‘mind games’

For some obscure reason, Sune seems to be paying a lot of attention to me on twitter right now. I’m not going to try to figure out why. (Presumably it isn’t because he thinks he’ll convince me of anything — I might just as well tell him that, if so, the time and efforts are not well spent. I’ve seen all those links a hundred times before.)

Sune thinks I’m playing ‘mind games’ with him and — I suppose — with anthroposophists in general. If I say I don’t — that’s just another of my clever mind games. So I won’t say that. Well, I actually will say that — except that there’s no point saying so to Sune. If anyone’s playing games, however, it’s Sune’s own mind playing games with Sune.

I can sort of understand that what critics and certain historians write is not what Sune wants to see written. What one wants to see is not necessarily what one needs to see or what should be seen, however. In any case, researching a movement’s ideas or history can never be the same  as believing its ideas to be the truth or its history to be stainless. Sune wants the latter. In my opinion, that mindset is a much worse threat to anthroposophy than any historical research can ever be. A much worse threat than some people not liking anthroposophy can ever be. I’ve said this a thousand times. I hardly need to reiterate it.

What Sune is infuriated with — he used that word, and I do believe it’s accurate, he is infuriated — is not me or Melanie or Peter or Diana or anyone else. He’s infuriated with poor old Rudolf S who said some silly things that don’t sound very appealing today and probably didn’t to lots of people even back then. Sune is infuriated with past (and current) anthroposophists who had the bad taste not to behave impeccably or to believe only in what is palatable. (Sadly, Sune himself fails on the same account. And, yes, we’ll see what happens in kamaloka, don’t you think?) There are things that are indefensible today — but there’s a simple solution: don’t try to defend them, because that’s where the troubles begin.

I don’t know why some people — especially those who seem to be the most fervent believers — have so little faith in the power of anthroposophy to withstand scrutiny or criticism. And, so what — somebody researches anthroposophy… that, in itself, is neither the end of the world, nor the end of anthroposophy. But in the latter case — it can be. If you let it. But if so, it won’t be the fault of an outside enemy, it will be anthropsophy’s own.

Let’s return to the alleged ‘mind games’. I’m not entirely sure why I would need to play mind games. I have to conclude that Sune is seeing ghosts, he’s seeing something sinister that isn’t there. There’s very little I can do about it. It would perhaps be interesting if Sune could — for once — focus on telling us why anthroposophy matters so much to him instead of obsessing about other people and their various flaws (most of which he’s dreamed up).

Is it — the thing about ‘mind games’ — some kind of warped compliment? Should we conclude that my alleged ‘mind games’ are so darn clever that I’ll outsmart anthroposophists? Or are even intelligent anthroposophists so dimwitted, according to Sune, that even I — with all my flaws — can outsmart them? Clearly I’m possessed by ahrimanic forces, so everything is possible. He even reminds me, today, that some years ago I joked that I eat anthroposophists for breakfast. It seemed funny in the context (which was how some anthropsophists saw me as evil embodied). Perhaps it wasn’t very entertaining. But at most I’m guilty of a bad joke.

I think you should know one thing. I don’t have to reject everything anthroposophical, especially not the cakes (we’ve been over that, haven’t we?). I don’t have to support everything ‘anti-Steiner’, or whatever, either (I’ve given ample evidence I don’t do that, haven’t I?). But on the other hand, I don’t have to agree that anthroposophy is great or the saviour of mankind or heaven on earth or that anthroposophists and Steiner are perfect and I definitely don’t have to agree when people l like are called ‘haters’ or people whose knowledge I respect are called ugly names. I don’t have to buy all that nonsense — and am not sure why I should engage with it at all. When I said yesterday that I don’t take things half as seriously as Sune does, that was wrong: it’s not half, the seriousness with which I take these things is infinitesimal compared to Sune.

I can easily explain why: even for me as a non-anthroposophist, who truly values the work Peter has done (because it is very interesting), I do realize that anthroposophy as a worldview has its very own power. For me, the world does not end because someone — who was human — said silly things that are factually wrong or morally reprehensible. It’s not really such an enormous deal, as far as I’m concerned.

The only path I need to follow is the one that leads me to what interests me, to the things I want to know and experience. And this is not some kind of ‘mind game’. And it isn’t ‘hatred’.

frågor

Ulf Ärnström postade några frågor i en kommentarstråd.

Caroline Bratt, Bo Dahlin, Örjan Liebendörfer, Mats Pertoft, Sven-Eric Liedman och andra som offentligt företräder eller stödjer waldorfrörelsen – jag har tre frågor:

1) Känner ni till hur Sune Nordwall behandlar och förtalar människor? Och att han har haft i uppdrag av waldorffederationen att bevaka och motverka kritik mot waldorf på nätet?
2) Anser ni att waldorffederationen har något ansvar för vad han gjort och fortsätter att göra?
3) Ser ni någon parallell mellan kritiken mot waldorfskolor för att de är dåliga på att stoppa mobbning och att waldorfrörelsen inte vill eller inte är förmögen att ta avstånd från Sunes handlingar?

this is how the movement defends itself

And decent anthroposophists wonder why waldorf critics are so reluctant to stop being critical. Or — refuse to cease with the sin of all sins, the one thing unforgiveable, being angry.

sn_20121227I’m reduced to a ‘repeated former psychiatric patient’ — excuse me? I can only say one thing: what the fuck — and a professor of history is an ‘intellectual con artist’. Really, you’re so nice. Anthroposophists are so nice. All this spiritual improvement. All this working on oneself. All this enlightenment. So elevated. So ethical. So above the rest of us, where we are, stuck below in the materialistic swamp (unlike, I presume, Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express).

But there’s really only one thing for someone like me to say to this person: Fuck you. Believe me, that’s the most enlightened response I can conjure up. And even that is more than you deserve.

(For those who still don’t know it: the man who writes these things is a (former, he claims) employee of the Swedish Waldorf Federation. I think it’s time to suggest that he seeks psychiatric treatment.)

(Source.)

kommentar till diskussion (om steiners rasistiska uttalanden, m m)

Några timmar i går ägnade jag åt att läsa ikapp nästan en månads rss-prenumerationer. Bland annat läste jag klart den här bloggdiskussionen (som jag först deltog i, och sedan tyvärr tappade greppet om, och som väl vid det här laget är närmast avslutad). Nu omvandlades det som vanligt (trots att det egentligen inte var något huvudämne för bloggposten) till en diskussion om Steiners rasistiska uttalanden, och den diskussionen är inte precis ny och kommer inte att upphöra i första taget.  Jag ska bara göra ett par någorlunda kortfattade anmärkningar om ett alltför stort och alltför tråkigt ämne.

Man kan säkerligen ha en antroposofi utan att fästa någon vikt vid raslärorna. Det kräver väl kanske — bland annat — att man kan omformulera karma- och reinkarnationstanken utan att inkludera en rashierarki inom vilken den reinkarnerande individen kan avancera eller regrediera. Det beror väl på vad i antroposofin man ser som ‘attraktivt’ — om det är en helhetsförklaring av hur människan och världen fungerar och utvecklas, ja, då har man ett problem. Är man å andra sidan lockad av antroposofin för, till exempel, dess meditativa praktik, är man kanske inte alls i behov av en Steinersk beskrivning av människans, eller för den delen kosmos, evolution. Visst, man kan välja och vraka, men kruxet är att de antroposofer som ivrigast försöker bortförklara eller försvara — snarare än att förkasta (man kan inte förkasta något man inte förmår erkänna existensen av) — är knappast villiga till detta; de är inte ens benägna till en läpparnas bekännelse av att Steiner kunde ha fel. Nu är de kanske inte så aktiva just i den nämnda bloggtråden — även om det förekommer en hel del märkligheter jag tyvärr inte hinner gå in på –, men annars är de det. De är de antroposofer som waldorfskolekritiker vanligtvis möter först. Vi kanske ska bortse från de tokstollarna.

Eller kanske inte. Egentligen spelar deras existens mindre roll för antroposofins kritiker — den fanatiska antroposofiska försvarsarmén är nämligen på sitt eget sätt guld värd, eftersom den lyckas med konststycket att bekräfta människors fördomar om antroposofin, vare sig de är sanna fördomar eller inte. För vad betyder det för läsaren varje gång en antroposofisk fanatiker hänvisar till ett rasistiskt textställe och ihärdigt förnekar att det innehåller rasism eller försöker förklara hur det rasistiska minsann ska tolkas som antirasism? Det betyder att antroposofen ifråga inte kan identifiera rasism, inte förstår vad rasism är (vanligt är att inte kunna skilja mellan rasism och sådana följder av rasism som diskriminering och förföljelse, vanligt är också att omtolka rasistiska idéer som anti-rasistiska), och man befarar att oförmågan gäller större delar av Steiners verk än ett enskilt uttalande. I många fall har förstås denna farhåga bekräftats, om och om igen. Förmodligen är det antroposoferna som mer bekymra bry sig över den negativa bild som (oavsiktligt) ges av dessa antroposofins mest energetiska försvarare. Inte för att det finns så mycket att göra åt saken, men lite finns det faktiskt.

I bloggtråden efterfrågas någonstans en samlad bild av Steiners rasdoktriner för den som inte läser tyska och kan läsa originalkällorna, vilket hur som helst vore ett enormt arbete. (Allting finns dessutom inte publicerat i GA. Men för den som läser tyska verkar Ansgar Martins bok vara värd att kika på.) För dem som läser engelska finns emellertid möjligheten att inhämta kunskap om ämnet, också vad beträffar sådana delar av Steiners verk som negligerats, förljugits eller — ibland utan ett ord — plockats bort  ur nutida Steinerupplagor. Jag tänker på Peter Staudenmaiers doktorsavhandling (Between Occultism and Fascism: Anthroposophy and The Politics of Race and Nation in Germany and Italy, 1900-1945) samt hans artikel, publicerad för några år sedan i den akademiska tidskriften Nova Religio, Race and Redemption: Racial and Ethnic Evolution in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy. (Avhandlingen kan erhållas från Peter per epost, artikeln finns här.) Peter är en utmärkt källa till kunskap om antroposofins historia i det här avseendet. Det är synd att antroposoferna själva inte har gjort det arbete han har gjort, men nu är det visst så att antroposofers förmåga att hantera idéernas innehåll och rörelsens historia — och andra antroposofers historiska göranden — tycks närmast förlamad.

I stället ägnar sig antroposofer som Sune Nordwall mer eller mindre dagligen åt att peka ut Peter Staudenmaier som bedragare och historieförfalskare. (Sunes kommentar i Johannes Ljungquists tråd (se 29/11) är ovanligt återhållsam, om än något besynnerlig, men man får betänka att huvudpoängen med kommentaren är att länka till Sunes egna sidor där man får sig lite annat till livs.) De som tar Peters arbete på allvar är hatare och förtalare av Steiner och antroposofin. Jag vet inte ens om det längre är meningsfullt att påpeka vilka personer det är som gör sig själva och sin — uppenbarligen högt älskade — världsåskådning till åtlöje. Och de gör det genom att inte kunna se Steiners uttalanden som de är, analysera dem, utvärdera dem — och avgöra om de hör hemma i en modern antroposofi eller om de bör förpassas till historien. Man kan erkänna dessa uttalandens existens, och förkasta dem. Det är fullt möjligt. Att till varje pris förneka eller försvara det som inte går att förneka eller försvara är ohållbart. Att kasta beskyllningar på historiker och att klandra kritiker för att de tar upp dessa aspekter av antroposofin är bara fånigt. I detta finns inte någon väg framåt, och definitivt inte något som funkar för att tysta extern kritik. Det är stendumt att inte inse värdet av forskning. Och talar vi om Peters forskning: var och en som läser hans avhandling och hans artiklar kan verifiera att citaten ur publicerade Steinerverk stämmer, att översättningarna från tyskan är korrekta, och så vidare. Peter är notoriskt noggrann. Anklagelserna om bedrägeri och historieförfalskning är absurda, och att beskylla människor för hat och förtal är vansinnigt. Förr eller senare tvingas antroposofer förhoppningsvis att inse att det finns ett värde i att skapa sig en korrekt bild av innehållet i Steiners utsagor och om den antroposofiska rörelsens historia. Och att förespråkande av sanningsenlighet inte är hatiskt. Till denna dag inträffar, skäms uppenbarligen inte antroposofiska institutioner som det Antroposofiska Sällskapet för att utpeka en ansedd forskare som ‘historieförfalskare’. (Pinsamt är bara förnamnet, och jag har skrivit om detta tidigare.)

Jag har nog tidigare sagt vad jag anser om att plocka bort textstycken eller hela kapitel ur utgåvor av Steiners verk. (Se denna tidigare bloggpost. Att man gör på detta sätt är inte unikt för Sverige, det sker också med engelskspråkiga versioner.) Jag kan förstå varför man drabbas av en svåremotståndlig vilja att göra så, när ett uttalande är djupt motbjudande, men likväl är det tråkigt och en reaktion jag föredrar att bokutgivare avhåller sig ifrån. Och om det ändå ska ske, är jag tämligen kompromisslös på en punkt: att det tydligt måste anges att stycken eller kapitel uteslutits och att utgåvan inte är identisk med originalet. På det viset får läsaren en hänvisning och kan söka vidare, och utgivaren behöver inte stå för något han inte kan eller vill stå för. Johannes Ljungquist har förklarat varför sådana angivelser saknades i den svenska utgåvan av GA349. Men jag måste förbli oenig med honom angående detta; jag tycker att man måste ange när man utelämnat text som ingår i originalutgåvan. Och egentligen tror jag att det vore bättre för bearbetningen av antroposofin om föredragen och texterna återgavs återgavs till fullo och korrekt. Illusioner, förnekelse, förljugenhet, och ovilja att se det som är så som det är, är inte till nytta — och att antroposofer går omkring med felaktiga föreställningar om vad som finns i Steiners verk kan aldrig gagna antroposofin, bara sänka den djupare i falskhet.

Det är inte av politisk korrekthet eller några popularitetsskäl de rasistiska uttalandena bör betraktas, övervägas och, i förekommande fall, förkastas. Det är — om man nu menar detta, vilket inte alla tycks göra — för att Steiner hade fel eller för att reinkarnation genom rashierarkiska system är orimligt att föreställa sig som en sann beskrivning. Och så vidare. Med andra utsagor kan andra överväganden vara nödvändiga och aktuella. Men hur blir det möjligt för människor att ta ställning till uttalanden som Steiner faktiskt gjort, om dessa uttalanden plockats bort — utan att något sägs om saken — ur bokutgivningen? Genom forskning om antroposofin och dess historia och genom korrekta textutgåvor uppkommer goda möjligheter att få en bättre bild av Steiner och hans verk och av den antroposofiska rörelsen. Strävar man efter en i grunden korrekt bild av vad som sades och vad som skedde, har man också ett bättre utgångsläge för att utvärdera innehållet och det förgångna. Detta gäller förstås inte bara för antroposofin, utan det verkar i många sammanhang finnas en beklaglig drivkraft att eliminera det olustiga, det stötande och det i dag oacceptabla i stället för att låta dessa historiska fenomen existera och synas som minnen och påminnelser om förgångna dumheter, felaktigheter och grymheter.

Förvisso är Steiner kanske inte så ofelbar som somliga hade hoppats på — å andra sidan öppnas dörrar för ett hälsosamt ifrågasättande och (välbehövlig) förnyelse. Det enda, men stora, ja, gigantiska, hindret i vägen är ett slags konserverande förljugenhet; det är synen på Steiner som närmast ofelbar, synen på Steiner som den med de ojämförbart högsta insikterna som inte kan eller bör ifrågasättas och omprövas.

*

PS. Jag tänker inte ånyo gå in i några diskussioner om huruvida enskilda utsagor eller föredrag som ingår i Steiners verk är rasistiska, eller om de inte är det, eller om de är ok för att de beskriver verkligheten korrekt (vilket så klart vissa antroposofer anser). Jag har helt enkelt inte tid att ägna mig åt det förbannade omtuggandet av samma förbannade tankeexkrement om och om igen. Om kommentarerna är civiliserade, släpper jag igenom dem. Men jag är själv trött på diskussionen (jag är ledsen, men det är så). Och lite förhandsinformation, upplysningsvis: Jag ämnar inte godkänna kommentarer där Peter Staudenmaier utmålas som bedragare och förfalskare eller där sådant material länkas; detta gäller också kommentarer eller länkar där kritiker av antroposofin utmålas som hatare eller korsfarare för att de påpekar existensen av och problemet med rasistiskt innehåll i Steiners läror. Den som vill finna detta strunt, gör det definitivt också utan svårigheter. Somliga har spytt ur sig sådant substanslösa dravel i ett decennium eller mer, och gör det som sagt fortfarande så gott som dagligen. Jag är utled på tramset och utmanar vederbörande, som nog känner igen sig själv(a) i beskrivningen, att formulera sig på nya sätt, och med rimlighet och relevans, om det ska få plats här framgent. Annars har jag inget tålamod alls. Nog sagt.

‘hate’ (sune’s shenanigans revisited)

Sune tweeted this yesterday. It leaves a bad taste. I’ve said it like a thousand times (e g, yesterday): criticism is not hate. Disagreeing with you, Sune, or with anthroposophy or with what anthroposophists do, it is not hate. I firmly believe that anthroposophists, and in particular you, Sune, must cease expressing themselves like this about dissenters or people who you perceive as opponents of your cause. Arguing against state funding of Steiner schools — or arguing against anything else you happen to be a proponent of — does not equal a ‘hate crusade’. In light of the horrific events in Norway on Friday afternoon, I can’t help but think that tweeting about critics’ ‘hate crusades’ seems, if possible, even more inappropriate than before; perhaps it’s time to think twice about what hate is, what a hate group is, what a crusade is — before you assign these labels to civilized critics whose only crime is expressing a viewpoint you don’t like (and to which you’re free to object, preferably with arguments rather than insidious epithets). What about it, Sune? I somehow can’t believe that you don’t know better — that you don’t know how inappropriate it is to be talking about ‘hate’, ‘hate-group’ (that group you liken us to, well, it is properly labeled a hate-group, and you can’t be so ignorant you don’t see a difference), ‘crusades’ and, even more so, ‘hate crusades’. Can’t you just, please, shut up with this hate rhetoric? It’s very unlikeable. But more importantly, it’s unfair and untrue.

In that link you also mention that critics are, supposedly, ‘fundamentalists’. Have you any idea what fundamentalism is? It certainly isn’t the same as disagreeing with Sune or with anthroposophy; it certainly isn’t the same as criticizing or questioning either. (It is far more fundamentalist to use the methods you use, Sune, to stop people from expressing themselves critically or negatively about Steiner, anthroposophy or waldorf education.) In this text (ie, the link in the tweet) — which is fraught with a number of silly (not to say, in your own words, ‘little founded’) statements and I’m picking the most blatant idiocy as an example here — you try to pin this belief on a small number of critics (myself and three UK critics):

“Free Steiner Waldorf schools in the UK would turn the pupils into racists and anti-Semites”

This is absolutely disgusting, it’s revolting beyond belief. I guess you put this in quotation marks to convey an impression that this is an actual quote rather than some shit you most likely invented yourself. I suspect that you’re falsely and dishonestly attributing this position to critics. As far as I can remember, I’ve never seen anyone of us claim this. I know I haven’t; and if someone else has, I reject that position and don’t wish to be associated with it. Can’t you, at least, have the decency to stop pretending this is a quote — and if, indeed, it is a quote, provide the source. Immediately, thanks. Then ensues the usual junk; if you’re so worried about defamation, why don’t you stop defaming Peter S? And it would suit you better to believe me when I tell you that @ThetisMercurio is not a certain Jaqueline Davis. I have no idea who Jaqueline Davis is — and I can’t say I care much –, but your error is plain silly, and you were made aware of it months ago.

Now I have a suggestion for you, Sune. You say that Thetis’s claims are ‘little founded’. Whether you refer to her articles (written in co-operation with @lovelyhorse_) or to comments made on this blog or to her tweets or comments on other blogs, I welcome you to present concrete evidence of these ‘little founded’ or even unfounded claims. What are they, and why are they little or unfounded? You see, I find it entirely plausible that critics (much like anthroposophists) occasionally make claims that aren’t fully supported or that are in error. I rarely, if ever, see you point to these statements, explain why they’re unfounded, or offer any real counter-arguments. Instead, you fire off general accusations at others for making ‘little founded’ claims and then resume your usual twaddle about hate-groups and so forth. Why is Thetis wrong? — I, for one, would like to know. Because it seems to me her posts are more well-referenced than yours, her claims are properly supported more often than yours, her arguments have substance when your arguments do not. You seem to think it suffices, as a refutation, to call her a ‘hate crusader’. It does not. Come to think of it, you never offer any concrete examples of the alleged ‘hate crusade’ either — this is your opportunity. Point me to instances when Thetis or I are crusading in a hateful manner. Tell me exactly where I’m wrong and why, tell me when I’ve done something wrong, and I’ll try to explain what I meant (or change my words — or even my mind). Holding an opinion that contradicts your beliefs — or even anything that you perceive as truth — does not count as ‘hate’, though. I think you know that. But don’t be a coward about this. If you say I’m on a ‘hate crusade’ — or that Thetis or anybody else is — then it’s only fair to ask that you substantiate this claim; if there’s nothing to it, it’s a despicable accusation against a person. If you prefer, do it in Swedish. But don’t write things like that and hide yourself in anthroposophical obscurity until you assume the coast is clear again and you can resume tweeting your hate-group junk.

SWSF threatens to sue critics if they GO TOO FAR

A friend (whom I thank for both ideas and the title!) sent me a link to this mindblowingly stupid Spring newsletter by the Steiner Waldorf School Fellowship in the UK. It’s actually shocking to see how many lies and how much deception they manage to squeeze into such a short text. Here it is [pdf], view page two: ‘The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, or Friends in Disguise?’ Alan Swindell of the SWSF goes to the movies and watches Alice in Wonderland, he returns home, and…

But within 24 hours there I was again, repeating the whole experience, not with Johnny Depp and co. but glued to a screen, struggling to recognise what should have been familiar landmarks, caught between reality and illusion, expanding and contracting giddily and being grinned at malevolently by any number of virtual cats. The context? Down the rabbit hole of the Internet, through the looking glass of the lap-top, down into the virtual underworld of the Waldorf Critics.

Reality and illusion, mr Swindell? Might I suggest that you’re so unfamiliar with reality and so stuck in your illusions that this, and not any of the actions of waldorf critics, is what causes your confusing struggle? It’s reassuring to know that to the SWSF, former parents and students are grinning malevolently. Nothing to take seriously: only a number of virtual cats grinning malevolently.

For any parents reading this who have not yet discovered for themselves let me spell it out: our schools are not perfect. Like all schools every where we make mistakes, we fall short of our ideals, we play host to human weakness and failings, we offend and disappoint each other; in short our schools are very much part of the real world with real-life problems and shortcomings.

It appears that the SWSF is deluded enough to believe that critics of waldorf education ask for the impossible. Nobody has ever required that your schools are perfect. Only that you recognize your failings and try to correct them (which you don’t do). Nobody has ever said that you cannot make mistakes; only that you take responsibility for the mistakes you make (you don’t). Nobody ever asked of you that you be superhuman; only that you be aware of your humanness and your weaknesses, because the only way to compensate for weaknesses is through knowledge (you’re not prepared to do any of this either). Nobody says your schools should not be a part of the real world (in fact, it’s you who often claim to offer a sanctuary away from the world the rest of us call real). Nobody tells you real-life problems are not to exist; our problem with you is that you don’t own up to your problems and shortcomings, and, in fact, you go blind and deaf as soon as any problems or shortcomings are mentioned. Problems and shortcomings don’t exist in paradise, and paradise is what you’re offering to parents who are too scared to let their children live in the real world. Again, being stuck in illusion, mr Swindell, is not the best way to organize reality. When people suddenly begin to talk about that reality, you don’t understand what hit you.

Of course there are tremendous positives: our schools inspire, uplift, give sense and meaning, create community and provide an education that can transform lives for the better.

Here we go: the illusion. This is the illusion the SWSF lives in. That’s why they cannot comprehend that this does not correspond at all to the reality experienced by many of those who have been inside the waldorf world.

But once down the rabbit hole all that is forgotten.

News flash: the critics didn’t find inspiration, didn’t become uplifted, weren’t given sense and meaning, didn’t experience community and didn’t get an education that transformed our lives for the better. We haven’t forgotten these things; they weren’t part of our waldorf experience. That’s why the critics don’t promote the Steiner movement’s illusions as truth. Critics know they are illusions.

The internet has provided a forum for people to be critical and to disseminate their ideas broadly, swiftly …

How awful! People can actually speak their minds! People can actually give voice to the concerns they have over your schools!

… and without any accountability …

Just who is avoiding accountability, exactly?

Down there you can accuse anyone of anything.

Apparently. Just look at your friend Sune Nordwall. But he’s dug himself into a very deep hole indeed.

Criticism of Steiner education via the internet began in earnest some years ago in America. The Waldorf Critics web-site gave a forum for concerns, frustrations and even anger that took the American schools by surprise.

It always takes waldorf promoters by surprise. They just cannot comprehend that anyone would be unhappy with the paradise waldorf offers.

… parents and teachers supportive of Steiner education began to add their voices and there is even a web-site in the USA, Americans4Waldorf, set up specifically to counter the attacks.

That website is written and maintained by a Swede, Sune Nordwall, the master of accusing anyone of anything, mentioned above. Not by parents or teachers. It’s clear that the SWSF has listened to intently to Nordwall.

In any case it’s instructive to see, once again: criticism is rejected as ‘attacks’. That’s all we — former students and parents — are to the waldorf movement: attackers. This is the mentality of a cult who cannot abide dissent.

What I don’t understand, though, is why the SWSF neglects to mentioned the British Steiner criticism? Why don’t they reply to the articles on DC’s Improbably Science? (iiiiii) Are they too clever? Too… right? Hitting too close to home?

But who will you find at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party? What kind of person sits up until the early hours unpacking Steiner, anthroposophy, the curriculum, Ofsted reports on our schools, even articles like this one?

You bet. In particular articles like this one. It’s a magnificent specimen. The SWSF looks so much like a cult, it’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable, because (presumably!) they are trying not to. And this is the best they can do. It does tell us something pretty important, I think: that they are prepared to continue to treat their critics in a manner typical of a cult.

It would be unfair to generalise, except to acknowledge that in any public forum, whether on-line, in the village hall or at Hyde Park Corner you will find an uneasy alliance of recognisable types: those who have a grievance that still angers them, those who like a good shouting match, those of a more academic bent who have found an issue to contest.

Ah — people who were hurt by waldorf education, people who speak their minds about waldorf education, and people who are too clever for you to handle?

What you will find very few of, however, are those who have not already made their minds up.

I think you’re talking about one of SWSF’s conference here, mr Swindell.

At Plymouth University on the Steiner Waldorf BA we introduce our students to the critics’ web-sites …

I very much doubt that you do, unless the introduction is done with the help of Sune Nordwall’s ‘descriptions’ of the individual critics; i e, you introduce the critics only to badmouth them. Anyway, it seems mr Swindell is neglecting to mention one important thing: the Steiner courses at Plymouth Uni have been closed down, as far as I’m aware.

The students are often changed by the experience …

Not to the better, I presume.

… sometimes angry with the rhetorical style of many critics …

The students are true believers and the critics are too clever, too well-informed and too set on crushing the believers’ dearly held illusions.

… sometimes indignant at the claims being made.

Indignant, how come? Now, that’s silly — well, at least it would be if Steiner education were about education and not about spiritual beliefs.

How could it be otherwise when you hear Anthroposophy described as a cult …

This very article sure reinforces the impression that it is, indeed, a cult.

… and Steiner as a racist…

It would be a great thing if the waldorf proponents learned to recognize nuances, taught themselves some history (including the history of anthroposophy), and at least tried to take their own ideology seriously. What about reading what Steiner wrote and said? It’s not really that complicated. You’re just miffed that others do this, and have the audacity to point out his not so nice sides. These sides aren’t a huge problem, really. Denying them, well, that is a problem. It makes you look ridiculous and uninformed and like a cult who cannot bear the truth — and definitely not like a movement who should be allowed to run educational institutions. As I said, it’s not a huge problem — it’s just that you’re not allowed to lie about Steiner’s race doctrines. It’s not about whether Steiner was a ‘racist’ or not. It’s about what these teachings contain.

… or read that bullying is tolerated because it is a child’s `karma`!

Now, it’s plain stupid to try to deny this.

However, sometimes the students find themselves in agreement with some of the claims, identifying elements of the education that they also see as needing critical
interrogation. The majority, if not all, return even more committed to this style of education, the exact opposite of what the critics would expect to achieve.

Haha! Yeah, right, the Steiner leaders present the critics’ and the views of the critics. The students come out of this process believing even more fervently than before. I’m sure there’s a good explanation for this. Maybe in the research on cults?

Digital platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Mumsnet mean that they can reach a wider audience than ever before and in immediate response to breaking news …

Oh, the deception! Why don’t they tell their readers what happened on Mumsnet? This happened, according to a Mumsnet admin:

We still find our inbox filled with reported posts and have received a fair few threats of legal action too. Here’s the sort of mail we are getting:

“If I see her posting promotion of libel at Mumsnet once more, I won’t tell you about it, but ask Percy Bratt of Bratt and Feinsilber in Sweden to contact you in cooperation with the legal representatives of The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland (http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html), about your negligent way of allowing libel to be published at Mumsnet and the one who is the most fervent publisher of it to continue to publish at Mumsnet.” […]

So you can see it’s all very wearing. We have no wish to engage in correspondence with Percy Bratt.

That’s how the SWSF and its collaborators engage with criticism! That’s how they worked to shut people up on Mumsnet.

… there is no doubt that any school advancing along the path toward Free School Status will become an immediate focus.

Rightly so.

At present there is a policy of non-engagement …

Because they don’t really care. They don’t think there’s any merit to the criticism — it’s all about rejecting it and to keep the believers believing.

We monitor and respond with simple statements that direct people to appropriate web-sites.

Their own, and Sune Nordwall’s. How pathetic. It would be so horrible if people found out that there is something to what critics are saying by reading what they are actually saying. Thus the need for ‘appropriate’, i e, deceptive, websites.

This is probably experienced as dismissive and arrogant by some critics but it is not about to change …

The behaviour of waldorf proponents is generally dismissive and arrogant, and we don’t really expect it to change. This article proves there’s nothing to expect. Not from people who write things like this:

… however we are always ready to respond to defamation, personal attacks and anything that would be deemed illegal outside of the internet.

Are you threatening the critics, Alan Swindell? Are you indicating that you’ll continue to act like you did on Mumsnet? Are you going to continue to have people silenced through threats of legal action? Are you going to continue to support people, like Sune Nordwall, who handle criticism and critics in this manner? You thugs.

My own forays are always under-pinned by the belief that there is a grain of truth in all criticism, no matter how it is delivered.

No, you don’t really believe this. You’ve just spent an entire article dismissing practically all kinds of criticism, calling critics grinning cats and attackers, too academic and rhetorically cunning (these aren’t compliments in the world of waldorf), and then threatened to sue. You didn’t even have the guts to direct readers to criticism relevant to the UK.

Get down there, get the gist, get out quickly and make your school a better place.

How about trying to understand what critics are saying? How about taking it seriously? How about stopping the ‘I’ll sue you if you do what I don’t like’-silliness? It’s nothing but foolish, empty threats from a toothless cult anyway. You depend on people believing these threats — because that’s all it is, make-believe. There’s no reality behind. It’s illusion, like so much of what you have on offer.

making understandable

Those who follow Sune Nordwall’s activities on Twitter (@the3bee, @mycroftii, @waldorfanswers) may have noticed he’s (again) trying to understand me and claims to make me ‘understandable’ to his audience, failing spectacularly as usual. I don’t know why he thinks he’s the right person to attempt this — he is, after all, the one who repeatedly claims I’m confusing and so forth. I am impossible to understand, apparently. Even if this were true, I would advise against taking Sune’s perspective as explanations having anything at all to do with me. Honestly, I don’t read his webpages about me anymore; I don’t want to. I know I should do it and that there’s probably things that I should be more aware of than I am, but I fear I cannot stand what’s there, so I avoid it. One day I will, but not today. History tells me they have never had anything to do with me; they’re made up from insinuations, irrelevant junk, speculation, and similar stuff of no value whatsoever.

Maybe Sune ought to spend some time trying to understand himself. He sure as hell cannot understand anyone else. Since he always writes junk about others, I gather he must understand himself as little as he understands others. (Or maybe this is just typical behaviour for anthroposophists? Focus on the perceived deficits of others, never on explaining your own position.) But, more importantly, he should make himself understandable to his own audience — at least in some rudimentary manner. For a start, he could be open about the fact he works for a waldorf school organization. That’s just the basics.

The only person Sune should strive to make understandable is — himself. Not me, not Thetis, not Cathy, not anybody else.

I wish to set a few things straight though. This is what he tweeted the other day:

It’s just not fair, because I’m sure he knows this is plain wrong. Which means he’s lying deliberately. Not the first time. I told Sune I’d rather have tea with Ahriman — not Satan, nota bene! — and I told him so for very good reasons. These reasons didn’t have much to do with Peter S, I’m afraid; and, on this particular occasion, they had everything to do with how I was treated by, e g, Sune on his website and elsewhere. This happened after he had set up a page about me; not Peter, not anybody else. Besides, I frankly cannot grasp how an anthroposophist would confuse Ahriman with Satan, thus I assume he’s deliberately attempting to mislead people again, though I suppose this Satan stuff won’t shock anyone but the most fervent christian. But I don’t see why I would talk about having tea with Satan, since I’ve never been a christian. (Honestly, Ahriman and Lucifer are a lot more entertaining.) With evil spirits such as cats, however, mr Dog and I don’t have tea.

In any case, this whole tea episode is incomprehensible to anyone unfamiliar with the background. I didn’t bring it up in the first place. It was Sune who did, on a Swedish web forum. I don’t remember what the discussion was about anymore; I assume it’s possible that Sune was posting his usual crap about Peter S, but I don’t know. During the course of this thread, Sune wrote something about asking me to have tea. It was all for the sake of appearances, as far as I can tell, and decidedly not sincerely meant. That’s the reason he chose to suggest tea publically, he wanted people to think he was trying his best and was understanding and I don’t know what. (I happen to know he managed to creep a few people out…) In the context, it was bizarre. Later, when I got really angry and wrote that post (and, as I said, this had to do with how I had been treated), I said I’d rather have tea with Ahriman than with him. Believe me, this was a much milder ‘insult’ (if it can even be called an insult, I doubt it) than he deserved, and I also said worse things in the same post. Anthroposophically speaking, humans don’t invite Ahriman for tea anyway. He’s not someone you can decide to have around; Ahriman and the other beings and forces are around us whether we like it or not. As for Ahriman, this applies in particular if the tea is brewed in an electric tea-pot. (Of course!)

What I never said, though, is that I would rather have tea with Satan. I have to admit he seems like a funnier chap than anyone in the holier-than-thou crowd, but that’s basically all there is to my relationship with Satan (in whom I don’t believe and rarely talk about).

I’m not really that impossible or that incomprehensible. Fake compassion and pathetic pretense don’t appeal to me, though. Moreover, when the performance — the fakery — is as bad as Sune’s, one can only hope it fools nobody except a few like-minded fanatics. Maybe you should ask Ahriman to explain me, Sune, he knows me.

ecswe happily receives support from vladimir putin

Sune Nordwall (and his American alter ego, Robert) tweeted, full of joy I presume,* that Vladimir Putin has expressed his support for waldorf education. Turns out that the European organisation for waldorf education, ECSWE, brags about it on their website. They even display a video.

Anyway, Putin thinks waldorf ‘schools are schools for the future’. Great then. If Vladimir Putin — along with some other corrupt politicians, Berlusconi comes to mind — supports waldorf education, then surely waldorf education must be really magnificent. As for Nordwall, he probably laments not being quite as powerful as Putin. It’s much easier to shut people up when you have, like, a secret police and a military. What amazes me is that the waldorf movement, far from being a safe haven from the worst shit of modern life (as one would expect given their animosity towards modern technology, tv, internet, et c), is so deeply enamoured by its celebrities and their support that they lose all common sense. It’s rather rare — I would guess? — for Europeans to be enravished about approval from Putin. Continue reading “ecswe happily receives support from vladimir putin”

celebrity worship

Maybe someone can explain to me why anthroposophists — I mean waldorf proponents mainly — suffer such a fixation on celebrities? I find it utterly perplexing for a movement with a deeply negative opinion of modern culture to be so enamoured with the most pointless elements of the world of celebrities. It seriously disgusts me. Are they so detached from reality that they figure outsiders — those awful materialists! — will be impressed by this? They don’t want their own children to watch TV, so why do they imagine using TV-stars is a good way of selling waldorf education?

Most of these celebrities never said one single interesting thing about waldorf education. Some of them probably attended waldorf school for only a short period of time. Most importantly, they don’t know anything about waldorf pedagogy, Rudolf Steiner or anthroposophy. I understand that it’s tempting to mention their education as a curiosity. What I most definitely don’t understand is why they are referred to as authorities. Continue reading “celebrity worship”

antroposofiska sällskapet och ‘historieförfalskaren’

Jag har åtskilliga gånger frågat mig hur waldorfrörelsen — i synnerhet den svenska waldorffederationen — kan stödja Sune Nordwall. Nordwalls handlande mot rörelsens kritiker är beklagligt, och det är bortom min fattningsförmåga att någon självständigt tänkande antroposof kan ställa sig bakom hans verksamhet. (Tydligen är det ont om självständigt tänkande antroposofer.) Nordwall är dessutom känd för sina attacker mot Peter Staudenmaier, den historiker som nyligen avlagt doktorsexamen vid Cornell-universitetet med en avhandling om den antroposofiska rörelsens historia under första hälften av 1900-talet. Alfa-omega påpekade i dag att man fortfarande på Nordwalls hemsida kan finna följande stycke:

Antologin avslutas med ett bidrag med titeln “Antroposofi och ekofascism” av en dokumenterad historieförfalskare vid namn “Peter Staudenmaier”. Artikeln publicerades första gången av föreningen 2001 i dess tidskrift, och den publiceras också sen länge av föreningen på dess internetsajt.

Sune Nordwall fortsätter alltså glatt hävda att Peter S är en historieförfalskare och antyder dessutom att han möjligen har förfalskat sin identitet (eller hur man nu ska tolka citationstecknen).

Waldorfskolefederationen verkar ha så stort förtroende för Nordwall att han till och med anställts för att hålla koll på sådana som mig. (Översättning: fienden. Nordwall är i krig.) Vad anser då det aktningsvärda (?) Antroposofiska Sällskapet om Nordwalls meriter?

En sektion av sällskapets hemsida har titeln ‘Kritik mot antroposofin’, vilket fortsätter med underrubriken ‘Svar på kritik’. Intressantare är att denna sida inte återfinns genom menyerna på sällskapets hemsida. Den ligger visserligen under menyn ‘Antroposofi’ — ‘Antroposofisk litteratur’, men nås inte genom den menyn via hemsidan. Däremot får man upp den som träff om man googlar ‘antroposofi +kritik’, exempelvis. Man kan spekulera i anledningen till detta. Är det att man inte vill att medlemmar och hemsidebesökare, som är vänligt inställda till antroposofin, ska råka på detta avsnitt av en slump — och råka få veta att där faktiskt existerar kritik mot antroposofin? Nu länkar ju inte sällskapet till kritiken i fråga. Men de nämner den, och vem som helst som inte är bakom flötet kan ju söka upp den. Så är det så att man inte vill att människor ska råka över denna information i onödan? Samtidigt som man vill ge den till dem som redan vet att där finns kritik, och googlar på lämpliga sökord för att finna den?

Det är kanske mindre viktigt, även om det enligt min uppfattning också säger något om rörelsen. Det anmärkningsvärda i sammanhanget är att det Antroposofiska Sällskapet på denna sida använder sig av Sune Nordwalls ‘information’ och länkar till hans hemsida. Dessutom betecknar även det Antroposofiska Sällskapet självt Peter Staudenmaier som en ‘historieförfalskare’. Här är en screenshot:

Den sista av referenserna avser Peter Staudenmaier och hans arbete.

Min fråga är — hur kan det Antroposofiska Sällskapet på sin hemsida beskriva en numer disputerad forskare som ‘historieförfalskare’? Jag förmodar att Antroposofiska Sällskapet har belägg för att Peter Staudenmaier är en historieförfalskare, och att de självständigt och med stor noggrannhet utvärderat dessa belägg — annars verkar det aningen djärvt att alls publicera sådana allvarliga anklagelser. Fast problemet är, misstänker jag, att de läst Sune Nordwalls redogörelser för detta. Och att de tagit honom på orden. De kanske tror att han vet vad han talar om. (De tycker ju uppenbarligen att Nordwalls framställning av vetenskapen är vettig — och det tyder väl tyvärr på en skriande brist på kunskaper och rationellt tänkande.)

Nu är det så att Nordwall inte — med emfas inte — vet vad han talar om. Jag rekommenderar att sällskapet skriver om sin sida ‘Kritik mot antroposofin’ och att de gör jobbet ordentligt samt att de avlägsnar epitet som ‘historieförfalskare’ och anklagelser om ‘historieförfalskning’, åtminstone så länge de inte har lyckats skramla fram ordentliga argument som visar att dessa ordval är med verkligheten överensstämmande.

Och så tycker jag att Antroposofiska Sällskapets ledamöter (och medlemmar!) ska läsa Peter Staudenmaiers avhandling — vidare information här — i stället för att lyssna på Sune Nordwall, mannen som fastnat såsom i klister i sitt alldeles egna, råddiga fantasiliv.

an otherwise quite ordinary afternoon

This happened to be the day the Waldorf movement decided to give waldorf critics a marvellous gift they could not have imagined in their wildest dreams. Cautionary note: the following account is, inspite of appearances, not entirely fictional.*

An afternoon at the offices of the Swedish Waldorf School Federation. Three faithful waldorf warriors are working diligently to promote important causes such as holistic education, the saving of childhood and the maintenance of spiritual values in schooling (that is, rephrasing the spiritual facts to make them attractive, or at least palatable, to the general public). Suddenly, the silence is interrupted.

– Listen up! ‘…I consider PLANS, as internet terrorists… Mr Dugan ends his posting with a comment on the posting by me that he has hijacked from the private mailing list, being one of the many persistent internet terrorist acts of his, untruthfully stating…’ … ‘The “Protocol of Steiner” myth in question is mainly based on the works of a left wing activist, Peter Staudenmaier, creating and laying a forgery as the foundation stone of his works as non-academic, self appointed “historical scholar”, repeatedly mixing truths with untruths in what he writes on anthroposophy.’**

– What?!

– Please! Don’t you remember we talked about this? How we really need some guy who can read the akashic records.

– Yeah…

– Don’t you see? ‘…another smearing untruth by Dan Dugan… malicious by PLANS’ digging into the mud hole of accusations… the malicious way PLANS cultivates and nourishes this criticism… It is the same type of argumentation referring and appealing to feelings connected with atrocities in the past, that was cultivated and made into a motivating force of the war in the now former Yugoslavia in the 1990s’, and the same type of painting the Devil on the wall that now is used mutually by Usama bin Laden and President Bush…’ This author is clearly capable of reading internet websites in the light of higher spiritual truth!

– Who is he?

– Sune, who calls himself a bee. Yet another sign of his high social value.

– You mean, he’d be delighted to work hard and selflessly toward collective purposes?

– It would require small rewards, I suppose, but it seems like the kind of individual who’d put in much effort promoting the aims of our movement. For almost nothing in return. Just look at what he’s done so far! For example, hear these insightful facts gained through reading the records of higher wisdom: Staudenmaier ‘…gives repeatedly incomplete and untruthful descriptions… the serious lack of academic expertise… constitutes an insult to the concept of “historical scholar” with which he habitually likes to describe himself… the article just made it up out of his speculative imagination… repeatedly has tried to create different smoke screens to cover up for his untruthfulness…the extremely light hearted, distorting, unreliable carelessness and untruthfulness… well documented obvious history forgery…demonstrates his not only the unpredictable complete unreliability… Had Staudenmaier been the “scholar” he likes to picture himself as, he probably would have been kicked out of University for his forgery and stories… he can continue his games and make up stories, admired, published and supported by the small anti-Waldorf group PLANS in San Francisco…’

– St Francis? Of Assisi? Who’s Staudenmaier? I don’t understand this.

– It’s a complete crook, apparently… Don’t ask so many questions, dear. Have you done enough spiritual work to allow yourself to cast doubts upon the spiritual research of experienced anthroposophists?

– …

– No, just what I thought. Besides, nobody — I say nobody — would be capable of seeing truths like these without serious training: ‘Since 2007, “Northernrefugee39″***, an intense talkative professed atheist, socialist and republican, and former Steiner Waldorf mother …, with very little patience for what she thinks are “boring” discussions, has been pursuing a persistent and repeated anti-Steiner school crusade at Mumsnet in cooperation with a “barking”. … After reregistering at Mothering in April 2009, she in October continued a trolling campaign there in the Waldorf discussions, under another pseudonym, posting insinuating slander and promoting extensive defamation and libel of Steiner Waldorf education, but was banned (again) and the trolling removed … Last year (2009), she also continued her anti-Steiner crusade with comments on a number of blogs on the net, posting as “Cat Green” and “Boco”, launching her anti-Steiner missiles like a Hamas fraction of the WC-group trying to defame Steiner Waldorf education and anthroposophy with links to among others the repeatedly twisted republished first work by a “Peter Staudenmaier” who plays a similar role to “waldorf critics” as David Irving to anti-Semites.’

[A third person joins the discussion.]

– What are you two talking about?

– I think I’ve found just the guy we need. You know we talked about it, but we just couldn’t think of anyone with the right qualities.

– Wow! Let me see! … ‘mythologies, xenophobia and demonizing witch hunting’ … ‘witch hunt diatribes … crusade’ … ‘untruthfulness’ … ‘defamatory’ … ‘in a similar way that Usama bin Laden is trying to do in the Islamic world against USA and the West in general’ … ‘the general hysterical spirit of the criticism, defamation, smear and libel cultivated by the core critics’ … Wow! This blows me away through its rigour, honesty and its apparently deep connection to underlying reality. We must have this guy on board our ship.

– Yes, exactly. Someone who knows how to navigate hostile waters. And if you think about it, it’s the best gift we can give to the materialists. With Sune as a member of our team, his insights will help us to heal the materialists — although you’d have to put it in a multi-incarnational perspective… as always, as always. Think about the coming epoch.

– Is that why he follows them around?

– Yes, of course. Obviously. If you read between the lines, you’ll soon notice his unbounded compassion for humankind, his vast empathy with individuals… the caring he shows everyone. ‘Let your soul bloom in love…’ oh, isn’t it beautiful. He also knows his Steiner. Sublime. Divine.

– Perfection is possible in some human beings.

– Oh it is. It is. And, despite their flaws, we have a duty to assist even the materialists with love, for the sake of their reincarnating spirits. If needed, against their will, as they experience it, but they’re in a state of clouded awareness, unable to grasp what is known to a seer…

– I understand as much. But will people really understand?

– You’re confusing things. Are you still expecting people to understand? The world isn’t at that stage yet. People are stuck in the materialistic paradigm. They have not attained higher consciousness. They even deny the existence of spiritual worlds! Oh dear! You can’t possibly expect people in general to understand.

– We must still keep working. We must strive harder than ever… to counteract the spiritual ignorance manifested in modern man…

– And if you think about it, in the grand cosmic scheme, this surely is a great gift we’re giving to mankind.

– You mean, defending waldorf education against the hate-groups, crusaders and witch-hunters?

– That. And also, in more general terms, taking a stand for truth gained through clairvoyant vision. We can’t lose track of this. We must genuinely progress.

– Hunting down the beasts while healing those who can be healed?

– Yeah. Look, at the overwhelming, and frankly heart-warming …

[wipes some salty moist from the corner of the eye with a pinkish silk cloth]

– … compassion he shows for ‘a girlish, nice, intelligent and sensitive, but bitter former Waldorf pupil’, noting the tragic personal soul pathologies as ‘obsessive’, ‘difficult’… it’s all there, on the internet, as a testament to his compassion.

– Including all those details and figures and numbers and statistics and mental health issues and academic achievements… Oh, look, it says this person posts comments on all other blogs about waldorf on the internet just to link to their own blog. Could this be true? I haven’t seen theses comments? If they are as ubiquitous as implied…

– But are you reading with an open mind, dear?

– You mean they’re there but I must work more on my spiritual seeing to see them?

– Well, yes. I have a feeling some dimensions are still closed to your consciousness.

– I take your word for it then. In any case, there’s no need for us to read what this person writes, really, when we can have The Bee do it for us, right?

– Correct. We should get to work. How do we arrange his employment?

– I’d say we’ll bring him in full-time to start immediately.

– No no no. Part-time only, we’ll only pay him to do the monitoring of debates, blogs and twitter. He must retain a generous amount of spare time.

– Yes, we need him on several accounts, but we also need him to separate his roles. We can’t possibly make it official that we hire him to follow these people around. What would people think if they knew…

– … being as they are, stuck in materialism…

– … we hired him to take an active part in helping critics work out their karma, as it were?

– Still, we need him to collect personal information about people — preferably from the akashic records or via clairvoyant insights, but of course, everything duly verified, according to the standards of research generally applied in the higher worlds… — …and post it on the internet. It is really helpful. In the grand scheme of things. People will thank us in their next incarnation. Unfortunately this means we have to endure less appreciation than we deserve, in this incarnation. We — I mean we as in ordinary representatives of the Waldorf Federation — can’t personally give these former waldorf students and parents the treatment they need to work through their personal karmas. It won’t look good in the eyes of the world, if our part in it is too visible. Yet we know they need it. And I believe we can trust our new recruit to take care of all the details. In his spare time.

– What about…?

– Do not write this down. I repeat, do not write this down.

– What about possible ethical implications…? Could we not get in trouble for involving ourselves in this?

– Not again! You exhaust us! Didn’t I tell you too stop reading all those books and papers? They’re not good for your spiritual path, not at the stage you’re at. Why do you think it is that the world doesn’t understand the real needs of our time? Because people insist on collecting information and viewpoints which have no basis is spiritual reality. It’s a downward path, I tell you. We need spiritual renewal, and you keep reading books about… what did you say it was… materialistic ethics?!

– Maybe she should leave the room while we discuss the details of the requirements on our new employee…

– Yes. I think this would be for the best. These are sensitive issues. I’ll give you a verse to meditate on, dear, while we finish this talk… Or you could count the money in our stash. We need to know what we’ve got. … [inaudible mumble] Yeah yeah, don’t complain. It’s still buried by the old oak, close to the gnome hut. … Don’t get me started on that again… no, we did not steal that underground cavity away from the gnomes, we simply borrowed it on a permanent basis.  We have an important mission, the gnomes don’t. No more discussion.

[One person leaves room.]

– Yikes. Ethics. What a useless fool. And did you notice the arrogance? Ethics! Reminds me of the self-aggrandizing, know-it-all materialists… ‘there is no evidence for a spiritual world’… oh the arrogance of the close-minded…

– I whole-heartedly agree with you, my friend. But we need to maintain our attitude of compassion towards the less fortunate. Even spirits spiralling downward on the evolutionary path need our commitment. Nobody else is going to rescue the world from its present disaster, unless we lead the way with our spiritual work. Now, where were we? It is Sune we’re talking about. We need to be careful to make sure that, within our waldorf organisations, there’s an awareness about the aspects which to critics may appear like seedy tactics but, in actual fact, are truly acts of compassion and love. We know all this, but given the present state of consciousness in the world… and some people take every opportunity to misunderstand and misinterpret and to spread hatred and defamation and libel and slander and to wage attacks against our movement.

– I’m aware of that. But I don’t think there’s a reason to worry. We expect him to do all those things people can misunderstand in his spare-time, in addition to the work he performs directly on our behalf. Basically, as far as his leisure time is concerned, he’ll continue doing what he has selflessly done up until this moment. Of course, we completely support him in his work on behalf of our movement and the entire humanity, but we’d better not talk about it.

– And if things should back-fire, we’ll still know, in our hearts, that we didn’t do anything wrong. On the spiritual level. We know it’s important information Sune brings into the world. He has access to sources few people seem to be able to read. In addition, he has the spiritual integrity and standing to be able to view websites which ‘stand out as distorted, twisted and revolting to most people’ without harm to his own consciousness soul. We, who are untrained to bear the animosity pouring out from these websites, should not even for one second venture to view them. The dangers could not be overemphasized here. He’s a resource we simply cannot squander. But he will have to help the karmic paths of students, mothers and academics in his free time.

–  That’s the official story. And we’ll stick to it if someone asks.

– Yes. But he does an incredible job. We can’t interfere too much with his relentless efforts to collect personal data and write down analyses of these people who are in such a dire need of his empathic insights. Technically, though, we commission him to ‘monitor’ the state of things, that is, within waldorf criticism. Everything else, is officially a bonus, unofficially an expectation.

– Great job. I can’t wait to savour the fruits of this undertaking. They will have the delicious taste of victory.

– Let’s praise Sune’s hard work and efforts…

– … to quench opposition …

– … to promote the correct worldview …

– … spiritual enlightenment …

– And who said it would be pretty and kind anyway?

– Not me. Pretty is just a colour on the wall, isn’t it?

___________________________

* All the quotes are actual quotes, mined from the mind of a Steiner fanatic who lost the ability to separate fact from fiction many years ago. (Which means, as the acute observer has already concluded, that the quotes are actual but their content made up even though it was intended as, and believed to be, factual by the originator.)

** Peter Staudenmaier, historian, PhD at Cornell Uni. Dan Dugan, who is a vehicle for assorted ahrimanic and evil forces as well the secretary of PLANS.

*** Former waldorf parent who, like many others, abruptly learned to distrust anything that smelled of gnomes, archangels and eurythmists.

livsåskådning

Ur waldorffederationens protokoll, februari 2009. Notering från ett gruppsamtal.

‘Att anställa medarbetare som motarbetar waldorfpedagogiken har på vissa håll ställt till problem. Kan man kräva av någon att ha en viss livsåskådning?’

I slutet av samma protokoll, under ett avsnitt som behandlar tidskriften På Vägs och Kristofferskolans jubileumsfirande, följande:

‘Viktiga frågor ifrån vår politiska agenda med bakgrund till våra egna synpunkter. Vad är våra egna problem, kan vi seriöst belysa dem. Hur kommer vi bort från det dogmatiska.’

Ja, det är ju svårt med den ovan antydda inställningen till kritiska synpunkter. Därutöver, att kräva någon på en viss livsåskådning kan förmodligen räknas som ‘dogmatiskt’ in extremis.

Med anledning av dubbeljubileet avsåg, enligt waldorffederationen, På Väg att bjuda in fd waldorfelever. De fd elever som lovprisar sin tidigare skola, får man lov att förmoda. Vi andra åtnjuter den rätt måttliga glädjen i att bli övervakade av Sune N.

demeter är ingen konsumentorganisation (dagens nyheter)

På ekonomisidorna beskriver Dagens Nyheter i dag Demeter som en ‘konsumentförening’ (artikeln och pdf-tabellen i vilken Demeter återfinns). Det är missvisande. Demeter är inte en konsumentorganisation, även om det för all del tycks som att vem som helst kan bli något slags stödmedlem i föreningen. Det svenska Demeter-förbundet ingår i en internationell organisation för biodynamisk odling, Demeter International.

‘Demeter is the brand for products from Biodynamic® Agriculture.’ (Se ‘This is Demeter’ på internationella organisationens hemsida.)

Demeter International representerar genom sina nationella medlemsorganisationer flera tusen producenter världen över:

‘Presently Demeter International has 16 member organisations from Europe, America, Africa and New Zealand. Thus Demeter-International represents more than 4.200 Demeter producers in 43 countries.’ (Se ‘Demeter-International’.)

De nationella organisationerna kontrollerar att medlemsjordbruken uppfyller de antroposofiska riktlinjerna för jordbruk i enlighet med Rudolf Steiners angivelser i jordbrukskursen. Den internationella organisationen sätter de standarder vars uppfyllelse kontrolleras lokalt; det är den internationella organisationens regler som varje Demeter-ansluten jordbrukare måste uppfylla för att få sätta märket på sina produkter. Den biodynamiska odlingen är inte ‘bara’ en strängare tillämpning av de ekologiska odlingssätten. Den är faktiskt något radikalt annorlunda än det vanliga ekologiska jordbruket. Den biodynamiska odlingen är en konkret tillämpning av det magiska tänkande som antroposofins andliga guru Steiner utsträckte till tillvarons alla områden. Jordbruket ingår i ett kosmiskt kretslopp. De preparat (som DN nämner utan att vidare beskriva dem) är i princip inget annat än hokuspokus, om än relativt oförargligt sådant. Deras verkan är ‘andevetenskaplig’, det vill säga huvudsakligen omöjlig att mäta och utvärdera med den ‘materialistiska’ vetenskapens metoder. För den konsument som inte själv är antroposof tillför inte dessa andevetenskapliga aspekter något. Att biodynamiska produkter ofta är av god kvalitet beror på andra faktorer. Continue reading “demeter är ingen konsumentorganisation (dagens nyheter)”

supervising the attacks

I was browsing the internet for documents on the Swedish waldorf curriculum (perhaps one could hope to find something as juicy as Avinson’s guidelines for teachers?). I happened upon the notes (pdf) [update: on may 30, the document has been retracted from the website — download it from here instead] from a meeting by the Swedish Waldorf School Federation. In these notes, I read quite a few funny things. But this took my breath away:

The blog debate

In England, the attacks on [waldorf] pedagogy have led to parents withdrawing their children from the waldorf schools. The [Swedish Waldorf School] Federation has employed Sune on a part-time basis to monitor the debate. [Pdf-document, p 9.]

Say what? This organisation — the official body representing all waldorf schools in Sweden — has hired Sune to monitor the debate. The UK debate. He who has worked actively to stifle all debate. Sune from Sweden is supervising the UK debate — and is paid by the Swedish Waldorf Federation to do the dirty work. Have they lost their minds? I begin to think they truly have, big time. He’s not ‘monitoring’ any ‘attacks’ or debates, I tell you that. He believes he’s engaged in a war, and he’s prepared to run this war single-handedly. Whether or not there is an actual enemy.

See previous posts about The Bee.