Francisco WS was founded in 1979, without which none of us would ever have heard of a guy named Dan Dugan.)

    What I call Era III is mainly represented by the proliferation of the charter Waldorf schools in California, with of course the PLANS opposition to them.

    But let’s get back to HH. I refer to all Era I schools as “dinosaur schools,” because they are the most “heavy,” as it were, still laden with a lot of their original “hothouse” baggage.

    Well, doesn’t that make you, Pete, a “dinosaur critic?” — since you are grappling with a dinosaur school. And BTW, I consider HH to be an Era I school that is closest to extinction, as you are pointing out with your statistics.

    My quibble is with your interpretation that you are extrapolating to fit all Waldorf schools in all 3 eras. I would say that your observation of such a “negative gradient” or trend line is only valid for Era I schools, since I observe especially Era III schools with positive gradients.

    So I suppose that is my tactful way of saying that you and the other Waldorf Critics are at least 33 years behind the times. Now I realize that Gregoire Perra is describing his experiences from only a decade ago, but his school was in France under quite different conditions than our American schools. You see, when I read Gregoire’s memoir, I am brought back nostalgically to the early 80’s when I would hear conspiratorial Anthros tell me about what really went on in Waldorf schools, but they were describing things that went on a decade or so before that.

    My point is, Pete, that you and other critics are like Don Quixotes tilting at a Waldorf Windmills that may have existed 3 decades ago, but don’t really exist in Era III schools today. But they certainly exist in your fervid Era I imaginations.

    But maybe I should stick with the dinosaur analogy. Consider the latest scientific theory about the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. As the big old lumbering dinosaurs were going extinct, a much smaller and much more agile and adaptable critter (Archaeopteryx) managed to avoid extinction and become the ancestor of our present day birds.

    In the same way, as you Critics grapple with Era I ideology, both you and the Era I schools are going extinct, but these little agile critters I call Era III schools have already made the evolutionary cut and are thriving quite well, thank you.

    Tom

  246. Daniel Perez · ·

    Tom,
    You hit the nail on the head! I think you should bring Alicia and Diana along with Pete to visit the perspective Waldorf parents. First of all, greetings! I can only make a cameo appearance here and there, but this was a particularly interesting discussion. – And I’m glad to know something about where Diana works, as I was wondering if I was the only one who works around here! I don’t have nearly the time everyone else does to chatter about. I suppose my running around after gnomes takes all my time. :-)

    Seriously, reading a long set of posts without being involved in the tit-for-tat exchanges is a refreshing perspective, and gave the following impression. When I was a young lad I remember vividly experiencing my awakening to the political world. It was quite sudden, as we were watching television one day and my father started muttering, “tricky Dicky, tricky Dicky”! At first I had no idea what this meant, but it was pretty clear that Richard Nixon had done something pretty bad.

    Now in my family one parent was a Democrat and one a Republican. My father had supported Nixon, and then became disillusioned. My mother supported Carter, and was also disillusioned. She even went to Carter’s inauguration. As a result, I always questioned both parties as I was not really biased one way or the other.

    There is an interesting synchronicity that arises when you observe such strong opposing points of view. I call it the “god on our side” syndrome. Dylan writes:

    Oh my name it ain’t nothin’, my age it means less
    The country I come from is called the Midwest
    I was taught and brought up there, all the laws to abide
    And that land that I live in has God on its side

    Oh the history books tell it, they tell it so well
    The cavalries charged and the Indians fell
    The cavalries charged and the Indians died
    Oh the country was young with God on its side

    And so when Diana talks about how horrible Todd Akin is, which is true, there is an odd experience. Akin simply believes he has “God on his side”. He is standing on moral ground and telling everyone else from his unique moral perspective how the land is laid out. When Diana attacks Waldorf education because she has “Professionals on her side”, you suddenly realize she is the same as Akin! In fact, they could be a power couple!

    The question then becomes, if each one of us thinks we alone have God on our side, then how do we get along? God suddenly becomes very busy, first fighting on one side and then the other. He (or she) gets worn out! In the mean time society falls apart.

    Take a look at Obama. He has lied more than any president I can remember in my adult life. As I mentioned, Nixon became my litmus test for a liar, but Obama has outdone Nixon with Benghazi and many other issues. Why? Because he has God on his side! And to some degree we all need to feel we are in the right, otherwise where would we gain motivation? What would drive us forward if we doubted our beliefs, even if they are fundamentalist?

    As Nietzsche framed it, the “Will to Power” is a fundamental force. Now there is a great deal of debate about what Nietzsche meant by the Will to Power, and whether it could be seen in a positive light. That doesn’t really matter, what matters is that the Will to Power exists and drives us. How do we transform it to a positive end?

  247. Daniel Perez · ·

    To be clear, my reference to Tom was to the post of November 16, 2012 – 6:16 pm…

  248. Yes, you’re right Daniel, I did say that to help children in crisis, professional training is better than musing about karma. Professional teacher training sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, but it has the advantage that it draws on varied sources, and on research in the real world, rather than mainly on the pronouncements of a guru (one man, who drew principally on clairvoyant visions).

    They’re not always perfect, and there are some bad eggs, but overall, I respect professional teachers. To get out of most professional teacher training programs, you have to have studied child development findings since 1925, which contradicts a lot of what Steiner believed about children, educational psychology, progressive discipline methods, and classroom management, etc. Steiner training is light on all that. Professional training’s better.

    That part of the discussion had nothing to do with Todd Akin, although I suppose, there too, if we’re back on the topic of rape victims who get pregnant, I will give weight to what the dreaded “professionals” say over what some lunatic tells me God says about it. Psychologists, social workers, doctors, nurses, counselors, etc. – most, I think, would tell you that to tell a woman who had been raped that if she gets pregnant, it’s “God’s gift,” this is not recommended for her mental health. Actually it’s sick. The only “professionals” who might say otherwise would be those with strong religious inspiration – Christian fundamentalists, or the Taliban (and apparently anthroposophists are sympathetic to this view as well).

    So yes, I’m more comfortable with the professionals than with “God” (or rather, the pronouncements about God of some of the psychologically rather wobbly individuals currently posting here).

  249. David Clark · ·

    Hi,

    Not much to add. My previous posts refer to weighty themes of Genocide.

    Perhaps it is easier to claim no specialist expertise. Reflecting on various themes, i appreciate that there is a continuing critical and controversial debate, especially among historians themselves. Somehow, this seems rightful and i look forward to continued developments in the mainstream.

    In addition to themes noted, i have been impressed by “Constructing the Holocaust A Study in Historiography” by Dan Stone, pub. 2003 by Valentine Mitchell London and Portland OR ISBN 0 85 303 478 8.

    Again, i have my own views. However, i reckon this publication gives yet another historian’s view of some topical debates.

  250. Well then.

  251. “My point is, Pete, that you and other critics are like Don Quixotes tilting at a Waldorf Windmills that may have existed 3 decades ago, but don’t really exist in Era III schools today.”

    It’s not often that you’re quite *this* full of crap Tom. You could have put a cherry on that steaming pile of crap if instead of Era III schools, you called them “Tertiary Era” schools (in keeping with Sune’s steaming pile of crap website terminology).

    Here’s why you’re wrong about Highland Hall being separated by an “era” from other, newer schools: 1) Highland Hall hosts WISC, the Waldorf Institute of Southern California… the TEACHER TRAINING center for Waldorf teachers. Who do you think indoctrinates these bright *new* teachers for these “Era III” schools? Era I teacher trainers, that’s who. Look at these old curmudgeons… http://www.waldorfteaching.org/waldorf_institute_faculty.shtml – any fresh (Era III) blood there? 2) We can assume, from your timeline, that Waldorf charters are “Era III” schools… and yet… look at how many complaints about them: http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=charter – We see, among other things, Ocean Charter school cheating on state tests… One of the WISC teachers is from there. 3) EVERY Waldorf school lies to parents… Era I through Era III… they are all dishonest to both parents and prospective parents. Even if there *was* a difference between older and newer schools, the fact that they all lie to parents binds them all in a very special way that suggests your point is, once again, baloney.

  252. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Nonetheless, Pete, birds did evolve from dinosaurs.

  253. David Clark · ·

    Hi All,

    Lots here.

    Perhaps it would be best for all to focus on familiar territory (to me).

    Alicia – i agree that a review of karma and reincarnation themes would be great. I accept these links as an early stage in our ongoing work. i notice that you have invited Diana to suggest a book. Quite appropriate.

    in connection with librarians, i was expecting other questions, e.g.

    Gosh, those books must be quite old. Do you look at them all the time? i can’t believe that.
    Do you really mean there are no plastic gnomes in your garden? A killer question that!
    Do you really not believe in gnomes? Why not? That doesn’t sound like you.
    Can these references be sourced on the Internet? A standard university question.
    How can i obtain a printed version? Ditto.
    How can i obtain a copy of the Horse and Hound article?

    i reckon these are relatively typical questions.

    if i raised the theme in an ordinary academic environment, that would be another matter, of course. Tee … Hee …

    Diana – i reckon it is quite well and it’s good that you responded promptly. As already stated, i’m reluctant to engage in a historical debate. I prefer to leave this to experts. Masses of material. As you may guess, in principle, i don’t have any problem with lady historians. Thankfully, they have the right to a university education in the early 21st century. Hoorah! i would suggest however that this is not only a question of expertise. It is also a matter of rights – of women, academic scrutiny and debate.

  254. “Nonetheless, Pete, birds did evolve from dinosaurs.”

    Yeah, but not the BIG dinosaurs, like Highland Hall… those couldn’t adapt to change. The environment changed too quickly and they didn’t notice. Those dinosaurs DIED.

  255. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Alicia agrees with Diana’s assessment of ‘defenders’ as being ‘delusional’:

    “As for delusional level, well, again, exactly.”

    But Tomfortas provides wider context,

    “It [a book] really explains very well how the judgments of delusional thinking that you [Diana] project on to me and Ted are simultaneously your own delusions as well”

    He’s right, too. Critics are just as delusional as defenders: Diana projects her own confusion onto me when she calls my thinking ‘fuzzy’; Alicia projects her own fears onto Karan Priestman when she calls her a ‘fervent Waldorf supporter’; and Melanie demonstrates the same irrationality she projects onto defenders when she fails to notice the irrationality in Pete K’s performance on quacks and instead lauds it. We’re all delusional and irrational from time to time; the difference is critics deny it – they fail to direct their critical thinking skills onto themselves – and so see it everywhere outside themselves, laughing at the ‘quacks’, the ‘weirdos’, the ‘pseudo-scientists’ on Twitter, whilst enjoying their own feeling of superiority.

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  256. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia.

    Many thanks. i reckon this is helpful. Skeptically, i’d want to relate this to themes of Justice in the US legal , philosophy and its implementation. In the circumstances, i reckon that may be a helpful context for Boolean Searches and such questions. Are these or related themes addressed? i would very much hope that professionals may be interested. From ongoing news and comment in the UK, i reckon that principles of Justice in LA may be exercising policymakers. In the UK at present, aspects of youth offending and high levels of illiteracy amongst the prison population are quite topical themes. Some time ago, there was also public concern that nutritional improvements in prison may affect behaviour and future prospects. The controversy centred upon whether pilot experiments should be continued or expanded.

    While i’m interested in anthroposophy, i am also concerned about the relatively high levels of self harm, especially among newly admitted remand prisoners. As a peer advocate, i am very much on the edge of these matters but would suggest that they are vitally important for those affected.

    While this is only an initial response, i reckon there may be several Boolean Search themes on this vitally important theme, as well as a quite sizeable literature. I reckon there are many important perspectives – with perhaps none having a monopoly. Probably many conferences, as well as an expanding corpus of literature in criminology.

    Thanks,

    David

  257. Ted, we don’t need bogus “wider context,” we need your answers to the questions you were posed in this thread, which you are rudely ignoring.

  258. Right, Alicia must be afraid of Karen Priestman – that clears it right up.

  259. “As you may guess, in principle, i don’t have any problem with lady historians.”

    Well, glad we’ve got that cleared up, too.

  260. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia,

    I forgot the context of my decisions about an event.

    Can I afford it/to go?
    Where is it?
    Is the theme important for my work?
    Are the speakers and topics likely to help me?
    Is it likely to be a good use of my time? Do I have other commitments?
    Is there space in my diary?
    Will I meet colleagues?
    What is the venue like?
    Who are the speakers?

    In the UK, such accouncements may arrive by email and I would be free to decide. It would be more difficult in the US as I’m not on a relevant mailing list and wouldn’t have the information to make a decision. In passing, I hope that basic concepts would not dominate such a meeting.

    David

  261. Daniel Perez wrote:
    “Take a look at Obama. He has lied more than any president I can remember in my adult life. As I mentioned, Nixon became my litmus test for a liar, but Obama has outdone Nixon with Benghazi and many other issues. Why? Because he has God on his side! And to some degree we all need to feel we are in the right, otherwise where would we gain motivation? What would drive us forward if we doubted our beliefs, even if they are fundamentalist?”

    Hi Daniel, You surprise me greatly by calling Obama – first honest US president since Carter – a liar. So please advise us what you base that opinion on. And be careful that you don’t become what you accuse him of being. Frank

  262. “We’re all delusional and irrational from time to time; the difference is critics deny it”

    No… we don’t deny that you’re all delusional and irrational… we point it out for you. Right now, you’re running around trying to paint me as a “boogie man” on this and other lists. That’s your delusion and you’re running with it as if you’re hoping your personal opinion of me might hurt my reputation. That’s irrational Ted. I’m credible and you aren’t – and that’s a plain fact. My testimony is supported by dozens of people at Highland Hall. My wider testimony about Waldorf is supported by hundreds of independent parent reviews, dozens of Waldorf critics and independent researchers and whistle-blowers around the world. You, on the other hand, can’t even come up with a Steiner quote to support what you claim Steiner said. You Anthroposophist friends should do you a favor and tell you what a giant windbag you are… seriously.

  263. I’d also be interested in what Obama lied about, and even more where Obama has claimed God is on his side. He does conclude speeches with “God bless America,” which I could live without, personally, but if I’m not mistaken every American president has done that.

  264. It isn’t unlike Anthros to spam a list with boring unrelated bullshit to disrupt the content for readers.

  265. ‘in connection with librarians, i was expecting other questions, e.g.
    Gosh, those books must be quite old. Do you look at them all the time? i can’t believe that.’

    Eh? What?

    ‘How can i obtain a copy of the Horse and Hound article?
    i reckon these are relatively typical questions.
    if i raised the theme in an ordinary academic environment, that would be another matter, of course. Tee … Hee …’

    Typical for what? Going into a library? Does this have any relevance at all to anything in the current discussion (or even outside of it), and if so what? I don’t understand.

    Tee hee.

  266. Pete: ‘It isn’t unlike Anthros to spam a list with boring unrelated bullshit to disrupt the content for readers.’

    Ah. I’m a bit slow these days. And it’s often a bit difficult to distinguish what kind of category of bullshit some particular bullshit belongs to.

    If that’s what’s going on, I suggest David stops it and begins to write stuff that makes sense. Or I’ll have to moderate the thread.

  267. Whatever category of bullshit it is, it sure is overflowing.

  268. For some reason, David chose to post his reply in another thread. It would be preferable not to jump between threads when replying to comments. It is even more impossible to follow then. https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/lantern-festival-st-martins/#comment-20355

    ‘If you choose to moderate me out that’s quite fine by me. Here, you may quite legitimately be the guardian of public morality.’

    I don’t care to be the guardian of public morality. But I do think it’s a problem when comments that are either incomprehensible or irrelevant are posted with some regularity. That they are off-topic is pretty obvious since you post them randomly on threads with completely different topics.

    ‘As you know, the sources listed refer to gnomes and their response to myself and other people.’

    I have no idea where this list of sources is.

    ‘In modern parlance, i was modelling this in my writing. Annoying eh? Please remember i have been trying to respond to your interests. Not mine. Again, nobody asked. You will be interested to learn that the UK Sunday Times this week also has a highly relevant Magazine Section.’

    About…? I don’t know, I don’t live in the UK and haven’t seen this Sunday Section.

    ‘Again, i’m very happy to short circuit your investigations by contributing my own understanding and explaining it.’

    About karma? Gnomes?

    Please feel free to do so, but please, when you reply to someone, do so in the thread where the comment you’re replying to is posted.

    And try not to post that consist of nothing but irrelevant nonsense like a few of your recent comments on this thread.

    Comments like this are just spam that clutters the discussion (whatever is left of it): https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20347. I’m quite liberal as regards nonsense, but please.

  269. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I think this must belong to the ‘bullshit’ category.

    Peter Staudenmaier is one of the greatest denialists of all (perhaps because of having the most to lose). For instance, he thinks that materialism is not a problem in the academy, mainly because  he’s re-defined it out of existence. At the risk of Diana accusing me of ‘faux erudition’ (in parenthetical response to Diana’s recent comment: I’m not intending to be rude when I don’t answer her questions, it’s just that I don’t have anything more to say)  , I found this recent conversation with Oxford physicist David Deutsch:

    CONSTRUCTOR THEORY A Conversation With David Deutsch

    http://edge.org/conversation/constructor-theory

    He’s describing his hope of setting physics on firmer foundations than currently exist, so that he can

    “[discover] what the world is really like, what is really there, how it behaves and why”

    To do this, in part, he’s needed to try to come to what seems to him a clearer understanding of the nature of ‘information’:

    “Information starts as some kind of electrochemical signals in my brain.”

    Which is important to him because information is what powers the quantum computers that he’s hoping lie at the foundation of things, below the level of the current laws of physics.

    The problem with the formulation that information is “electrochemical signals in my brain.” is that it’s materialism, which has only a partial claim to truth.

    Commentator Arnold Trehub takes a different view, asking:

    “How does David Deutsch, or any other person on this earth, have a conscious experience of the world in which he lives? This experience must be a necessary precursor and a constraint on what he can possibly discover about the world. Here we are unable to avoid a confrontation with the cognitive capacity of the human brain—a matter that most physicists avoid.”

    But assuming that consciousness is simply a matter of ‘the cognitive capacity of the brain’ is just another form of materialism. 

    So, whether from the inner – consciousness – or outer – physics – perspective, we encounter the materialism that Staudenmaier denies exists. This denial makes it very easy for him as a ‘scholar’ as he can now critique anthroposophists all he likes for, as he sees it, going over board attacking materialism, since as a problem he’s defined it away.

    (As I write, for some reason, I hear a voice in my head saying: ‘and you thought this was materialism’).

    T.

    Ted Wrinch

  270. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “It isn’t unlike Anthros to spam a list with boring unrelated bullshit to disrupt the content for readers.”

    It’s looked like spam almost from the start to me – I assumed someone here was in the loop.

  271. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “That’s your delusion…”

    Of course, Pete – denying your own delusional state is the point! 

    “That’s irrational Ted. I’m credible and you aren’t ..and that’s a plain fact”

    Your ‘faeces’ talk on quacks suggests that this is unlikely to be true. The ‘fact’ that the ‘fact’ is plain to you is more evidence of your problem.

    “.My testimony is supported by dozens of people at Highland Hall.”

    It wasn’t your testimony we were discussing on quacks. It’sw part of your irrationality that you appear to believe that it was.

    Keep projecting, Pete!

  272. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Alicia,

    I was curious why you linked to an anthroposophical event in LA. My first thought, narcissistic of course, is that you were acknowledging that Pete and I both live in Los Angeles. But then I looked at the subject of justice and realized that it was in line with the topic here of karma and karmic justice.

    But being so consummately self-absorbed, I will therefore claim it as a nice “synchropinquity,” so thank you for affording me a splendid opportunity to indulge my higher — or is it lower? — self. But I promise my Anthropo-nattering will be (relatively) short, informative and entertaining as only I can achieve it.

    [NOTE: Whereas a “synchronicity” is an acausal juxtaposition of events in TIME, a “synchropinquity” is an acausal juxtaposiiton of events and/or people in SPACE or geography. (There is a topic of geographical karma in anthroposophy, which we could indulge some other time.)]

    First of all, the expert Anthro giving the talk is none other than esteemed Uncle Fred Amrine, who is native-born American as Professor of German at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Check him out here.
    http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/people/faculty/amrinefrederick_ci

    Now the synchropinquity here is Uncle Fred’s remarkable geographical proximity to Peter Staudenmaier, Professor of History at the eminent Jesuit Catholic University of Marquette in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Alicia, of course you know by now that I always possess some little shiny trinket of Steiner trivia that I enjoy pulling out of one of the many pockets sewn inside my large and bulky secret Steiner gift cape. And I do have a most apposite trinket to show you now.

    Moreover, not only do I have the trinket itself, I also have the provenance for it! I heard it directly from Rev. Carl Stegmann in 1981 who himself had heard it directly from the horse’s mouth (better, unicorn’s mouth?) in 1923. As you may know, Rudolf Steiner commissioned Carl Stegmann to pursue everything anthroposophical for the purpose of grounding and nourishing anthroposophy in the United States. The term for this was “die Amerika Arbeit” = “the America work.” (Indeed I invoked a Mormon syllogism on Andy’s blog that illuminates this relationship, to wit: Rudolf Steiner is to Carl Stegmann as Joseph Smith is to Brigham Young.)

    Now in order to see this trinket most vividly and in the best light, please go to Google Maps and type in these two cities in the [Get Directions] slots: Milwaukee, WI and Ann Arbor MI.

    So if Peter S and Uncle Fred were to visit each other, they would simply hop in Interstate Highway 94 and drive the 330 or so miles in 6 hours. But notice that the route either way takes them both through Chicago, Illinois.

    Now you may unpack the trinket.

    Back in 1923, when Rudolf Steiner was discussing the “America work” with Carl Stegmann in a small group in Dornach, someone asked Dr. Steiner: “Where would the best place be in the United States to ground and nourish anthroposophy for the future?”

    Rudolf Steiner replied without any hesitation: “Chicago.”

    Hence I would like to organize and promote a MMAMW match between Peter S representing his Jesuit Catholic University and Fred Amrine representing anthroposophy at his state university. (MMAMW = Mixed Martial Arts Mud-Wrestling)

    But I would seek the venue at some arena in Chicago and specify that the cage not be the usual octagonal shape, but rather, dodecagonal, with each panel festooned with a translucent symbol of the appropriate and sequential sign of the Zodiac.

    I shall forthwith contact Uncle Fred with my grand scheme. (OK, grandiose scheme, but what else would you expect from such a grandiose, not to mention grandiloquent narcissist as meself? All righty then, folks, enough of me talking about me. Now it’s time for you all to talk about me.)

    Oh, before I forget, I also have another synchropinquitous trinket to show you, Alicia, but it is much less shiny albeit still picturesque. It concerns the actual venue of Uncle Fred’s big weekend in LA and its confluence with the USC-UCLA football game played at the Rose Bowl yesterday, but I shall save that bauble for a later comment. In the meantime, I hope you and the other denizens of the EK will appreciate the shiny trinket I did give you today.

    Fr. Tom

  273. I wonder if an interest in anthroposophy correlates positively with an inability to separate relevant from irrelevant in a (any) given context.

  274. Hollywood Tom: ‘I was curious why you linked to an anthroposophical event in LA. My first thought, narcissistic of course, is that you were acknowledging that Pete and I both live in Los Angeles. But then I looked at the subject of justice and realized that it was in line with the topic here of karma and karmic justice.’

    Both reasons.

  275. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “MMAMW = Mixed Martial Arts Mud-Wrestling.”

    LOL!

  276. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Love this, Pete:

    “You Anthroposophist friends should do you a favor and tell you what a giant windbag you are… seriously.”

    I used half the words on quacks you did.

  277. MMAMW = Mixed Martial Arts Mud-Wrestling.”

    Okay Ted LOL!!!! Momentary truce. This has me rolling over here, also.

  278. ” parenthetical response to Diana’s recent comment: I’m not intending to be rude when I don’t answer her questions, it’s just that I don’t have anything more to say)”

    Okay, that’s cool.

    “Peter Staudenmaier is one of the greatest denialists of all (perhaps because of having the most to lose). ”

    That’s an intriguing remark. What do you think he has to lose? Might this be – karmic speculation?

  279. Darn, I don’t know anything about martial arts mud-wrestling. I don’t know anything about sports at all. I don’t even know if it’s a real sport or something Tom invented!

  280. “It’s looked like spam almost from the start to me – I assumed someone here was in the loop.”

    My take: It’s not spam exactly. That’s actually too conspiratorial. When anthros come into these discussions (not referring just to this blog, but anywhere online, or live) posting gibberish, one’s first impression is that they are simply mentally unbalanced, but our intense desire to reason things through and find logical explanations causes us to wonder if it’s some kind of plot – some sort of purposive action – like this person has a rational motive for this odd behavior.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid often the first explanation – the random crazy person explanation – is more likely.

    In other words (in reply to Pete), yes, sometimes anthroposophists deliberately spam critical discussions of anthroposophy, in order to render the discussion too hard or simply too irritating to follow. However, we must never underestimate how many of them are simply unhinged.

    I suspect David has been posting his actual stream of consciousness.

    Or else the library wasn’t quiet enough, when he was posting …

  281. Well, I suspect you’re right about that, Diana.

    However, I’m going to ask him to edit his stream of consciousness before he posts. Two questions worth considering before pressing the ‘post comment’ button: 1) is this relevant in the context? 2) is it in the right discussion thread?

  282. I wouldn’t be surprised if mixed martial arts mud wrestling is a real sport … my husband and son seem to be able to find even stupider things to watch on television – nothing would surprise me.

  283. Mixed martial arts mud wrestling eurythmy. That’s my suggestion for potential new silly sports.

  284. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Hi Alicia,

    MMA by itself is a serious sport which has actually supplanted traditional boxing in popularity today. The combatants fight inside an octagonal cage. Mud-wrestling by itself is also a “sport,” I suppose, but its most popular format is to have the combatants be two gorgeous young women clad only in bikinis who get down in the mud with each other. You can imagine the gender distribution of the audience.

    My invention was to combine the two. However, your addition of eurythmy gives me a great idea for the bout. Between the rounds of traditional boxing and still in MMA, the custom is to have quite buxom and shapely women in bikinis parade around the ring holding up a placard upon which is inscribed the number of the upcoming round.

    Now I know the phrase “scantily-clad eurythmist” generates much cognitive dissonance, but I can imagine having eurythmists on hand to do something to please the crowd between rounds of the bout between Peter and Fred. Any suggestions?

  285. I’m sticking with Sarcastaball http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s16e08-sarcastaball

    “I used half the words on quacks you did.”
    You think being a windbag is about word count? Seriously? Here’s a clue – it has to do with content. Ted, just email me your paypal account number and I’ll send you $5 to buy a dictionary… It will save us all a lot of time in the long run.

  286. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Oh, Alicia, I forgot to tell you that the reason I chose mud-wrestling has to do with my infamous Steiner98 mailing list that I had created back in 1998. (Remember “mailing lists?”) Several people described it as a “mud-pit” and that if you joined there you were immediately pulled down into the pit to wrestle with the moderator.

    One of the more memorable matches I had then and there was mud-wrestling with the famous New Age social philosopher and cultural critic, William Irwin Thompson
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Irwin_Thompson
    over whether he or else the New Age cultural historian Rick Tarnas
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tarnas
    had accused Rudolf Steiner of being a repressed homosexual.

    Turns out Tarnas was the guilty party, but I had wrongfully accused Thompson. So we got to the truth by mud-wrestling.

  287. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “(As I write, for some reason, I hear a voice in my head saying: ‘and you thought this was materialism’).”

    Speak of the devil: on critics PS says:

    “And yes, when Steiner talked about materialism, he was drawing on specific traditions of thought.”

    Old times! I used to ask him when I was on critics if he ever got bored talking to himself; two years later and I think the answer is clear..

  288. Tom M: ‘You can imagine the gender distribution of the audience.’

    Yes.

    ‘Now I know the phrase “scantily-clad eurythmist” generates much cognitive dissonance, but I can imagine having eurythmists on hand to do something to please the crowd between rounds of the bout between Peter and Fred. Any suggestions?’

    I think eurythmists could dance (with dance, I mean do eurythmy) around randomly inside the cage and cause much irrelevant confusion. I e, be a general disturbance.

    ‘(Remember “mailing lists?”)’

    Vaguely.

    Ted: ‘Speak of the devil: on critics PS says:
    “And yes, when Steiner talked about materialism, he was drawing on specific traditions of thought.”
    Old times! I used to ask him when I was on critics if he ever got bored talking to himself; two years later and I think the answer is clear..’

    I suppose you’re saying that when Steiner talked about materialism he got his ideas from nowhere. No cultural influences or inspirations, just his own excellent mind.

  289. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “I suppose you’re saying that when Steiner talked about materialism he got his ideas from nowhere. No cultural influences or inspirations, just his own excellent mind.”

    Not from nowhere: there is a concept behind the ‘cultural influences or inspirations’, something his nibs on critics, for rather obvious reasons I’d say, refused to discuss. He and I attempted, amongst the snidery, to have a discussion on the related concept of the Platonic, permanence of concepts and what it meant to say that they ‘evolved’. He never appeared to understood that either.

  290. I suspect it’s you, Ted, who doesn’t understand Plato. Your drawing in of “Platonic” permanence of concepts was like use of a blunt instrument; it was as if you thought Plato said, “Rudolf Steiner knows the truth, just listen to Rudolf Steiner.”

    As Peter has just pointed out on critics, anthroposophists tend to get a little squirmy when they hear people talking about where Steiner might have gotten some of his ideas. They do not think a thing like “history of ideas” has anything to do with Rudolf Steiner. There may be a history of ideas, they’ll grant you, but a great mind like Steiner’s, they figure, just bypasses it. (Anyway, it’s materialistic.)

    Steiner just had to reach out into the ether and grab the concepts as they floated by, waiting for a great mind to grok them. This is the basic thing anthroposophists have in mind when they get started on Plato.

  291. Reminds me of all the painful discussions of “epistemology” with Dennis what’s his name. Anthroposophists like to talk about epistemology, too, but only to point out that Steiner was above all that; anthroposophy, Dennis believed, comes BEFORE epistemology.

  292. ‘… anthroposophists tend to get a little squirmy when they hear people talking about where Steiner might have gotten some of his ideas.’

    Seems so to me.

    There’s a lovely anecdote in a new book. Steiner is supposed to have told it himself to the person (some Hedda Hummel) who then wrote it down. He was on a train with some followers. They discussed when the train would arrive at the destination. They asked the conductor, who told them a time. Steiner said another time. His followers then talked with each other, saying that it was through clairvoyant insight he had gained the information. (Because Steiner happened to be right and the conductor was mistaken.) Hedda Hummel reports that he said to her (laughing): ‘I simply had a time-table in my bag, and I looked it up.’

  293. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “I suspect it’s you, Ted, who doesn’t understand Plato.”

    Possibly (though as I read classics at first year uni I may know a little). But there’s a general notion of a Platonic world, a non physical, non material world where ideas live. As I’ve said, the Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose believes mathematics exists in such a world. How this crystalline, clear, and perhaps rather static world, intersects with our everyday world and results in the world of apparently changing, evolving concepts we see is an infesting question.

    “They [anthroposophists] do not think a thing like “history of ideas” has anything to do with Rudolf Steiner. There may be a history of ideas, they’ll grant you, but a great mind like Steiner’s, they figure, just bypasses it.”

    Dunno about ‘anthroposophists’ but Steiner did not bypass the history of ideas. The lecture series I described earlier, The Origins of Natural Science, spends nine lectures, in part, describing how ideas such as ‘space’, ‘atoms’, ‘the elements’ and etc had evolved over several thousand years. This kind of attention to change and evolution, I think you’ll agree, was typical of Steiner.

  294. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “His followers then talked with each other, saying that it was through clairvoyant insight he had gained the information. (Because Steiner happened to be right and the conductor was mistaken.) Hedda Hummel reports that he said to her (laughing): ‘I simply had a time-table in my bag, and I looked it up.’”

    Absolutely. He described throughout the history of the anthroposophical society, I believe, the problem of cultism and lack of independent thought amongst anthroposophists. This is typical:

    “Although it is well known to many of you after all the lectures I have given here, I would nevertheless like to mention in passing that it is not that a scientist of spirit is a scientist of spirit from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep as, say, a chemist is a chemist even when not in his laboratory. For the times when the scientist of spirit is not actually immersed in the spiritual world he is an ordinary human being like anyone else. He naturally lives according to what the outside world demands of him. It is a great mistake to imagine that the scientist of spirit becomes a different person. Many misunderstandings arise in the outside world about various kinds of societies because their members constantly suggest that they are a higher kind of human being. This is quite irresponsible and is certainly not meant here. What is meant is that in certain states of life we train the soul to enter the spiritual world, and that during these states, in this condition of soul, the soul has a different relationship to the outer world than usual, even regarding the more subtle distinctions in life.”

    Reincarnation and Immortality, 1918

  295. David Clark · ·

    Thanks.

  296. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Anthroposophists like to talk about epistemology, too, but only to point out that Steiner was above all that”

    Maybe true – I don’t see anthroposophists more than once or twice a year (or less); I’m not much of a joiner. In support of your contention, anthro rebel and gadfly, the philosophically trained (in Edinburgh – my favourite city!) Elizabeth Ancrum Mackenzie says:

    “Anthroposophists are not noted for their love of Epistemology as is evidenced by the fate of Irina Gordienko’s forensic analysis of what passes for thinking in some leading Anthroposophists.”

    http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/benaharonreview.html

    As a side note, I think Diana will probably love this piece of original anthro research, as it is very ‘out there’! I find the below thought-provoking:

    “These incarnations took place through the spiritual “fallout” of the atomic bomb. In other words, to reach the earth we had to pass through the devastating cosmic experience of Ahriman’s Star, the Anti-Zarathustra Star.”

    There’s an alternative WW2 historiography for PS:

    “The processes observed by the post-1950 generation were the passing from Archangelic to Angelic realm and Ahriman’s successful Archangelic activity as the double of European Folk Spirits in Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia.  In other words in North, South, East and Centre Europe a counter Folk Spirit inspired Fascism, Nazism and Bolshevism using illegitimate Archai forces (cf Thousand Year Reich)”

  297. You’ve got a different standard for “thought provoking” than I do, then. Using archangels to explain fascism, nazism and bolshevism is about as sophisticated as something a third grader would come up with, or Waldorf “lifers” (students who went all the way through), who hear their teachers talk practically every day about magical events such as angels, gnomes, fairies etc. shaping human events.

    About the “fate” of Irina Gordienko, that’s probably about the conspiracy theories about Gordienko’s death, I’m sure you know that.

  298. Incidentally, that’s not a “historiography.” It’s just a “history” (albeit a a kooky one).

  299. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “You’ve got a different standard for “thought provoking” than I do…”

    Oh, sure – just a thought. Though saying it’s ‘third grade’ begs the question: if such beings do exist then it isn’t.

    “About the “fate” of Irina Gordienko, that’s probably about the conspiracy theories about Gordienko’s death…”

    That’s not what she’s referring to: Gordienko wrote a detailed criticism of the epistemological failings of her friend and co-patriot Sergei Prokofiev. This was ignored and instead Prokofiev and supporters attacked her for it.

    “Incidentally, that’s not a “historiography.” It’s just a “history” (albeit a a kooky one).”

    Historiography- “the writing of history…the study of history writing”, Shorter OED; also known as the philosophy of history. There’s a very definite philosophy here, one that’s different from the mainstream.

  300. “Oh, sure – just a thought. Though saying it’s ‘third grade’ begs the question: if such beings do exist then it isn’t. ”

    No, sorry. “Writing of history” is a process that can be studied, and that study is a discipline called historiography. You seem to think “writing of history” in this context just means historical things people have written down.

    Even if angelic beings existed, this would be a simple minded historical explanation. I know it’s far preferable to you to believe that anthroposophical explanations are simply too spiritually advanced for many people to understand. But the fact is, even most spiritual people would be embarrassed by the juvenility of explaining fascism, bolshevism, and nazism as the work of angelic forces. Honest – plenty of spiritual people can actually think and write intelligently about history. This isn’t it.

    And no, what you quoted is not a historiography. Honest, this is just like with Dennis and epistemology. Historiography isn’t just a bigger word for history. When you quote a tidbit that just basically said the angels or the archangels did this or that, what you’re quoting is “history” (bogus history, but technically it falls under the definition of someone trying to do history). If you want to show us a piece of historiography on this or a related topic, it would be a piece explaining *how angelic forces are used by anthroposophists to explain* history – not just a paragraph stating the angels did something.

    The piece you quoted is something a third grader in Waldorf might easily come up with, if asked to explain nazism or fascism or just mean people in general.

  301. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Though I take your point too: saying it embodied a different historiography might have been a better way of putting it. The stand-out differentness of it said ‘historiography’ to me.

  302. In other words something isn’t a historiography just because it has a philosophy of history behind it. EVERY piece of history has a philosophy of history behind it. Historiography would be studying THAT. Studying the process of how the philosophy shaped the history that was written.

  303. No, it doesn’t “embody a historiography” either. It embodies certain ideas about history, of course, but so does everything anyone writes about history, ever. The piece quoted is not the same entity as a historiography one might write *about* the piece. Historiography is the *process* (or the results or findings) of studying the philosophy of history behind something. We might say, in a rather simple sense, you and I are doing historiography right now, talking about the philosophy of history behind the piece. We might even be doing meta-historiography, in grappling with what the heck is historiography.

    But the piece itself is not going to turn into a historiography no matter how much you ruminate on it or how many classics you’ve read.

  304. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Diana writes lots of stuff about ‘historiography’.

    I can see you’re having fun here but ‘historiography’ is neither as interesting nor definite in it’s meaning as you’re trying to make out (in Scotland it still means ‘history’). I actually like the etymological meaning: the ‘shape of history’. But call it ‘history’, call it ‘historiography’, call it ‘philosophy of history’ – I don’t care: all I was trying to point to with the word is that the quote is something different – embodying a particular worldview – from a typical historical account of a phenomenon.

    “Honest – plenty of spiritual people can actually think and write intelligently about history.”

    We’re not talking about whether ‘spiritual people can actually think and write intelligently about history’ but about the writing of spiritual history, presumably by ‘spiritual people’.

    “Even if angelic beings existed, this would be a simple minded historical explanation.”

    To you: of course (blind women and colours)!

  305. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Actually, let’s go full circle here: how about you have ‘history’ if I have the meaning of ‘story’. That way we both win (or lose).

  306. Ted, call it whatever you want, but the passage you quoted doesn’t get fancier, or truer, if you apply fancier terms to it. And you wonder why I call your posts faux-erudite? Lord. Just a tip! Don’t use words like “historography”! You are practically demanding that we laugh at you.

    The secondary meanings of historiography, as far as I can tell, are even less applicable to the passage you quoted than the other meaning. The principal meaning of historiography, which we’ve been discussing, is completely irrelevant to the passage you quoted – completely – no point of contact. The passage isn’t historiographic.

    So shall we discuss the second definition? It’s to do with constructing a history on a particular topic with rigorous critical historical methods in mind, to be sure the account constructed would pass rigorous scrutiny by historians – historians, that is, who actually think about methods, and the “how” and “why” of what gets into the history books.

    How exactly do you think an account, of any historical event, based on the activities of archangels is going to fare when scrutinized by people with expertise in critical historical methods? Do you think the passage somehow gets MORE historiographic now? You are in a hole, the best advice I have for you is to stop digging.

    Seriously – this is such a typical exchange with you – do you ever consider just admitting you made an error? You misused a word, that’s all.

  307. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Though Diana seems unimpressed by EA MacKenzie I have to demur. I came across her writings only this Spring but she immediately struck me as having a powerful, trained and profound mind. And a tragic destiny: unable to find her path at the university as a teen, hounded out of the AS and Waldorf school on the later path she did find, she ended up back at the academy as a mature student. From a family with a history of dying young from heart failure she wrote this, seven days after a heart attack:

    “Clearly, for me, in the 90’s this was the work of a doctorate or at the very least a book for the anthroposophists. My preliminary degree is a 4year Master of Arts, a peculiarly Scottish degree that requires a chosen methodology to be applied to a broad range of subjects in different faculties and must include a language or a science. Two Faculties offered me the doctorate..the Faculty of Arts, to produce a new translation of the work of a Gaelic Poet, and the Theology Faculty to produce a work in the Religious Studies department. The doctorate in Philosophy of Science I would have to negotiate and because I would pursue it from the work of the Scottish Philosopher Thomas Reid (1710-1796) and also reach to the Metaphysics of Simone Weil and hence into the heart of 2ndWW., I would not be able to find a Director of Studies in Britain. The Scottish School stemming from Reid had no research facility in any Scottish University…a matter of the Anglicisation of Scottish University education.

    I chose silence. I chose quite consciously in the first half of the 90’s to sacrifice my doctorate into the only University which gives my life meaning..The Free High School of Spiritual Science.

    Did I know how to do that? Certainly not. Was it worth the attempt? I certainly thought so. I did not know in what the failure of the AS comprised, I strove to reach RS’s intention.

    Was it difficult? Extraordinarily. It took 14 years and a death….

    http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/bgeam12x.html

  308. “That’s not what she’s referring to: Gordienko wrote a detailed criticism of the epistemological failings of her friend and co-patriot Sergei Prokofiev. This was ignored and instead Prokofiev and supporters attacked her for it. ”

    Yes, and killed her, some believe.

  309. “I chose silence. I chose quite consciously in the first half of the 90’s to sacrifice my doctorate into the only University which gives my life meaning..The Free High School of Spiritual Science.”

    I don’t know anything about her work, but that decision strikes me as quite tragic.

  310. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Seriously – this is such a typical exchange with you – do you ever consider just admitting you made an error? You misused a word, that’s all.”

    Sure, I misused it. But this is still not interesting (and typical for you to continue on regardless).

  311. “Even if angelic beings existed, this would be a simple minded historical explanation.”

    To you: of course (blind women and colours)!

    No, I’m afraid you don’t seem to have taken the point. The point I made was that EVEN among people who see all the same colors as you (so to speak), such an account would strike many as quite silly (“Archangelic activity” causing WWII – Ahriman’s crafty efforts as the “Double” of the “European Folk Spirit” etc.). Lots of spiritual people, probably the great majority, would find this material un-serious historically, if not simply crackpot.

  312. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Yes, and killed her, some believe.”

    But that’s your point, not Ms MacKenzie’s, which clearly was about epistemology – she’s a trained philosopher, after all. Sadly, this missing the point,  focusing on the unnecessary, or projecting your prior interest onto the material (‘conspiracy’) is typical for you. We’re none of us perfect, I think you can see, and perhaps the best solution is to be more tolerant of each other.

  313. Oh, I see, you’ve been consuming Joel Wendt. This conversation is not likely to start making more sense soon, then …

  314. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “No, I’m afraid you don’t seem to have taken the point.”

    Obviously I will reply ‘no’ at this point.

  315. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Oh, I see, you’ve been consuming Joel Wendt. This conversation is not likely to start making more sense soon, then …”

    I doubt whether Wendt factor makes a difference (and he acts merely as her publisher).

  316. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia, Hi Diana,

    Thinking about suggestions – titles from my bookshelf.

    Africa – Richard Dowden ISBN 978 1 84627 155 7

    Reconciliation – Benazir Bhutto ISBN 978-1-84737-273-4

    The Death of Christian Britain – Understanding Secularisation 1800-2000 Callum G. Brown ISBN 987 0 41547134 3

    From quite different genres and literatures, I found them both interesting and thought provoking.

    Enjoy!

  317. Ah, he’s her “publisher”! This is someone who publishes his own work, with titles like:

    “The Misconception of Cosmic Space as Appears In the Ideas of Astronomy”

    http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/joelwendt

  318. “perhaps the best solution is to be more tolerant of each other.”

    I agree. I will try my best.

    Kinda running out of tolerance for David Clark, however … seems I was wrong, this is just somebody’s idea of a joke.

  319. David Clark · ·

    Hi Diana,

    “idea of a joke”

    I quite like being kicked. That’s why I keep connecting. :-)

    Maybe, I’m also “running out of tolerance”. Had you thought of that?

    Yet still no questions. Still, I know what you’re thinking. Hi!

    Keeping it simple for you.

    My bookcase is in the UK. The Internet is an amazing achievement that overcomes geography. Alicia is in Stockholm. My contributions on Martinmas and its qualities reflected my experiences in the UK and the life questions expressed locally and arising from them. Looking at the Twitter feed, I reckon others in the UK and Europe may recognise this.

    My sources were (and are) local. My comments have been related to my experience (that may be reviewed by those who recognise it, probably in the UK.

    Suggestions about the Internet deliberately referred to global matters and ways of deriving local and personal insights for (y)ourselves).

    While Rudolf Steiner’s oeuvre is globally centred, we approach it our sense perceptions and thinking. At times, I have hinted at this, transferring the “Ethereal Kiosk” from cyberspace to Alicia’s flat and then to the UK, without any difficulty.

    Responding to Alicia’s suggestion, I located her suggested Conference by taking seriously its venue in LA and my own practical judgement. In my view, these are not universals.

    The books suggested above are in my bookcase. They also give perspectives on the exchange brought forward by Alicia and myself. Quite deliberately, these references are 1) non anthro 2) from various parts of the globe 3) therefore less likely to be self referential.

    Relying upon the Internet for both communication and understanding may be misleading. I agree with Alicia. It would be good to hear from the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps this would be quite unlikely at present.

    The miracles of modern technology – if only they were visible. The Internet is vast and almost instantaneous. Content. Not spam.

    OK?

    What would be your suggested books Diana?

  320. Hi David, to sum up, perhaps you think your manner of expression is clear, but in fact, no one knows what you’re talking about. A book is not necessarily relevant to an internet discussion just because it is on your bookcase. You have to make the case for us that it is relevant, by telling us perhaps by what thought process you arrived at the conclusion that it was relevant. Does that help? What relevance did Benazir Bhutto, Africa or pre-Christian Britain have to the discussion here?

    Perhaps you have not been on the internet very long? You seem to be still marveling over the idea that you can talk to people on other continents. What do you want me to suggest books on?

  321. David Clark · ·

    Hi Diana,

    Wow!

    Olympian!

    Seems as though you may need some help. So I’ll try and oblige. These are strictly practical matters.

    If you check back, I responded to Alicia’s suggestion, also open to criticism. Do you have any positive thoughts?

    My Cirencester-based M.Sc. involved many Internet-based blended learning conversations. In addition, I received conversations and information from other parts of the globe. I completed it.Internet mediated conversation is familiar to me. I’ve also thought about it in trying to make sense of evidence.

    What is your background and experience?

    Books are “relevant” because Alicia asked you for one.

    Let’s take Benazir Bhutto’s account. As you will already know from the Internet, her life was directly relevant to these overall themes.

    Of course, Only you will know if that helps. Please note that Ms. Bhutto was respected in the UK.

    Relevance also related to the fact that you are the reader and thinker and make sense of the material where you are. Not here.

    With great respect. Talking with people on other continents is not the point. Perhaps the more real question is one of whether it is possible to make appropriate judgements. Personally. I reckon the Internet is great. A recent UK radio programme addressed the Geography of the Internet.

    You wrote: “What do you want me to suggest books on?” Wow. Take a risk! We may then read books suggested by others and then have the basis for an interesting conversation early next year.

    How can we expect to have a mutually understood and shared basis for synchronous discussion without asynchronous preparation time? There. You raised the subject. What’s your view?

    Trying to be accountable and helpful

    David

  322. Daniel Perez · ·

    Diana wrote, “So yes, I’m more comfortable with the professionals than with “God” (or rather, the pronouncements about God of some of the psychologically rather wobbly individuals currently posting here).”

    But here is the rub. Your “professionals” are your Gods. There is no such thing as a “professional” according to the definition you are implying. All you are saying is that traditional education practices are “professional”. It is an arbitrary measure. It is like saying there is a family with 2.2 children in their particular household just because the average family in the US has that many children. Yet that is an average and does not exist in the real world.

    Professional is someone who does something for a living. Waldorf teachers ARE professionals! So are traditional teachers. So this is my point, you are acting just like Akin in terms of imposing your moral basis on the rest of humanity.

  323. Daniel Perez · ·

    Ted wrote, “We’re all delusional and irrational from time to time; the difference is critics deny it – they fail to direct their critical thinking skills onto themselves – and so see it everywhere outside themselves, laughing at the ‘quacks’, the ‘weirdos’, the ‘pseudo-scientists’ on Twitter, whilst enjoying their own feeling of superiority.”

    Ted, that is right in line with my comparison of Diana to Akin. She doesn’t realize that she is doing the same thing as Akin in how she imposes her narrow viewpoints onto others. Akin wants to take away a woman’s choice over her own body, while Diana wants to take away a woman’s choice over her own child’s education.

  324. No, professionals are preferable precisely because they aren’t god and don’t pretend to be. The standards for professionalism are human standards, not divine. Your comparison of me to Todd Akin is fatuous – if I disagree with him, I’m just like him? Like third grade.

    Any time someone disagrees with someone, they “can’t see that they’re just like him”? I’m sure you can do better than that.

  325. Professional standards and credentials aren’t arbitrary. They tend to be explicit, but that’s not the same thing as arbitrary. You are speaking from ignorance. You probably aren’t familiar with and don’t understand standards for professional teachers.

  326. David Clark, I suggest you give up on me. Maybe you’ll find others who wish to engage.

  327. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Way to go, Daniel! You bring out Diana’s “Inner Schoolmarm” so much better than I can.

  328. ” Akin wants to take away a woman’s choice over her own body, while Diana wants to take away a woman’s choice over her own child’s education.”

    That’s BULLSHIT Daniel! Waldorf representatives are the ones who want to take away “a woman’s” (or parent’s) choice… by HIDING what their brand of education entails. I’m sick and tired of Waldorf whiners suggesting that this is about freedom of choice. You can’t LIE about what you’re doing, and suggest people have a free choice in the matter… well, you can, I suppose, but I’ll call you on it every time I hear that BS.

  329. Daniel Perez · ·

    Frank wrote, “Hi Daniel, You surprise me greatly by calling Obama – first honest US president since Carter – a liar.”
    I expected someone to pick this up! :-) This may not be the best place to get into this, but I’ll take a brief crack at it…

    I work as an engineer in the area of national intelligence. While my expertise is in the scientific / engineering side of things, I am exposed to things many people are not. When I heard that the Benghazi attack was being attributed to a video that had been released several months earlier, I was quite confused. On 9/11 there is an attack on our consulate, the ambassador states two months earlier that he is under physical threat (organized physical threat), and the CIA knows immediately at the time of the attack the kinds of weaponry and capabilities being employed. There is also video surveillance during the attack, and email exchanges with the WH within an hour or two of the event referencing the terrorist nature of the event. Prior to all of this was the attempted murder of the British ambassador and the British withdrawal of their personnel as extremist elements were organizing in Libya. Then the Libyan government states that they know the US consulate attack is Al Qaeda.

    Still after all of this, the WH does not come out and say, “we don’t know what took place”, or “we are investigating” and stop there. Instead they have Rice state, ” the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video and not a premeditated attack.” We know this was not information that was provided to her by the CIA, but perhaps by administration appointed officials. I don’t necessarily blame Rice for this incorrect reporting, as it came from the administration.

    Then Obama himself goes before the UN on Sept 25th and states, “a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage across the Muslim world”. “…There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.” By the 25th there is no debate as it was well known by all agencies and the WH that this was an Al Qaeda affiliated attack. – If this is not a lie then I don’t know what definition to use. It would be like Clinton redefining what “is” is. It is trickery at its worst.

    When Watergate broke, it only happened because the press was willing to bring down Nixon. He would have gotten away with it otherwise. Obama will probably get away with his deception, because the press supports him.

    Now Obama is not alone in being dishonest. Most politician’s are. But the import of what he is deceptive on is higher than I have seen in my lifetime.

  330. Hollywood Tomfortas · ·

    Two weeks ago I posted on Andy’s Quackometer blog a history of Waldorf in the USA from my experience since 1980. Melanie responded and then I made this reply to her comment today.
    Seems appropriate to post it here on this karmic thread, especially in light of Pete’s response to Daniel right above.

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html#comment-37644

    Hi Melanie,

    You’re quite right about the audience unfamiliarity with the American historical riff that I composed. And so, rather than add another installment which I had already started to answer your link to Betty Staley’s testimony, I thought it best to see if I could briefly summarize my own “devotee to apostate” experience over the last 36 years as Anthroposophist and sometime Waldorf teacher in order to communicate with this audience that is largely based in the UK.

    What came out was a 4 line poem, too long for a haiku, but somewhat haiku in quality, given that it seems to capture past, present and future all at once.

    Tom

    =========================

    We Steiner people are all quite mad.

    But we hide it very well.

    Alas, there is no cure for us.

    And you’re next.

    ==========================

  331. Pete, stay calm, the more he talks the sillier he comes across. If I protest the remarks of an anti-abortion idiot, that makes me “just like him.” Yeah – prochoice and antichoice are exactly the same!

    This thing about Benghazi is just nuts. Nuts – I can’t think of any other explanation. It makes no sense whatsoever – comparisons to watergate? You’ve lost your marbles, Daniel.
    Also Daniel, you were gonna tell me when the president said god was on his side.

  332. “the import of what he is deceptive on is higher than I have seen in my lifetime.”

    And that import would be what? You’re a silly man.

  333. “Pete, stay calm”

    I’m always calm… I just write angry… ;)

  334. Daniel: “While my expertise is in the scientific / engineering side of things, I am exposed to things many people are not. ”

    Like what?

  335. So, Daniel, you are not only calling Obama a liar, but also stupid. Because if he’s lying about Benghazi it must be to cover up something. What exactly? Inefficiency, bureaucracy? By whom? The CIA, the state dept? The White House? Would Obama lie about lack of efficiency by means of a cover up which would be bound to be uncovered? Is he that stupid? Is he another Bush? Or is there something else dark and dirtier involved? Was he perhaps born in Libya? Is he having an affair with Susan Rice? Does he have African body odor? Since you seem to be the only one who knows what’s going because of your experience as an “engineer of national intelligence” (that’s gotta be real, no one could make it up) you better go to Fox News or Rush Limburger where they’d really be interested. Frank

  336. LOL Frank – another rare occasion we’re on the same page …

    I, too, cannot figure out what purpose these conspiracists think would be served by Obama “lying” about Benghazi. It seems pretty simple, the administration didn’t want to shout “Terrorist attack!!” until they were certain. The motive for that seems, well DUH. It tends to lead to bombing other countries. A hesitation to start new wars is one of the things I like best about Obama. He had to spend several years trying to extricate us from the most recent and stupidest wars, it is quite nice to see that he strongly prefers not to start new ones. I don’t see any other sane way to understand Benghazi. The people shouting “Liar” seem to have other problems with Obama.

  337. LOL here, too! You’re hilarious.

    *

    And, by the way, when I asked Diana for reading suggestions I was doing this because she mentioned having read about the concept of karma in various traditions, historically, and so forth. I’m not sure what the books David suggested (https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20416) had to do with karma; they don’t seem to, at all, as far as I can tell. I got some suggestions from Diana on the critics list though. David wrote: ‘The books suggested above are in my bookcase. They also give perspectives on the exchange brought forward by Alicia and myself.’ I don’t understand how. They’re in your bookcase. I have hundreds of books in my own bookshelves. Most of them are entirely irrelevant to the topic of this discussion. As are the points and personal considerations you might take into account when deciding to go to a conference (even though its topic was relevant to the topic here).

  338. David Clark · ·

    Hello Alicia,

    Thanks for the comments.

    They help to clarify our perspectives.

    What is the basis for a claim of revevance at this stage? Please help me here.

    Please help me by explaining factors about a conference that you may consider. It may be good to compare notes.

    Clearly, the books themselves have nothing to do with karma. Definitely not joking here. From experience in life and as a reader. I would also suggest that the lives of people may be key These ay be represented as narratves. For me the difficult life and tragic death of Ms. Bhutto are important exemplars. Making the suggestion, I am of course quite willing to clarify and explain that view. My studies suggest that use of the word Karma may in fact mean relatively little or be misleading without other substantive context.

    What were you expecting me to say about the conference topic? Certainly it is a label for cataloguing etc, whereas for me the questions of karma may or may not be a matter of experience. Hence the importance of proper research before drawing any conclusions. Sorry to disappoint, but that is my pragmatic and skeptical view. I would suggest that attendance at a conference is not a karmic matter. Its use in the title would not make it so. Are you a mamber of the American Society? Would you like to expand upon your comments?

    Having made these suggestions, it would be good to see what would be relevant in your view. I expect that you have views on this question. Following a suggestion, I have made and brought forward a selection of titles Would you like to follow this example? I’d find the exchanges of views really interesting.

    From the above, I notice that Diana has renounced her right to respond. For me, nothing has changed. What should Diana do now?

    David

  339. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia,

    In principle, I have no problem with exclusion of my suggestions. Of course, I would review others’ suggestions and the finally agreed choice, critically.

    David

  340. ‘What is the basis for a claim of revevance at this stage? Please help me here.’

    I have no idea whatsover. Not only do I not know the answer, I don’t understand the question.

    ‘Please help me by explaining factors about a conference that you may consider.’

    In this case I considered it relevant that it was on the topic discussed in this thread. It was a pretty banal: LOOK! they’re holding a conference on the topic!

    Nothing more. If somebody goes, or knows more about the *contents* of the conference, I’d be happy to learn more.

    ‘What were you expecting me to say about the conference topic?’

    If you had nothing to say about the topic: then, nothing.

    ‘Certainly it is a label for cataloguing etc, whereas for me the questions of karma may or may not be a matter of experience. Hence the importance of proper research before drawing any conclusions. Sorry to disappoint, but that is my pragmatic and skeptical view. I would suggest that attendance at a conference is not a karmic matter. Its use in the title would not make it so. Are you a mamber of the American Society? Would you like to expand upon your comments?’

    Are you kidding me? The conference IS ABOUT karma. That was the point. I’m european, and I’m not a member of any anthroposophical organisations.

    ‘Following a suggestion, I have made and brought forward a selection of titles Would you like to follow this example?’

    Not really, no. I suggested that Diana might want to suggest a few titles — because *she had read about karma in various traditions, cultures, in history*. That was what I was interested in. A very specific area of (I guess mostly) scholarly literature, which I knew she was familiar with. She did so.

    Nobody ever suggested we should list random books from our bookcases. Even if these books are about possible karmic life events.

    ‘What should Diana do now?’

    I don’t know. Clairvoyantly gazing over to her time-zone, I gather it might be dinner-time soon.

  341. Hollywood Tom wrote:
    We Steiner people are all quite mad.

    But we hide it very well.

    Alas, there is no cure for us.

    And you’re next.

    But R. Steiner wrote: “Things such as I have told you to-day, strange as they sound, must be experienced in the light of absolute clarity of mind, of absolute soundness of head and heart. Truly, there is nothing that can more surely save one from very slight daily madness, than Anthroposophy. All madness would [disappear] by means of Anthroposophy if people would only devote themselves to it with real intensity. If somebody were to set himself to go mad through Anthroposophy, this would certainly be an experiment with inadequate means!

    I do not say this in order to make a joke, but because it must be an integral part of the mood and tenor of anthroposophical endeavour. This is the attitude that must be adopted towards the matter, as I have just explained to you, half jokingly, if we want to approach it in the right way and with the right orientation. We must set out to be as sane as possible; then we approach it in the right spirit. This is the least we can strive for, and above all, strive for in respect to the little madnesses of life…” So who’s right. As is often th case, both. Frank

  342. Shall I still post the list here? This thread has jumped the rails so many times, is anyone still reading it because they’re interested in talking about karma?

    I’m not really familiar with the scholarly literature on karma. I’ve struggled through a few things Peter S. has suggested, and found a handful of other items on my own by way of bibliographies from those books, google, amazon, scholarly blogs and religious studies and anthropology portals from various universities, etc. (even wikipedia).

  343. David Clark · ·

    Hi Alicia, Hi Diana,

    Many thanks for your support.

    Scrolling through the thread, I found “The Discovery of Heaven” by Harry Mulisch. as a potential source. Before making any further effort, I have decided to pursue this item that has generated much debate.

    Before stepping out into the rain, I had a quick look at the following Wikipedia entries:

    “The Discovery of Heaven” (last modified on 1 November 2012)
    This refers to an English Translation by Paul Vincent published by Penguin Books in 1996 p.p. 905
    ISBN 0-670-85668-1
    Dewey 839.3/1364 20

    “Harry Mulisch” (last modified on 7 November 2012)
    This reveals the high honour accorded to an esteemed author, one of the “Great Three” of Dutch postwar literature. According to one poll in the Netherlands, “The Discovery of Heaven” has been voted the “Best Dutch Book Ever”. Before his death in October 2010, he was considered a “possible future Nobel Laureate.

    Reflecting on these entries, I’m frankly in awe. What an amazing energy and life. Wow! So many changes, yet also such purpose. I’m reminded of a near neighbour who walked up the beaches during the Normandy Landings without a scratch. Not at all comparable, but totally increadible to someone like me, quite lacking in such life experience.

    Sorry. At this stage, I can’t comment on the “Magnum Opus” novel and its plot. Instead, I’ll extract elements from Wikipedia and my own searches.

    1) Personal qualities may have influenced casting of the film. Interesting. Can’t know this.
    2) Grappling with the notion of Archangels myself, the story’s plot seems quite ambitious.
    3) References to German banks interest me. I’m interested in denazification.
    4) I can find no rational basis for the terrifying events during Mulisch’s life.
    5) It is very interesting that Mulisch may have said he was World War II. I have recently surveyed Netherlands commentary and literature on the time around World War II. My reading suggests that legacy themes from this time remain. A careful Internet search into the local background of commentaries and the nature of public debate may help. As Noam Chomsky would say: “Look it up”.
    6) I may have missed something important. I don’t think the Wikipedia entry contained any reference to Karma.

    As of today, I will obtain a copy of the above book. Once again, I am prompted to seek out the work of a Dutch historian, in search of a locally aware academic view. Speaking personally, I need such specialised advice on matters that seem so clearly to ray into the present time.

    Some say that historians love to argue. Great!

    I would say that – I’m not a historian.

    Now to the library. I’ll need the umbrella.

    David

  344. ‘Shall I still post the list here? This thread has jumped the rails so many times, is anyone still reading it because they’re interested in talking about karma?’

    Haha, well, I don’t know. I would assume not too many people. If you want to. I’ve seen it, obviously, so I’m personally in no need for it.

    Frank quoted Steiner: ‘All madness would [disappear] by means of Anthroposophy if people would only devote themselves to it with real intensity. If somebody were to set himself to go mad through Anthroposophy, this would certainly be an experiment with inadequate means!’

    This is very funny. It reminds me of the brilliant and often hilarious norwegian anthroposophist Jens Bjørneboe who wrote about a visit to Dornach, on which he claims to have met all kinds of pathological existences: ‘It is of course possible that it is precisely anthroposophy which keeps these people away from the lunatic asylum, something which is certainly magnificent, but which cannot be perceived as this movement’s true purpose.’

    It is, by the way, my personal conviction that it is quite possible to go mad with anthroposophy and without it. If you’re inclined towards madness, which lots of people are, I have a hunch anthroposophy might be ‘helpful’.

    (edited: silly mistake in the translation — which is my translation, so don’t blame Bjørneboe.)

  345. David: ‘Scrolling through the thread, I found “The Discovery of Heaven” by Harry Mulisch. as a potential source. ‘

    It is fiction! Diana suggested it not because of the life-path (or terrifying life-events) of the author but because the book deals, in the form of a novel, with certain themes. It is also entirely irrelevant how the casting of the film was carried out. I’m not sure why you’re even bringing up points 1-5.

    ‘As of today, I will obtain a copy of the above book. Once again, I am prompted to seek out the work of a Dutch historian, in search of a locally aware academic view.’

    Mulish’s book is a fucking novel.

  346. David Clark · ·

    Thanks Alicia.

    I’m just about to read it and will comment ASAP.

    I don’t know the Scandinavian gentleman.

    If it helps (maybe not?), I am aware of the ongoing and horrifying character of genocide around the globe. As a rusty student of Spanish for example, I applaud recent historical debates and look forward to renewal.

    How can literature illuminate debates on karma? Please take this as a naive question and help me. I reckon this may be clearer once I’ve read the book.

    Very sorry for seemingly repeating myself. I’m interested in real life circumstances and suggested that, in this case, those are influential.

    As I said. I’m now going to get a copy and take a look before making further comments.

    “Mulisch’s book is a ******* novel”

    Well, my reading of Wikipedia (checking before committing time. effort and possibly money) suggests that it is and may well have other cultural resonances. Great. All the more reason to read it.

    I know. I’m not connecting from Scotland, but there it is.

    Hope that helps.

    Just in case you think I’m a wannabe historian or literary critic, some more credentials:

    David Clark A.C.I.S.

  347. I thought you were a wannabe amateur librarian or travel-planner.

    ‘If it helps (maybe not?), I am aware of the ongoing and horrifying character of genocide around the globe.’

    I have no idea if it helps. It doesn’t seem very helpful, in and of itself, to post everything that pops into your mind. Without connecting it, at least, to something we’re discussing in the thread. It will make other participants feel fed up.

    By the way, I haven’t read Mulisch’s book yet (although I actually have it in my bookcase since Diana recommended it last year). I was just trying to explain to you that Diana probably made a distinction between fictional literature and non-fictional. And that she wasn’t trying to make karmic conjectures from biographical facts from the author’s life.

  348. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Since our topic of karma seems to have taken a turn towards Nazidom, and angels and archangels, (in Mulisch’s novel), I thought some more might be in order from Ms MacKenzie. She confirms Joel’s fingering of Rove (birthday Christmas 1950) as Ahriman’s incarnation (in another part of her writing) and elaborates here how his nibs was pushed out of a more magical-mystical incarnation in the centre of Europe by ‘RS incarnating Anthroposophy into the German language’.

    “Michael requires us to live a modern life. One of Michael’s Archangelic manifestations is as the Archangel of Modern Life; it is an aspect of His Being as the Archai of current Times, the Time Spirit. In this capacity He works alongside the “young” American Folk Spirit and the Spirit of the English Language, and gives the cosmopolitan nature of the Times as a whole and America in particular. Thus His particular endeavour at this moment in the Consciousness Soul Epoch has to do with the Mysteries of the West which begin geo/physically/spiritually with the Etheric off the West Coast of Ireland and are upheld and guarded geo/historically/spiritually by the Mysteries of Hibernia.

    The Mystery of the West is Ahriman, just as the Mystery of the East is Lucifer and the Mystery of the Centre is Christ.

    Ahriman too is working at the Archangelic level. RS met Ahriman at the border of his incarnating process through the Archai realm to that of the Archangelic realm. He met him in Nietzsche. Philosophy is perennial and is passed from Time Spirit to Time Spirit. This was Ahriman’s access to pass into the Moon sphere, the realm of earthly Time and immediate pre-earthly birth existence, which he could only do with the permission of Michael.

    From the Archangelic realm he could INSPIRE Nietzsche in the last part of his life and philosophic production. By the time of Nietzsche’s madness Ahriman’s possession of Nietzsche’s soul was quite clearly visible to RS and also his possession of a portion of the Archangelic realm. Ahriman’s intent was to pass through the Angelic realm to bodily incarnation. The portion of the Archangelic realm that he was able to possess through Nietzsche and German Philosophy differed from the allotted cosmic place of the Ahrimanic Beings. It was a portion connected to human beings and to their creation of materialism i.e. not God-given but Man-given (gender specific)

    His success with Nietzsche prompted an attempt to incarnate in the Centre within the German language where he would have appeared as the Double of Christ, that is to say, humanity would have experienced him as Christ whilst Sorat replaced Lucifer. To be more spiritually scientifically precise, Ahriman, Lucifer’s karma, tried to free himself from Lucifer and hence from Christ, the Lord of Karma, and incarnate as a pseudo Lukan child. He would have possessed extraordinary magical powers so that it would have been virtually impossible for any majority to have distinguished him clearly and, given that the Theosophical Society was confused on this issue of The Second Coming, very great danger for humanity was in process. This attempt in the Centre was prevented by RS incarnating Anthroposophy into the German language through the German language Archangel and Michael, the Time Spirit.

    RS fought tirelessly to awaken humanity so that it would be prepared for the incarnation to which Ahriman has a right. But Ahriman does not know what a right is. Humanity barely knew, as women had no full and universal international suffrage in the west until the 1950’s. There was insufficient Christ consciousness of the required degree during the early 20th c and the Anthroposophical Society had also failed.

    Instead we had Hitler, whom many experienced as the “Saviour of Germany”, in the Centre, Franco in the South in Spain, Mussolini in the East in Italy and Stalin in the North in Russia. In Occult Britain many of the upper classes experienced all but Stalin as “Saviours” of their respective countries and looked with envy at these political “saviours” who got the masses working and restored order.

    From the Archangelic realm Ahriman conquered all but esoteric West, and threw up simulacra of himself in the socio/politico/economic life of Europe from where the conflagration of 2nd ww spread worldwide

    From the West he instead inspired, from the Archangelic realm, his own star, the Counter- Zarathustra Star

    This star appeared in actuality, as a mockery, as a double star in the East over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But it was the outrageously open occult indicator that his physical incarnation would occur after the appearance of his “Star in the East”, and a symbolic number of years after. So, within 12 years of his Star he would incarnate “into a circle of 12 years, 12 seasonal rounds” ie into earthly symbolic /actual time.

    Since he had failed to conquer the world from the Centre, he would have to now work from the West, the only unconquered directional. Spiritual/cultural North, South, East and West (represented by RS. Marie Steiner. Ita Wegman and Elizabeth Vreede in this undertaking) had prevented his incarnation in “magical/religious/spiritual form” in the Cultural Centre; he would have to incarnate in politico/economic form, that is to say he would have to work from out the politico/economic spheres from the West since he was prevented from working as a Mystic from out the Centre.

    He was then guided by his own “star”, which was not a star at all, but a black occult human sacrifice which first appeared in its” purity” over Los Alamos, without its bloody umbilical cord, its earthly reality. Again a mockery, this time of the virgin birth. His “star” led to America.”

    http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/bgeam14x.html

    There are apparent links between MacKenzie’s and Mulisch’s work – not surprisingly, perhaps, considering their common interest in religion, philosophy and mysticism – such as this plot-line from the last part of the novel:

    “Back in heaven, the Angel is commended for his deeds by the Archangel. The Angel, however, feels remorse for breaking the link between heaven and earth. But the situation is no longer in his control.”

    And MacKenzie’s account of her passage from heaven to birth in the 50s:

    “In the years 1933-1954 (the 21 years it takes for an ego to be born on earth in a human body) the actual Earth itself was invisible from the Spiritual World. The Earth Ego, Christ, was invisible to the spiritual world. It was during these years that we were travelling to incarnation. Human will forces actually threatened the existence of the Earth and all its beings and made it invisible to the Spiritual World until the explosion of Ahriman’s Anti-Zarathustra Star.”

    She has more on the Nazis:

    “The cosmic fallout from this event was experienced in the spiritual world as a deepening of the darkness of dark light (Sorat) and dark matter (Ahriman).
    Through this impenetrability those of us on the way to incarnation had to find The Moon. In other words, we had to call to life within us an incarnation in the Jewish/Yahweh stream when Michael was our Folk Spirit, for Michaelic courage and iron were the only guide. This also enabled those departing this stream as described by Ben Aharon to be guided beyond the darkness of Man’s Inhumanity to Man. Many conversations of world shattering intensity took place in the Moon Sphere of the Earth during this period. Many a conversation between the rising Aristotelians led by Ita Wegman and Elizabeth Vreede and the descending Platonists also managed to take place.

    It was Ita Wegman and Elizabeth Vreede (d 1943) who accompanied the victims of the Final Solution, the conscious act of the Nazi hierarchy, into the spiritual world darkness. The Counter Star in the East, the Anti-Zarathustra Star, added unspeakably to this.

    http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/benaharonreview.html

  349. Is MacKensie a Wendt troll?

  350. David Clark · ·

    Hi.

    Ted writes:

    “Since our topic of karma seems to have taken a turn towards Nazidom …”

    Alicia wrote:

    “It doesn’t seem very helpful, in and of itself, to post everything that pops into your mind”

    Intriguing comments.

    1) I’m not trying to take (our!) topic of karma anywhere, although some may wish to run with this. For me, such an idea would be at the very least, highly frivolous if not destructive, if not more, suggesting that the topic might in some way be mine. Gosh! I reckon that would be quite a cheek.
    2) I’m trying to find the book. Of course, unwanted information on the Internet can be quite tiresome. It can happen frequently. You all have my sympathy.
    3) You will realise that the above references to “The Discovery of Heaven” constitute a “knowledge claim” in academic terminology. As you will know, it would be appropriate to explore the context, if only for this reason.4
    4) Well, Alicia I’m always quite skeptical of such “claims to know” what is best.

    Anyway, news of my search.

    Before starting, I’m imagining myself anong a group of open-minded and skeptical students, asking questions after a lecture. They might ask:

    “Why have you been interested in these questions for so long?

    Never mind. Others chose the book. I just selected it.

    Anyway, news of my progress today with the search for “The Discovery of Heaven”

    University Library Catalogue – No Entries
    More refined search with the librarian’s assistance – No Entries
    Showing the hard copy from Wikipedia to the librarian – suggestion that I buy a copy

    More luck with the historians, but I’m certainly on record as being no specialist. de Jong in the Netherlands appears interesting.

    Later today, I;m aiming to get the book. Being friendly, the librarian suggested that, as a long book, it would keep me warm during the long winter nights. I certainly hope so.

    Best to all,

    David

  351. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Is MacKensie a Wendt troll?”

    What a question, Frank! Are you sceptical of her work?

  352. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Though, come to think of it, perhaps she is, in the sense Pete K used to think that I was Tom M (what am I saying?!).

  353. Ted: What a question, Frank! Are you sceptical of her work?
    Frank: All I know of her is what you’ve shown here. And the answer is yes. Why? Isn’t that allowed?

  354. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Why? Isn’t that allowed?”

    Of course it is :).

  355. “Discovery of Heaven” available here:

    Seriously, David Clark, do feel free to read it and get back to us. The librarian you consulted is right, it is a very long book. It will keep you busy for awhile. And yes it is fiction.

    To Ted, personally I have little but contempt for talk of Nazism and moon spirits and cosmic ethers. It just strikes me as reprehensible.

  356. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “To Ted, personally I have little but contempt for talk of Nazism and moon spirits and cosmic ethers. It just strikes me as reprehensible.”

    As one would expect. Part of your philosophy of history, that appears to rule out the writing of spiritual history by ‘spiritual people’ as something ‘third grade’. It’s this philosophy that makes discussion rather profitless and is the opposite of the methodological neutrality claimed by PS on WC and apparently endorsed by critics. From what you say, there’s no room in any historiography for this sort of thing in your view. Which is fine…but does set the limits.

  357. Good grief. Nazis and moon spirits.

    David: ’3) You will realise that the above references to “The Discovery of Heaven” constitute a “knowledge claim” in academic terminology. As you will know, it would be appropriate to explore the context, if only for this reason.4
    4) Well, Alicia I’m always quite skeptical of such “claims to know” what is best.’

    I honestly don’t understand a thing.

    ‘Before starting, I’m imagining myself anong a group of open-minded and skeptical students, asking questions after a lecture. They might ask:
    “Why have you been interested in these questions for so long?’

    Ok. I, again, don’t understand a thing. Before starting something, unknown what, you imagine yourself lecturing about something, unknown what, and then answering some questions, unknown which. I don’t know what to do with this ‘information’. Sorry.

    The book was available in the first bookstore I went to here in Stockholm. In the section dedicated to FICTION. It’s not somehow a mystery how to get hold of it. University libraries don’t always have huge selections of fictional works. Local bookshop or public library are better bets.

  358. Here’s the extremely short list of books I have consulted in an effort to learn more about the history of the idea of karma outside of anthroposophy. I have quite a few other, shorter items (papers, blog entries, etc.) on my computer, downloaded from various places, but in the interests of time just a book list for now. This isn’t a proper bibliography, just titles, authors, and amazon links, but hopefully it’s enough for anyone who is actually interested in the titles to find them. I’m sure they’re available in many academic libraries (not mine, which is science and techy oriented).

    Tull and Bronkhorst I haven’t actually read, just recently ordered (Tull at Peter S.’s suggestion, and Bronkhorst just because it looked interesting on amazon).

    ************************************************************************
    Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty
    http://tinyurl.com/c5g644e

    Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry, by Charles F. Keyes and E. Valentine
    http://tinyurl.com/ct35354

    Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth, by Gananath Obeyesekere
    http://tinyurl.com/bmwf8gl

    Understanding Karma: In Light of Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophical Anthropology and Hermeneutics, by Shrinivas Tilak
    http://tinyurl.com/co4pw2q

    New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, by Wouter J. Hanegraaff
    http://tinyurl.com/cpqgra9

    The Vedic Origins of Karma: Cosmos As Man in Ancient Indian Myth and Ritual, by Herman W. Tull
    http://tinyurl.com/d3fly53

    Karma (Dimensions of Asian Spirituality), by Johannes Bronkhorst
    http://tinyurl.com/cgknm4s

  359. Just a note, the Tilak book is pretty much unreadable unless you’re some kind of serious student of Ricoeur, or a masochist …

  360. Ted: “art of your philosophy of history, that appears to rule out the writing of spiritual history by ‘spiritual people’ as something ‘third grade’. ”

    Nope. I said the exact opposite above in this thread. MOST spiritual people would probably denounce this tripe in the same way I have done. “Spirituality” is not the problem with it; imbecility is a different problem.

  361. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I think it ‘s interesting to see the difficulties people face in attempting to find explanations of Nazism. As I’ve said, the book shelves are full of holocaust and Nazi studies in the German history sections of bookshops, with more books becoming available all the time. New studies arrive attempting to throw light on how the ‘silly little man’ could have held a sophisticated nation like Germany in his thrall – Lawrence Rees, one recent example, has made a program from his book and spent, as I recall, the best part of a decade researching the topic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20237437 . As I also said, I read Richard Grunberger’s seminal Social History of the Third Reich two decades ago and little more light has been shed on the subject for me, beyond works like MacKenzie and Ben Aharon, since then. But it is clearly a subject people find and will continue to find of deep interest…

  362. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Dana: “Nope”.

    On the contrary. And ‘nope’ to all you say (‘imbecility’ is a standard criticism of spiritual people by sceptics; ‘fool’ is another traditional name for such a person, as in ‘holy fool’).

  363. You persistently state that I’ve stated the exact, polar opposite of what I’ve said. Are you aware of that, Ted? I do not have a standard criticism that spiritual people are imbeciles. I said that IMO most spiritual people would THEMSELVES denounce pronouncements about archangels and nazism as imbecilic.

    I have said the opposite of what you think I’ve said about spiritual people. Somehow, it escapes you.

  364. Drat – wrote a post and lost it.

    No, Ted. “Methodological neutrality” is not “believing what anyone says,” or “respecting” any particular piece of tripe just because not to respect it would hurt somebody’s feelings.

    Methodological neutrality requires testable, falsifiable claims. Methodological neutrality doesn’t require me to reject Steiner’s claims, or anyone else’s, just because I don’t like them. there are no (or very few) testable claims in anthroposophical claims about Nazism and folk spirits in the first place. Methodological neutrality requires me not so much to reject the material as to pronounce it meaningless. Unreviewable, outside methodological scrutiny completely.

  365. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Nope.

  366. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Methodological neutrality requires testable, falsifiable claims.”

    Difficult for spiritual facts, which have no directly perceptible element, isn’t it? Much easier to just resort to ‘explaining away’ experiences people say they have had (such of Joan of Arc and the archangel) or the the even simpler ridicule, as we see on critics.

    “Methodological neutrality requires me not so much to reject the material as to pronounce it meaningless”.

    Yes, exactly. So nothing to discuss, then.

  367. “From what you say, there’s no room in any historiography for this sort of thing in your view. Which is fine…but does set limits.”

    Yes, of course it sets limits. That’s what makes it even discussable. If you’d like to write history without limits, that’s called fiction. Quite worthwhile in its own right, of course (the Mulisch book is an excellent example, it’s a really good book).

    History, knowledge, do have limits. There’s a movement afoot in right wing Republican politics in the US, apparently; some young upstarts are suggesting it’s past time they considered joining the “reality-based community.” This is also good advice for “spiritual historiography.” I have no doubt (I’m no expert, but I’m still certain) there are literally countless tomes of spiritual history that are reality-based. It is a particular form of spirituality – only one subset – that insists on starting with esoteric fantasies, usually from the imaginations of singular individuals like Rudolf Steiner (Anne Besant, Helena Blavatsky, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Edgar Cayce, Alice Bailey, etc.).

    At the risk of sounding too much like David Clark, consult a library. Consult the internet. You can find a lot of reality-based, methodologically neutral historical writing with “spiritual historiography” behind it. It just isn’t silliness about how archangels made Hitler do it.

  368. Ted Wrinch · ·

    My last ‘nope’ was supposed to be in response to Diana’s:

    ‘You persistently state that I’ve stated the exact, polar opposite of what I’ve said. ‘

  369. ‘It just isn’t silliness about how archangels made Hitler do it.’

    LOL.

    I can also recommend fiction. It’s a good thing. But works a bit differently.

  370. “difficult for spiritual facts, which have no directly perceptible element, isn’t it?”

    Yes indeed, and yet – is this news to you? – there ARE spiritual people who manage to discuss reality. Living in a fantasy world is NOT required in order to be spiritual.

  371. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “You can find a lot of reality-based, methodologically neutral historical writing with “spiritual historiography” behind it. ”

    I doubt it. The whole concept of ‘reality’, something that has reversed it’s meaning since the Middle Ages, is anyway up for grabs here, for anyone serious about the topic.

  372. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “there ARE spiritual people who manage to discuss reality.”

    Yes, but ‘spiritual people’ discussing ‘reality’ is not such people discussing spiritual reality, the sort that makes spiritual history.

    “Living in a fantasy world is NOT required in order to be spiritual.”

    Your fantasy. Begs the question; but does answer another abou what you take ‘spiritual’ to mean.

  373. “Difficult for spiritual facts, which have no directly perceptible element, isn’t it?”

    Put another way, yes it’s difficult, but the “difficulty” burden falls on the person making the claim; petulantly whining that others reject claims that are ridiculous on their face is pointless.

  374. “yes, exactly. So nothing to discuss, then.”

    We agree then. You posted material that is not worth discussing, as I said. It is devotional material for followers of Rudolf Steiner; it doesn’t interface with reality, for the rest of us.

  375. Ted Wrinch · ·

    ” petulantly whining that others reject claims that are ridiculous on their face is pointless.”

    Well, there you go (it’s always safest to fall back on insults)!

  376. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “it doesn’t interface with reality, for the rest of us.”

    Your ‘reality’, no, and for the ‘rest of us’ as your in-group, of course not. That’s the point isn’t it? But this explains why discussing ideas on critics has been such a waste of a decade.

  377. In response to your “Nope,” Ted, if you check the thread, you’ll see it’s “Yep.” You take refuge in your fond notion that I reject all spirituality or all spiritual people, when in fact my posts make clear I give most spiritual people far more credit than that – actually, I think I give them more credit than you do. I work from an assumption that most spiritual people do not live in an esoteric fantasy world.

    Most spiritual people are simply guided by principles that they believe come from a god or spiritual reality of some sort, and they derive from their beliefs values about how to live, things like trying to treat others with loving kindness, helping the less fortunate, etc. Worldwide, I think you’d find this sort of thing is the primary definition and manifestation of spirituality. Worldwide, these sorts of beliefs are far more prevalent, and far more important, than particular small subsets of people devoted to particular, idiosyncratic, doctrines like anthroposophy.

    I think it’s correct to say most people who consider themselves spiritual would quickly reject stuff about Hitler and the archangels. It’s just not, for most people, what being spiritual is about. Esoteric belief systems tend to be for small groups, and tend to be unpopular for these reasons. Most people spiritual or otherwise recognize something distasteful is going on.

  378. What insults? Me pointing out you are petulantly whining? Just trying to demonstrate my point are you?

  379. You seriously think this is worth taking… seriously? https://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/karma-and-evil/#comment-20490

    As history? Is it spiritual? Do you believe spiritual people take it seriously? That they can’t, or don’t, reject it as nonsense?

    It’s certainly not us dreaded waldorf critics who conflate spirituality with idiocy in this case.

  380. Oh, that was a desperate response to what Ted wrote.

  381. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Most spiritual people are simply guided by principles that they believe come from a god or spiritual reality…”

    Spiritual reality is, by definition, non perceptible, or what you call ‘fantasy’.

    “trying to treat others with loving kindness, helping the less fortunate,”

    Yes, that’s morality, which intersects with, is derived from even, spirituality but is not the same (hence we see ‘atheist spirituality’ these days).

    “Most people spiritual or otherwise recognize something distasteful is going on.”

    You, and your definition of ‘spiritual people’ do; others don’t necessarily.

  382. “It’s certainly not us dreaded waldorf critics who conflate spirituality with idiocy in this case.”

    Exactly. It’s comical, but sad. To reiterate: I definitely don’t conflate spirituality with idiocy. There are plenty of sensible, intelligent spiritual folks, doing sensible, intelligent, practical things in living out their spiritual beliefs. I may not share their beliefs in the spiritual reality they perceive, but I certainly don’t take them for idiots.

    Stuff about the Nazis and archangels, I take for idiocy. Sorry. In reality practically everyone in my family and circle of friends believes in something spiritual that I don’t believe in. Not one of them would sit still for nonsense about Hitler and archangels. It’s just a travesty of spirituality.

    It’s easier to sit still for when it doesn’t involve Nazism. The “ugh” factor is higher when you get into spinning fantasies about genocide.

  383. “Spiritual reality is, by definition, non perceptible, or what you call ‘fantasy’.”

    No, spirituality and fantasy are definitely not the same thing. This is, again, your desperation to somehow take down part and parcel everything I might say critical of your worldview … you want to see me rejecting somehow much more than I am actually rejecting, so that you can perceive me as ridiculous or extreme.

    Again, it’s a fact that world wide most of the population is spiritual, yet most does not believe things like this offensive passage Ted quoted about Nazism and Folk Spirits.

  384. ‘I definitely don’t conflate spirituality with idiocy. There are plenty of sensible, intelligent spiritual folks, doing sensible, intelligent, practical things in living out their spiritual beliefs. I may not share their beliefs in the spiritual reality they perceive, but I certainly don’t take them for idiots.’

    Completely agree.

  385. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Diana says,

    “It’s just a travesty of spirituality.”

    Neatly dodging he question.

    “The “ugh” factor is higher when you get into spinning fantasies about genocide.”

    Your ‘ugh factor’. But guess what: genocide *is* ugh. That’s why the volume of material has been going up exponentially for a decade or so.

    “you want to see me rejecting somehow much more than I am actually rejecting”

    I see what you’re rejecting and I see you doing so by redefining ‘spirituality’. In the same way PS redefined ‘materialism’. It’s very convenient for you to do this.

  386. I think my notion of “spirituality” is considerably broader than yours. You want to assert that if I reject some wretched idiocy about nazism and archangels, I’m thereby rejecting spirituality. This is clearly not reasonable. Spirituality is a lot of things – I reject THIS SHIT, Ted, not everybody’s spirituality worldwide.

    I haven’t “redefined spirituality,” or if I have for the purpose of this discussion, it’s to point out that the definition needs to be considerably broader than the one you are using in accusing me of rejecting it. I don’t think I’m using some definition of “spirituality” that wouldn’t be recognizable to most people. You’re the one with the very narrow definition, and I think you can see it’s wrong – it’s one you’ve proposed for the purpose of a narrow accusation at me that wouldn’t work if a definition of spirituality that is inclusive of this phenomenon around the globe were applied.

  387. Ladies and gents, I must run. There will be company at my house tomorrow, and I’d like to have the floors swept, the rugs beaten, the kitchen sparkly. It is a holiday here tomorrow. One at which numerous spiritual blessings will probably be pronounced, over a meal shared with some people I definitely don’t consider idiots.

  388. David Clark · ·

    Hi,

    Apologies for the brief interruption.

    I’ve just walked across to the University Bookshop. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a copy.

    Interested in the book, I walked across to the bookseller (still unable to find a suitable job, but relatively lucky).

    Opening my file, I passed her the hard copy of the Wikipedia entry. Quite unable to find the title. I then read out the ISBN number. This referred to a hard bound version at £17. This is now out of print.

    So, this part of the search also drew a blank – and a blank expression.

    An idea dawned. The assistant decided to see whether there was a paperback version in print. There is and I can obtain it at the price of £12. As it is not in stock, I have to wait until next week.

    In passing, I mentioned the Wikipedia article and its contents. No response.

    Interesting transaction:

    1) What is the book worth to a skeptic like me?
    2) I do not have to pay until the book arrives – partly addresses my questions of disbelief
    3) Questiuons of price, value and transactions remind me of Rudolf Steiner’s insights.
    4) I will need to test these insights once more when I collect the book.

    Sorry, I must go. Vert chilly but refreshing outside. Passed people discussing ways of getting a good book. I now want a cup of coffee.

    David

  389. David Clark · ·

    Sorry about the ‘typos. Hope you will understand.

  390. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “I think my notion of “spirituality” is considerably broader than yours.”

    Doesn’t seem so: maybe you could elaborate?My notion was simple: the spiritual is not perceptible. You answered in a way that seemed to accept this, and then rejected it in practise. Statements of yours such as ‘there are literally countless tomes of spiritual history that are reality-based’ should beg the question ‘what is reality’? Instead they apparently simply assumed that reality is that which is perceptible, and ruled out such ‘third grade’ concepts as the non-perceptible beings known as archangels.

  391. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “It is a holiday here tomorrow.”

    Best wishes for the holiday!

  392. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Alicia asked me some questions. I didn’t mean to be rude and not answer them; it’s just I think I’ve covered everything in my responses to Diana.

  393. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Hey – 395 comments: has this wandering thread hit the record?

  394. “The whole concept of ‘reality’, something that has reversed it’s meaning since the Middle Ages, is anyway up for grabs here, for anyone serious about the topic.”

    There you have it. Nothing more to say here. The concept of ‘reality’ is up for grabs in Ted’s mind… Clearly we must ‘enhance’ what we mean by ‘reality’ at some point… just like eventually, ‘science’ will be enhanced to include ‘spiritual science’. Reality shouldn’t be limited to what’s real… reality is, in fact, anything Ted perceives.

  395. Thank you Ted!

  396. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “just like eventually, ‘science’ will be enhanced to include ‘spiritual science’

    So, what is ‘science’, Pete?

  397. Science is evidence-based… Spiritual science is bullshit-based.

  398. Ted Wrinch · ·

    ‘evidence’ – that which is visible, perceptible. But that then begs the question again, doesn’t it Pete. To you, spirituality is ‘bullshit’, to others not necessarily.

  399. “‘evidence’ – that which is visible, perceptible. ”

    More importantly, measurable.

    “But that then begs the question again, doesn’t it Pete. ”

    No, not really.

    “To you, spirituality is ‘bullshit’, to others not necessarily.”

    I said “spiritual science” not spirituality. I was actually very spiritual at an earlier time in my life. I don’t find anything Steiner has to say particularly “spiritual”. It’s convoluted nonsense. Spirituality has its place, like religion does. However, let’s not confuse it with reality.

  400. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “More importantly, measurable.”

    How ya gonna measure the non-perceptible, Pete? 

    “I was actually very spiritual at an earlier time in my life.”

    So what’s spirituality?

    “However, let’s not confuse it [spirituality] with reality.”

    I see: the spiritual is not real. So what’s the point of it, then?

  401. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I haven’t read anything on Penrose and consciousness for a while now but I found this article, which seems a good restatement of his position (though justifying the existence of a Platonic realm doesn’t need anything as sophisticated as Godel’s theorem). The start contains  another refutation of the Staudenmaieriam claim that the scientific worldview does not commonly endorse materialism:

    “According to Penrose, Gödel’s theorem implies that not only mathematical understanding but also human musical, artistic, and aesthetic creativity and appreciation come from contact with the Platonic world of reality. The conventional and common experience of many scientists implies that human creative power emerges from highly sophisticated but certainly materialistic processes taking place in brain tissue. ”

    The article contains a restating and updating of Penrose’s thesis, from his late 80s book The Emperor’s New Mind, that consciousness may interact with matter via quantum mechanics. It continues by considering his claim that ‘qualia’ (secondary qualities) can be addressed by ‘frontier physics’, in Penrose’s case a field of mathematics known as spin networks:

    “However it is also true that such an approach ["Penrose's Platonic stance"] cannot solve the “hard problem” of consciousness (Chalmers 1996). As pointed out by David Chalmers and Mari Jibu (1998), the problem of conscious experience is the conceptual limit of the scientific framework based on modern physics. The fundamental concepts and formulations of physics must be extended to solve the hard problem. Penrose’s first claim seems to suggest a possible direction. Indeed, he proposed a new space-time framework of fundamental physics called spin networksin which not only conventional physical and geometric objects but also protoconscious objects such as qualia can be implemented as underlying mathematical objects. In a sense, he developed a universal mathematical framework simultaneously representing the materialistic world of physical reality and the Platonic world of mathematical reality.”

    People may be aware here (the topic has been broached on critics) that anthroposophist Nick Thomas has also addressed this topic -the co-existence of qualia and matter – using the equally unconventional mathematical approach of projective geometry (suggested by Steiner) – in his mathematically sophisticated book Science Between Space and  Counterspace . However, the researcher in this article, perhaps because of his location within the continental research milieu of  Switzerland, prefers a return to Leibnitz’ psycho-physical monads:

    “The Platonic world view may well be implemented in the conceptual structure of quantum monads more naturally than in spin networks….

    …A monad was proposed to occupy the center of human mind, and Leibniz’s monadology was aimed at the underlying harmonic order among men, society, nature, and the existence of the God…the formal structure of monadology can be implemented in modern frontier physics to give a very simple but attractive conceptual foundation called quantum monadology (Nakagomi 1992).

    In quantum monadology the world is made of a finite number, say M, of quantum algebras called monads.There are no other elements making up the world, and so the world itself can be defined as the totality of M monads; W = .,A1,A2,…,AM.”. The world W is not space-time as is generally assumed in the conventional framework of physics; space-time does not exist at the fundamental level, but emerges from mutual relations among monads….”

    The article concludes with something like a restatement of the alchemical formula ‘the microcosm within the macrocosm’:

    ” In addition to the individual state, each monad has an image of the world state recognized by itself; it is a world state belonging to each monad.”

    Though all this may look dry,  abstract and perhaps overly mathematical now, people may be aware that Steiner, in his Origins and Boundaries scientific lectures, pointed to modern mathematics as once being united with, and so derived from, the richness of thought to be found in the Indian Vedic writings.
     
    Quantum Monadology, kunio Yasue

    http://cognet.mit.edu/posters/TUCSON3/Yasue.html

  402. “I see: the spiritual is not real. So what’s the point of it, then?”

    Comfort for the individual… nothing more.

  403. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Ok. Rather defuses your claim to be using ‘critical thinking’, or an understanding of science or spirituality or…in refuting ‘Steinerism’, doesn’t it? Instead, as I said on quacks, it’s just Pete’s crusade…

  404. “Ok. Rather defuses your claim to be using ‘critical thinking’, or an understanding of science or spirituality or…in refuting ‘Steinerism’, doesn’t it?”

    Not at all. Do you claim I have misunderstood something in spiritual science? If so, let’s hear it.

  405. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Already been said, Pete. It’s enough to conclude: spirituality to you is unreal, a comfort only; the measurable and perceptible is real. That’s materialism, Pete. Of course you’ll ‘misunder[stand] something in spiritual science’, that’s the sine qua non of your approach, but also for spirituality in general.

  406. So, nothing you can put your finger on…

    “That’s materialism, Pete.”

    No, that’s “reality” Ted.

  407. Ted Wrinch · ·

    There ya go: back to the irrational again. You can argue anything you like, Pete, using your own logic, just don’t make it true (the squares on the sides of a right angled triangle still add up to the square on the hypotenuse, whatever you may like to say to the contrary).

  408. Pete, irrational? (He out of the visitors at the ethereal kiosk?) I don’t think so.

  409. Ted Wrinch · ·

    I thought this rather hilarious, which I picked up from one of Melanie’s Tweet favourites – who says Twitter is all rubbish! – , on Peter Staudenmaier’s decade long rear-guard action to bludgeon WC list participants into accepting that ‘race does not exist’. According to Stephen Pinker, it does:

    “What can be done? In recent decades, the standard response to claims of genetic differences has been to deny the existence of intelligence, to deny the existence of races and other genetic groupings, and to subject proponents to vilification, censorship, and at times physical intimidation. Aside from its effects on liberal discourse, the response is problematic. Reality is what refuses to go away when you do not believe in it, and progress in neuroscience and genomics has made these politically comforting shibboleths (such as the non-existence of intelligence and the non-existence of race) untenable.”

    http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2006_06_17_thenewrepublic.html

    But I’m just being provocative here as I don’t really care about the subject and don’t anyway think whether it exists actually matters, since, if it does – and it does seem to – , it’s effect on the individual is small, smaller than nationality, which also seems to exist (a few years ago the New Scientist was able to re-construct a map of Europe from looking at the genes of its inhabitants).

  410. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Pete, irrational? (He out of the visitors at the ethereal kiosk?) I don’t think so.”

    What can I say? You don’t see it; I do. And others too. But it’s the double-edged sword of freedom that we each get to choose.

  411. I’ll be back tomorrow to this thread (and other threads), hopefully. Am trying to get used to a new computer (finally). Spending lots of times trying to figure out trivial things (pulling out a LAN cable that got stuck took me half an hour this evening).

    Ted — it’s not a record thread yet! I believe (guessing without checking now) the record is somewhere over, but close to, 450.

  412. Ted Wrinch · ·

    New ‘puter, huh. I got one of those last year – a slinky MacBook Air (on Apple’s seconds scheme). Though I know you’re not a fan of Apple, after 15+ yeas of Windoze I don’t miss that at all. And the ‘Nix is all there, underneath, in its hideous but powerful old skool form (bash shell anyone?).

    Well, we’re not far off now – 415!

  413. I’m running Windows on my new computer, but it feels slightly odd — I’ve been on Linux (Ubuntu) for many years now, which I’ve liked a lot. I’m considering a dual boot, to be able to run both windows and linux.

    No, right, I didn’t like the MacBook (‘Pro’) I tried. In fact, I did get a much better PC for less money. Which, in the end, mattered. (It’s got a stunning screen, to my delight.)

    Only something like 40 comments left to record. I’m sure I can provoke 40 comments by saying, either:

    1. Steiner was a racist, or

    2. Steiner was not a racist.

    (Sleep time now.)

  414. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Ooo – geek talk! I’m starting to miss this. Did you not try the Pro’s ‘retina screen’, one of Jobs’ last gifts to the world, before he set off for Nirvana (I’m sure as someone with a Buddhist affiliation, he ought to have a head-start on the journey)? I actually do think that Steve Jobs was a genius – much more so than Bill Gates – and it was sad that he died so relatively young (no more ‘just one more thing’s).

    Go, racism!

  415. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Sleep well.

  416. “You can argue anything you like, Pete, using your own logic”

    And you can pretend it’s my “own” logic… but it won’t get you anywhere with this audience Ted. Logic is logic. It stands on its own just like the Pythagorean theorem. Spiritual science defies logic – there’s no question about that Ted. You can still believe in it though.

  417. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Ted. Logic is logic.”

    What is logic, Pete?

  418. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Spiritual science defies logic – there’s no question about that Ted.”

    There’s no question to you, Pete; but then you’ve said you’re a materialist. I think that those who value thought and truth a bit more than this will want to go further than your formulation that ‘science is based on evidence and the measurable’. EA MacKenzie expresses the feeling well, I think.

    “When it came time, at 16, to choose what to study at University I asked myself what was the highest faculty I possessed. Clearly thinking. Therefore the highest subject I could study was the one which dealt with thinking. Was there such a subject? I looked in the books of subjects, indeed there was and it was called Philosophy. Well then I would go and study Philosophy. My Biology teacher thought me mad.

    I was seeking the muscularity of thinking, the gymnastic of thought, the sheer joy of thinking with Socrates, of exercising in an organic way the faculty that to me was my highest. Instead I found at my very young University a rattling dancing skeleton of intellectualism, dry as dust and dead as a dodo but dancing nevertheless. Here was no graceful gymnastic, no development of muscle on the bare bones of the thinking faculty, here was the skeleton, the intellect, left skeletal and forced into clattering gyrations of simply increased cleverness. Was it perhaps Psychology then that offered the path to understanding this thinking faculty? No, I could pass this exam without ever attending a lecture but merely by opening a book an hour beforehand.

    So I came to Anthroposophy and devoured the library as one starving…

    I joined a Philopsophy of Freedom study group. Here was muscle!!! Here was a gymnastic of thought that built muscle and with such economy!!! Such discipline!!! One could feel the strain, feel the logic, feel the purity of the logic that had no extraneous extravagances of the intellect, feel the intellect straining to free itself from such discipline. For all its apparent philosophical simplicity, and by this I mean freedom from philosophic artifice, here was a work devoted to thinking and the love of thinking, not intellectualising, nor philosophising into the blue. This was Philosophy for the lovers of thinking.”

  419. Ted and Pete: ‘“I see: the spiritual is not real. So what’s the point of it, then?”
    Comfort for the individual… nothing more.’

    Meaning, if you find it there. Poetry, art.

    *
    As for the retina screens — yes, I saw them. They were way too expensive though, even with the smallest screen. And, actually, aren’t the screens manufactured by Samsung…?

  420. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Meaning is only something for ‘comfort’ and ‘not real’?

    Very expensive, yes. I believe Samsung are the culprits. Apple’s done amazingly well for a company that doesn’t manufacture anything for themselves. All just good ideas, such as the MacBook’s magnetic power coupling – no more socket strain, damaging the motherboard after a few years.

  421. I wouldn’t say it’s just for comfort (although I’m far from sure what to make of ‘comfort’, after all, we do lots of things to survive and to understand the world, which might be construed as ‘comfort’ in some way), or that it is unreal.

    *

    I didn’t think the screen was very good (this was the ‘ordinary’ 13 inch screen), I thought the computer was slow, and most of all I was annoyed by the fact I couldn’t get the programs I wanted without registering LOTS of personal information with apple, including my credit card number, despite the fact that the stuff I wanted was provided for free by third party developers. Ok, there were ways to ‘work around’ some difficulties, but if I’m going to ‘work around’ difficulties, I can as well do that with linux. (The point for me to try the mac was to avoid all the ‘working around’ various problems all the time.) There was too much junk bogging it down.

    For less money, I now got a 15 inch screen (matt, which I prefer) and very high resolution. Faster everything. And no requirements that I and my visa card join a cult ;-)

  422. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Well, as I’ve said, ‘reality’ and what it is is the question, isn’t it?

    Yes, I haven’t tried loading anything much onto mine since Lion came out but I believe they’ve locked things down with that version of the OS, and tied installing stuff more to the App Store hence the cash nexus I suppose. As I understand it, this will have been done to make things more ‘secure’; similar complaints and battles exist on the iPhone, where the lock down has mostly been beneficial – no theft of people’s details (compared to Android). Maybe it is getting rather annoying and perhaps Apple’s reached its peak…

  423. Ted: Well, we’re not far off now – 415!
    Frank: Yeah, mostly you.

  424. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “Frank: Yeah, mostly you.”

    I was invited! But you complaining about that is old times, isn’t it? And shouldn’t it be Alicia complaining, as it’s her blog? Why do we fight so much (or have I got that wrong)?

  425. “There’s no question to you, Pete; but then you’ve said you’re a materialist. ”

    No, YOU have said I’m a materialist… even so… that excludes me from understanding logic how exactly?

  426. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “No, YOU have said I’m a materialist…”

    Yes, we’re back to the convenient cop-out that you have no definition of it, so you can’t be it (same as on critics; same as for ‘spirituality’).

    “that excludes me from understanding logic how exactly?”

    Worldviews, Pete (logic needs facts; you get the facts you think are important from your worldview).

  427. “logic needs facts”

    YEP!

  428. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Yes, Pete, but what counts as ‘facts’ is determined by one’s worldview. Yours is materialism so lots of facts won’t exist for you.

  429. “lots of facts won’t exist for you”

    Those aren’t facts Ted… those are suppositions based on your view of reality. They follow your notion that you may have a different “reality” from me. I quite agree, your perception of reality may be quite different than mine, but reality is there despite our different perceptions of it. Facts belong in the world of reality – not perception. They are not determined by worldview… sorry.

  430. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Too crazy to answer any more. Sorry.

  431. Ted Wrinch · ·

    What I meant to say, Pete, was that you’re arguing into the blue and it’s not worth responding any more (it’s rather like your performance around the web, where people give up when they realise your not making sense anymore).

  432. It would be YOUR perception that I’m not making sense Ted… ;)

  433. Ted: ‘“Frank: Yeah, mostly you.”
    I was invited!’

    Just out of shere curiousity: by whom?? Don’t tell me the ethereal baboon is out on the karmic freeway again, chasing unsuspecting (fringe) anthroposophists…

    ‘But you complaining about that is old times, isn’t it? And shouldn’t it be Alicia complaining, as it’s her blog?’

    Yes, but I’m too exhausted.

    [Edit: comment box trickery, too much of copied quote hanging around.]

  434. Ted Wrinch · ·

    Just out of shere curiousity: by whom??

    Diana and you, to this thread, where most of the action (!) has occurred. If I’m to escape the baboon and leave, just let me know.

  435. Oh, you’re right, I had actually forgotten how this thread started! I was thinking about ‘invited’ as though you meant to the blog (i e, before this thread).

    If the baboon pulls at your hair, give him peanuts.

  436. David Clark · ·

    Hi All,

    Greetings!

    Came straight to this thread.

    A quick message to say that i’ve just picked up the Mulisch book on my way home.

    As an enquirer, the publisher’s “blurb” on the cover looks fascinating.

    I’m already intrigued.

    Many thanks for making the suggestion. I would never have found it on my own. For me, it is not a familiar genre.

    Well. Now for lunch before heading off to the library and last minute preparations before tomorrow.

    Reckon that’s about all for now,

    David

  437. David, you seem to be confusing this blog with Facebook.

  438. Good observation, Pete. Or twitter. This is neither facebook nor twitter, David! Besides, it isn’t necessary to record all your moves, decisions and thoughts on facebook or twitter either. What is ‘possible’ is not always ‘necessary’.

    David: ‘For me, it is not a familiar genre.’

    Fiction? Not a familiar genre?

    Anthroposophists’ familiarity with and understanding of fiction, intriguing stuff…

  439. What people believe in matters.

    ‘The simple message of our research is that tyranny arises not from zombie-like conformity but from the twin processes of motivated leadership and engaged followership. What’s more, people proceed down the path to tyranny not because they are ignorant of the harm they are doing, but because they know full well what they are doing and believe it to be justified by ends that they perceive to be noble.
    In these terms, what we need to be afraid of is not a nature that turns us into mindless automatons. Instead, it’s our acceptance of a particular model of “us” and “them” that commits us to the unthinkable, together with leadership that mobilises us to act on that commitment.’

    http://theconversation.edu.au/rethinking-long-held-beliefs-about-the-psychology-of-evil-10830

  440. Ted Wrinch · ·

    “What people believe in matters.”

    And beliefs (or models) must be anchored in reality (that word again).Beyond this, is the notion of individuality (the self), also a reality, that may prevent us following bad leadership. It’s quite common for modern thought to deny that there is a self (Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher and Bach was one example from my youth, where he talked of the ‘I symbol’).

  441. …there seems to be a slight problem with ‘that word’.

  442. Sorry have been absent, still not caught up.

    Ted: “Diana and you, to this thread, ”

    What?! Nothing personal, but I’m quite sure I didn’t invite you anywhere. For one thing, it’s not my blog, and I never invite anyone here (other than recommending people read it, of course). I’m lucky not to get kicked off myself.

    There seems to be a lot of this going around … people who have a notion that “free speech” means they ought to be able to post anything they like, anywhere on the Web.

  443. I thought he meant that you wrote a post on critics and I picked it up (making me the culprit… of course), and the comment section was open. On the other hand, re-reading the post, I realize he had already invited himself to comment here on your post on critics.

    ‘I’m lucky not to get kicked off myself.’

    Haha, but believe me, that would not happen! I can’t even imagine it. I should have a prize for best commenters. You would be the first to be awarded it!

  444. Thanks, but I do struggle sometimes not to monopolize things. Sometimes you get a real tsunami of comments, some constructive and some thoroughly obnoxious, and if one of us talks a lot, it seems to give permission to all the other blowhards to go on similar uninhibited stream of consciousness jags. I try to resist not only because I’m sure no one really wants to hear so much from me but also because it enables a lot of other people :)

    I think what Ted meant to say was not that I invited him here, but after you posted my comments from critics, he refused to discuss them with me, and only agreed after he was sort of jollied out of his typical orneriness. (And it was pointed out that if he was going to reply to my comments, it was a bit rude to then refuse to actually speak to the person who wrote the original comments.)

  445. ‘I try to resist not only because I’m sure no one really wants to hear so much from me but also because it enables a lot of other people :)’

    But your voice of sanity and reason provides significant comfort in the tsunami of nonsense and crazy… you’re the dry roof of a flooded building.

    Oh, well, that might be what he meant.

  446. curt jansson · ·

    It seems this question of Karma is of great interest to a good many people, I am rather surprised by the sheer numer of comments since I visited last time. I have, to be honest, not the stamina needed to read them all, but I gather from the bits and pieces I have read that the discussion goes from Teodicé to the cruelty of the notion that children can choose their destiny.

    I would like to point out, though, that the configuration of Karma is NOT necessarily in the minutest detail, the minute you are born. You do meet circumstance and persons with intentions not included in your own Karma. It may well happen, as it does daily nowadays, that someone else makes your choice, all you can do is to carry the consequenses. This makes Karma for the future, for you and the interfering idiot. To say that a child has chosen its mother to be raped, is pure idiocy. It might happen, but then thousands of children the world over would have made the same choice. Highly unlikely. Secterist Steinerists (not anthropsophists) will say the choice was made “in heaven”, myself, and many others, would say that something is active in the world that aims to confuse all karmic relations and, if possible, break up the human society into warring factions. Maybe it is wrong and conspiratory only, but no one has proved it wrong as of yet. It is a plausibility among others.

  447. ‘I am rather surprised by the sheer numer of comments since I visited last time.’

    Yes, quite overwhelming, actually. Not everything was on topic… or coherent or comprehensible…

    ‘You do meet circumstance and persons with intentions not included in your own Karma.’

    Indeed, it’s been coming up many times in the thread. Of course, you’re also subject to others’ karma, to the karma of humanity, et c.

    ‘It might happen, but then thousands of children the world over would have made the same choice. Highly unlikely.’

    I agree it’s highly unlikely (but that may be because I don’t believe in much of this anyway). Theoretically, though, humanity might need this as a karmic lesson, thus spirits are choosing it. In the same way that diseases are karmically important for humanity, sometimes during a time and then ceasing to be so. And individuals, at the same time, choose to be born into circumstances where they will encounter a certain disease which they need to develop spiritually. So different karmas sort of interact, mingle.

  448. [...] this would have been fit for posting in the recent karma-thread, but I have a vague memory that it derailed. Still worth reading some of the contributions in that [...]

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