A Suppressed Steiner Lecture

One of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures has become notorious as a “forbidden lecture.” It is a racist screed that English-speaking Anthroposophists have tried to hide. Titled "Color and the Human Races", it has not yet been printed in English by any Anthroposophical publisher. 

Delivered on March 3, 1923, the lecture — in its original German — is the third lecture included in VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS {Of the Life of Humans and the Earth, [and] The Nature of Christianity}, published by Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung in 1961. The English-language version of this book — titled FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER and published by Rudolf Steiner Press in 1999 — is glaringly incomplete. "Color and the Human Races" is missing. 

Steiner's defenders have sometimes argued that if Steiner ever held racist views — which they generally deny — then surely he became free of such views later in his spiritual career. This lecture disproves any such contention. Steiner delivered "Color and the Human Races" late in his life, when he was at the height of his influence as the leader of Anthroposophy. He gave the lecture early in 1923. He became ill during the second half of 1924, and he died in March, 1925.


The following is my translation of  "Color and the Human Races". I am far from being the ideal translator — my German is imperfect. Hence, my translation is doubtless imperfect. I offer it only because I have not yet found an English translation by a better translator. Perhaps one will emerge. (Several German speakers have reviewed my translation, and I have incorporated their corrections and, in most cases, their suggestions.)

You will find a certain incoherence in many of the passages you are about to read. Some of this may be my fault. But by and large, the incoherence exists in Steiner’s words and thoughts. Many of Steiner’s lectures are like this, particularly those he delivered after leaving Theosophy in 1913. Steiner often spoke extemporaneously, so he rambled, repeated himself, contradicted himself, and generally embarrassed himself — although we find few indications that he felt this embarrassment. His devotees defend such shapeless lectures as having an “organic” form. More objective readers see that these lectures are, frankly, a mess.

After my translation and endnotes, I give the complete German text. I have numbered the paragraphs in both the English and German texts, to aid comparison. The other numbers that appear in the English text — the numbers in brackets — signify my endnotes.

In the service of clarity, I have divided "Color and the Human Races" into three sections: paragraphs 1-25, paragraphs 26-36, and paragraphs 37-42. I have not deleted anything, I have merely created section breaks. The middle section (paragraphs 26-36) primarily discusses white Americans in comparison to white Europeans. These are interesting paragraphs, and they are logically connected to the rest of the lecture. But they are also, in a sense, a digression. If you want to focus on Steiner's teachings about what he called the main racial groupings (black, yellow, and white) and two sub-groupings (red and brown), you could skim through — or even skip over — this central section. Steiner's main argument about the five human races builds from paragraph 1 to about paragraph 25, and it resumes in paragraph 37. (Soon thereafter, Steiner moves into other digressions, but there's not much I can do about that.)

I realize that by creating sections, I am conferring on the lecture more apparent coherence than it actually possesses. But because I know that so many people find reading Steiner extremely difficult, I think this strategy is justified. Let me repeat, however: I have not deleted anything, I am presenting Steiner's complete lecture.


A word of warning. The lecture is preposterous, hateful, and ignorant. Steiner’s teachings in general are an amalgam of ignorance and superstition — and, sometimes, racism. All people of good will and good sense should repudiate such teachings. But some well-meaning individuals love Steiner and they hesitate to disagree with him on any significant matters, even matters of race. They manage to convince themselves that Steiner was not a racist. Judge for yourself. (And as you read, remind yourself of this: Some of Steiner’s devoted defenders run, or teach in, Waldorf schools today. Be forewarned.)

— Roger Rawlings

(I  posted this page in 2011

and I revised it, slightly, in 2017.)

Note: Many months after I posted my translation, below,

a version of the lecture, translated, was finally posted

at the Rudolf Steiner Archive

(an online resource, not a book publisher): 


You can compare the two translations.

"Color and the Human Races"

[Third Lecture

Dornach, March 3, 1923]


Now, gentlemen, concerning the last question [touched on in my previous lecture] about colors, of course I have not fully answered it. We need to pursue it further. [1]


Today we will consider what is most interesting, namely the significance of human color. You know that Earth has people of different colors. Of the Europeans, to which we belong, we say that they are the white race. Well, you know, actually, the European is not completely healthy if he is white as chalk [2], but he is healthy if his color is fresh, which is something he creates within himself so that his inner whiteness is reflected outwardly.


But humans have, in addition to European skin color, four other skin colors. Let us consider this now a bit, because really humanity’s whole history and social life, even today's social life, can be understood only if we consider people’s skin color. And you can understand all things spiritual, in the right sense, only if you look at how man’s spiritual nature is shown through the skin.


I will deal with the color of people in the following manner. Let us start from Europe, where our people live. I can show this schematically [3] — first Europe, and adjacent to Europe is Asia [Steiner drew a map]. Here is England, Ireland, and here Japan, China, Indochina, peninsular India, Arabia; then we have here adjacent Africa. So, Europe, Asia, Africa. Now we want to draw the people as they are in the areas in question. We in Europe call ourselves the white race. Now let's go over to Asia. In Asia, we have mainly the yellow race. And if we consider Africa, we have the black race there. These are the primary races. Any other residents in these areas only result from immigration. So when we ask: Which races belong to these continents, we just have to say in Asia is the yellow race, the Mongols, the Mongolian race, and the white race or the Caucasian race belongs in Europe, and Africa has the black race or the Negro race. The Negro race does not belong in Europe, and of course it is absurd that blacks now play a great role in Europe. [4] These races are native, as it were, to these three continents. 


Now we want to deal with the color of these three races. I've already told you, in my last lecture, that color has to do with the light. When the blackness of outer space is seen through the illumination of space, it appears blue. And if you see light, or things lit up, through the dark air, then all this appears reddish, as in the morning dawn and the evening dusk.


Let us look at the colors of ordinary objects. We first distinguish, say, black and white. They are the most striking colors, black and white. What is the reality of things having a black body? An object with a black body absorbs all the light that falls on it, and so no light is reflected back. So if you have here a black body, then all the light that falls on it enters into it, and no light returns. Therefore, it appears black because it reflects no light. If you have a white body, the body says: I do not need the light, I just want to process what I already have in myself. I reflect back all light. Therefore, this body is white. So a white body sends back all the light. We see, therefore, its surface as bright white. A black body absorbs all the light and heat, and it throws back no light or heat, so it appears black, dark. [5]


See, you can study this in more detail when you consider the following. Think of a body here on earth, which receives all kinds of light. First, it gives back a little bit of the light, so it appears bright, but it takes its time and absorbs much of the light into itself. Now it has much light inside itself. When it can hold no more, and all of it is filled with light, it appears black. [6] 


Take a tree. On the surface of the earth, a tree initially absorbs some light, but it swallows a lot of the light, so it absorbs much heat. Well, that is the case until it falls down into the earth. Then for thousands or millions of years it remains below the earth, and what will it be then? Black coal! This is black, because when it was a tree, it absorbed light and heat. It does not give back the light and heat until we destroy it. When we burn the coal, then it gives forth the light and heat. But if we just put the coal in the air [i.e., if we dig it up but don’t burn it], it does not give light or heat. It has taken up so much light and heat without releasing them. We must destroy the coal to release the light and heat. This is the state of the coal.


By comparison, a body that does not absorb light but sends everything back again, that body we describe as white. This is the snow in winter. It reflects all the light and it absorbs no light and no heat. So it is white. We thus look at the difference between coal and snow, how it actually is with the relationship between objects on earth and outer space.  


We can apply this to people themselves, living in space. Let us look first at the blacks in Africa. These black people in Africa have the peculiarity that they absorb all the light and heat that they receive from space. [7] They take in all of that. But the light and heat they receive in space cannot go through the whole body because a human being is a human being after all, even if he is a black man. The light and heat does not go through the whole body, but it adheres to the surface of the skin, and then the skin itself turns black. So a black man in Africa is therefore a person who takes as much heat and light as possible from space and processes them in himself. By doing this, the forces of he universe exert their power over the entire man. (Here is a picture.) [sic] Everywhere, he absorbs light and heat, everywhere on his body. He processes the light and heat in himself. Something has to be in him that helps him in this process. Well, you see, what helps him in this processing is especially his hindbrain. The Negro, therefore, has a particularly well-developed hindbrain. This extends down through the spinal cord. And that can process whatever quantity of light and heat is in the man. Therefore, the Negro has a lively body and metabolism. He has, as people say, a strong instinctive life. The Negro thus has powerful drives. And because he actually absorbs the sun’s elements, light and heat, through the surface in his skin, his whole metabolism is, as if it were, cooked by the Sun itself. This is what causes his instinctual life. The Negro is constantly cooking inside, and that which stirs up that fire, that's the hindbrain. [8]


Sometimes, the specific human formation results in particular byproducts. This can be especially seen in the Negro. The Negro has not only this cooking in his organism, but he also has a terribly clever and observant eye. He looks smart and very attentive. You could easily interpret this as a contradiction. But this is the explanation: If the eye nerve is there in front (a drawing is being done) [sic], then the nerves pass directly into the hindbrain, and there they cross. That is, the nerve enters into the hindbrain. And because the Negro has an especially well developed hindbrain, that’s why he looks so clever, that’s why he is such a sharp observer of the world.


If you start to understand this, all becomes clear. But such considerations as we are discussing now are overlooked by modern science. Therefore, it understands nothing of all this. [9]

Copy of a sketch by Rudolf Steiner comparing the white race 

(Weiss — characterized by use of the forebrain, Vorderhirn), 

with the yellow race (Gelb — characterized by the middle brain, Mittelhirn), 

and the black race (Schwarz — characterized by the rear brain, Hinterhirn).

If blacks go where they don't belong, they turn copper-red (Kupferrot) and die out;

if Asians go where they don't belong, they turn brown (Braun) and die out .



(Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), p. 51.]


Let us now go from the blacks to the yellows. For the yellow and the red races, light is thrown back slightly, but much is taken up. So these people throw off more light than the blacks. The black man is an egotist who takes in all the light and warmth. The yellow, of the Mongolian population, returns a bit of light, but he takes in a lot of light. That is his nature. He takes up a lot of light but gives back a lot. He is content with retaining less light. For him, less light is available to fuel the metabolism (here is a picture). [sic] Therefore the metabolism must depend upon its own strength. This works namely in the respiratory system and blood circulation. So in the yellow — the Japanese, the Chinese —  the light and the heat work mainly in the respiratory and blood circulation. If you ever met a Japanese person, you will have noticed how careful he is in his breathing. When he talks to you, he always keeps to himself, to make sure his breathing is quite in order. He gains a certain feeling of well-being in his respiration. Because this is so, breathing is processed throughout him — the breast [i.e., lungs] is processed into everything. And therefore the yellow man does not use his hindbrain so much, but he uses the midbrain. Because he emphasizes the things that power his breathing and his blood circulation. So he lives internally, the yellow Asian. You can also note his walk: He has a more casual gait. He does not work so much with the limbs and metabolism. The Negro is more characterized by outward movement that is ruled by the instincts. The Asiatic, the yellow, has a more developed inner dream life, so the entire Asian civilization is dreamy. This characteristic is not merely alive in himself, but it creates a kind of connection to the universe. And so it happens that the Asians have such wonderful poems about the whole universe. The Negro does not. He takes everything into his metabolism and actually digests whatever reaches him from the universe. The Asian, through his blood circulation, can express himself well in words, because language is only redesigned breathing. Yes, in Asia there is beautiful, beautiful poetry. The Asian is an inner man. The Asian despises the European today, because he says: These are external people. We will soon see why. So this is the yellow race, and it is thus because of color, as I have told you.


Now, let us now consider ourselves in Europe. We are in fact connected to the entire universe as a white race, because we throw back all outside light. We throw back all external light and basically all the heat. The heat must be quite powerful if we want to incorporate any of it into ourselves. And if this heat is not provided, we wither away, as is shown by the Eskimos. Because it is like this: Since [the white] man is so constituted that basically all light and heat reflects back, only if they are powerful can we take them in — white man throws back external light and heat, and he retains only what he creates internally. Yes, gentlemen, because he is not defined by breathing and blood circulation, [and] not [defined by] external heat, white man has to work out through his brain in his head his own light and heat. We need to work out with our heads our light and heat. We actually send back all external light and heat. We must give our own blood its coloration. It then passes through us, the whites, and thus we get that European human color. This is how it is in our interior. Therefore, we are already like a white body, all the processes within [are like a white body], and this reflects all light and heat. We are already a white body internally. [10] During the Mongol stage, the midbrain is paramount, but for us Europeans, we must apply the forebrain. This, however, turns out in the following way: One race [i.e., black] is mainly involved with the hindbrain, which preferably has the instinctual life, the life of instinct. At a higher level, man [i.e., the Asian] has the mid-brain, the emotional life that sits in the chest. And we Europeans, we poor Europeans [11], we have thought that sits in the head. Thus we do not have a feeling of our inner man. Because of the primacy of the head, we only feel when our being hurts us, when we are sick. Otherwise we do not feel our inner being. On the contrary, we take on the whole outside world, which means we can easily become materialists. The Negro is not a materialist. For him, the man is already inside. [12] He developed internally the hot engine of life. The Asian is not a materialist. For him what exists is the emotional life. He does not have a handle on the outer life, like the European does. Of us [whites] he says: He [the white man] is only an engineer who is concerned solely with the outer life. This is precisely because the European must develop his forebrain, mainly pointed to the outside world. And thus it all hangs together. 


We are the white race. Internally, the white is given color by our blood. [13] Then there is the yellow race, the Mongols, and then there's the black race. And we can understand quite well if we go by the colors. The whole story is explained [by skin color]. 


But now you should ponder. The Negroes live on an earthly basis [14], where the Sun is very, very exciting to them, infiltrating their world [15]. So they indulge in the sunlight, taking it all the way inside the body — they are friendly with it, not throwing anything back. Among the Asians, the essence of life comes more out of the hot earth [rather than the Sun]. They return only a little of the light they receive. They are not so friendly with the Sun. And the Europeans, they actually would get little from the Sun if they had not developed their own humanity. Therefore, Europe has always been the starting point for everything that is human in relation with the outside world. [16] Some inventions have been made in Asia, but in general inventions, arising through the experience of the outside world — Asians cannot make these. [17]


For example, consider the propeller steamship. The Japanese copied the Europeans, and then Japan wanted to go alone. Previously the Europeans were always in charge. Now Japan for once wanted to go alone. English engineers had remained on the coast. Suddenly, the Japanese came out [i.e., they launched a ship], who then brought things to a desperate state, for the whole ship turned constantly in a circle. They did not know how they could control the rotation, how to produce the right locomotion. The Europeans knew this, of course, and they stood grinning broadly on the shore. So this kind independent thinking, which Europeans developed to deal with the outer world, Asians do not have it. The Japanese will therefore work with all European inventions, but the Japanese cannot create something new on their own. [18] It is thus with the human race, that people all over the globe really need each other. [19] You have to help each other. It is clear from each people’s natural disposition.


Well, you see, this affects the whole education of man. Think of even a black man. He has specially developed impulses, so that he is cooking on the inside. This internal cooking creates a lot of ash, and the ash accumulates in the bones. Thus the black man is more developed in the bones than a member of the white race. In the white, the blood is more important than the bones. Therefore, his bones will be finer. So the Negro has developed rough bones while Europeans have developed fine bones. As for the insides of Asians, the yellow race, they stand in the middle. [20]


Now if you look at the Japanese thoroughly, as he stands there, you will see that in his insides he stands between the Europeans and the Africans. The Africans have these strong bones, which always turn outward. The Europeans are more characterized by the blood system. The Japanese actually has everything that affects the breathing, and the breath proceeds from the blood circulation.


But now, gentlemen, we should consider not just the people but also their areas. If you would go back to the old days, we would already find the yellow race in Asia, the white race in Europe, and the black race in Africa. But always it has also happened that people migrated to other areas. And since they can now migrate back [i.e., they can return to their home areas], the yellow can move to the east again (here is a picture) [i.e.], or the black people will migrate again to the west. [Steiner is saying that Asians tend to migrate east and Africans tend to migrate west. Even if they return to their home countries, their next migrations will again be east, for Asians, and west, for Africans.] This is how things probably used to be. The yellow has always moved to the east. Thus they came to these islands [Malaysia], which are between Asia and Australia. The yellow migrate eastward across this region. But if the yellow wander too far to the east, then they turn brown. This is what gave rise to the Malays, who are brown. Why? Yes, why are the Malaysians brown? What does that mean: They are brown? They no longer reflect as much of the light as they did when they were yellow. Having turned brown, through their migration, they are now living in the Sun, and because they are so embedded in their new location, they throw off less light. They take more light into themselves. These brown Malays are expatriate Mongolians, but because the Sun acts differently on them now, they become accustomed to absorbing more light and more heat. But remember that they do not have the nature to do so. [21] They have skeletons that can only absorb a certain degree of heat. They do not have the nature to absorb as much heat as they now take in as Malays. The result is that they start to become useless people, their human bodies begin to die. This is indeed the case in the Malay population. They are dying due to the Sun, they are dying from being too far to the east. So we can say that while the yellow, the Mongols, are people who have full life forces, the Malays are already a dying breed. They die. [22]


As for the Negroes today, however, there is less leeway — today the situation is already different from what it had been. But in ancient times, it was the way I told you. The Negroes have generally moved to the west — they have taken boat trips to the west, and they went indeed to the Atlantic Ocean islands. [23] Earlier, the Atlantic Ocean was once a continent. [24] So, if the blacks emigrate to the west, they cannot absorb as much light and heat as they could in their Africa. They come to areas having less light and heat. What is the consequence? Yes, their nature is set up to absorb as much light and heat as possible. Their nature is actually established, thereby making them black. But now, after emigrating, they do not get as much light and heat as they need to be black. Therefore, they become copper [i.e., copper-colored], in other words [they become] American Indians. [25] That comes from the fact that they are forced to throw back some of the light and heat they receive. Hence the shiny copper-Sun coloration. The copper-colored body must send back a bit of light and heat. Copper-colored American Indians cannot endure so much light and heat. Therefore, they die. As Indians in the west, they are a dying breed. They die from their own nature, which gets too little light and heat, which kills the alien [i.e., the immigrant, the outsider]. [26] Their earthly nature gives them an instinctual life. [27] They cannot develop properly in the west, although they still grow strong bones. A lot of ash goes into their bones, but their bones cannot endure these Indian ashes. The bones are terribly strong, but so strong that the whole man is destroyed down to his bones. [28]


You see, these five races have come to exist. One might say, in the middle are the black, yellow, and white [races], and off to one side is the black-copper-red [race], and to the other side is the yellow-brown. These side parts [i.e., secondary races] are the parts that are always dying. 


The whites are actually the ones who develop the human essence within themselves. Therefore, they are dependent [only] on themselves. When they emigrate, they are affected by the peculiarities of the other areas somewhat, but they stand on a basis other than race itself, they are more than just a people. They certainly are something more. [29] You see, gentlemen, the things I have just described, these are things that occur inside the human body. The soul and spirit are more or less independent of the body. Therefore, the Europeans, because they have the highest claim to soul and spirit, they have the most soul and mind. [30] The European can tolerate conditions on different continents better than other races can. 


Therefore, it happened that the whites, starting from up north, once made a major migration down to India. [31] A stream of white people came down into the area where usually people are yellow. Therefore, a mix of Caucasian and Mongolian came about: the Indians. [32]. Therefore the most beautiful Indian poems came into being, but you can realize at the same time that there was a sluggishness in these people, because the internal white was no longer in its true area. [33]


And so you can say: The whites can go anywhere, they can even cross to America. Everything that is in the white population in America comes from Europe. This is how whites come to be in the American territories. But this means that a man from Europe, where everything inside him was formed, comes to America. To this extent, something of his hindbrain must be used. [34] In Europe, you see, he was like other Europeans, who mainly use the forebrain. Well, in America, the native people are those who were actually decaying negroes previously, which means they do not thrive, they perish — the Indians. [35] When you get there [36], there is almost always a struggle between the forebrain and hindbrain in the head. And there is this peculiarity that when a family moves to America and settles down there, the people who come out of this family always have slightly longer arms. The arms are longer. [37] The legs grow even more if the European settles in America — not in himself, of course, but in his descendants. [38] That's what happens, because the family’s story is influenced more by the midbrain through the hindbrain, when you come to America, as Europeans. [39]


But among the Americans something else very peculiar comes about. The European, especially if he is a thinker, very inward-looking, does not live truly when he moves to America. Even if he is not a thinker, but tries to think in America, there is something false about his new life. As soon as the European settles in America, he no longer thinks as deeply. So the following occurs: If you are reading a European book, the proof of the argument or the lack of proof always depends on the evidence. As one reads through an entire book, through four hundred pages, even if it is a novel, only evidence is important. However, most often in the end, by the four hundredth page, nothing is proved. [40] The Americans do not think this way. If you read an American book, everything is presented as a claim. This is a backward approach, depending not on reasoning but on instinct. An animal does not prove anything. The lion does not prove that he wants to eat another animal, he just eats it. The European, if he wants to do something, first he wants a proof. Everything has to be proved. Today this is the big difference between the Europeans and the Americans: Europeans prove, Americans claim. 


But you cannot say that truth depends on what is said [or written, i.e., the use of language]. Truth is seen more fully by the whole person. [41] In this sense, the Americans are ahead of the Europeans. The American approach leads, on the one hand, to the ruination of the Indians, who perish, yes — but still the American approach is smart. The Europeans [on the other hand] are clever, with their reliance on the evidence. 


This is not wholly a forward-looking quality, the desire for proof. No. If you want to do something in the morning, you may start the morning wanting evidence, and in the evening at bedtime, you may still need to prove your intentions with evidence [so you will have wasted the day doing nothing]. The Americans will not do that because they are not well trained on the need for evidence. And so it happens that America certainly in one sense is ahead of Germany. [42] There, you can make very interesting observations. When you take a European book in hand, let us say it is a report about the digestion of the June bug —  it may begin: the sexuality of the beetle includes indeed digestive organs, but they are beyond ordinary observation [being so small]. So the book delves deeper into the whole physiology of the beetle — and so it goes, and we must try to prove everything. The American [book] begins: If you dissect a beetle, one finds inside him this and that. The American book makes claims about observations. [43] And so you see, for the Europeans, their entire perspective is deep, because they no longer absorb the sunlight. They focus more on the psycho-spiritual properties. Therefore, they can also penetrate into all other parts of the world. Of course, this goes slowly, as they break down everything to understand it.


The Sun radiates more or less as a unified force down onto the earth, it is light or heat. At present, we are approaching the vernal equinox, in Pisces. [44] Previously, the Sun was in Aries. After some time, he will be in Aquarius. Then will come the first real American civilization. [45] Until then, more and more [European] civilization will pass over to America. To anyone who wants to see it, it is clear how powerful the Americans have become, gradually becoming more or less as powerful as Europe. And we can see that America did not come to Europe in peace [46] — it was able to come [i.e., intervene in World War I] because Europe no longer really understands itself [and thus is weakened]. [47] Now the whole civilization looks across to America. It will happen slowly, but when the Sun will enter the sign of Aquarius, then the Sun will send its rays to the earth in such a way that the American culture and civilization will then be particularly powerful. You can foretell this today. 


You see, it really is remarkable: In Europe you can develop what we call Anthroposophy. [48] One has to develop the spirit [i.e., spirituality or spiritual knowledge] outwardly from within. One has to develop out of the spirit. [49] And the people who, in Europe, do not want to approach the spirit, they will bring disaster to Europe. [50]


These things still lie in the future for the Americans, especially those who are over there only temporarily. [51] They can support themselves through their own racial qualities. [52] And thus, over there in America, oddly enough, something strange happened. If you carefully pay attention to what is happening in America, you will say: Gosh, that's something very strange. We in Europe have the anthroposophy [i.e., the spiritual knowledge of human nature] that comes out of the spirit. Over there, they have created something that is like a wooden doll of anthroposophy [i.e., a false explanation of human nature]. It is all materialistic. [53] But the person who is not a fanatic [54] can see that in American culture there is something similar to what we have as anthroposophical science in Europe. Only there it is wooden. [55] It is not yet alive. We in Europe, working out of the spirit, can make an anthroposophy that is alive in the spirit of Europe. This removes it from the sphere of mere instincts.


You see, you can notice every detail. There will come a time where this American "wooden man" who is actually more than mere wood will begin to talk. [56] Then he will say things that are very similar to the European anthroposophy, very similar. One can say that we in European anthroposophy proceed in a spiritual way, but the education of Americans leads them to proceed in a naturalistic way. [57] So, sitting apart, I can point out: Well, what they have is like anthroposophy, it is the American cartoon version of anthroposophy. It is a caricature. 


If one is a fanatic who does not proceed from the inner life of the spirit — if one proceeds by fanaticism in anthroposophy — then he uses only sharp invectives when speaking of Americanism, not because a truly developed human worries that a monkey is similar to himself, but a caricature can still sting. [58] And so it is really such a strange story, it is like the difference between the North and South Poles, between what we achieve ourselves spiritually in Europe and what wins out over there, naturalistically, in America.


Books about the knowledge of nature look very different in America than in Europe. Europeans perceive spiritual truth, but Americans — while talking about the Spirit — understand it only materially. Hence the spiritualism of modern times [i.e., false supernatural practices, such as seances] has emerged in America. [59] For what is this spiritism? It speaks about the spirit and spirit realm as cloudy apparitions, and it wants to treat everything as cloudy apparitions. Therefore, the American form of spiritism deals with the spiritual, but in materialistic ways. [60] That's just so interesting — in America the true materialism is rampant, but it is working its way toward the spirit, whereas if the European is a materialist, he dies as a human being. The American is a young materialist. [61] Actually, all children are materialistic first, then they grow up to what is not materialism. So the American is just a case of crass materialism growing toward the spiritual. That will happen when the Sun rises in the sign of Aquarius. [62] 


Well, you see, in this way you can see what we Europeans have for a mission. We do not have the task, as Europeans, to complain about the Americans endlessly, but of course we have to justify to everyone all over the world our civilization, which is the best one. [63]


Of course, if you think about this the matter as the prince of Baden has done, taking Woodrow Wilson as a typical American, then it does not work. Because Wilson was not a real American. He took all of his theories from Europe, but as barren theories [i.e., he didn't understand them]. [64] But the real Americanism will actually unite again with the European spirit, and thus find its way to more spiritual things. And thus you see how you actually have to behave in the world, if you study something like this. [65]


And so it is really quite interesting: On one side you have the black race, which is the most earthly. When it migrates to the west, it dies out. We also have the yellow race, which is midway between earth and the cosmos. When it migrates to the east, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos [66], and it dies out. The white race is the future, it is the most spirit-building race. When whites migrated to India, they created the inner, poetic, artistic, spiritual culture of India. If the white race migrates to the west, it develops an outlook that does not take so much of the inner man, but it mentally grasps the outer world. [67]


And so in the future such things will come out and, even from a racial basis, people will find the correct path in life. People tend to have trouble finding the right attitude in life. They want things to come like a bolt from the blue, but in fact we must actually learn the truth through our own efforts. [68]


This situation has arisen because in the last third of the nineteenth century, educated people were deeply affected by science [69], and nothing more truly human was offered to them. Such a scientific perspective is not true, it violates a true knowledge of human nature. Even materialistic scientists have begun to notice this. But they do not make progress. The last meeting of natural scientists was interesting. There was one of those naturalists who has noticed that something is missing, that we learn nothing from the current [materialistic] study of man. But he did not say, "So we need to accept Anthroposophy," but he has said, "Give us bodies so that we can dissect them" [as if the truth of human nature can be found in the physical body alone].


You see, that was all he could say: Give us the dead! More people want to study corpses. They want to study the dead human body. That was their real slogan: "Give us the dead!" But here [i.e., in Anthroposophy] we can dispense with the bodies, because we want to watch and study the living human being. And to do this, one must only open his eyes — and the soul through his eyes — because living people are everywhere. We encounter loud, living people everywhere. But one must know how to live with them so that they reveal real human nature. But today’s scholars have, yes indeed, they have very weak eyes. They do not see human reality. And then they plead longingly, "Give us the dead!" Because they can study these. "Give us the dead!" This is the situation educational institutions have created in recent decades. People have received nothing truly human from them. Therefore, the human being has been left out of all the [materialistic or naturalistic] sciences. [70]


That's why the first chapter of my "key points of the social question" addresses these issues. [71] I had to show how everything is affected by materialistic science, even in areas far removed from science. People clamored for science. But those who had no real knowledge, the bourgeois, took the lead.  And thus the whole calamity [i.e., World War I] came to civilization. [72] The workers demanded science, and it was not there, because only a false science was offered. I have shown this in the first chapter of the "key points," because it is really all you need to understand  when we talk about the social question. So it was necessary that the first chapter began by taking up the "key points of the social question."


Well, enough. We have now gone a little further into the colors, gentlemen.

[Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961.]

The image on the cover represents the first Goetheanum,

which was destroyed by fire. Anthroposophists have long claimed

 that the fire was arson, perpetrated by Steiner's enemies,

but no proof has ever been produced.

The workers to whom Steiner delivered the "forbidden lecture"

were erecting the second Goetheanum, a concrete structure.

I am reliably informed that "Color and the Human Races" 

is not the only forbidden or suppressed work of Steiner's. 

I will quote from a message posted by historian Peter Staudenmaier,

identifying various portions of Steiner's work omitted from translations:

1. The original English translation of Steiner's essay "The Occult Significance of Blood" was published as Rudolf Steiner, “Blood Is A Quite Peculiar Fluid,” Theosophical Review (October 1907), pp. 105-117; this version entirely omits the paragraph on “the race question”. A number of current translations omit the reference to black people.

2. Both of the English translations of Steiner's book Gesundheit and Krankheit — Steiner, Health and Illness vol. 2 (Spring Valley: Anthroposophic Press, 1981), and Steiner, From Comets to Cocaine (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000) — omit the paragraph on "Negro novels".

3. The English translation of Steiner's book Welt, Erde und Mensch is Rudolf Steiner, Universe, Earth and Man (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987). In this edition, all of the specific references to “the black race,” “the Malayan Race,” “the Mongol race” and “the American Indians” as “degenerate races” have been excised. None of these gaps is marked in any way.

4. Steiner’s entire 1924 lecture on “The Essence of Jewry” was omitted from the otherwise complete English translation of the book it appeared in: Rudolf Steiner, From Beetroot to Buddhism (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999).

5. Steiner's entire 1923 lecture on “Color and the Races of Humankind” was excised from the otherwise complete English translation of the book it appeared in: Rudolf Steiner, From Limestone to Lucifer (London: Rudolf Steiner Press,1999).

You can find some of this suppressed material 

elsewhere here at Waldorf Watch. 

Thus, you might look at 

"Also Forbidden", "'Negro'", "RS on Jews", "Races", 

"Steiner's Racism", "Differences", and "Steiner's Bile".

In addition to "Color and the Human Races", another lecture is also missing from the book FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER. But this is a very different case. The lecture "Grundlagen einer geisteswissenschaftlichen Astronomie" ["The Bases of a Spiritual-Scientific Astronomy"] was included in VOM LEBEN...  by mistake. Except for this misplaced astronomy lecture, all of the lectures in both the German and English editions of VOM LEBEN... and FROM LIMESTONE... fall under GA 349. Steiner's works in the original German are catalogued by "GA" number. "GA" is an abbreviation of "Gesamtausgabe," meaning total or complete works. The astronomy lecture belongs properly under GA 353, and indeed —  nicely translated into English — it appears in FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), the collection of Steiner's GA 353 lectures.

So, to summarize, VOM LEBEN... originally had 14 lectures. One of these lectures — a relatively harmless talk about astronomy — was later translated into English and included in FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM. A very different fate awaited  "Color and the Human Races". That lecture — objectionable is so many ways — was suppressed and has not appeared in any English-language publication put out by an Anthroposophical press. (Belatedly, it has appeared online at the Rudolf Steiner Archive.)

I am indebted to Tom Mellett* for tracing this snippet of Anthroposophical publishing history. And certainly we should all note, as Tom has pointed out, that a second "forbidden lecture" — "The Essence of Jewry" — has also been excised from English-language translations of Steiner. That lecture, coming amid the GA 353 lectures, should be presented in FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM, but it is not. It has been suppressed, just as "Color and the Human Races" was suppressed. As Tom put this matter, addressing me jovially: "And now comes the great cosmic irony, or else maybe it's yet another synchronicity that you need to pay attention to, Sir Roger. You see, the OTHER forbidden lecture, the one entitled 'The Essence of Jewry,' the one that was deleted from the GA 353 cycle in English known as 'From Beetroot to Buddhism,' stands as Lecture 11 in the German GA edition. But the astronomy lecture that was mistakenly put into your [mine?] GA 349 cycle in the 1961 edition is now lecture #10 in the GA 353 cycle." []

For my translation of "the OTHER forbidden lecture," see "Also Forbidden".

* For a statement on the identity of individuals quoted and paraphrased at Waldorf Watch, see "Trolls?"

Here is a portion of a message posted 

by historian Peter Staudenmaier in 2010.

I have reproduced it here by 

Dr. Staudenmaier's kind permission.

Like other forms of esoteric racial thought, Steiner’s race doctrines are complex and internally contradictory, and they contain both racist and non-racist components. They are not peripheral to anthroposophy as a whole, but are central to anthroposophical cosmology and to anthroposophist conceptions of evolutionary progress and the relation between the physical and the spiritual. Steiner’s teachings about karma and reincarnation and the advance of the soul through successive stages of maturation are structured around a basic contrast between “higher” and “lower” racial and ethnic forms, “progressing” and “declining” racial and ethnic groups. These categories were fundamental to anthroposophy as Steiner taught it, and they remain largely unchallenged within anthroposophy today.


For historians like [Helmut] Zander and myself, critical analysis of anthroposophy’s racial doctrines is not part of some special grudge against Steiner and his followers or a vendetta against occult belief systems or a covert political struggle against anthroposophy or an academic conspiracy to promote materialism, atheism, and secularism. From a historical perspective, anthroposophy is simply an object of study, like any other worldview or movement, and can be assessed according to the same criteria used to appraise all other historical phenomena. For scholars, Steiner was a historical figure, not an Initiate or a herald of timeless truths or an oracle of cosmic wisdom or a supernatural spiritual force momentarily embodied in human form. That is why it is important to examine what Steiner actually taught about race, within its historical context, regardless of whether this causes indignation among anthroposophists today.


Some of Steiner’s own racial writings are available in English, and interested readers can consult these works to determine for themselves whether they include racist content. The task is not as easy as it is for German readers, however, since a number of English translations of Steiner’s published works have been surreptitiously cleansed of openly racist and antisemitic material. Among many others, four of Steiner’s major statements on race have never been published in English: his fundamental 1905 lecture “Basic Concepts of Theosophy: The Races of Humankind”; his 1915 lecture “The Christ-Impulse as Bearer of the Union of the Spiritual and the Bodily”; his 1923 lecture “Color and the Races of Humankind”; and his 1924 lecture “The Essence of Jewry”. Of the works that are available in English, the most relevant are Steiner’s books COSMIC MEMORY: Prehistory of Earth and Man (Steiner Books 1990), The Universal Human (Anthroposophic Press 1990), THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press 1993), KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press 1996), THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press 1997), UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press 2003), THE MISSION OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOLK SOULS IN RELATION TO TEUTONIC MYTHOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press 2005), and his 1909 lecture “The Manifestation of the Ego in the Different Races of Men” in Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981).


In my view, the chief reason why these historical issues matter to Steiner education today is this: Far from confronting the problem of anthroposophical racism straightforwardly, spokespeople for Steiner / Waldorf schooling continue to deny that there is any problem to begin with, flatly ignoring the content of Steiner’s works on race. This makes it effectively impossible for Steiner’s admirers to come to terms with the legacy of his racial teachings.


In closing, I would like to make clear that I do not consider esoteric and occult worldviews objectionable or troubling in themselves, although various critics of occultism have raised very important concerns on a wide range of topics. The real difficulties arise when these worldviews are put into practice and implemented in concrete practical endeavors, like agriculture or health care or the education of children. Schools based on an esoteric belief system have a special obligation to delineate their underlying ideology clearly and plainly, without obfuscation and euphemism, and to explain how they apply occult ideas in practice. In the case of anthroposophy, this includes engaging openly and candidly with Steiner’s racial doctrines. I encourage admirers of Steiner education to begin this long overdue task.


— Peter Staudenmaier


[1] This is one of numerous lectures Steiner delivered to the workmen constructing the Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum. Here he is referring back to his previous lecture, delivered on February 21. Steiner generally spoke to the workmen on Wednesdays and Saturdays, although the schedule was somewhat flexible.

[2] This, presumably, is a little joke. Steiner points out that white people are not really white. If a “white” person were the color of chalk, s/he would be quite unhealthy. (Ho, ho.) Elsewhere, Steiner says that the skin color denoting spiritual health is peach-blossom — what whites have been accustomed to calling “flesh color” or “skin color.” If memory serves, when I was a boy one of the crayons in a standard Crayola box was marked “flesh” — the crayon was a sort of muted, tannish pink.

Steiner on "peach-blossom" skin: 

"Just as we sense in green the dead image of life, so we can feel in the peach-blossom color of the healthy human being the living image of the soul ... You experience the world as color and light if you experience green as the dead image of life; peach-blossom color, human flesh-color, as the living image of the soul; white as the soul-image of spirit; black as the spiritual image of death.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), pp. 93-94.

[3] Steiner accompanied this lecture with several sketches he drew on a chalkboard. Only one of these sketches is reproduced in VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS. I will reproduce it in its place within the lecture.

[4] Steiner was deeply upset by the movement of blacks to Europe. He railed against the French, who brought blacks from colonial French possessions to France itself.

“The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe ... It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race [of the French] and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 558-559.

[5] Steiner is wrong. Black objects do not absorb all the light that hits them, nor do white objects reflect all the light that hits them.

[6] This is utterly wrong. There is no light inside a solid black object. Light hits the object, and it is absorbed as heat, not light. Steiner's next statements come a bit closer to reality.

[7] No they don’t. See endnotes 5 and 6, above. And bear in mind that just as "white" people are not really white, "black" people are not really black.

[8] Steiner's portrayal of blacks generally consists of racist stereotypes. Blacks are stupid, he said. They have strong bodies and weak minds. They follow their strong instinctive drives rather than thinking things through. They are heated (by passions, by sexual drives). Blacks can seem observant, but this is only because of their powerful hindbrains.

According to Steiner, blacks are essentially childlike: 

[A] centre of cosmic influence [is] situated in the interior of Africa. At this centre are active all those terrestrial forces emanating from the soil which can influence man especially during his early childhood ... The black or Negro race is substantially determined by these childhood characteristics.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 75. 

In Steiner's system, children up to age 7 live mainly through their wills; older children, up to age 14, live mainly in their feelings; children from 14 to adulthood begin to live a thinking life. 

"On the level of human development, these forces unfold in discrete seven-year periods: willing dominates the first seven years of life, feelings become accessible to the child in the second seven-year period, and independent thinking blossoms after age fourteen." — Eugene Schwartz, Foreword to THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 12. The book is a collection of Steiner's essays and statements. 

Steiner posited a hierarchy of races, from the most childish (blacks) to the most adult (whites). He taught that young souls incarnate first as blacks, then — if they live moral lives — they move up into higher races in subsequent reincarnations. Thus, when a soul reincarnates as an Asian, s/he is in the second stage of spiritual childhood, when emotions predominate. (We will return to this point.) When the soul rises high enough to reincarnate as a white, s/he enters a phase of life when thinking predominates — s/he is a spiritual adult.

"For peoples and races are but steps leading to pure humanity. A race or a nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type, the further they have worked their way from the physical and perishable to the supersensible and imperishable. The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation. Man must finally appear in harmonious perfection." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF HIGHER WORLDS; full text available online:]

Steiner said that no one should be prejudiced against members of lower races. Yet his formulation of a racial hierarchy is inherently racist. Racism does not necessarily entail hostility. We are racists when we evaluate people wholly or largely on the basis of race, and particularly when we judge people to be lower or higher because of their race — which is precisely what Steiner did. According to his teachings, a black person is inherently less mature, less evolved, less intelligent, and perhaps indeed less moral than members of "higher" races. There can be individual variation, of course — but this is precisely what Steiner's system minimizes.

[9] Steiner sometimes said that modern science would confirm his teachings, and he generally claimed that he himself was a scientist — a scientist of the spirit. But often he acknowledged that there is no scientific support for his teachings, and he blamed science, arguing that it is blind to truth. [See "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Science".] Here he says that science does not accept the things he is saying about race — and he does not realize that this is a damning indictment of his statements.

[10] Steiner is saying that white people have a healthy skin color because their inner whiteness — think purity and virtue — shines through the surface of the skin. Note, too, how in this paragraph Steiner indicates that the races are stages of development. He argues that black people are less evolved than yellow people — Asians stand at the "Mongol stage" of evolution, at a "higher level" than blacks. Whites are higher still, according to Steiner. [See "Steiner's Racism", "Races", and "Rankings".] In part, Steiner argues, white superiority is shown by white self-reliance or self-sufficiency. Compared to the lower races, whites are far less dependent on energies received from outside themselves, Steiner says. This does not mean that whites are perfect, of course. Great vistas of further human evolution lie in the future. Nonetheless, although whites are at present prone to certain errors, such as materialism, whites will lead the human evolutionary advance. (Steiner will develop this theme later in the lecture. And he will return to white materialism when discussing American whites.) 

It is also worth noting, at least in passing, that Steiner seemed to think that Eskimos are whites who have been denied intense exterior heating. In fact, Eskimos are native Americans — which he sometimes called Red Indians. I quote him to this effect later on this page.

[11] This, presumably, is another small jest. Steiner does not consider whites “poor” in any sense — he places them at the top of the racial hierarchy. “Poor” us, he says in effect; we must lead our lower brothers.

[12] That is, his essential nature is internal.

[13] That is, the healthy glow of white (i.e., peach-blossom) skin comes from the blood below the skin.

[14] That is, they are earthy.

[15] The Sun, very hot in Africa, excites the interior of the black man — it “cooks” him internally, according to Steiner.

[16] That is, mastery of the outside world — as through the development of science and technology — comes from the white race, which uses its forebrain.

[17] Like his portrayal of blacks, Steiner's portrayal of Asians consists of racist stereotypes. Asians are inward-looking, dreamy, unworldly. To a Western mind, they often seem inscrutable. They believe themselves to be superior, but they lack such capacities as the ability to create their own inventions. At the level of technology, they merely copy the West. (We might note that because of such stereotypes, the West was shocked, at the beginning of World War II, to find that Japanese weapons were not simple copies of Western designs — many Japanese machines were superior to anything in the West.)

[18] Steiner goes beyond his contention that Asians cannot create their own inventions — he suggests that Asians cannot even operate sophisticated devices.

[19] Here Steiner tries to give a beneficent sheen to his racial theories. He says that people of various races need to help each other because they have different innate capabilities.

[20] That is, they stand midway between blacks and whites.

[21] That is, internally they are Asians.

[22] Steiner taught that each race has a rightful place on the Earth, and each should stay where it belongs. If races migrate to other areas, they tend to die off, he said. He made an exception for whites, however, saying they can go anywhere.

[23] These trips were made in chains, aboard slave ships.

[24] Atlantis. [See "Atlantis and the Aryans" and "Atlantis".]

[25] Steiner says that American Indians are the descendants of blacks who moved too far west. Like virtually everything else in the essay, this statement is false.

[26] As Steiner uses the term here, an alien is a person who does not belong in a particular region.

[27] They are like their forebears, black Africans, according to Steiner.

[28] Steiner often spoke of American Indians as if they had all died out. In part, he attributed the near-extermination of American Indians to white settlers, but in part he said the nature of Amerindians themselves led to their decline.

“Not all of the people living on the earth today stand at the same level of development. Alongside those people that stand at a high stage of civilization, there are primitive peoples that have lagged culturally far behind ... We have before us in the American race a primitive aboriginal people that has remained far, far behind, among other things in regard to its religious worldview. But this race has retained the belief in a monotheistic god, which speaks to it from all the sounds of nature ... But the Europeans have ascended to a higher level of culture, while the Indians have remained behind and become decadent. One must always pay attention to this evolutionary process. It can be described as follows. In the course of millennia our planet transforms itself, and this transformation also demands a development of humankind. Those side branches that no longer fit in to current conditions become decadent. Thus we have an upright evolutionary trunk as well as side branches which decay." — Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS, pp. 243-44; provided by Peter Staudenmaier.

[29] Whites are so superior, Steiner says, that they virtually transcend race. He taught that in the future whites, will evolve to become “universal humans” and then all races will disappear. Steiner's defenders often refer to this doctrine when they argue that Steiner was not really a racist. But this overlooks Steiner's clear indications that nonwhite races are inferior and indeed they tend to self-destruct. The abolition of "inferior" races is necessary, in Steiner's view, for humanity to evolve higher. Moreover, although Steiner generally said that all humans evolve upward through the racial hierarchy, moving from black to white — a doctrine that implies fundamental equality — he also taught that many people evolve downward toward lower racial forms, and some may fall so low as to cease to be human.

“We now stand in the Fifth Root Race. The Sixth Race will see quite another race, noble and beautiful, in contrast to the thrown off [i.e., retrograde humans, bad souls], decadence which will be a race of men, horribly ugly, animal-like, sensual, vicious, far more horror-provoking than our present humanity, because these will go on developing downwards.” — Rudolf Steiner, DAS CHRSTLICHE MYSTERIUM (Dornach, 1981), GA 97.

[Future human evolution] cannot happen in the world without the most violent struggle. White mankind is still on the path of absorbing spirit more deeply into its essence. Yellow mankind is on the path of preserving the period when the spirit was blocked from the body ... [T]he result will have to be that [mankind’s next step upwards] cannot happen differently than as a violent fight between white mankind and colored mankind in the most varied areas ... You see, we stand before something so colossal that, if we regard it through the diverse perceptions of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy], we will in the future recognize it as a necessary occurrence.” — Rudolf Steiner, KOSMISCHE UND MENSCHLICHE GESCHICHTE - DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 38.

[30] Whites are more spiritual than other humans, so they have more mentality or intelligence, according to Steiner.

Steiner distinguished between soul and spirit. Your soul is the spiritual part of yourself that you possess during a single life or incarnation. Your spirit is your undying spiritual member, which you carry through life after life.

[31] Here Steiner is talking about Aryans. The Aryans, users of an Indo-European language, migrated to India around 2000 BC. In some modern usages, the term “Aryan” has become synonymous with whites and, in particular, highly-evolved Germanic whites. [See "Atlantis and the Aryans".]

[32] This refers to subcontinental Asian Indians — residents of India — not American Indians.

[33] According to Steiner, whites can move more or less freely to all parts of the Earth, because they are more self-sufficient than other races. However, moving away from their rightful place in Europe does have some effects on them. (This is either a contradiction or modification of Steiner's other statements about the ability of whites to go where they please.) 

[34] Because white Americans are white, Steiner holds out hope for them — eventually they will gain the spiritual knowledge that white Europeans possess. he indicates. But for the present, Steiner criticizes white Americans as being thoroughgoing materialists. (Of all the statements he makes in this lecture, this one comes perhaps closest to truth. But even here he badly exaggerates. Thomas Merton, to give just one example, was a white American.) Steiner says that, because they came to America — the home of degenerate former blacks, who rely heavily on the hindbrain — whites in America become somewhat dependent on the hindbrain. Hence, they are not as smart or as spiritual as European whites.

[35] This refers to American Indians, not Asian subcontinental Indians, residents of India. As noted previously, Steiner indicates that American Indians are "decaying negroes."

[36] That is, when the European migrates to America. (Bear in mind that Steiner was addressing white Europeans.)

[37] Because Americans' arms grow longer, they might seem ape-like. But any comparison between humans and apes is intolerable and inaccurate, in Anthroposophical belief, and Steiner says that the legs of American whites grow longer, too, thus reducing the resemblance to apes. (Steiner speaks explicitly about monkeys later in the lecture.)

[38] That is, the immigrant’s legs don’t grow, but his descendants’ legs will be extra-long.

[39] Steiner tosses in a reference to the midbrain, here, suggesting that for American whites the impulses of the hindbrain are moderated by the midbrain.

[40] That is, Europeans — being so intelligent — weigh the evidence, and often this means no definite conclusion is reached. Europeans are too sophisticated to settle for easy answers.

[41] There are limits to the value of thinking or reasoning things out. Steiner often disparaged the importance of the head and brain. Here he states that truth comes not through the brain but through the entire human organism. 

Another statement by Steiner concerning the brain:

“The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension. Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same, for all the thinking that goes on in science, in theology, in the sphere of modern Christian consciousness — all of it is the product of the human brain alone, is materialistic. This manifests itself, on the one hand, in the empty formalism of belief; on the other, in Bolshevism [sic: emphasis by Steiner] ... [T]he materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking place in the brain.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), pp. 147-148.

[42] Thoughtful Europeans may be stymied, struggling to weigh evidence and find logical proofs. Steiner indicates that Americans are unhindered, they just leap to conclusions and act reflexively. This is a more backward approach, but in some ways it is a better approach. 

Elsewhere, Steiner says that humans will evolve beyond the need for thinking — they will instantly intuit truth. This will not be the same as instinctively jumping to conclusions, but will be similar — it will be a form of immediate apprehension. [See, e.g., "Thinking".]

[43] Steiner advocated Goethean science, which relies heavily on observation rather than experimentation. [See "Goethe".] So here he finds a further advantage in the backward American approach: Americans observe (and leap to conclusions, and act) while Europeans ponderously ponder things. The European approach is higher, and it will lead to still higher states of consciousness, but the lower American approach bears some similarities to the coming, higher consciousness.

Steiner's understanding of color was based, at least in part, on Goethe's theories about light, color, and vision. From THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

"In 1791...a completely new scientific issue began to obsess [Goethe]: the theory of colour. Convinced that Newton was wrong to assume that white light could be broken into light of different colours, Goethe proposed a new approach of his own. Colour was to be seen as emerging from the mingling of light and darkness. At first he attempted, unconvincingly, to expound these ideas as new, alternative laws of physics (Beiträge zur Optik [1791–92; Optical Essays]). Later, however, he saw that it is of the essence of colour to require cooperation between the physical behaviour of light and the human perceptual apparatus. Goethe’s colour theory has real originality as a theory of vision rather than as a theory of light." — "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 17 Jul. 2011. 

As usual, Steiner rejected conventional science — and thus, as usual, he went astray.

[44] The vernal equinox — the beginning of spring — comes around March 20 in the northern hemisphere. Steiner delivered this lecture on March 3.

[45] American whites will produce their own civilization — they will be less false — when the age of Aquarius begins. (Steiner will return to this point.) Note that Steiner has shifted from discussing the annual rotation of the zodiac to a much longer evolution: the precession of the equinoxes. He is not saying that the first real American civilization will come in a few months — he taught that it will come in a few centuries. Specifically, he forecast the American Age as beginning in 5733 AD and extending to approximately 7900 AD. [See "Oriphiel".]

[46] America intervened in World War I, joining the nations fighting Germany. [See, e.g., "Steiner and the Warlord".]

[47] Steiner taught that the Great War, World War I, broke out because Europeans had lost track of their spiritual mission. His own cultural efforts following the war — including the creation of Waldorf schools — were aimed at getting Europe (and in particular Germany) back on track.

[48] The word “anthroposophy” means knowledge of the human being. Steiner says that white Europeans were able to develop the true, spiritual Anthroposophy. (He himself was the founder of Anthroposophy.)

[49] According to Steiner, European Anthroposophy arises from within, from the spiritual essence and creativity of Europe. All true spiritual develop arises from within.

[50] Europeans who forget their spiritual mission bring disaster to Europe — as they did during the Great War.

[51] Americans do not face the higher possibilities of both spiritual evolution and spiritual destruction to the same degree that the more advanced Europeans do. Their time has not yet come. This is even more true of Americans who are transients — those who will return to their original homelands.

[52] The word Steiner uses here is “Rasseeigentümlichkeiten” — the sort compound noun of which Mark Twain complained (see "The Awful German Language"). Broken down, the word becomes "Rasse eigentümlichkeiten," meaning peculiarities of race.

[53] That is, Europeans have a true understanding of human beings (Anthroposophy), because they see into the spiritual nature of humanity. Americans also have an understanding of human beings (a sort of anthroposophy), but it is superficial, focusing only on the physical body.

[54] That is, a fanatical believer in Anthroposophy. Steiner sometimes cautioned his followers that merely memorizing and thinking about Anthroposophical doctrines — that is, approaching Anthroposophy through the intellect — does not lead to true Anthroposophy. (True Anthroposophy comes from the inner spirit, not through the brain.) An Anthroposophist who works through the brain is thus prone to fanaticism, s/he is not a true practitioner:

“A man who would receive Anthroposophy with his intellect kills it in the very act.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE, NATURE, AND CULTIVATION OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, 1963), p. 15. [See "Steiner's Specific".]

[55] That is, American knowledge of the human being is artificial (superficial, materialistic). It is dead or “wooden.”

[56] Steiner acknowledges that Americans are not really wooden, of course — they are not made of wood. As whites, they hold much promise, and eventually they will realize their promise. (There is a suggestion here that Americans are merely marionettes, mouthing European concepts that they do not understand. Eventually, however, Americans will gain their voice and become able to speak spiritual truths.)

[57] That is, Americans are still stuck in nature, in the material world.

[58] Fanatical Anthroposophists (those who do not truly understand Anthroposophy at a spiritual level) become very angry about Americans — they feel threatened by them. And here Steiner indicates that Americans are indeed rather like apes or monkeys. But, he says, no real human being should feel threatened by a comparison to monkeys. True human beings are far too high for that. Still, the American caricature of Anthroposophy (i.e., the American materialist perspective on human nature, which might say that humans and monkeys are closely related) — this caricature can understandably upset good Anthroposophists.

[59] Steiner is speaking about the spiritism practiced by mediums in seances. He is also taking a swipe at Theosophy. Both spiritism and Theosophy flourished for a time in America. [For some background information on these things, from an Anthroposophical perspective, see "The Semi-Steiner Dictionary".]

[60] Steiner is returning to the idea that Europeans, having higher souls and spirits, have higher mentality. Americans are lower in all these ways, he says.

[61] That is, Americans are childlike materialists, but they are working their way toward the spirit. If a European were wholly materialistic, s/he would die. Americans, however, can live as materialists because it is in their nature, and for them it is a passing stage of development.

[62] America, a young country, is like a young child, who begins life with only a physical body and hence is materialistic. But as the child grows, it acquires an etheric body, and astral body, and an “I”. [See "Incarnation".] Then it is a full, spiritual human being. This is the path America is on as a nation.

[63] The European mission is to spread their high civilization, elevating all peoples toward the spirit. It is not the European mission to complain endlessly about the lowly Americans.

[64] Steiner despised Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. Here Steiner says that Wilson was false — he was one of those false Americans who ape European ideas without understanding them. Thus, Wilson was not a “true” American — one who is on the path toward the Spirit. (It is not irrelevant to remember that Wilson brought America into the Great War against Germany, thereby ensuring Germany's defeat. [See "Woodrow".])

Steiner argued that Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin (Communist leader of the Russian Revolution) were much alike, leading humanity into the clutches of the arch-demons Ahriman:

“We need to be clear that Ahrimanic forces  [i.e., demonic forces] are increasingly breaking in upon historical events. Two leading personalities, [Woodrow] Wilson and [Vladimir] Lenin, died from the same illness, both from paralysis, which means both offered an opening for Ahrimanic forces.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 700.

[65] This more or less ends Steiner’s American digression. In the next paragraph, he returns to his main theme, characterizing the various human races.

[66] That is, it loses its footing on Earth, focuses too much on the universe beyond, and thus wounds itself.

[67] Steiner summarizes the two great white migrations he outlined earlier. Some whites migrated east to India, creating one sort of new civilization there, and others later migrate west to America, creating a different, new society. The central, best civilization remained in Europe.

[68] We find the right path only through strenuous effort. In part, the correct path for each individual is determined by his/her racial characteristics.

[69] That is, false science, naturalistic science, what people generally call real science. Steiner generally opposed such science, finding it vastly inferior to his own “spiritual science” — Anthroposophy. [See "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Materialism U."]

[70] Steiner’s criticism of the modern world extended well beyond his disagreements with the natural sciences. He dismissed almost all modern scholarship and the work of most modern educational institutions. [See "Materialism U."]

You may also want to note the tone of mockery in this passage. Steiner's humor often turned to mockery when discussing his opponents.

[71] In his sweeping condemnation of modern life, Steiner offered his own vision for social renewal. He called it “threefolding.” It would strictly divide the three primary spheres of human life — economic, political, and cultural. Each sphere should be wholly self-guiding, free from interference from the other spheres. [See "Threefolding".]

Steiner often plugged his own books (here, he refers to "the first chapter of my 'key points of the social question'"). English-language publications setting forth Steiner's social vision (including his "key points of the social question") include THE THREEFOLD SOCIAL ORDER and THE SOCIAL FUTURE, both published by the Anthroposophic Press.

[72] Steiner offers himself as virtually the sole source of wisdom and human salvation. The calamity of the Great War was brought about, he says, by the blindness of the middle classes, and scholars, and scientists — that is, just about everybody except Steiner and his followers.

Construction of the first Goetheanum, above, began in 1913.

The building was completed in 1919. At the end of 1922,

it was destroyed by fire. [R. R. sketch.]

Work on the second Goetheanum began in 1923.

The structure was largely completed by 1928,

although some interior work continued for decades.

Steiner is credited with the design of both buildings.

[R.R. sketch.]

My translations of two "forbidden" lectures 
led to some interesting discussions at the Waldorf Critics list.
Here are messages I posted there in the 
course of these discussions.

I have edited the messages slightly for use here.

Hi, all.

I said I would go silent, and I'm trying, but as long as the conversation circles around some of my posts and translations, I probably should remain at least tangentially involved. 

Pete, if I recall, one of your children who attended a Waldorf school was taught there that the blood of nonwhite people is significantly different from the blood of white people. Am I correct? And this occurred fairly recently, didn't it? (I was taught the same thing in a Waldorf school, but it happened around 1963, which may now be considered ancient history.) I would appreciate hearing any more details about racist beliefs or practices that you found in that Waldorf school, Highland Hall. 

I think there is no doubt that many Anthroposophists are racists. Their ability to read the "forbidden" lectures without blinking is one indication. (Various followers of Steiner's have said, on this list, that they see nothing racist or anti-Semitic in lectures that the rest of us find horrifically racist and anti-Semitic, I have received private messages from Steiner followers saying they find nothing racist in Steiner's works or words. One such message reached me just yesterday.) One element in all this is that many Anthroposophists do not seem to understand the meaning of the terms "racism" and "anti-Semitism". I'll concentrate here on racism, but much of what I say also applies to anti-Semitism. 

In denying that they are racists and that Steiner was a racist, Anthroposophists are telling what they consider the simple truth. What they mean (as Frank's recent message indicated) is that they do not hate anyone on the basis of race. But this misses the point. Hatred is not the core of racism. The core of racism is intellectual, not emotional; it is judging people according to race. It would be racism to prefer members of one race, or to consider one race more elevated than another, or to say that any race is lower than others, or to say that there are deep differences between people of different races. Saying such things, even when done with no hatred in the heart, is racist. Steiner said all of these things. That's what makes his racial teachings racist. 

I have noticed, by the way, an apparent effort by many Waldorf and Steiner schools to include many people of color in their promotional photos these days. (My old school, for one, has lots of nonwhite people in its photos these days.) They hope to demonstrate, evidently, that they do not hate people of color. Fine. But selecting someone to be in a photograph because of his/her color would be, itself, a racist act. (I don't know for sure that any school uses race as a criterion for choosing which kids to photograph, but many sure seem to.)  

The basic defense Anthroposophists offer for Steiner's racial teachings is that Steiner said we all evolve upwards into higher and higher racial forms. In Anthroposophical belief, most or all of us began Earthly evolution in a particular lowly condition, and virtually all of us are evolving toward a particular elevated condition. In effect, we all started out black, and we are all evolving toward becoming white. Thus, we are basically alike. And, thus, because Anthroposophy indicates that we are all basically alike, Anthroposophy is free of racism. This is the defense Anthroposophists often present. But, once again, this misses the point. Steiner's proposition that some races are higher than others is itself racist, and all the beliefs and practices stemming from this proposition are tainted with racism. Steiner explicitly said that some races are higher than others, as when he said "A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149. 

Let's go one more step. Imagine a kindly white Waldorf teacher who has some black kids in class. S/he may love these students and treat them very well. But if s/he believes what Steiner taught, s/he also thinks that these students are less evolved than the white kids in class. Blacks, according to Steiner, are inherently childlike. 

"The black or Negro race is substantially determined by these childhood characteristics." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 75. 

According to Steiner, blacks are both individually childlike and together, as a race, they are childlike. Among other things, this means they have a long way to go in order to evolve to the heights already attained by white people. They stand at a lower level than whites. Steiner quite explicitly taught that some people evolve better and higher than others.* For instance, on Atlantis, careful culling occurred. 

"[I]t was the normal human beings that were the best material for the initiates to use for the evolution of the future, and they were also the ones that the great sun initiate, Manu [Noah: a high initiate in Atlantis], gathered around him as being most capable of evolving. Those peoples whose ego impulse was developed too strongly, so that it permeated their whole being and made it a manifestation of egohood, these people gradually wandered to the West and became the nation the last survivors of which appeared as the Red Indians of America. Those people whose ego-feeling was too little developed migrated to the East, and the survivors of these people became the subsequent Negro population of Africa." — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), pp. 117-118.

Normal people evolved to become white Europeans. Abnormal people, whose egos were not properly developed, became members of lower, colored races. This is a racist teaching. If a kindly white Waldorf teacher believes this sort of thing, then s/he embraces racist thinking, whether or not s/he is kind to the colored kids in the class.

Steiner may not have hated anyone on the basis of race, but he nonetheless was clearly a racist — he judged people according to race. And his followers are racists if they accept his teachings on these points. They may not understand this, they may truly think they are above reproach. But, by believing racist doctrines, they make themselves racists — well-meaning, unintentional racists, but racists nonetheless.  

- Roger   

* And, by the way, Steiner did not say that all people will attain the ultimate heights of evolution. In his account, lots of people throughout history have dropped by the wayside and indeed dropped out of evolution altogether. Steiner taught that evil people move downward into lower races, and this is one reason these races continue to exist: bad souls keep repopulating races that really should have died out long ago. 

"We must distinguish between soul-evolution and race-evolution. A soul may be incarnated in a race that is declining; but if that soul does not make itself evil, it will not be reincarnated in a race that is falling back, but in one that is on the up-grade [sic]. Enough souls are pouring in from other quarters for incarnation in races that are on the down-grade (i.e., bad souls) [sic]." — Rudolf Steiner, INVESTIGATIONS INTO OCCULTISM SHOWING ITS PRACTICAL VALUE IN DAILY LIFE (Kessinger, facsimile of 1920 edition), p. 138. (The final phrase, "i.e., bad souls" is an explanatory note added by Steiner's Anthroposophical editor.) 

When a person is so irredeemable that even the lowest race is not low enough for her/him, s/he ceases to be a human being and descends to the level of a lowly nature spirit.

"Such souls lose the possibility of incarnation and find no other opportunity ... [T]here are no more bodies bad enough [to house them] ... Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits." — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 70.


Thanks, Pete.

It's all very sad. Anthroposophists mean well, they have noble aspirations, they are not intentionally immoral. And yet...

The link between racism and racial hatred is so common that many people do get them confused. If a black family learned that Waldorf teachers hate them because they are black, great grief and anger would doubtless ensue. But this is not what typically happens. Usually, no hatred exists or is expressed. What actually happens in the Waldorf system is more subtle, usually. Some black families have perfectly comfortable relations with Waldorf faculty and never suspect that any form of racism infects their school. But some blacks do catch on, and the results then can be almost as terrible as in the case of outright racial hatred.

Imagine you are a black student, and you learn that your teachers think you are inherently less intelligent than a white, that you are less evolved spiritually and physiologically, that the very color of your skin reveals your primitive nature, that you are considered less moral than whites (remember, bad people get demoted to lower races, whereas good people evolve upward toward whiteness), that you are inescapably childish, that you rely mainly on your rear brain, that you are always cooking inside, that you live in your instincts, that you have more powerful "drives" (including sexual drives) than whites do, and so forth — all of the things Steiner said about blacks. [See "Steiner's Racism".] Imagine learning this. Think of the rage it might create; or, if you are a sensitive person rather than one prone to anger, if you are inclined to believe your teachers, think of the self-loathing it would encourage.

Racism is wrong intellectually. Virtually nothing that racists say about "inferior" races is true. But the deeper wrong of racism is emotional, psychological, and spiritual (which makes Waldorf racism especially inexcusable, since Waldorf is supposed to be so spiritual). The victims of racism are often deeply, deeply wounded. Their entire lives can be affected. The sorrow, suspicion, anger, and shame caused by racism may last a lifetime.

Racism is wrong and needs to be ripped out by the roots. And the only way Waldorf faculties will end their own racism is to recognize it for what it is, and then openly, truthfully, completely renounce it. Denying the existence of racism in Anthroposophy only keeps the wound open and allows the evil to fester.

- Roger


Hi Pete.

You're right, of course. In fact, a case can be made that the chief victims of racism are the racists themselves. Back in my college teaching days, I taught courses in black literature. One theme that recurred in the works of the great American black novelists is that while American blacks have been wounded by being subjected to racism, white Americans have arguably been hurt far worse. Black bodies and psyches were damaged — but the whites damaged their own souls. White racists — and especially slave owners — sacrificed the most important part of themselves, their immortal souls. A slave can maintain his dignity and even strengthen his soul under the ordeal of slavery, but a slave owner whipping and raping human beings whom he thinks he possesses — the slave owner assures his own damnation.

Please don't misunderstand me, anyone. I by no means want to minimize the sufferings of slaves. But to read a great black writer who sees that whites hurt themselves far more than they hurt blacks — this is profound and tremendously sobering.

The tragedy for Anthroposophists who fail to comprehend and renounce the racism in their belief system is that they, like all racists, may be destroying the most important part of themselves. Even as Anthroposophists seek to magnify and improve their souls, they many be obliterating them. Racism destroys the racist, even when the racist does not comprehend his peril or his sin.

- Roger


Here are two messages I sent to an Anthroposophist who thought

he might have found scientific support for part of Steiner's racism.

He labeled his message 

"Oxford Study could vindicate Steiner's racial ideas".

You can find his message at 


You can find my answers at




(The sentences preceded by > are quoted from his message.

<Snip> means that I have skipped ahead in his message.)

--- In, "Tom Mellett" <TomBuoyed@...> wrote:
> "I realize that you are in the courtroom of WC where your task is to prosecute"

Hi, Tom.

Hard as it may be for some Anthroposophists to believe — and impossible as it may be for other Anthroposophists to believe — I am not interested in prosecuting anyone or anything. What I try to do is to find and tell the truth. I work at it hard, documenting my work thoroughly, and freely confessing — and correcting — my errors.

As for acknowledging that Steiner sometimes said some good things, I have made such acknowledgments. I have praised him for advocating love and beauty and, on occasion, equality and respect for all human beings. But there are limits, created by Steiner himself. All of his teachings are embedded in a worldview that I consider extremely flawed — occultist, irrational, anti-intellectual, superstitious, backward. And, at least in part, racist.

Moreover, there is a particular problem with Steiner's "good" statements about race. Steiner seems to have done what so many racists characteristically do. He spouted racist nonsense — hurtful and hateful bigotry. Then he sometimes turned around and said, in effect, "Not that I have anything against Jews and blacks and others. Why, some of my best friends are Jews and others." It is very hard to take such statements seriously when they fall in the context of Steiner's clearly racist and anti-Semitic statements. Steiner knew that he upset people sometimes with his more unguarded statements, so sometimes he tried to be more guarded. But his credibility on such matters is low (as is the credibility of Anthroposophists who fail to totally disavow at least the worst of Steiner's teachings on these matters).

Here's a little something Steiner said one time: 

"I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.

"Nevertheless, we do not want to shout that to the world. Our opposition is already large enough. Such things are really shocking to people. I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short period between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 650.

So by Steiner's own account, Steiner pronounced some people subhuman ("these are facts"), and he "had" to make a racist remark. Why? Presumably because he thought he was telling the truth. But he knew that such remarks went too far for many people to accept, so he urged his followers to hush these things up as much as they could. And on occasion he himself attempted to disavow the very racism that, on other occasions, he so clearly expressed.

> <snip> 

> Tom Mellett also wrote:


> "I don't see myself as defending Steiner as much as I am allowing the possibility that he might be occasionally right about some things even in this taboo area of racial descriptions. But your prosecutorial stance demands that you reject any such possibility and cast me as a defender."

Actually, Tom, as I believe I've said before, I admire your willingness to consider some thoughts that seem wholly unthinkable to other Steiner followers. And I can only repeat that I do not consider myself a prosecutor and I have acknowledged that Steiner occasionally said good things. (I admit, however, that I tend to see Steiner's "hits" as stray, random occurrences. Because Steiner's worldview was so deeply and broadly irrational and unsubstantiated, he was a highly unreliable source on almost all topics. Everybody — including Stalin, Tiny Tim, Bozo the Clown, etc. — may occasionally voice a truth. But not often, perhaps. And in reading Steiner, I find that his batting average was very low.)

> <snip> 

> Tom Mellett also wrote:


> "For example, you brought up the issue of blacks as a race suffering from sickle-cell anemia. Is this then a case of the 'black race' as social construct having strong biological consequences?"

It runs both ways, of course. Nature affects nurture affects nature. I have clearly stated that as far as I can see, races do exist. But I have also quoted experts who tell us that the differences between races are extremely minor and that making sharp differentiations between the races is extremely difficult if not impossible. Perhaps you remember that black professor Henry Lewis Gates got into a struggle with a white police officer. President Obama invited them both to the White House for a "beer summit." Afterwards, when the two men looked into their family histories, they discovered that they are distant cousins. Gates has some white blood, the cop has some black blood. Or, to be more accurate, they both have human blood. I myself am partly Scottish, partly English, partly Native American — and maybe a lot more. I am a mix. Probably you are too. Probably everyone is.

I look forward to a future when race will count for almost nothing. In a sense, I share Steiner's vision of a humanity that gets past race. But I affirm the hope that white, black, yellow, and red humans can respect and love one another now, while they are still members of different races, whereas Steiner thought we will get to a better world, the world of "universal humans," only after all the "inferior" races die out. This is deplorable, IMO.

> <snip> 

> Tom Mellett also wrote:


> "Roger, what do you think of a modern scientific study like this which actually uses brain capacity measurements to classify ethnic groups and/or races?"

I favor all searches for truth. But I suspect that studies focusing on racial differences will not, in the end, tell us much. Considering all the factors I have already mentioned, it seems unlikely that we will learn that peoples of various races differ from one another in any significant, deep ways. You see, I think that Steiner was absolutely wrong to say that some races are superior to others. I think we are all one big, sometimes rather unhappy, family. As I said before, I think we are all equal now, and we do not need to postpone full admission of equality — as Steiner did — until a future epoch.

> <snip> 

> Tom Mellett also wrote:


> "Thus if 'biology is destiny,' then does that biology include race?"

In all sincerity, Tom, I think you would make a dreadful error (damaging not only to yourself but to Anthroposophy today and Waldorf education in general) if you concentrated on fishing around for possible vindications of Steiner's racist statements. We must be open to all scientific findings, but unless something truly dumbfounding is discovered, we already know that Steiner was wrong about race. Anyone who wants Waldorf schools to flourish should acknowledge this and work to eliminate any racism that lurks in the schools. You have shown an admirable willingness to say that Steiner may have been wrong sometimes on some of these topics. The only real difference between you and me on this matter, I think, is that you seem to hold out hope that Steiner was right on at least some of his "racist" statements, while I see almost no chance of it. He was wrong. Period. IMO.

- Roger

By the bye, Anthroposophists sometimes excuse Steiner's racist statements by saying that he was a man of his times, possessing some of the biases of his times. But this is fundamentally incompatible with the belief, usually held by Anthroposophists, that Steiner far transcended his times, that he possessed exact clairvoyant knowledge about almost everything, and indeed that he was a great spiritual master. Great spiritual masters do not, as a rule, say the sorts of things that Steiner said — in the "forbidden" lectures and elsewhere — about "inferior" peoples.


My previous message was getting too long, 
so I have broken off this postscript as a separate message.

Rudolf Steiner said, "I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short period between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 650.

Why did Steiner's statement (the thing he "needed to say") shock people? Why do I say it is a racist statement? Not because Steiner mentioned that someone was black. Some people are black, and noticing this is not racist.

Yet people were shocked. Why? At least in part, because of Steiner's racial teachings. Steiner's racial views include these concepts: 

* Some races are higher than others. 

* A person who leads a good life will return in the next life as a member of a higher race. 

* A person who leads a bad life will be demoted next time around to a lower race. 

* The black race is at the bottom of the human racial hierarchy, so anyone who reincarnates in that race is either a) an unformed soul that for some reason lags behind more advanced souls in spiritual development, or b) s/he has led a bad life — perhaps indeed an extremely evil life — in her/his previous incarnation.

[See [] , [] , [] , [[ , [] .]

Steiner also taught that good, upwardly evolving souls need to spend a long time in the higher worlds between earthly lives, gaining the benefits of the gods' guidance. [See]  It is a bad sign if someone doesn't remain in the higher worlds as long as s/he should. The person in question, the "very famous university professor" who spent only "
a very short period [in the higher worlds] between death and rebirth," was thus clearly — according to Steiner's teachings — quite wicked. He was on the downward slope toward becoming wholly subhuman. Moreover, by reincarnating as a black, he was now a member of the lowest race.

All of this is shocking racism.

I posted the following not long ago, but it is apposite here, so I'll repeat it:

Steiner taught that evil people move downward into lower races, and this is one reason these races continue to exist: bad souls keep repopulating races that really should have died out long ago: 

"We must distinguish between soul-evolution and race-evolution. A soul may be incarnated in a race that is declining; but if that soul does not make itself evil, it will not be reincarnated in a race that is falling back, but in one that is on the up-grade [sic]. Enough souls are pouring in from other quarters for incarnation in races that are on the down-grade (i.e., bad souls) [sic]." — Rudolf Steiner, INVESTIGATIONS INTO OCCULTISM SHOWING ITS PRACTICAL VALUE IN DAILY LIFE (Kessinger, facsimile of 1920 edition), p. 138. (The final phrase, "i.e., bad souls" is an explanatory note added by Steiner's Anthroposophical editor.) 

When a person is so irredeemable that even the lowest race is not low enough for her/him, s/he ceases to be a human being and descends to the level of a lowly nature spirit: 

"Such souls lose the possibility of incarnation and find no other opportunity ... [T]here are no more bodies bad enough [to house them] ... Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits." — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 70.

It is also worth noting that Steiner said there really should be only one race at any one time on the Earth. A race that was the right form for humanity at one stage of evolution should disappear when humanity goes on to the next stage. Multiple races exist on the Earth today because of demonic interference: 

"Lucifer and Ahriman...fought against [the] harmonious tendency of development in the evolution of humanity, and they managed to change the whole process so that various developments were shifted and displaced. While there should have been basically only one form of human being ... Lucifer and Ahriman preserved [earlier human types] ... Thus, forms that should have disappeared remained. Instead of racial diversities developing consecutively, older racial forms remained unchanged and newer ones began to evolve at the same time. Instead of the intended consecutive development of races, there was a coexistence of races. That is how it came about that physically different races inhabited the earth and are still there in our time although evolution should really have proceeded [unimpeded]." — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: THE EVOLUTION OF INDIVIDUALITY, Lectures from 1909-1916 (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.

The volume from which I took that last quotation is interesting in several ways. One is that it includes statements that are appallingly racist, IMO, but it also includes statements that seem perhaps OK. As Steve Walden pointed out long ago, there's a strong tendency in Steiner and his followers to want to have things both ways. So, Steiner said that Lucifer and Ahriman interrupted the ways things "should have" been, but he also said that these demons worked in accordance with the gods' plan. This is the sort of paradox we often find in religion. One formulation (not Steiner's) is that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Therefore, He controls everything. Therefore, evil can exist only because He allows it. Therefore, Satan serves God. Therefore, evil is good.

Steiner sometimes said that some races are inferior to others, and he sometimes said that we are all equal. He sometimes said that Ahriman and Lucifer defied the good gods, and he sometimes said that Ahriman and Lucifer served the purposes of the good gods. He sometimes said that good and evil are very different, and he sometimes said that (in effect) evil is good. His teachings are chaotic and self-contradictory, in many ways. (They are "mysterious," to use the language he preferred.) On the subject of race,  Steiner sometimes said things that seem sensible and unprejudiced. But, undeniably, he also said — quite often — things that every person of good will and clear mind should recognize as nonsensical racist garbage. 
Although Steiner sometimes made statements that would perhaps not offend nonwhite non-Christians (such as black Muslims or yellow Hindus), he made quite a number of statements that would indeed offend them. The latter statements should also offend white Christians, if they find racism abhorrent. Indeed, these statements should offend — and be renounced by — everyone, of all lineages and cultures. They are nonsensical racist garbage.

- Roger

The original, German text

of "Color and the Human Races"


"Farbe und Menschenrassen" 


 Dornach, 3. März 1923]


Nun, meine die letzte Frage über die Farben habe ich natürlich noch nicht ganz beantwortet. Wir wollen sie noch etwas weiter oder zu Ende führen.


Da kommt heute für uns zunächst dasjenige in Betracht, was am meisten interessant ist, nämlich die menschliche Farbe selber. Sie wissen ja, daß über die Erde hin die Menschen verschiedene Farben zeigen. Von den Europaern, zu denen wir gehören, sagt man, sie seien die weiße Rasse. Nun, Sie wissen ja, eigentlich ist der Mensch in Europa nicht ganz gesund, wenn er käseweiß ist, sondern er ist gesund, wenn er seine naturfrische Farbe, die er im Innern selber erzeugt, durch das Weiße nach außen zeigt.


Nun haben wir aber außer dieser europaischen Hautfarbe noch vier hauptsachliche andere Hautfarben. Und das wollen wir heute ein bißchen betrachten, weil man eigentlich die ganze Geschichte und das ganze soziale Leben, auch das heutige soziale Leben nur versteht, wenn man auf die Rasseneigentumlichkeiten der Menschen eingehen kann. Und dann kann man ja auch erst im richtigen Sinne alles Geistige verstehen, wenn man sich zuerst damit beschäftigt, wie dieses Geistige im Menschen gerade durch die Hautfarbe hindurch wirkt.


Ich mochte Ihnen nun die Farbigkeit der Menschen in der folgenden Weise auseinandersetzen. Gehen wir aus von Europa, wo wir selber wohnen. Da haben wir also ich kann es Ihnen nur ganz schematisch aufzeichnen — zunächst Europa, an Europa angrenzend Asien; England, Irland; hier Japan, China, Hinterindien, Vorderindien, Arabien; dahier haben wir dann Afrika angrenzend. Also: Europa, Asien, Afrika. Nun wollen wir da einmal die Menschen, wie sie m den betreffenden Gegenden sind, hineinzeichnen. Wir selber in Europa nennen uns die weiße Rasse. Gehen wir nach Asien hinüber, so haben wir hauptsachlich in Asien die gelbe Rasse. Und wenn wir nach Afrika hinubergehen, da haben wir die schwarze Rasse. Das sind auch die ursprunglichen Rassen. Alles andere, was sonst noch in diesen Gegenden lebt, beruht eben auf Einwanderung. Also wenn wir fragen: Was gehört zu diesen Erdteilen für eine Rasse hinzu? so müssen wir eben doch sagen: Zu Asien gehört die gelbe Rasse, die Mongolen, die mongolische Rasse, und zu Europa gehört die weiße Rasse oder die kaukasische Rasse, und zu Afrika gehört die schwarze Rasse oder die Negerrasse. Die Negerrasse gehört nicht zu Europa, und es ist naturlich nur ein Unfug, daß sie jetzt in Europa eine so große Rolle spielt. Diese Rassen sind gewissermaßen in diesen drei Erdteilen heimisch.


Nun wollen wir uns einmal mit der Farbe dieser drei Rassen beschäftigen. Ich habe Ihnen schon das letzte Mal gesagt: Die Farbe hat mit dem Licht zu tun. Wenn man durch das Beleuchtete des Weltenraumes hindurch das Schwarze des Weltenraumes sieht, so erscheint es blau. Wenn man Licht, Beleuchtetes, durch die dunkle Luft hindurch sieht, so erscheint es rotlich, wie bei der Morgen- und Abenddämmerung.


Wollen wir uns einmal einfach an gewöhnlichen Gegenstanden die Farben betrachten. Da unterscheiden Sie zunächst, sagen wir, Schwarz und Weiß. Das sind ja die auffalligsten Farben, Schwarz und Weiß. Wie steht es denn nun mit einem schwarzen Korper? Mit einem schwarzen Korper steht es so, daß er all das Licht, das auf ihn fallt, in sich verarbeitet und gar kein Licht zurückspiegelt. Wenn Sie also hier einen schwarzen Körper haben, so nimmt der alles Licht, das auf ihn fällt, in sich auf, und gar nichts gibt er zurück. Daher erscheint er schwarz, weil er kein Licht spiegelt. Wenn Sie einen weißen Körper haben, der sagt: Ich brauche das Licht nicht; ich will nur das verarbeiten, was in mir selber ist. Ich schicke alles Licht zurück. Daher ist er weiß. Also ein weißer Körper, der schickt alles Licht zurück. Wir sehen daher seine Oberfläche hell, weiß. Ein schwarzer Körper nimmt alles Licht auf, und auch alle Wärme mit dem Licht, und er wirft gar kein Licht, gar keine Wärme zurück; also erscheint er schwarz, dunkel.


Sehen Sie, Sie können das näher studieren, wenn Sie sich folgendes überlegen. Nehmen Sie an, hier ist ein Körper auf der Erde; der nimmt alles Licht auf. Zunächst gibt er ein bißchen Licht zurück, erscheint also hell. Aber er läßt sich Zeit und nimmt möglichst viel Licht in sich auf. Nun hat er möglichst viel Licht in sich. Wenn er nun keines mehr aufnehmen kann, und man bringt ihn ins Licht, so erscheint er schwarz. 


Nun nehmen Sie einen Baum an. Der steht zunächst auf der Oberfläche der Erde, nimmt etwas Licht auf, aber viel Licht verschluckt er, viel Wärme verschluckt er. Nun, das geht solange, bis er unter die Erde hinunterstürzt. Wenn er nun eine Zeitlang das bedeutet aber Jahrtausende oder Jahrmillionen unter der Erde geblieben ist, was wird er? Schwarze Kohle! Schwarz wird er, weil er, als er ein Baum war, Licht und Wärme in sich aufgenommen hat. Er gibt das nicht her, wenn wir ihn nicht vernichten. Wenn wir ihn verbrennen, dann gibt er es her. Aber wenn wir ihn nur so eine Weile an die Luft legen, da gibt er es nicht her. Da hat er so viel von Licht und Wärme aufgenommen, daß er nichts hergibt. Wir müssen ihn vernichten. Das ist der Zustand der Kohle.


Nehmen wir an, daß der Körper das Licht nicht weiter aufnimmt, er schickt jetzt alles wieder zurück: dann wird dasjenige, was so beschaffen ist, weiß sein. Das ist der Schnee im Winter. Er schickt alles Licht zurück, nimmt kein Licht und keine Wärme auf. Also wird er weiß. Sie sehen an dem Unterschied zwischen Kohle und Schnee, wie das eigentlich ist mit dem Verhältnis der Gegenstände auf Erden zum Weltenraum. 


Wenden wir das auf den Menschen selber im Weltenraum an. Sehen wir uns zunächst die Schwarzen in Afrika an. Diese Schwarzen in Afrika haben die Eigentümlichkeit, daß sie alles Licht und alle Wärme vom Weltenraum aufsaugen. Sie nehmen das auf. Und dieses Licht und diese Wärme im Weltenraum, die kann nicht durch den ganzen Körper durchgehen, weil ja der Mensch immer ein Mensch ist, selbst wenn er ein Schwarzer ist. Es geht nicht durch den ganzen Körper durch, sondern hält sich an die Oberfläche der Haut, und da wird die Haut dann selber schwarz. So daß also ein Schwarzer in Afrika ein Mensch ist, der möglichst viel Wärme und Licht vom Weltenraum aufnimmt und in sich verarbeitet. Dadurch, daß er das tut, wirken über den ganzen Menschen hin die Kräfte des Weltenalls. (Es wird gezeichnet.) Überall nimmt er Licht und Wärme auf, überall. Das verarbeitet er in sich selber. Da muß etwas da sein, was ihm hilft bei diesem Verarbeiten. Nun, sehen Sie, das, was ihm da hilft beim Verarbeiten, das ist namentlich sein Hinterhirn. 

Beim Neger ist daher das Hinterhirn besonders ausgebildet. Das geht durch das Rückenmark. Und das kann alles das, was da im Menschen drinnen ist an Licht und Wärme, verarbeiten. Daher ist beim Neger namentlich alles das, was mit dem Körper und mit dem Stoffwechsel zusammenhängt, lebhaft ausgebildet. Er hat, wie man sagt, ein starkes Triebleben, Instinktleben. Der Neger hat also ein starkes Triebleben. Und weil er eigentlich das Sonnige, Licht und Wärme, da an der Körperoberfläche in seiner Haut hat, geht sein ganzer Stoffwechsel so vor sich, wie wenn in seinem Innern von der Sonne selber gekocht würde. Daher kommt sein Triebleben. Im Neger wird da drinnen fortwährend richtig gekocht, und dasjenige, was dieses Feuer schürt, das ist das Hinterhirn.


Manchmal wirft die Einrichtung des Menschen noch solche Nebenprodukte ab. Das kann man gerade beim Neger sehen. Der Neger hat nicht nur dieses Kochen in seinem Organismus, sondern er hat auch noch ein furchtbar schlaues und aufmerksames Auge. Er guckt schlau und sehr aufmerksam. Das könnten Sie leicht als Widerspruch auffassen. Aber das ist so: Wenn da vorne der Nerv des Auges sitzt (es wird gezeichnet), so gehen die Nerven just ins Hinterhirn hinein; die kreuzen sich da. Der Nerv, der geht also ins Hinterhirn. Und weil der Neger das Hinterhirn besonders ausgebildet hat, deshalb guckt er auch so schlau, deshalb ist er ein so schlauer Beobachter der Welt.


Wenn man das anfängt zu verstehen, so wird einem alles klar. Aber solche Betrachtungen, wie wir sie jetzt wieder machen, die macht die heutige Wissenschaft gar nicht. Sie versteht daher nichts von all dem.


Gehen wir jetzt vom Schwarzen zum Gelben herüber. Beim Gelben das ist schon verwandt mit dem Roten ist es so, daß das Licht etwas zurückgeworfen wird, viel aber aufgenommen wird. Also da ist es schon so, daß der Mensch mehr Licht zurückwirft als beim Schwarzen. Der Schwarze ist ein Egoist, der nimmt alles Licht und alle Wärme auf. Der Gelbe, von der mongolischen Bevölkerung, der gibt schon etwas Licht zurück, aber er nimmt noch viel Licht auf. Das macht, daß er eigentlich ein solcher Mensch ist (es wird gezeichnet). Also er nimmt viel Licht auf, gibt aber einiges zurück. Er begnügt sich mit weniger Licht. Dieses wenigere Licht, das kann nun nicht im ganzen Stoffwechsel arbeiten. Da muß der Stoffwechsel schon auf seine eigene Kraft angewiesen sein. Das arbeitet nämlich in der Atmung und in der Blutzirkulation. Also beim Gelben, beim Japaner, beim Chinesen, da arbeitet das Licht und die Wärme hauptsächlich in der Atmung und in der Blutzirkulation. Wenn Sie je einem Japaner begegnet sind, so werden Sie bemerkt haben, wie der auf seine Atmung achtet. Wenn er mit Ihnen redet, hält er sich immer zurück, daß die Atmung so recht in Ordnung ist. Er hat ein gewisses Wohlgefühl an der Atmung. Da ist es also so, daß da drinnen im Innern schon weniger verarbeitet wird. Da wird hauptsächlich in der Brust alles verarbeitet. Und das bewirkt, daß der gelbe Mensch nicht sein Hinterhirn so stark ausbildet, sondern das Mittelhirn. Da hat er das, was seine Atmung und seine Blutzirkulation versorgt. Er lebt also doch ziemlich im Innern, der gelbe Asiate. Sie können das auch seinem Gang anmerken; er hat einen mehr lässigen Gang. Er arbeitet nicht so stark mit den Gliedmaßen und dem Stoffwechsel. Der Neger ist viel mehr auf Rennen und auf die äußere Bewegung aus, die von den Trieben beherrscht ist. Der Asiate, der Gelbe, der entwickelt mehr ein innerliches Traumleben, daher die ganze asiatische Zivilisation dieses Träumerische hat. Also er ist nicht mehr so in sich bloß lebend, sondern er nimmt schon vom Weltenall etwas auf. Und daher kommt es, daß die Asiaten so wunderschöne Dichtungen über das ganze Weltenall haben. Der Neger hat das nicht. Der nimmt alles in seinen Stoffwechsel herein und eigentlich verdaut er nur das Weltenall. Der Asiate eratmet es sich, hat es in seiner Blutzirkulation. Daher kann er es auch in Worten von sich geben. Denn die Sprache ist ja auch nur eine umgestaltete Atmung. Ja, es sind schöne, wunderschöne Gedichte. Es sind überhaupt innerliche Menschen. Der Asiate verachtet den Europäer heute, weil er sagt: Das sind äußerliche Menschen. Wir werden gleich sehen, warum. Das also ist die gelbe Rasse, und sie hängt so zusammen mit der Farbe, wie ich es Ihnen gesagt habe.


Nun, betrachten wir uns selber in Europa. Wir sind in der Tat dem Weltenall gegenüber eine weiße Rasse, denn wir werfen alles äußere Licht zurück. Wir werfen alles äußere Licht und im Grunde genommen auch alle Wärme zurück. Die Wärme muß schon ganz mächtig werden, wenn wir sie in uns aufnehmen wollen. Und wenn sie nicht da ist, so verkümmern wir, wie es sich an den Eskimos zeigt. Da ist es also so: Da ist der Mensch so, daß er im Grunde genommen alles Licht und alle Wärme zurückwirft nur wenn sie mächtig wird, nimmt er sie auf -; er wirft sie zurück und entwickelt nur dasjenige an Licht und Wärme, was in seinem Innern durch seine eigene innere Arbeit entsteht. Ja, meine Herren, da kommt ihm nicht das Atmen und die Blutzirkulation zu Hilfe und nicht die Wärmeerzeugung, sondern da muß er durch sein Gehirn, durch seinen Kopf selber dasjenige ausarbeiten, was Licht und Wärme ist. Wir müssen also mit unserem Kopf auch das erarbeiten, was Licht und Wärme ist. Wir werfen eigentlich alles äußere Licht und Wärme zurück. Wir müssen unserem Blut selber die Farbe geben. Das dringt dann durch das Weiße durch, und dadurch bekommen wir diese europäische Menschenfarbe. Die ist also vom Innern. Daher sind wir schon so wie ein weißer Körper, der alles im Innern verarbeitet, und alles Licht und alle Wärme zurückwirft. Wir sind schon so ein weißer Körper. Und während der Mongole das Mittelhirn hauptsächlich braucht, müssen wir Europäer das Vorderhirn anwenden. Dadurch aber stellt sich das Folgende heraus: Der mit dem Hinterhirn, der hat vorzugsweise das Triebleben, das Instinktleben. Der da hier mit dem Mittelhirn hat das Gefühlsleben, das in der Brust sitzt. Und wir Europäer, wir armen Europäer haben das Denkleben, das im Kopfe sitzt. Dadurch fühlen wir gewissermaßen unseren inneren Menschen gar nicht. Denn den Kopf, den fühlen wir nur, wenn er uns weh tut, wenn er krank ist. Sonst fühlen wir ihn nicht. Dadurch aber nehmen wir die ganze Außenwelt auf, werden dadurch leicht Materialisten. Der Neger wird schon kein Materialist. Der bleibt schon innerlich Mensch. Nur entwickelt er innerlich das Triebleben. Der Asiate wird auch nicht Materialist. Der bleibt beim Gefühlsleben. Der kümmert sich nicht so ums äußere Leben wie der Europäer. Von dem sagt er: Der wird nur ein Ingenieur, der sich nur mit dem äußeren Leben beschäftigt. Er ist eben dadurch, daß er sein Vorderhirn entwickeln muß, hauptsächlich auf die Außenwelt hingewiesen. Und mit dem hängt nun zunächst alles zusammen.


Wir sind also die weiße Rasse. Innerlich ist das Weiß durch unser Blut gefärbt. Dann ist da die gelbe Rasse, die Mongolen, und dann ist da die schwarze Rasse. Und wir können das ganz gut begreifen, wenn wir von den Farben ausgehen. Da erklärt sich die ganze Geschichte. 


Nun brauchen Sie sich aber nur zu überlegen, wie das ist. Die Neger, die leben auf einem Erdstück, wo die Sonne sie sehr, sehr belästigt, eindringt in sie. Also geben sie sich ihr hin, nehmen sie ganz in ihren Körper auf, werden freundschaftlich mit ihr, werfen nichts zurück. Bei den Asiaten, da geht es schon mehr aus dem Heißen der Erde heraus. Die geben nicht mehr so viel zurück. Die werden nicht mehr so freundschaftlich mit der Sonne. Und bei den Europäern, da ist es so, daß sie eigentlich überhaupt nichts von der Sonne bekommen würden, wenn sie nicht ihr eigenes Menschliche entwickelten. Daher ist Europa immer der Ausgangspunkt für alles dasjenige gewesen, was nun das Menschliche so entwickelt, daß das zu gleicher Zeit mit der Außenwelt in Beziehung kommt. Erfindungen sind in Asien sehr wenig gemacht worden. Verarbeitet kann dann die Geschichte werden; aber Erfindungen selber, wie gesagt, das, was durch die Erfahrung mit der Außenwelt entspringt, das können die Asiaten nicht machen.


Zum Beispiel war es einmal so mit einem Schraubendampfer. Den hatten die Japaner den Europäern abgeguckt, und nun wollten sie auch allein fahren. Vorher fuhren immer die Europäer und haben die Geschichte dirigiert. Nun wollten sie einmal allein fahren. Die englischen Ingenieure sind zurückgeblieben an der Küste. Plötzlich gerieten die Japaner draußen, die dann das Schiff geleitet haben, in helle Verzweiflung, denn das ganze Schiff drehte sich fortwährend um sich selber. Sie kriegten es nicht heraus, wie sie zu der Drehung die richtige Fortbewegung hinzubringen konnten. Die Europäer, die das wußten, die grinsten natürlich furchtbar am Ufer. Also dieses selbständige Denken, das der Europäer im Umgang mit der Umgebung entwickelt, das haben die Asiaten nicht. Die Japaner werden daher alle europäischen Erfindungen ausbilden; aber selber etwas ausdenken, das werden die Japaner nicht. Es ist einmal so beim Menschengeschlecht, daß die Menschen über die Erde hin eigentlich alle aufeinander angewiesen sind. Sie müssen einander helfen. Das ergibt sich schon aus ihrer Naturanlage.


Nun, sehen Sie, das hängt aber mit der ganzen übrigen Ausbildung des Menschen zusammen. Denken Sie sich einmal solch einen schwarzen Menschen. Der entwickelt besonders das Triebleben, also dasjenige, was im Innnern kocht. Das gibt viel Asche. Die Asche, die setzt sich dann in den Knochen ab. Dadurch wird er mehr in den Knochen ausgebildet sein als derjenige, der der weißen Rasse angehört. Der verwendet dasjenige, was er im Innern hat, mehr auf das Blut. Daher werden seine Knochen feiner ausgebildet sein. Also der Neger hat grob ausgebildete Knochen, der Europäer hat feiner ausgebildete Knochen. Und das, was Asiaten sind, die gelbe Rasse, die stehen in der Mitte drinnen.


Jetzt können Sie, wenn Sie den Japaner anschauen, an der ganzen Art und Weise, wie er dasteht und geht, sehen: er ist in seinem Knochenbau so, daß er zwischen dem Europäer und dem Afrikaner mitten drinnen steht. Die Afrikaner haben diese starken Knochen, die immer ausschlagen. Der Europäer, der hat mehr das Blutsystem. Der Japaner, der hat eigentlich alles das, was auf den Atem und vom Atem aus in die Blutzirkulation wirkt.


Nun aber, meine Herren, bleiben eben die Menschen nicht bloß auf der Erde sitzen. Wenn man in alte Zeiten zurückgehen würde, so würde man schon finden, daß zu Asien die gelbe Rasse, zu Europa die weiße Rasse und zu Afrika die schwarze Rasse gehört. Aber immer ist es auch vorgekommen, daß die Menschen nun ausgewandert sind. Und da können sie nun entweder so herwandern (es wird gezeichnet), die Gelben können nach Osten wandern, oder die Schwarzen können nach Westen wandern. So ist es wohl einmal gewesen. Die Gelben sind immer nach Osten gewandert. Da sind sie auf diese Inseln gekommen, die zwischen Asien und Australien sind. Die Gelben wandern nach Osten hinüber. Wenn die Gelben nach Osten hinüberwandern, dann werden sie braun. Da entstehen dann die Malaien; die werden braun. Warum? Ja, warum werden sie braun? Was heißt denn das: sie werden braun? Nicht wahr, wenn sie gelb sind, werfen sie einen bestimmten Grad von Licht zurück; das andere nehmen sie auf. Wenn sie braun werden durch die andere Art, wie sie jetzt in der Sonne leben, weil sie ja von einem anderen Erdstück kommen, dann werfen sie weniger Licht zurück. Sie nehmen mehr Licht in sich auf. Also diese braunen Malaien sind ausgewanderte Mongolen, die sich aber jetzt, weil die Sonne anders auf sie wirkt, angewöhnen, mehr Licht und mehr Wärme aufzunehmen. Bedenken Sie aber, daß sie nicht die Natur dazu haben. Sie haben sich schon angewöhnt, sogar ein solches Knochengerüste zu haben, daß sie nur einen bestimmten Grad von Wärme aufnehmen können. Sie haben nicht die Natur, so viel Wärme aufzunehmen, als sie jetzt als Malaien aufnehmen. Die Folge davon ist, daß sie anfangen, unbrauchbare Menschen zu werden, daß sie anfangen, Menschen zu werden, die am Menschenkörper zerbrökkeln, deren Körper abstirbt. Das ist in der Tat bei der malaiischen Bevölkerung der Fall. Die stirbt an der Sonne. Die stirbt an der östlichkeit. So daß man sagen kann: Während die Gelben, die Mongolen, noch Menschen in der Vollkraft sind, sind die Malaien schon eine absterbende Rasse. Sie sterben ab.


Wenn die Neger was sie allerdings heute weniger tun können, heute sind die Verhältnisse schon anders, aber in Urzeiten war das schon so, wie ich es erzähle nach dem Westen hinüberwandern — eine Schifffahrt hat es ja immer gegeben, und es waren ja außerdem durch den ganzen Atlantischen Ozean noch Inseln, der Atlantische Ozean war ja früher auch ein Kontinent -, also wenn die Schwarzen nach dem Westen auswandern, da können sie nicht mehr so viel Licht und Wärme aufnehmen wie in ihrem Afrika. Da kommt ihnen weniger Licht und Wärme zu. Was ist die Folge? Ja, ihre Natur ist eingerichtet darauf, so viel als möglich Licht und Wärme aufzunehmen. Ihre Natur ist eigentlich eingerichtet, dadurch schwarz zu werden. Jetzt kriegen sie nicht so viel Licht und Wärme, als sie brauchen, um schwarz zu werden. Daher werden sie kupferrot, werden Indianer. Das kommt davon her, weil sie gezwungen sind, etwas von Licht und Wärme zurückzuwerfen. Das glänzt dann so kupferrot. Das Kupfer ist selber ein Körper, der Licht und Wärme so ein bißchen zurückwerfen muß. Das können sie nicht aushaken. Daher sterben sie als Indianer im Westen aus, sind wiederum eine untergehende Rasse, sterben an ihrer eigenen Natur, die zu wenig Licht und Wärme bekommt, sterben an dem Irdischen. Das Irdische ihrer Natur ist ja ihr Triebleben. Das können sie nicht mehr ordentlich ausbilden, während sie noch starke Knochen kriegen. Weil viel Asche hineingeht in ihre Knochen, können diese Indianer diese Asche nicht mehr aushalten. Die Knochen werden furchtbar stark, aber so stark, daß der ganze Mensch an seinen Knochen zugrunde geht.


Sehen Sie, so hat sich die Sache entwickelt, daß diese fünf Rassen entstanden sind. Man möchte sagen, in der Mitte schwarz, gelb, weiß, und als ein Seitentrieb des Schwarzen das Kupferrote, und als ein Seitenzweig des Gelben das Braune das sind immer die aussterbenden Teile. 


Die Weißen sind eigentlich diejenigen, die das Menschliche in sich entwickeln. Daher sind sie auf sich selber angewiesen. Wenn sie auswandern, so nehmen sie die Eigentümlichkeiten der anderen Gegenden etwas an, doch sie gehen, nicht als Rasse, sondern mehr als einzelne Menschen, zugrunde. Aber sie tun dafür noch etwas anderes. Sehen Sie, meine Herren, alles dasjenige, was ich Ihnen jetzt geschildert habe, das sind ja die Dinge, die im Leibe des Menschen vor sich gehen. Die Seele und der Geist sind mehr oder weniger unabhängig davon. Daher kann der Europäer, weil ihn Seele und Geist am meisten in Anspruch nimmt, Seele und Geist am meisten verarbeiten. Der kann es am ehesten vertragen, in verschiedene Erdteile zu gehen.


Daher ist es auch gekommen, daß, von da oben ausgehend, einstmals eine große Völkerwanderung bis nach Indien hinunterging. Da traf ein Strom weißer Bevölkerung in das Gebiet hinein, wo man gelb wird. Daher kamen dann die Inder, so eine Mischung von Mongolischem und Kaukasischem. Daher die schönsten indischen Dichtungen, das Schönste, was da ist; aber zu gleicher Zeit wiederum etwas, von dem man merkt, es ist schon träge geworden, weil eben das Weiße nicht in seinem eigentlichen Gebiet drinnen ist.


Und so kann man sagen: Die Weißen können überall hin, können heute sogar nach Amerika hinüber. Alles dasjenige, was an weißer Bevölkerung in Amerika ist, das ist ja von Europa gekommen. Da kommt also das Weiße hinein in die amerikanischen Gegenden. Aber es geschieht ja etwas mit dem Menschen, wenn er von Europa, wo er dazu natürlich gebildet ist, daß er alles im Innern entwickelt, nach Amerika hinüberkommt. Da ist es so, daß gewissermaßen schon etwas sein Hinterhirn in Anspruch genommen werden muß. In Europa, sehen Sie, hat er als Europäer hauptsächlich das Vorderhirn in Anspruch genommen. Nun, in Amerika, da gedeihen diejenigen, die eigentlich zugrunde gehende Neger einmal waren, das heißt, sie gedeihen nicht, sie gehen zugrunde, die Indianer. Wenn man dahin kommt, da ist eigentlich immer ein Kampf zwischen Vorderhirn und Hinterhirn im Kopf. Es ist das Eigentümliche, daß wenn eine Familie nach Amerika zieht, sich niederläßt, dann bekommen die Leute, die aus dieser Familie hervorgehen, immer etwas längere Arme. Die Arme werden länger. Die Beine wachsen auch etwas mehr, wenn der Europäer in Amerika sich ansiedelt nicht bei ihm selber natürlich, aber bei seinen Nachkommen. Das kommt davon, weil die Geschichte mehr durch das Mittelhirn hindurch nach dem Hinterhirn sich hinzieht, wenn man als Europäer nach Amerika kommt.


Aber gleichzeitig kommt beim Amerikaner etwas sehr Eigentümliches zustande. Nicht wahr, der Europäer lebt, namentlich wenn er ein Denker wird, ganz in seinem Innern. Wenn er kein Denker wird, denkt er zwar auch nach, aber es gibt das ein Leben, das nicht ganz ausgefüllt ist. Aber sobald der Europäer in Amerika sich ansiedelt, da geht es nicht mehr, daß er so grübelt. Daher kommt folgendes. Wenn Sie ein europäisches Buch lesen, da wird immer bewiesen, man kommt gar nicht mehr heraus aus dem Beweisen. Da liest man ein ganzes Buch durch, vierhundert Seiten durch, nur Beweise; selbst wenn es ein Roman ist, wird immer bewiesen. Meistens ist dann am Ende auf der vierhundertsten Seite doch nichts bewiesen. Der Amerikaner tut das nicht. Wenn Sie ein amerikanisches Buch lesen, da wird alles als Behauptung hingestellt. Da geht es wiederum zurück, wo es dem Instinkt sich nähert. Das Tier beweist überhaupt nichts. Der Löwe beweist nicht, daß er ein anderes Tier fressen will; er frißt es. Der Europäer wenn er etwas tun will, muß es erst bewiesen sein. Alles muß erst bewiesen sein. Das ist heute der große Unterschied zwischen dem Europäer und dem Amerikaner: Die Europäer beweisen, die Amerikaner behaupten.


Aber man kann nicht sagen, daß das nicht ebensogut wahr sein kann, was die behaupten. Es wird eben mehr durch den ganzen Menschen  eingesehen. Das haben die Amerikaner dem Europäer voraus. Sie nähern sich auf der einen Seite dem Zugrundegehen der Indianer geht ja zugrunde -, aber wenn man anfängt zugrunde zu gehen, so wird man gescheit. So werden schon die Europäer gescheit, wenn sie hinüberkommen; sie gewöhnen sich ja das Beweisen ab. 


Das ist nicht gerade eine vorwärtsbringende Eigenschaft, das Beweisenwollen. Nicht wahr, wenn man morgens etwas tun soll, so kann man morgens anfangen mit Beweisen, und abends beim Schlafengehen kann man es noch nicht tun, weil man immer noch beweisen muß. Der Amerikaner wird das nicht tun, weil er gar nicht auf das Beweisen eintrainiert, einexerziert ist. Und so kommt es, daß zunächst ganz gewiß Amerika etwas voraus haben wird vor Deutschland. Man kann da ganz interessante Beobachtungen machen. Wenn man ein europäisches Buch in die Hand nimmt, so beginnt es etwa sagen wir, es ist ein Buch, und solche Bücher werden ja geschrieben, es ist ein Bericht über die Verdauung der Maikäfer -, so beginnt es damit: Das Tiergeschlecht der Maikäfer enthält ja auch Verdauungsorgane; allein sie entziehen sich der gewöhnlichen Beobachtung. Man muß tiefer in die ganze Organisation der Maikäfer eindringen — und so geht es weiter; man muß also alles beweisen. Der Amerikaner beginnt damit: Wenn man einen Maikäfer zergliedert, so findet man in ihm das und das. Der behauptet, indem er beobachtet. Und so, sehen Sie, ist es bei den Europäern so, daß sie ja ihre Rasseeigentümlichkeiten wegen ihrer ganzen Einrichtung nicht mehr so ausbilden. Sie bilden mehr die seelisch-geistigen Eigenschaften aus. Daher können sie auch in alle übrigen Weltteile eindringen. Mit dem Zugrundegehen geht es natürlich langsam.


Die Sonne sendet immer mehr oder weniger dasjenige auf die Erde herunter, was Licht oder Wärme ist. Jetzt haben wir den Frühlingspunkt, wie ich Ihnen gesagt habe, in den Fischen. Vorher war er im Widder. Nach einiger Zeit wird er im Wassermann sein. Da wird erst die richtige amerikanische Zivilisation kommen. Bis dahin wird sich immer mehr und mehr Zivilisation nach Amerika hinüberbegeben. Wer das sehen will, kann es heute schon sehen, wie mächtig die Amerikaner werden, und wie Europa allmählich immer mehr und mehr ohn mächtig wird. Und daß es in Europa zu gar keinem Frieden jetzt kommen kann, das beruht eben darauf, daß Europa eigentlich das eigene Land nicht mehr versteht. Nun schlägt sich die ganze Zivilisation nach Amerika hinüber. Es wird langsam gehen; aber wenn die Sonne in ihrem Frühlingspunkte in das Zeichen des Wassermannes eingetreten sein wird, dann wird sie gerade so günstig ihre Strahlen herunterschicken auf die Erde, daß die amerikanische Kultur und Zivilisation dann ganz besonders mächtig sein wird. Das sieht man schon heute. 


Sehen Sie, es ist wirklich so merkwürdig: In Europa herüben kann man das, was wir Anthroposophie nennen, entwickeln. Das muß man aus dem Geist heraus entwickeln. Das geht gar nicht mehr aus den Rasseeigentümlichkeiten heraus. Das muß man aus dem Geiste heraus entwickeln. Und die Menschen, die in Europa nicht heranwollen an den Geist, die werden Europa ins Unglück stürzen.


Die Amerikaner, die brauchen das heute noch nicht, namentlich diejenigen, die da hinüberreisen. Da können sie sich noch mehr auf die Rasseeigentümlichkeiten stützen. Und so entsteht da drüben in Amerika kurioserweise etwas Merkwürdiges. Wer ganz aufmerksam amerikanische Bücher liest, wer aufmerksam Parlamentsreden liest, wer überhaupt etwas aufnimmt von dem, was heute in Amerika vorgeht, der wird sich sagen: Donnerwetter, das ist ja etwas ganz Merkwürdiges. Wir in Europa bilden die Anthroposophie aus dem Geiste heraus aus. Da drüben bilden sie etwas aus, was so wie eine Art Holzpuppe der Anthroposophie ist. Es wird alles materialistisch. Aber für den, der nicht ein Fanatiker ist, für den hat das, was amerikanische Kultur ist, etwas Ähnliches mit dem, was anthroposophische Wissenschaft ist in Europa. Nur ist dort alles aus Holz. Es ist noch nicht lebendig. Lebendig machen können wir es in Europa aus dem Geiste heraus. Die nehmen es dort aus dem Instinkte heraus.


Sehen Sie, das können Sie in allen Einzelheiten bemerken. Es wird einmal die Zeit kommen, wo dieser amerikanische «Holzmensch», der eigentlich jeder noch ist, anfangen wird, zu reden. Dann wird er der europäischen Anthroposophie sehr Ähnliches zu sagen haben. Man kann sagen: Wir in Europa bilden Anthroposophie auf geistige Weise aus; der Amerikaner bildet sie auf naturhafte Weise aus. Daher kann ich so oft, wenn ich Anthroposophisches auseinandersetze, darauf hinweisen: Nun ja, so ist es anthroposophisch, und so ist es die amerikanische Karikatur. Das ist die Karikatur davon. 


Wenn aber einer ein Fanatiker ist und sich nicht durch innerliches Leben, sondern durch Fanatismus in die Anthroposophie hereinfindet, dann findet er gerade die schärfsten Schimpfworte für das Amerikanertum, weil nicht wahr, der Mensch schimpft am meisten über den Affen, weil der Affe ihm ähnlich ist, aber Karikatur ist. Und so ist es wirklich eine solche merkwürdige Geschichte, wie zwischen Nordund Südpol, zwischen dem, was wir geistig uns erringen in Europa und zwischen dem, was man sich da drüben auf naturhafte Weise in Amerika erringt.


Naturwissenschaftliche Bücher schauen in Amerika ganz anders aus als in Europa. Sie reden eigentlich fortwährend vom Geist, aber sie stellen sich den Geist grobklotzig materiell vor. Daher ist auch der Spiritismus in neuerer Zeit in Amerika aufgekommen. Denn was tut der Spiritismus? Er will vom Geist reden und stellt sich den Geist vor so wie Wolkenerscheinungen, möchte am liebsten alles wie Wolkenerscheinungen haben. Daher ist der Spiritismus ein amerikanisches Produkt; er geht auf den Geist, aber auf materialistische Weise. Das ist eben so interessant, daß in Amerika der Materialismus richtig grassiert, aber eigentlich auf dem Wege zum Geist ist, während, wenn der Europäer Materialist wird, dann stirbt er als Mensch. Der Amerikaner ist ein junger Materialist. Eigentlich sind alle Kinder zunächst materialistisch, wachsen sich dann aus zu dem, was nicht Materialismus ist. So wird sich der amerikanisch krasse Materialismus gerade zu einem Geistigen auswachsen. Das wird sein, wenn die Sonne im Zeichen des Wassermannes aufgeht.


Nun, Sie sehen, auf diese Weise kann man durchschauen, was wir als Europäer für eine Aufgabe haben. Wir haben gar nicht die Aufgabe als Europäer, über die Amerikaner immer zu schimpfen, sondern wir müssen natürlich über die ganze Erde hin eine Zivilisation begründen, die aus dem Besten zusammengesetzt ist.


Natürlich, wenn man die Sache so denkt, wie sie der Prinz von Baden gedacht hat, der auf den amerikanischen Europäer Wilson hereinge  fallen ist, dann geht es nicht. Denn Wilson war nicht ein richtiger Amerikaner. Der hat alle seine Theorien eigentlich von Europa genommen. Dadurch hat er so unfruchtbare Theorien gemacht. Aber das richtige Amerikanertum, das ist dasjenige, was tatsächlich einmal mit dem Europäertum, das auf mehr geistige Weise seine Sache finden wird, sich vereinigen wird. Und dann sieht man, wie man sich eigentlich verhalten muß in der Welt, wenn man so etwas auf diese Weise studiert.


Und so ist es wirklich ganz interessant: Auf der einen Seite hat man die schwarze Rasse, die am meisten irdisch ist. Wenn sie nach Westen geht, stirbt sie aus. Man hat die gelbe Rasse, die mitten zwischen Erde und Weltenall ist. Wenn sie nach Osten geht, wird sie braun, gliedert sich zu viel dem Weltenall an, stirbt aus. Die weiße Rasse ist die zukünftige, ist die am Geiste schaffende Rasse. Wie sie nach Indien gezogen ist, bildete sie die innerliche, poetische, dichterische, geistige indische Kultur aus. Wenn sie jetzt nach dem Westen geht, wird sie eine Geistigkeit ausbilden, die nicht so sehr den innerlichen Menschen ergreift, aber die äußere Welt in ihrer Geistigkeit begreift.


Und so werden in der Zukunft gerade aus den Rasseeigentümlichkeiten solche Dinge hervorgehen, die man kennen muß, damit man sich richtig hineinstellt ins Leben. Die Menschen bekommen immer weniger eine richtige Einstellung im Leben. Sie wollen eben alles aus dem Blitzblauen heraus haben, die Menschen, und nicht eigentlich lernen. 


Das ist dadurch gekommen, weil eben im letzten Drittel des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts den Menschen, die gebildet worden sind, namentlich die wissenschaftlich gebildet worden sind, ja nichts Menschliches mehr angeboten wurde. Nicht wahr, es geht jetzt so schwer mit der Menschenkunde. Das merken selbst schon die materialistischen Gelehrten. Sie kommen nicht weiter. Und bei der letzten Naturforscherversammlung war es interessant. Da war einer von diesen Naturforschern, der hat es besonders stark gemerkt: man kommt ja nicht mehr weiter, man erfährt durch die gegenwärtige Wissenschaft nichts vom Menschen. Aber er hat nicht gesagt: Also müssen wir uns der Anthroposophie nähern, sondern er hat gesagt: Gebt uns Leichen, damit wir die zergliedern können.


Sehen Sie, das war alles, was er sagen konnte: Gebt uns Leichen! Mehr Leichen wollen die Menschen haben. Den toten Menschen wollen sie studieren. Das war so ein richtiges Schlagwort: Gebt uns Leichen! während wir hier die Leichen entbehren können, denn wir wollen den lebendigen Menschen anschauen und studieren. Dazu muß man nur seine Augen aufmachen, und durch seine Augen etwas die Seele, denn den lebendigen Menschen findet man überall. Man begegnet lauter lebendigen Menschen. Nur muß man mit ihnen leben können, damit sie einem das wirklich bekunden, was Menschenwesen ist. Aber die Leute, die heute Gelehrte sind, haben ja tatsächlich ganz schwache Augen. Sie sehen ja nicht den Menschen. Und dann flehen sie sehnsüchtig: Gebt uns Leichen! Da können sie dann studieren. Gebt uns Leichen! In einer solchen Situation waren in den letzten Jahrzehnten die Bildungsanstalten. Da haben die Menschen nichts Menschliches aufgenommen. Daher ist aus allen Wissenschaften das Menschliche herausgekommen.


Deshalb habe ich in dem ersten Kapitel meiner «Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage» diese Frage behandelt. Ich mußte zeigen, wie diejenigen, die nichts mit der Wissenschaft zu tun gehabt haben, sondern mit der Arbeit, herangekommen sind. Und nun natürlich wollten sie Wissenschaft. Aber die konnten ihnen die anderen nicht geben, die sie scheinbar hatten, die Bourgeois. Und dadurch entstand die ganze Kalamität in der Zivilisation. Die Arbeiter verlangten nach Wissenschaft, und sie war nicht da, weil nur eine Wissenschaft, die menschlos ist, da war. Das habe ich im ersten Kapitel der «Kernpunkte» dargestellt, weil man wirklich erst das verstehen muß, wenn man von der sozialen Frage redet. So war es schon notwendig, daß die «Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage» in dem ersten Kapitel damit begannen.


Nun, wir haben also die Farben heute etwas weiter behandelt, meine Herren.

[Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999.]

This book presents translations of lectures included in


But "Color and the Human Races" is missing.

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.

◊◊◊ 8. THE WORST SIDE ◊◊◊

The racial teachings deep in Anthroposophy that surface sometimes at Waldorfs

Problems in the doctrines

A lecture that exculpates?



Two fundamental legends embraced by Steiner

Ties to Nazism? Allegations and denials

From SkepticReport [external link]

Steiner’s strange version, tied to his racial teachings

Anthroposophical racism, recapped