“Can’t we all just get along?”
— Rodney King
Here’s a message I posted at the waldorfrcritics list in October, 2009.
I have edited it slightly for use here.
I was responding to a previous comment.
To see my original message and its context, please use this link:
> In firstname.lastname@example.org, "cathy223146" <cathybalme@...> wrote:
> I don't "hate" anthroposophy, I just don't believe in it. And I certainly don't "hate" the people involved, actually I rather like some of them.
As some of you may have noticed, I like to laugh. I find it more helpful than howling at the moon. I enjoy Tom's humor, for instance, and in my time I've shared laughs with quite a number of Anthroposophical friends (more in the past than now, of course — I get fewer and fewer Christmas cards from Anthroposophists these days).
Participants at this list probably need to realize how we are seen by many Anthroposophists (i.e., all of them who fully accept Steiner's teachings). In their eyes, we are literally pawns of demonic powers. You see, we live in important times. Christ has already returned. The Antichrist has also come. Ahriman is lurking everywhere. And there are other evil powers afoot also. In sum, the hosts of the good and the hosts of the evil are arrayed, and you can guess which side we have been assigned to. (Think of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, a trilogy often promoted at Waldorf schools: the battle before the gates of Gondor. Or think of Norse myths, stories told unendingly in Waldorf schools: Götterdämerung is at hand — or something very like it.)
When I wrote, recently, of Anthroposophists demonizing us, I was describing something far deeper than a sort of metaphor. Ahriman, the Antichrist, etc., are real beings, they are here now, and so are their followers. This explains why establishing a productive dialogue between Anthroposophists and ourselves can seem almost impossible. Members of the good team don't make concessions to, or compromise with, the evil ones (us).
I'm not sure how to prove that I am not a devil; but I have the perhaps naive idea that the shoe is actually on the other foot: Anyone who wants to point at anyone else and holler "Devil" has (as Ricky used to say) some 'splainin' to do.
Be that as it may, here are a few interesting quotations:
“In the lectures of 1910...[Steiner] spoke to small groups of prepared listeners concerning the advent of the appearance of the Christ in the etheric life-element of the earth. To begin with, He would only be seen by a few, but as the century progressed He would be perceived by an ever greater number of human beings on earth, bestowing comfort and strength to people. Steiner pointed quite specifically to the period between 1930 and 1940 (he also mentioned 1950) in this respect. The years 1933 and 1935 are singled out in some lectures ... Steiner had warned, however, that opposing powers would conspire to darken the consciousness of humanity so that the second coming of the Christ, His appearance in the etheric, might go unnoticed. He further foretold that powerful attempts would be made on the part of certain groups to proclaim false messiahs to whom people would flock, convinced that the Christ could reappear in physical form in our time.” — René M. Querido, introduction to Steiner's THE REAPPEARANCE OF CHRIST IN THE ETHERIC (Anthroposophic Press, 1983). Seen from this perspective, not only are we Waldorf critics wrong, for instance when we fail to perceive Christ's return, but so are all mainstream Christians, who look for Christ in the wrong place or sphere. Anthroposophists often see themselves as a small, embattled band possessing Truth, standing bravely against vast, hostile hordes of evil and/or benighted opponents.
If Steiner was right, Christ has already come, and so has the Antichrist. Steiner said "that the working of Sorat [the Antichrist], the two-horned beast described in chapter 13 of the Apocalypse, was connected to the number 666 and therefore, we could expect an intensification of his influence around the year 1998 [666 times 3]. Sorat's influence is not to be confused with the war of all against all, or with the incarnation of Ahriman, an event projected to take place in the early part of the third millennium. For a complete discussion of the nature and timing of these events, as well as a clear distinction between the three adversaries of human evolution — Lucifer, Ahriman, and the Asuras — the reader should refer to three outstanding articles by Hans-Werner Schroeder which appeared in the Newsletter of the Anthroposophical Society in America, Summer 1979, Spring 1980, and Summer 1980." — James H, Hindes, introduction to READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993). Note that the articles mentioned were published in our own day, long after Steiner's death — we are talking about views held by Anthroposophists now, not merely the views Steiner offered almost a century ago.
Lucifer, Ahriman, and Sorat are not the only demonic powers at work: "[I]n the age now approaching, those spiritual Beings known as the Asuras will creep into the consciousness soul and therewith into the human ‘I’ or ego ... The Asuras will generate evil with a far mightier force than was wielded by the Satanic powers [i.e., Ahrimanic forces] in the Atlantean epoch [i.e., when we lived on Atlantis] or by the Luciferic Spirits in the Lemurian epoch [Lemuria was the human habitation before Atlantis].
"... Man does not as yet entirely base his life on the principle that his true being descends from the animal. But this view of existence will inevitably arise, with the result that men will also live like animals, will sink into animal impulses, animal passions. And in many things that need not be further characterized here, many things that in the great cities come to expression in orgies of dissolute sensuality, we can already perceive the lurid, hellish glare of the Spirits we call the Asuras." — Rudolf Steiner, THE DEED OF CHRIST AND THE OPPOSING SPIRITUAL POWERS (Steiner Book Center, 1954), lecture, GA 107. Note how this quotation helps explain the vehement Anthroposophical opposition to modern evolutionary theory. Accepting Darwinian views in any way means falling in league with hellish powers.
A demon (I guess).
This is what a Web search turned up, anyway.
For the heck (or hell?) of it,
I've added color to the b&w image.
Waldorf critics may be corrupt and demonic in a variety of ways, from an Anthroposophical perspective. Even those of us who haven't sworn allegiance to demonic powers may be empty shells, possessing only "what in occultism is called the physical body [a material shell with no spiritual content]. In itself it can neither live, think nor feel. There then remains a very wisely ordered, extremely complicated automaton, a purely physical apparatus." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 12, GA 93a. According to Steiner, the first stage of human life consists of possessing this empty physical shell. Good humans fill the shell and evolve upwards. But bad humans...
Anthroposophists may be more willing to have discussions with automatons than with demons, but there is clearly little they can expect to gain from such conversations, and they would certainly never concede any important points to automatons. The whole purpose of Anthroposophy is to ensure that people rise above the level of the automaton:
“The task of Anthroposophy is not simply to replace a false view of the world with a correct one. That is a purely theoretical requirement. The nature of Anthroposophy is to strive not only toward another idea, but toward other deeds, namely, to tear the spirit and soul from the physical body. The task is to raise the spirit-soul into the realm of the spiritual, so that the human being is no longer a thinking and feeling automaton." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115.
Crucially for our discussions here, note that Waldorf education has precisely the same purpose as Anthroposophy. Here is the continuation of the quotation I just now offered: "[T]he spirit-soul is asleep. The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses. This is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact. That fact is actually the secret that will become increasingly apparent, and out of which we can act fruitfully. Such things as the pedagogy of the Waldorf School can arise from a recognition that humanity must turn toward spiritual activity, and not simply from a change in theory. We should work out of that spirit.” — Ibid. Steiner addressed the words to Waldorf faculty members.
There's plenty of food for thought in these quotations. But my immediate point is that we should try to understand how we are seen by many Anthroposophists. Only then can we comprehend the extraordinary fervor of the attacks made on us. Whether there is a way to calm everyone down enough for real dialogue to occur is, I'm afraid, doubtful. Still, I think the effort is worthwhile and hope we are prepared to keep trying.
- Roger Rawlings