"Negro"





Here are some quotations expressing the Anthroposophical view of blacks. I’ve confined myself to passages that use the word “Negro” or some variation of it. 


Today, early in the twenty-first century, all of the following passages are openly posted on Anthroposophical websites or they are included in Anthroposophical publications still read and studied by Steiner's followers. 


(For clarity, I have highlighted some key terms, putting them in bold type.)








“Groups of men in whom the bones had, as it were, become too strong, were now left behind as degenerate races. They could not adapt themselves to post-Atlantean conditions; the last remnant of these people are the American Indians; they had degenerated. There are other backward groups in whom not only the system of the bones, but also the system concerned with nutrition hardened too early, that system governed by the forces of the etheric body; while the bony system is governed by the forces of the physical body. The last remnant of those human groups in which the nutritive system hardened too soon now forms the Negroid races. Then there are those who degenerated at too early a stage through the nervous system becoming hardened and not remaining soft long enough for it to become available as an instrument of higher thought; of these the Malays are the last relic. Therefore, among them are tendencies towards certain passionate and sensuous instincts.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Collison, 1931), lecture 6, GA 105.






[Collison, 1931.]





“There is a biography of Schubert in which it is said that he looked rather like a negro. There is not a grain of truth in it. He actually had a pleasing, attractive face.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies - Vol. I (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 7, GA 235.



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“It can also be intimated here that younger souls — the majority at any rate — incarnate in the coloured races, so that it is the coloured races, especially the negro race, which mainly brings younger souls to incarnation. The characteristic quality of that kind of thinking which comes to expression in erudition, in the materialistic science of to-day, calls for younger souls. And it can be shown that in the case of many a personality where one would not in the least expect it, the preceding incarnation was in an uncivilised race. That again is what the facts tell us! It must be kept strictly in mind, for it is so.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 2, GA 126.



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“Life displays its variety in the manifold varieties of form. Each man has a different face. If you lay down abstract principles, you expect to find the same thing done in every classroom. If your principles are taken from life, you know that life is various, and that the same thing can be done in the most varied ways. You see, for instance, that Negroes must be regarded as human beings, and [i.e., but] in them the human form appears quite differently.” — Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL GROUND OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1947), lecture 5, GA 305.



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“Just as man passed through the plant and animal kingdoms in the course of his evolution, so will he in a certain sense retrace his steps. He will himself become plant; he will take up the plant-nature into himself and accomplish the whole plant-process within himself ... He will prepare the necessary oxygen in his own organs, unite it with carbon to form carbon dioxide, and then deposit the carbon again in himself ... Now we know that carbon and diamond are the same substance; diamond is more thoroughly crystallised and a more transparent form of carbon. Hence we need not think that in the future people will go about looking like negroes. Their bodies will consist of soft, transparent carbon. At that stage man will have found the Philosopher's Stone and he will transform his own body into it.” — Rudolf Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1986), lecture 13, GA 95.



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"If we now more closely characterize the spot which in our recent statements we placed in Africa, by saying, that through the co-operation of the normal Spirits of Form with the abnormal ones centered in Mercury, the negro race came into existence, we are then, from an occult standpoint, quite correct in describing what appears in the black race, as the ‘Mercury race’." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co/. 1929), lecture 6, GA 121.



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Here are two passages not by Steiner but one of his followers, 

George Kaufmann, in his book THE SOULS OF THE NATIONS - 

Being a Help to the Study of Rudolf Steiner's Lecture-Cycle 

 (Given at Oslo, Norway, in 1910) 

"THE MISSION OF FOLK-SOULS" 



• “In the interior of Africa is the point where the abnormal Spirits belonging to the planet Mercury concentrate their forces. The outcome of them is the Negro or Ethiopian race. Eastward, in Asia, is the formative centre for the Venus-forces, the Malayan race — the type we find in Southern Asia and the Malayan archipelago. Northward from thence — more in the great expanse of Asia — the Mongolian race is formed by the Mars forces. In Europe then, we come to the Jupiter humanity, the Caucasian race. Finally, in America, dark Saturn's race: the Red Indians ... So then it comes about that the most childlike and the most aged racial types — the Negro and Red Indian — are both of them, though in such different ways, the result of planetary forces working into the glandular system.” — George Adams Kaufmann, SOULS OF THE NATIONS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1938), lecture 6. 


• “Now Dr. Steiner enters more in detail into the cosmic, spiritual geography of the Earth ... [He] draws a line, shaped roughly like a horseshoe opening westward, connecting three or four important points, foci of cosmic influence in the configuration of our planet ... The first is in the interior of Africa; there work the forces which influence the human being most of all in early childhood. The race there formed impresses characteristics of early childhood upon the human being for his entire life. It is the black, the Ethiopian or Negro race.” — Ibid., lecture 4.



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Back to Steiner himself. 

The following quotation is very long. 

I’ll first give a brief extract, 

then the much longer version. 

Read whichever you prefer: 


Short: 


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 ...  Those people, however, who had developed their ego being too little, and who were too exposed to the influences of the sun, were like plants: they deposited too many carbonic constituents beneath their skin and became black. This is why the Negroes are black. Thus both east of Atlantis in the black population and west of Atlantis in the red population we find survivors of the kind of people who had not developed their ego-feeling in a normal way ... Look at the colours to be found in Asia, from the Negroes to the yellow races. Hence you have bodies that are sheaths for every possible level of soul, from the completely passive Negro soul entirely given up to the outer world of physical existence, to the other levels of passive souls in every possible part of Asia [Steiner defines Africa as being basically Asiatic] ... So fundamentally we have two groups of people representing combinations: [#1] those on European soil, forming the root stock of the white population, who had predominantly developed the feeling of personality...to where the ego-feeling became more inward ... [#2] On the other hand there are those peoples in Asia with passive, self-effacing natures in whom just this passivity expresses itself in the highest degree. This makes the people dreamy, and the etheric body penetrates very deeply into the physical body. That is the fundamental difference between the European and the Asiatic peoples ... [T]he peoples of Asia were given instruction of the kind to satisfy them in their passivity and self-effacement. The Afro-Asiatic peoples do not emphasise the ego. [For this reason they are inferior, since development of the 'I' or spiritual ego is the defining quality of upwardly evolving humans.] The Negro would to some extent not lay stress on the ego at all. When these people looked up to the divine, they said: ‘I do not find my innermost being within me [i.e., within the 'I'], I find it in Brahma  [the highest Hindu god]...” 


Long: 


“Thus it 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, 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. If you look at those things in a really spiritual scientific way you will see evidence of them right into the physical characteristics. If a man brings his whole inner being to expression in his physiognomy and on the surface of his body, then it permeates his external being with the colour of his inner nature as it were. Now the colour of egohood is red or copper or a yellowish brown. And an overpowering feeling of ego arising from offended self-respect can even nowadays turn a man as it were yellow with rage. They are absolutely connected, these two phenomena: the red colour of those peoples that migrated to the West and the yellow colour of the man whose ‘blood boils’ as we say, and whose inner nature is showing itself right into his skin. Those people, however, who had developed their ego being too little, and who were too exposed to the influences of the sun, were like plants: they deposited too many carbonic constituents beneath their skin and became black. This is why the Negroes are black. Thus both east of Atlantis in the black population and west of Atlantis in the red population we find survivors of the kind of people who had not developed their ego-feeling in a normal way. The human beings who had developed normally lent themselves best to progress. Therefore they were the ones chosen to infiltrate the various other regions from the place we know of in Asia 


“...Look at the colours to be found in Asia, from the Negroes to the yellow races. Hence you have bodies that are sheaths for every possible level of soul, from the completely passive Negro soul entirely given up to the outer world of physical existence, to the other levels of passive souls in every possible part of Asia.


“Various characteristics of the evolution of the Asiatic and African peoples will now be comprehensible to you: they present various combinations of surrender to the environment and the external manifestation of ego-feeling. So fundamentally we have two groups of people representing combinations: those on European soil, forming the root stock of the white population, who had predominantly developed the feeling of personality, but who did not migrate to where the feeling of personality permeated the whole body, but to where the ego-feeling became more inward. Therefore in western Asia and partly in North Africa and the countries of Europe, too, in earlier times, you find a people with a strong inner ego-feeling, but who on the whole were not given to losing themselves in the outer world; their inner character was strong and firm, but it did not set its imprint on the bodily nature. On the other hand there are those peoples in Asia with passive, self-effacing natures in whom just this passivity expresses itself in the highest degree. This makes the people dreamy, and the etheric body penetrates very deeply into the physical body. That is the fundamental difference between the European and the Asiatic peoples.


“Manu, with his group of normal men, was wedged in between them. He had to bring the right form of culture to each different shade of the population, and he had to colour this wisdom and teaching to suit the external conditions of the people. Thus we see that the peoples of Asia were given instruction of the kind to satisfy them in their passivity and self-effacement. The Afro-Asiatic peoples do not emphasise the ego. The Negro would to some extent not lay stress on the ego at all. When these people looked up to the divine, they said: ‘I do not find my innermost being within me, I find it in Brahma by flowing out of myself and surrendering myself to the universe!’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), lecture 8, "The Manifestation of the Ego in the Different Races of Men", GA 107.






[Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981.]



"[I]n Asia is [found] the yellow 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 only nonsense that blacks now play a great role in Europe." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS. (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), lecture 6, GA 349.*



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"These black people in Africa have the peculiarity that they absorb all the light and heat that they receive from space. 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 his, 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." — Rudolf Steiner, ibid.*




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Here’s a contribution by Rudolf Steiner’s second wife, 

Marie Steiner. 

Her subject is modern, degenerate ideas 

of what is attractive or interesting: 


“To-day, however, ‘to be beautiful’ is not sufficiently piquant — and as for being ‘nobly beautiful,’ that has no attraction. Ugliness is much more piquant ... There must be a tinge of the abnormal, there must be a kind of negro element, something inane, in order to produce the required piquancy; people revel in agonising death scenes, and are weary of the pleasant languishing decline. Nay more they rejoice in the sub-human, in the demoniacal, which again rises from the negroid element.” — Marie Steiner, “Creative Speech” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 1, 1926. 


Following Rudolf Steiner's death, in 1925, 

Marie Steiner assumed a leading role among Anthroposophists.






— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings






*For more on this particular text, see "Forbidden". Still recognized, in Germany, as part of Steiner's oeuvre, this lecture is largely suppressed elsewhere.














The following is an item from the Waldorf Watch "news" page 
for December, 2012: 





Here are excerpts from a message posted 

by historian Peter Staudenmaier

on December 4 at the Waldorf Critics discussion list

[http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/25416]




"How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised?"




Last month I was contacted about several indignant emails by an anthroposophist ... He is outraged because he thinks I made up Steiner's sentence "How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised?" Our outraged anthroposophist somehow convinced himself that I added in the reference to "Negroes" myself and thus falsified Steiner's text. It is a classic instance of anthroposophist unfamiliarity with their own teachings.


...Among other things, our outraged anthroposophist writes: "The original text from the lecture does not contain these words. This is a typical misrepresentation coming from Staudenmaier with respect to Steiner's descriptions of spiritual evolution."


Alas, our outraged anthroposophist did not check the "original text from the lecture" and thus fell for a very obvious error. Because these sorts of errors are common in the anthroposophical milieu, it may be worth looking at this instance in detail.


Steiner did in fact write the sentence "How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised?" I did not add any words to it. I didn't even translate it. I took it directly from the authorized translation published decades ago by the Anthroposophical Publishing Company in London. Their translation is correct. The original German text reads "Wie kann ein Schwarzer, wie kann ein barbarischer Wilder kultiviert werden": Rudolf Steiner, Blut ist ein ganz besonderer Saft (Berlin: Theosophische Verlagsgesellschaft, 1907), p. 7.


Our outraged anthroposophist, however, did not consult the original text and did not consult the authorized translation: Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1912). Instead, he relied on the version of the text posted at the online Rudolf Steiner e-library. There the passage reads as follows:


"This problem is that of colonization, which crops up wherever civilized races come into contact with the uncivilized: namely — To what extent are uncivilized peoples capable of becoming civilized? How can an utterly barbaric savage become civilized? And in what way ought we to deal with them?"


Interested readers can find the full text of this version here:


http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19061025p01.html


The version of Steiner's text posted at the e-library has been bowdlerized. Steiner's reference to "Negroes" has simply been removed, surreptitiously, with no notice to the reader. This practice is by no means unusual in anthroposophist translations of Steiner's work; several of Steiner's more noteworthy statements about race have been silently excised from the English publications. That is how the original passage escaped our outraged anthroposophist's attention, and that is how he managed to conclude that I had doctored the text. He didn't realize his fellow anthroposophists had doctored it for him.


— Peter Staudenmaier





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To help adjudicate the matter, I have made 
photocopies of the relevant passage in two editions of 
THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD 
that I happen to own. 

The disputed sentence occurs near the middle of this page: 






Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD
(Health Research, 1972), p. 13.


And the disputed sentence occurs near the top of this page:




Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967), p. 10.



One translation of the original German 
as quoted by Staudenmaier 
("Wie kann ein Schwarzer, wie kann ein barbarischer 
Wilder kultiviert werden...") 
would be 
"How can a black man, how can a barbaric 
savage be made civilized...." 



— Roger Rawlings












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



PEOPLES, NATIONS, RACES

America : death

blood : and race

decay : Attila and leprosy

differences : Steiner on

n-word : the worst word, used in a Steiner school

"Negro"

races : Steiner on

RS on Jews : Anthro anti-Semitism

RS on Races : title search