"If these ideas are not true, they should be true.
What we believe shapes the reality.
If we become conscious of these ideas
and hold them, they will become true."
— Dr. Ronald E. Koetzsch
Error in the Air
Late in June, 2009, I began a thread at the waldorf-critics discussion list [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/]. I called it Steiner Static. It consisted of astonishing remarks made by Rudolf Steiner, which I posted with some commentary of my own that I hope is illuminating.
My purpose was to alert parents: Here are the kinds of things Rudolf Steiner asked his followers to believe. Any Waldorf teachers who have studied Steiner and who believe his teachings believe some or all of the following. Is this what you want? Do you feel comfortable receiving guidance from people who believe such things? Do you want those people to "educate" your child?
Here are updated versions of my postings, amplified and corrected. You can follow the thread of my original messages, and the responses, at waldorf-critics. Go to to message 11175 [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/11175] and then trace the subsequent messages marked Re: Steiner Static.
STEINER STATIC is quite long.
This is Part II.
To reach Part I, use this link:
Here are the sections you will find in Parts I and II.
(You can scroll down the pages of Parts I and II
or use these links to jump to sub-pages.)
Part II:OLD MOON, ETC.
You will find a Topic Index at the end of Part II.
— Roger Rawlings
Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear when out of the... But wait. Most of you are too young to remember the Lone Ranger, aren’t you? So, instead, in quiet and scholarly decorum, let’s return to our examination of human evolution, as described by Rudolf Steiner.
As you may recall, our first stage of evolution occurred on/during Old Saturn, and our second stage unfolded during/on Old Sun. In a rhythmic fashion, our solar system emerged from nonphysicality into physical existence (manvantara*) as Saturn, and then it all subsided (pralaya*); then it reemerged as Sun, and then it sank from view again. During the manvantara phases — which we might call periods of manifestation — our ancient predecessors began their crawl upward toward becoming the fine specimens of humanity we are today.
* These are sanskrit terms used in Theosophy. Steiner used them early in his occult career, but later he tended to drop them. Manvantara means coming into existence or activity, and pralaya means subsiding or melting away. More or less. Bear in mind that the "physical" conditions that prevailed during all phases prior to the present were quite different from what we know now.
69) [The Sun Returns] The departure of the Sun was reversed, as it were, when everything collapsed in the post-Old Moon pralaya, but the split would recur. There's a neat chart on p. 357 of THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997) that gives at least a general sense of it all (albeit some of the terminology is Theosophical; Steiner changed to different terms for some things later).
During Old Saturn, we were little more than eggs of warmth, but we began developing our physical bodies, although our consciousness was no higher than utter dullness. We existed at an essentially mineral level (on an evolutionary scale that goes from mineral to plant to animal to human). After Old Saturn sank back out of palpable existence, Old Sun eventually manifested. During Old Sun, we became airy creatures and we began developing our etheric bodies. Our consciousness rose to the equivalent of deep slumber, and we were, in effect, plants or plant-men. Another pralaya followed Old Sun, and then eventually the next manifestation occurred in the form of Old Moon, which I will now describe.
During our Old Moon phase, we gained our astral bodies, our consciousness rose to the level of dreaming sleep, and we became animal-men. Our chief assistants on/during Old Moon were the Sons of Life, aka Spirits of Twilight, aka Angels (gods one level above us). But, as during previous manvantaras, other gods also pitched in.
67) [Bodying Up] “[T]he Fire Spirits [i.e., gods two levels above us] are active in the astral body [i.e., they were active in the formation of our astral bodies, and they remain active there now] ... [W]hat the Fire Spirits produce in the astral body are vivid emotions, love and hate, rage, fear, horror, stormy passions, instincts, impulses and so forth. Because the Spirits of Personality [gods three levels above us]...have previously inoculated this astral body with their nature, these emotions now appear with the character of selfhood, of separateness [i.e., during Old Moon, these gods helped us to start developing spiritual selfhood]. One must now represent to oneself how at that time the ancestor of man [i.e., ourselves as we were then] is constituted on the Moon [i.e., during Old Moon]. He has [i.e., had] a physical body through which in dullness he develops a ‘spirit self’ (Manas [i.e., a reincarnating self]). He has an ether body, through which the Twilight Spirits [gods one level above us] feel joy and pain; and finally he possesses an astral body which, through the Fire Spirits [gods two levels above us], is moved by impulses, emotions, and passions.
“...[The] animal man [i.e., us, having risen from the plant level to the animal level]...is on a higher level than the present-day animals of earth. It possesses the qualities of animality in a more complete way. In a certain respect these are more savage and unbridled than present-day animal qualities.
“...The animal man of the Moon does not yet have firm bones. His skeleton is still cartilaginous. His whole nature is soft, compared to that of today. Hence his mobility too is different. His locomotion is not a walking, but rather a leaping, even a floating. This could be the case because the Moon of that time did not have a thin, airy atmosphere like that of present-day earth, but its envelope was considerably thicker, even denser than the water of today. He moved forward and backward, up and down in this viscous element ... At that time man was not yet developed in the form of two sexes, but only in one. He was made out of this water air. But as everything in the world [i.e., solar system or universe] exists in transitional stages, in the last Moon periods [we went through seven developmental periods during Old Moon], two-sexedness was already developing in a few animal man beings as a preparation for the later condition of the earth [i.e., life on/during Earth: our next period of manavantara].” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY, chapter 16 (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), pp. 192-195.
68) [The Sun Splits] “[A] kind of severance took place at a certain point during the Old Moon embodiment. The Sun, progressing as it was within the cosmic expanse [i.e., the Sun, Moon, etc., were all combined in a single mass], separated from the planetary body [i.e., it split off from the rest of the single mass] together with the finest substances and higher beings. The less progressed part of the planetary body, namely, Old Moon itself, still containing all that constitutes our present earth and present moon, remained as a kind of cloud-body. Certain conditions brought about a densification or hardening on Old Moon and the same happened to the beings inhabiting it ... The subsequent human-animal-plant kingdom that came into existence on Old Moon now received the forces of the Sun from outside ... The Old Moon was like a great organism, living and mobile, on which the beings living might have felt like parasites of today.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN ESOTERICISM (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), lecture 7, GA 109.
In brief, the Sun split and took with it various higher beings. Left on the Moon were lower beings and substances, including you and me as we existed then, as animal-men. We were all together in a nebulous cloud which was the Old Moon, containing what would become our present Earth and Moon. On Old Moon, after the Sun left, everything got denser and harder — that is, more physical: This was preparation for becoming even more physical and descending to our very, very physical earthly existence. Following the departure of the Sun, we could receive the Sun's influence only externally. We crawled over the face of the Moon like lice.
[THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 357.]
We are evolving left to right along each of these scales. At the risk of repeating myself, briefly: We have lived "on" Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, and now we are "on" Earth. (This can get a bit confusing. "Earth" is the planet we live on, but "Present Earth" is the period of evolution we are now going through. The planet Earth existed, in various forms, as part of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, just as the "planets" Saturn, Sun, and Moon exist now, during Present Earth. OK?) At present, during Present Earth, we live in the Mineral Kingdom. (That is, we have not yet become fully human — we are still very densely physical or mineral. We will evolve upward to the Human Kingdom.) Within the Mineral Kingdom, we are presently incarnated in the Physical-Etheric State. (That is, at present we are largely defined by our physical and etheric bodies. This is often called simply the Physical State or the Physical State of Form. We will evolve higher.) Within the Physical-Etheric State, we currently live in the Present Great Epoch. (We left the continent of Atlantis and now we live in the world as we know it now. This is often called the Post-Atlantean Epoch.) Within the Present Great Epoch, we are currently in the Present Cultural Epoch. (Cultural Epochs are far shorter than Great Epochs; there are seven Cultural Epochs in one Great Epoch. Our present Cultural Epoch is sometimes called the Anglo-Germanic Age; the coming Sixth Cultural Epoch is sometimes called the Russian Age; the Seventh Cultural Epoch — the last one in our Great Epoch, which will culminate in the cataclysmic War of All Against All — is sometimes called the American Age. Survivors of the War of All Against All will evolve to the Sixth Great Epoch.) OK?
69a) [Lucifer Rises] Returning to the past: An enormously important event involving the Moon, as it were, was the Luciferic Rebellion, meaning the revolt led by Lucifer. Beings full of Moon essence sought to free themselves from the influences of the good forces in the universe. This had consequence for us, as humans, because the rebels went to work on us, eventually.
“...Certain spiritual beings took an active part in the evolution of mankind just at the time of the moon separation [i.e., the separation of the Moon from Earth, during the Lemurian Age — see the chart], beings who had retained so much of their [Old] Moon nature that they could not participate in the separation of the sun from the earth [i.e., they were to backward or evil to go with the good Sun beings] ... In their Moon nature lay the cause of their rebellion during the ancient Moon evolution [Old Moon] against the sun spirits, a rebellion that was at that time beneficial to the human being by its having led him to an independent state of consciousness [the Luciferic Moon beings rebelled, separating the good from the bad, and thus creating the possibility of freedom: we could choose the white path or the black path (see the section "Freedom," above)] ... The opposing powers [the rebels] had brought with them, out of their Moon nature, the force to work on the human astral body, namely...to make it independent [i.e., separating us from the generality of the solar system, and creating the possibility of free choice] ... If we say [that] the beings endowed with the ancient Moon nature approached the human being in order to ‘seduce’ him for their own ends, we employ a symbolic expression that is good as long as we remain conscious of its symbolical character and are at the same time clear in our own minds that behind the symbol stands a spiritual fact, a spiritual reality [the rebellious Moon beings tried to seduce us into choosing the path of evil; this is only a symbolic way to describe what happened, but it conveys a spiritual truth.]
“...These moon beings...may be called Luciferic spirits [i.e., minions of Lucifer or, in a sense, Lucifer himself, seen as a combined spirit]. These spirits brought to the human being the possibility of unfolding a free activity in his consciousness, but at the same time also the possibility of error, of evil.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 6, GA 13.
70) [Good Old Lucifer] Because Lucifer gave us the gift of potential freedom, Anthroposophists often speak of him as a good god. But note that Steiner says Lucifer also brought us "the possibility of error, of evil.” Heeding Lucifer is dangerous. We may be led into evil, in which case we may descend into states of being that are almost too awful to contemplate. “[T]he human being must conduct himself so as not to be led into the abyss by this adversary.” [Ibid.] Evil is a very real force in Steiner's cosmology, even though his followers sometimes deny it. Lucifer if an "adversary." He may lead us to "error" or "evil." Specifically, he may lead us into the "abyss." According to Steiner, the abyss is akin to hell — it is the region separating us from the spirit realm. If we fall into it, we may be forever cut off from spirituality. (70a): "[T]here is also an opposing principle to the Lamb [Christ], there is also a Sun-Demon [the Antichrist], the so-called Demon of the Sun, that works with the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is trust out of the evolution that leads to the sun [i.e., the realm of Christ, the Sun God] ... [They will] be thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198.
71) [A Future Moon] In discussing the Moon, and Old Moon, and the fate of evil humans, we should leap far ahead for just one moment. Following our lives during Present Earth, we will evolve to Future Jupiter, then Future Venus, and then Future Vulcan. (I may have mentioned this before.) Aberrant humans will be dropped off or pushed out at various stages, although often the good humans will reach back in an effort to redeem the wicked. Eventually a more or less complete separation between the good and evil will occur during Future Venus. The good will continue evolving — they will go on to Future Vulcan. But the evil will be split off to reside in a moon created to serve as their penal colony. “During that state [Old Venus] a special cosmic body splits off [i.e., will split off] that contains all the beings who have resisted evolution, a so to speak ‘irredeemable moon,’ which now moves toward an evolution, for the character of which no expression can be found because it is too dissimilar to anything that man can experience on earth [i.e., the remaining bad souls will be segregated on a separate “moon” where they will undergo an unimaginable fate]. The evolved mankind, however, advances [i.e., will advance] in a completely spiritualized existence to the Vulcan evolution [i.e., Future Vulcan], the description of which does not lie within the scope of this book [i.e., all the good souls will go to Vulcan, where they will undergo a wonderful evolution — which, sad to say, Steiner declines to describe].” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 6, GA 13.
You may be asking yourself how Steiner knew all this, and — more to the point — why so many Waldorf teachers believe all this. But maybe we shouldn't ask. It can be disillusioning. (The answer is clairvoyance, dreams, astrology, and so forth. Delusion. Fantasy. Imagination.)
After Old Moon, we evolved to Present Earth. We'll pick up the story in a future installment.
72) As we all know, Steiner described the spirit realm precisely as it really is, thanks to his use of “exact clairvoyance.” [See "Exactly".] Nonetheless, he missed a few tricks. I would encourage all occultists to expand their reading beyond Steiner’s own books and lectures. Here is a brief recommended reading list, culled from various publishers' catalogues:
As I hope is plain, this installment of Steiner Static is a joke. But it has a serious side. Anthroposophy shares a dark, occult corner with other, equally bizarre belief systems. Naturally, Anthroposophists claim that their occultism is different from other, false forms of occultism. But, then, believers in non-Anthropop occultism would defend their beliefs in precisely the same way. And, in fact, the books I've listed are typical of reading matter that Anthroposophists occasionally dip into when they are not studying Steiner. I've seen many such books on Anthroposophists' bookshelves, including in the homes of Waldorf teachers. [For a survey of Anthroposophists' mystical interests, see THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT, quoted in the Semi-Steiner Dictionary.] Occultists are often indiscriminate, extending at least partial credence to wide swaths of otherworldly nonsense, finding "confirmation" of their own beliefs in the widespread acceptance of vaguely similar beliefs. Indeed, Steiner himself read many books of the kind I've listed, if perhaps at a higher level of occult plausibility. His doctrines are an amalgam of concepts he derived from his extensive reading — he even took some of his ideas from occultist fiction. (“Central to the spiritual work on inner development is what Rudolf Steiner calls (following Bulwer Lytton, who introduced the term in his Rosicrucian novel ZANONI)....” — Christopher Bamford, introduction to START NOW! (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), a collection of Steiner's teachings, p. 243 — the reference is to the concept of the Guardian of the Threshold.)
So I'm joking. But I'm also, sadly, serious. Here are a few titles from Anthroposophical publishing houses, books by authors other than Steiner, sometimes mildly at odds with his views, yet far removed from reality, and generally endorsing Steinerish occultism. I'll repeat: These books come from Anthroposophical publishing houses:
That last is my personal favorite. The publisher's description includes this: "The fairyland and its denizens have long been the concern of poets, painters, and storytellers. Not only are these beings [sic: the fairies, not the poets, et al] charged with the maintenance of Nature’s household but with her evolutionary plans as well. Our recognition of them and their work helps their efforts prosper and helps the earth be carried forward in its evolution. Marjorie Spock draws aside the veil obscuring the life of the 'Little People' and makes their magic world come alive for us. Included are color paintings of the four races of Little People: Undines or water spirits, Gnomes, the earth spirits, Sylphs, or air spirits, and the Fire-Spirits." As you may know, Steiner taught that gnomes, sylphs, and other such beings really exist. Really.
Is there no limit to human gullibility?
The reasons for our gullibility are plain enough. We want to deny our limitations. Most urgently we want to deny or defeat death. And we want to live in a world that is more magical, more wondrous, and more easily comprehensible than our rational brains tell us the real world is.
What is also plain, although often overlooked, is our capacity to lie to ourselves — and to believe our own sad and silly lies.
73) [Woody and the Demons] “Woodrow Wilson...describes things magnificently [in his writings], but as though he is possessed by subconscious influences. There is a quality of demonic possession in his writings.” — Rudolf Steiner, HOW DO I FIND THE CHRIST? (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006), pp. 45-46.
Background: Woodrow Wilson, a scholar and former president of Princeton University, was 28th President of the United States. In 1917, he led the US into World War I, against Germany. He set forth a 14-point plan for peace, was influential at the Versailles peace conference, helped found the League of Nations, and in 1919 won the Noble Peace Prize.
According to Steiner, Wilson was possessed by demons; he could not think; he was a plagiarist; he was a mere non-Waldorf schoolmaster; an idol; a secret king; the reincarnation of a Muslim warlord; a typical Westerner; a spiritual giraffe; and other not-nice stuff.
Note: Ahriman is one of the arch-demons in Anthroposophical belief; Ahrimanic forces are Ahriman's foul influences and powers. See, e.g, Ahriman and Evil Ones.
74) [Woody, Vlad, and 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.
75) [Woody the Nincompoop] “A Greek would never have uttered so much nonsense about Egyptian conceptions as Woodrow Wilson is able to think in one week about European conceptions — if one can call it thinking!” — Rudolf Steiner, ANCIENT MYTHS (Steiner Book Centre, 1971), lecture 1, GA 180.
76) [Woody the Schoolmaster Idol] ”Schoolmastering is utterly and entirely unable to fulfill its mission today. What ranks as Schoolmastering is completely foreign to the true being of man [except, presumably, in Waldorf schools]. But the world threatens to be ruled by a schoolmaster [Woodrow Wilson], revered through political idolatry.” — Rudolf Steiner, ANCIENT MYTHS (Steiner Book Centre, 1971), lecture 6, GA 180.
77) [Woody the Abstract Thinker] ”[T]he talent for abstraction demonstrated in Woodrow Wilson is the ultimate talent for abstraction in the political field. Those fourteen points of the world's schoolmaster [i.e., President Wilson's peace plan], which in every word bear the stamp of the impractical and unachievable, could only originate in a mind wholly formed for the abstract, with no discernment whatever for true realities ... [They are] the humbug of the fourteen points of Woodrow Wilson.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MYSTERIES OF LIGHT, OF SPACE, AND OF THE EARTH (Anthroposophy Press, 1945), lecture 4, GA 194.
For Steiner, abstract thinking — intellectual thinking —was the worst. Steiner said that really knowledge comes from clairvoyance, and true thoughts are "living thoughts" — ideas implanted in us in our spiritual lives before birth on Earth. [See "Clairvoyance" and "Thinking".] Woodrow Wilson, Steiner alleged, epitomized all that is wrong with modern thought and life.
78) [The Real Woody] “Muavija [who led the Islamic assault on Europe] is a representative spirit in the first century after Mohammed ... If you follow the campaigns and observe the forces that were put into operation under Muavija, you will realise that this eagerness to push forward towards the West was combined with tremendous driving power ... If we follow this Muavija, one of the earliest successors of the Prophet, as he passes along the undercurrent and then appears again, we find Woodrow Wilson [sic: emphasis by Steiner; he was saying that Wilson is the reincarnation of Muavija].” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 10, GA 235.
79) [King Woody the Plagiarist] “I may be allowed to be somewhat outspoken about Wilson...who sits on the throne of America ... [T]he man who now occupies the throne of America drafted [i.e., plagiarized] his most powerful republican document from one issued by the late Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro, in 1864. Wilson copied this exactly except that the passage, ‘I must intervene in the interests of South America’ is altered to ‘I must intervene in the interests of the United States of America,’ etc., with the necessary recasting.” — Rudolf Steiner, EARTHLY DEATH AND COSMIC LIFE (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1927), lecture 1, GA 181.
80) [Woody's Long Neck] “To use a figure of speech employed, I believe, by that deeply spiritual writer, Rabindranath Tagore, the Westerner is pre-eminently a ‘head-man.’ The oriental is a ‘heart-man,’ for he experiences the process of metabolism in his heart; the Middle European is the ‘breath-man.’ He stands in a rhythmic relationship to the outer world through the rhythmic processes within him. Tagore compares the Westerner to a spiritual giraffe because he raises everything into abstractions — into abstractions such as gave rise, for instance, to the ‘Fourteen Points’ of President Wilson. Speaking in the sense of spiritual reality, one feels that the Westerner's head is separated from the rest of his body by a long neck.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Peoples of the Earth in the Light of Anthroposophy” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1980), GA 335.
81) [Empty Woody and Modern Decline] “[T]he general course of modern civilisation will inevitably involve the disappearance of much that is still greatly to men's taste ... [A] very disagreeable awakening is in store ... [W]hat must be regarded as imminent is a great spiritual battle between East and West, in which the true culture of Middle Europe, as we have come to know it in recent weeks, will be crushed ... [W]e have got to the pitch of having no content at all in our ideas; because this twentieth century has had to give us an example of a man, hailed by vast numbers as a world-leader whose utterances have absolutely no meaning — Woodrow Wilson, who only utters phrases which have completely lost their content.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Coming Experience of Christ” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1952), GA 200.
What in the world did Rudolf Steiner have against poor Woodrow Wilson? And what, if anything, can this tell us about Steiner?
Wilson was, we must acknowledge, easy to dislike. A self-righteous moralist, he presented himself to the world as both a political and a spiritual authority. His thinking was, however, largely secular, whereas Steiner's was — by his own account — occultist. [See "Occultism".] Steiner probably disliked Wilson from the moment he caught wind of him. But later, Wilson committed truly unforgivable sins. As US President, Wilson refused to acknowledge the justice of German's war aims; he failed to accept or comprehend the glorious German national mission and spirit. Wilson claimed a position of moral superiority vis-a-vis both Germany's foes and, unforgivably, Germany itself. Moreover, despite his professed neutrality, Wilson betrayed an unspoken bias in favor of Great Britain, and eventually he led his nation into war as an ally of Great Britain — he pitted the material wealth and might of the USA against Steiner’s beloved Germany. And at the end of the war, Wilson presided over the drafting of the Versailles treaty, which was extremely harsh on Germany. Steiner, revered by so many as a great spirit with a universal perspective, was actually very much a man of his time and place. An ardent German nationalist, he took his nation's affairs to heart. [See "Steiner and the Warlord".] He was, at least occasionally, chauvinistic, small-minded, and vindictive — like most of us, in our own ways, in our own lands. And that’s the point. Steiner was like everyone else. He was just a guy. He pretended to be far more, and some people believed him. They treated him the way Steiner said people treated Wilson: as an idol, upon a throne. But he was just a guy who happened to lie a lot and make many, many amazingly false statements. A fool, in other words — like the rest of us, only perhaps a bit more so. (Most of us don't create phony religions, quack forms of medicine, loopy agricultural practices, and the like. Steiner did.)
This is an important insight we need to bear in mind. Steiner was just like everyone else, despite his claims. He was worse than most of us, in some ways: He was an Elmer Gantry, a Marjoe, a Jim Bakker. A fake. But fundamentally, he was just a guy.
And here’s another important insight we can gain. Begging your indulgence, I will now return to quote #73, above, and spin it out at greater length. I think you’ll find it illuminating. Comparing the work of Herman Grimm, a German, and Woodrow Wilson, the demonic American, Steiner said:
82 [73 redux]) [Woody and the Demons, Redux] ”I love the way Herman Grimm writes, while Woodrow Wilson’s style is something quite alien and distasteful to me ... I set particular passages of Grimm and Wilson next to each other ... There are sentences and passages which are almost perfectly interchangeable, which are nearly identical word for word ... [But] when two people say the same thing, they are in fact saying something different ... What is strange about the fact that Woodrow Wilson describes [various] things in sentences that seem almost to have been lifted wholesale from the passages of Herman Grimm? In every sentence and passage that Herman Grimm wrote we can sense the personal, individual effort, the struggle. Everything he writes about is expressed from the standpoint of nineteenth century culture, but imbued by the direct promptings of the consciousness soul. Woodrow Wilson, on the other hand, describes things magnificently, but as though he is possessed by subconscious influences. There is a quality of demonic possession in his writings.” — HOW DO I FIND THE CHRIST?, pp. 44-46.
In this odd little passage about an odd little subject — the writing styles of Hermann Grimm and Woodrow Wilson — we find Steiner’s entire epistemological method. And we find its unintentional self-refutation. Steiner did not look at things, he tried to look through them to their spiritual essence. But this amounted to projecting his own preferences, wishes, and biases, and then mistaking those projections for objective reality. Grimm and Wilson used virtually the same words, yet Steiner found the results completely different. Grimm good, Wilson bad.
“When two people say the same thing, they are in fact saying something different.” Actually, no. When two people say the same thing, they say the same thing. I don’t want to be frivolous. Of course, slight differences in wording can make large differences. And context can change our understanding. Thus, I would stipulate that Hitler’s celebrations of the German soul were different from the similar celebrations expressed by Steiner. But such differences do not stem from spiritual “realities” ascertainable only by clairvoyance. They are real, verifiable, rationally comprehensible differences that can be discerned in the words themselves, especially when these are read in the context of the authors' other words. But truly identical statements have identical denotations — their meanings are the same.
Steiner loved Grimm’s work and he found Wilson’s “alien and distasteful.” Quite clearly, considering the context provided by the other quotations I have given, Steiner felt a deep-seated hostility toward Wilson, at least in part for geopolitical reasons. This had nothing to do with the quality of Wilson’s “soul” (which Steiner, just a guy like the rest of us, could not directly observe); nor did it have to do with any demons inhabiting Wilson’s soul (beings that Steiner, just a guy like the rest of us, could not directly observe — in part because such beings probably do not exist anywhere, inside or outside anyone’s soul). Rather, it is quite clear that Steiner merely projected his beliefs and biases onto the words of Grimm and Wilson.
Try an experiment. This is one of the mental exercises I devised for myself when working to undo the occultist conditioning I’d received in a Waldorf school. Look at a photograph and “feel” the qualities in it. For example, look at a photo of an attractive young woman with long, blonde, wavy hair. Now, tell yourself that the woman is German. You may quickly convince yourself that, indeed, only a German would look just like that — an Aryan sort of look, a set of qualities that are distinctly Germanic. Then, without even taking your eyes from the photo, tell yourself a different story: This woman is English, a professional model living in London during the 1960s. Yes, yes. You will quickly see that she is a Carnaby Street chick, distinctly British and mod. Next, still keeping your eyes glued to the photo, tell yourself that the woman is Russian, a Slav. Of course, distinctly so! Where else but in Moscow or Leningrad could one meet such an ice princess — those cold eyes, those almost Asiatic lips, that wrinkled wintry hair?
I still do this exercise from time to time, and I still find that I can “feel” the differences, the deep “spiritual” truths, within a photo, and I can change them at will, instantly. This is what we humans do all the time. We imagine, we invent, and we tell ourselves that our imagined inventions are real. This is what Steiner did. And it is what we all have to stop doing if we are ever to be rational, and stop hating each other for no reason, and stop following Elmer Gantrys like Steiner.
By the way: I should clarify that I am no fan of Woodrow Wilson. There are many reasons to criticize Wilson. But they are not the imagined spiritual reasons Steiner gave (Ahriman, demons, reincarnation...), nor can they be found in Steiner’s nationalistic rancor.
Not so much by the way: Notice how Steiner’s “spiritual insight,” fueled by his nationalism, quickly lapses over into racism and horror: Asians are this, Westerners are that; and “what must be regarded as imminent is a great spiritual battle between East and West, in which the true culture of Middle Europe...will be crushed.” Look again at quotation #81, please, in which Steiner forecasts a war between East and West. He predicted this war on other occasions, as well, and sometimes he couched the forecast in clearly racial terms.: (83): “[T]he transition from the fifth cultural epoch to the sixth cultural epoch cannot happen differently than as a violent fight between white mankind and colored mankind in the most varied areas.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 38.
No. We must not have any such war. The concept is horrible; it is evil. And to the degree that Steiner preached such bile, his doctrines are evil.
P.S. Back to Herman Grimm and Woodrow Wilson and their identical but completely different words:
84) [Herm & Woody] “I have drawn attention to the same point — how surprising it is to compare the essays on Historic Method by Hermann Grimm, who stood so fully within the German mid-European culture of the nineteenth century, with essays on the same subject by Woodrow Wilson ... [I]t is possible to take over certain sentences from Woodrow Wilson and insert them bodily in Hermann Grimm's essays, for they are almost word-for-word identical with sentences in Hermann Grimm ... The difference is this: in Hermann Grimm, everything — even passages with which one cannot agree — has been struggled for, it has been conquered step by step, sentence by sentence. In Woodrow Wilson, on the other hand, it is as though his own inner demon, by which he is possessed in his subconsciousness, had instilled it all into his consciousness ... In our period of civilisation it is even possible for a Professor [i.e., Wilson], dabbling in politics, to write on an important matter something that agrees word-for-word with that which springs from a knowledge of realities; but the word-for-word agreement is not the point. What matters is the region of the human soul [sic; emphasis by Steiner] from which things spring. We must look through the words of speech to the region whence things derive.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Evil and the Future of Man” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1985), GA 185.
Perhaps we should look into one another’s souls, but we cannot. And no amount of pretending will change this. We need to try hard to understand one another, but we must do this rationally, on the basis of knowledge and good will, not occult imaginings.
85) [Too Many Jesuses: Two] Did you know that there were actually two Jesuses? “[I]n preparation for the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., the Crucifixion] two Jesus-children were born. The one was the Jesus who descended from the line of Solomon and bore the Ego of Zarathustra. The other, coming from the Nathan line of the House of David, was a very special Being. In the twelfth year of the life of the latter the Ego of Zarathustra passed over into him from the child of the line of Solomon, and from that time until his thirtieth year the Nathan child with the Ego of Zarathustra made himself ready to receive the Christ-Being.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Pre-Earthly Deeds of Christ” (Steiner Book Centre, 1976), GA 152.
This is not your father’s Christianity. But it is Steiner's. [See "Was He Christian?".]
Steiner’s heresies and plain confusions can be explained, however. You see,
86) [“Truth”] “The concepts of ‘true’ and ‘false’ are dreadfully barren, prosaic, and formal. The moment we rise to the truths of the spiritual world, we can no longer speak of ‘true’ and ‘false’....” — Rudolf Steiner, DEEPER INSIGHTS INTO EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1983), p. 29.
This is a rather odd statement, coming from someone whose profession was the dissemination of spiritual truths. Indeed, Steiner said the following about foolish people who childishly failed to receive the truths he dispensed: (86a): “Those who come to me wanting to hear the truths available through esotericism and nevertheless refuse to walk the path are like schoolchildren who want to electrify a glass rod [but] refuse to rub it.” — Rudolf Steiner, FIRST STEPS IN INNER DEVELOPMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 25.
There was a tactical advantage for Steiner in occasionally denying that the concepts "true" and "false" can be applied to his teachings. If the things he said cannot be judged in such terms, then he can never be judged to have said anything false, can he? (Or can he?)
(We might note, in passing, the great oddness of saying that when we consider "the truths of the spiritual world" ("truths," note), we must stop thinking in terms of truth. One truth of the spirit world seems to be that there are no truths of the spirit world. In the real world, this is called a contradiction. And contradicting yourself in the span of 19 words (“The concepts of ‘true’ and ‘false’ are dreadfully barren, prosaic, and formal. The moment we rise to the truths...") does not inspire much confidence.)
Moving on: From time to time we must grit our teeth and hear more of Steiner’s racial views. So grit:
87) [The Value of White Skin] “[T]he impregnation of the flesh by the spirit is the characteristic mission, the overall mission of white mankind. People have white skin because the spirit works in the skin when it wants to come down to the physical plain ... [W]here the spirit has not yet worked as spirit...where it assumes a demonic character, not fully penetrating the flesh, white skin coloring does not occur.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), p. 37.
Such statements almost boggle the mind. But Steiner was, after all, just a guy (see the section "Woodrow", above), and as a guy of his times he shared the biases and blindnesses of his time. So he was a racist, as most Europeans and Americans were in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Still, shouldn't we expect more from a spiritual leader, especially one who claimed to have clairvoyant powers that allowed him to perceive divine spiritual truths (oops)? But Steiner was insistent about the importance of skin color" (87a): "One can only understand history and all of social life, including today's social life, if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1993) p. 52.
Steiner was equally insistent about the advantages enjoyed by people having very little pigmentation (i.e., whites): (87b): “If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86.
The polite response to such backward thinking is, I submit: Humbug.
Leaving the horrible subject or racism, let’s do a quick bit of review, preparing ourselves to learn about human life on Earth, which I’ll delve into in our next installment. Before we came to Earth, stuff like this was going on:
88) [Cosmic Sex] “Between one condition (Sun) and the other (Moon), it came about that the human being became a physical being in water. Formerly he was a physical being only in air. During this Moon condition we have [i.e., had] something similar to conception, but not yet anything similar to birth. What was the nature of this conception during the ancient Moon condition? [paragraph break] The Moon was there, an entirely female being ... Seeds came in from outside and fructified the whole Moon-Earth [i.e., the combined "planet" containing both Moon and Earth]. And if you could have lived at that time and set foot on this primeval cosmic body, you would not have said when you saw all sorts of drops coming in ‘It is raining,’ as one says today. At that time you would have said, ‘Earth is being fructified.’" — Rudolf Steiner, EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1987) , p. 11.
To remind you: During the Old Saturn stage of evolution, we had been clouds of warmth, beings who were essentially at the mineral level of development. During Old Sun, we became airy plant-like beings. During Old Moon, we were soft-boned, gliding, leaping, animalish creatures. Old Moon then winked out of physical existence, taking us with it. We rested up (pralaya), getting ready for our next manifestation, one that will seem a bit more familiar: We came to Earth (i.e., the incorporeal solar system reemerged into a new form of physical manifestation, and we were part of this): We entered the period of evolution called Present Earth. [To review the previous periods, see the sections, above, titled "Old Saturn", "Old Sun", and "Old Moon."]
Present Earth consists of seven epochs. We have already passed through four of these (the Polarian, Hyperborean, Lemurian, and Atlantean epochs), and we are currently living in the fifth, the Post-Atlantean Epoch. In this installment of Steiner Static, we will look at the Polarian and Hyperborean epochs, in addition to getting an overview of the entire Present Earth period up to the present (in fact, we're getting part of that overview right now).
At the beginning of Present Earth, during the Polarian Epoch, we were still far less than solid — we were not at all physical as we understand the term today. Conditions then were still soft and fluid, and most phenomena of the solar system were still intermingled, so that the Sun and Moon, for instance, were still united with the Earth:
89) [Polarian Epoch] “Let us again call to mind that, in the beginning of its development, our Earth was united with Sun and Moon. At that point man had arisen once more out of the earliest germ which comprised physical, etheric, and astral bodies [i.e., we had preliminary versions of such bodies]; he appeared, so to speak, in his first earthly form — the only one possible to him while the Earth still contained both Sun and Moon. This period of Earth evolution, which man experienced in common with his planet, is usually called in the literature of spiritual science, the ‘Polarian’ period. It would lead too far to explain today why this period is called ‘Polarian’; meanwhile let us simply accept the term.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1948), p. 66.
Saturn became the first planet to separate from the Earth, doing so during the Polarian Epoch. As for ourselves: As beings of the Polarian period, we were members of the Polarian Race. As such, we incarnated only to a very thin and insubstantial degree; we were primarily etheric bodies:
90) [Polarians: Us] “In the so-called Polarian Race...the etheric body was the most important. Man's whole body [i.e., the combination of our three bodies] at that time consisted of fine etheric substance. Only later did the etheric body densify by permeating itself with physical matter ... [During the Polarian Epoch] man was not fettered to the ground as he is today. He hovered through the etheric earth, and his organs, too, were etheric.’” — Rudolf Steiner, “(On) Apocalyptic Writings” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture, October 10,1904.
Steiner had a disconcerting way of distancing himself from his own words, as when he referred to the “so-called Polarian race.” What he meant, usually, was that words can hardly describe the amazing things he told us about (in words). Anyway, we got more solidly physical during succeeding epochs, and eventually we manifested the “I”, our true human spiritual essence or ego.
91) [Self Am I] During Present Earth, we finally became human.* Prior to Present Earth, we had been working our way up toward human status — which is to say, we were evolving toward the time when we would acquire our I's. The I is a human being's fourth invisible body, higher than the astral body. It is sometimes called the ego body. It is the spark of divinity that gives each of us an individual, unique spiritual identity. You and you alone have your particular I; no one being has that unique, precious individual identity. It is you (in a sense); you are it (in a sense). Only you can say "I" about yourself.
No beings lower than ourselves possess I's. Animals don't have them, nor do plants nor minerals. But all beings above us have acquired I's in their own time, ahead of us. Those beings — gods — have evolved through their own human stages on their way toward still higher stages. The Spirits of Personality (gods three levels above us) gained their I's during Old Saturn; the Spirits of Fire (gods two levels above us) gained their during Old Sun; the Sons of Twilight (gods one level above us) gained their during Old Moon. While all of that was happening, we trailed behind, starting to develop our physical bodies during Old Saturn, our etheric bodies during Old Sun, and our astral bodies during Old Moon. Only during Present Earth would we, at long last, become sufficiently evolved to develop our I's. Only then would we be able to say,
“I am the self
the self am I,
the spirit in my heart
is the self.”
— from a Steiner-written meditation, BREATHING THE SPIRIT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 55.
92) [Hyperborea] The second phase of life on Earth was the Hyperborean Epoch. Like other epochs, it saw phenomena and capacities separating from one another. The Sun separated from the Earth during the Hyperborean Epoch. Equally important, human beings (who were not yet human, remember) gradually became more distinct and particularized — this was part of the process of individuation, the development of human selfhood. Previously, all parts of our bodies performed virtually all functions interchangeably; we did not have separate organs for separate functions. But slowly separate organs did form and our various senses started to become distinct from one another:
“One must imagine the perceptual world [i.e., the world that could be apprehended during the Hyperborean Epoch] of these ancestors of man [i.e., ourselves, before we became human] to have been a quite general and indefinite one. Only two of the types of perception of today had already become separated: the sense of hearing and the sense of touch. Because of the changes that had taken place in the body as well as in the physical environment, the entire human form was no longer capable of being, in a manner of speaking, an 'ear'. A special part of the body remained capable of reverberating to delicate vibrations. It furnished the material from which our organ of hearing gradually developed. However, approximately the whole remainder of the body continued to be the organ of touch.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), p. 114.
The Polarian and Hyperborean Epochs — preliminary stages, on Earth, in our evolution toward becoming fully-fledged I's* — are hard to visualize. Here is how they are described in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia:
Polarian Epoch - also see astral plane; epochs; ether; Hyperborean Epoch; Old Saturn; Present Earth
Hyperborean Epoch - also see Earth; epochs; great epochs; Lemuria; Polarian Epoch; solar Pitris
Our Earthly lives became a bit more recognizable in the two following epochs, the Lemurian and Atlantean. We will get to these in future installments of Steiner Static.
* Becoming fully human, fully possessing our I's, is a complex, lengthy process. According to Steiner, the ancient Norse god Thor has had a lot to do with fostering our I's. [See "The Gods".] But far more important has been Christ, the Sun God, who incarnated on Earth and gave us the impetus to develop our true human potential. We could not have true I's until He showed us the way. [See "Sun God".] The I is, in a sense, a gift from the Sun. In a perhaps less precise sense, the I comes to us from the "cosmic I," the I of the universe, the divinity that infuses and directs all. [See the entry for "I", in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
During our current period within Present Earth, we have I's — but we are not yet fully human: We have not yet reached the Human Kingdom of Present Earth. (See the third scale in the chart reprinted in the section on "Old Moon, Etc.", above.) We are still terribly, densely physical — we are at the "mineral" level within Earth evolution — we must evolve considerably before we reach the "human" level. Then again, we will not perfect ourselves in a higher sense until Future Vulcan. By then, we will be superhuman; but only then will we fully comprehend (and thus possess) our I's. Our "higher I's" exist in the spirit realm; our "lower I's" are with us in our lives of incarnation. We will not truly be I's until we fully unite with our higher I's. We might call this the real formation of the spiritual ego or I. "Not till the Vulcan period [i.e., Future Vulcan], after the Jupiter and Venus evolutions [i.e., Future Jupiter and Future Venus] are completed, will the Ego [the "I"] be formed [i.e., fully, truly formed].” — R. Steiner, THE FORMING OF DESTINY AND LIFE AFTER DEATH (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1927), lecture 3, GA 157a.
During Earthly life for us now, in the Post-Atlantean Epoch, we posses I's or egos, to some degree. They incarnate at a particular stage of individual evolution or development in this life: at about age 21. The physical body incarnates at birth, Steiner said, the etheric body incarnates around age seven, the astral body incarnates at around age 14, and the I incarnates at around age 21. [See "Incarnation".]
93a) Steiner taught that we will perfect imagination during the Future Jupiter stage of evolution. Imagination, you see, is "Jupiter consciousness": “In the Jupiter-evolution [i.e., Future Jupiter] man will himself have the consciousness which is possessed today by the beings whom we call Angels, Angeloi ... Men are growing in their present development into the Jupiter consciousness....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 7, GA 102.
93) [Reading the Hidden Script] “When the [candidate for initiation] has got so far as to have an experience of Intuition, then in addition to having knowledge of the pictures that belong to the world of soul and spirit, and being able to read from the Hidden Script how these pictures are interrelated, he also comes to know the Beings through whose co-operation the world to which man belongs has been called into existence [i.e., the gods who assisted in the creation of our world].” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 296.
Waldorf schools emphasize intuition, inspiration, and especially imagination. In Steiner’s teachings, all three of these “faculties” are stages in the development of clairvoyance, stages on the path to initiation in the occult mysteries of Anthroposophy. Intuition is the highest of the three — higher than a child would likely attain. But Waldorf schools try to set kids' feet on the path leading toward eventual occult initiation. [See "Thinking Cap" and "Inside Scoop".]
As for the “Hidden Script” — that is the Akashic Record, a celestial encyclopedia that you can read if, and only if, you become clairvoyant. [See "Akasha".]
93b) We will perfect inspiration during Future Venus. It is "Venus consciousness": "[T]he ‘Venus consciousness’ [will] appear during the sixth cycle of Venus [i.e., during the sixth phase of Future Venus].” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1981), pp. 162-163.
93c) Perfected intuition will become ours during Future Vulcan. Then we will, at least provisionally, reach our developmental goal. "The last planet [i.e., planetary condition or condition of consciousness] which can still be counted among the series of earthly transformations, and hence follows Venus [i.e., Future Venus], is called 'Vulcan' by mystery science [i.e., Future Vulcan]. On this planet the provisional goal of the development of mankind is attained." — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 13, GA 11.
94) [Adding It Up] Lurking behind Waldorf education are such occult beliefs as astrology and numerology. Here is Steiner embracing both of these two fallacies, discussing the length of time required for the completion of a full cycle of astrological ages (i.e., twelve periods when the constellations of the zodiac become predominant, one after the other, for many centuries at a stretch). He links this enormous stretch of time to the number of breaths a human being takes in a year. Which proves what? Well, in reality, it proves nothing. But for mystics like Steiner, such coincidences have great “meaning.” Waldorf students may be led into a similarly credulous ("oh, wow") state of mind. I know. I was there.
“The essential thing to bear in mind is that the vernal point [the beginning of spring] advances along the whole Zodiac circle, so that the point where the sun rises is always a little further on [in the Zodiac, in succeeding years]. The vernal point must travel along the whole Zodiac and it will then return to its point of departure. The time required for this will be about 25,920 years ... On the average, a human being breathes 18 times a minute ... In one hour this would be equal to 18 x 60 = 1,080. In 24 hours: 1,080 x 24 = 25,920, that is to say, 25,920 times ... This is extremely important, for it shows us that our respiratory process, that is to say, something which takes place within our human being, is subjected to the same rhythm — differing only in time — as the rhythm which, on a large scale, lies at the foundation of the rhythm of the sun's course.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Man's Position in the Cosmic Whole, the Platonic World-Year” (ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET, 1940, No. 1-2) GA 174.
All very true, more or less, as far as it goes. Except that the Sun’s “course” as determined in astrological terms is an illusion. And the zodiac is a illusion. And different people breathe at different rates, so the magic number 25,920 doesn’t apply to all of them. In fact, none of this applies to anyone or anything, since it is all a pile of — shall we just say silliness? [The math Steiner uses is, actually, quite imprecise. See "Mystic Math".]
By the way, consider what it means for a “rhythm” to differ from another “rhythm” “only in time.” Two rhythms differing in time are fundamentally different, not the same.
Anyway. Back to the zodiac. Steiner sometimes taught that we reincarnate once per astrological age — that is, once every 2,160 years (25,920 / 12), give or take.* This is extremely important. Except that it isn’t, since reincarnation is a fantasy. Students at Waldorf schools, however, will be taught by people who believe in it, and in astrology, and in meaningless numerical wonders. (One more quick example: Steiner once calculated that the demon Ahriman reached his greatest power in the year 333 BC. Likewise, Steiner said that the need for humans to reenter the celestial hierarchies began in the year 333 AD. Now, adding 333 to 333, we get — ta da! — 666, the Mark of the Beast. All of which proves — what? Nothing. But Steiner and his followers think it has great significance. — Rudolf Steiner, GUARDIAN ANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 96-97.]
95) [The Dead and The Undead] What else do Waldorf teachers believe in? We might better ask what mystical fantasies don’t they believe in? If the accept Steiner’s word for things (as they do), they believe, for instance, that we can communicate with the dead. (For instance, see the book STAYING CONNECTED: How to Continue Your Relations with Those Who Have Died (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), consisting of wisdom provided by Rudolf Steiner.)
According to Steiner, the dead are living presences in our lives. They may also become unliving/undead presences, if mad scientists have their way: “There will also....be many attempts to introduce the dead into human life by artificial means. The dead will be brought into human life via a detour through Gemini....” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 192.
96) [Machine-Animals] Here’s another example of the sorts of nightmares Steiner spread. I’ll take it from the same book I just quoted from — in fact, I’ll take it from the same page. Steiner said that evil wizards or scientists will “detach the mechanism of life somewhat from the human being ... The cosmic forces brought in from this direction will produce remarkable machines, machines that can be labour-saving for people because they will contain a degree of intelligence. And it will be the task of a science of the spirit concerned with the cosmos [could he mean Anthroposophy?] to ensure that all the great temptations emanating from these machine-animals created by human beings themselves will be unable to have any damaging influence on them.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 192. Now you know why Waldorf schools are so down on computers and other labour-saving “machine animals” that have “a degree of intelligence.” Thank goodness a “science of the spirit” is standing guard! [If you want to look more into the Waldorf take on technology, you might study THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN, by David B. Black, published by the Rudolf Steiner College Press. It explains how computers embody the arch-demon Ahriman. Also see, e.g., "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".]
To give you a feel for the sort of mood and thinking that prevail inside Waldorf schools — what I have sometimes called the schools’ spiritualistic vibe — I’d like to quote a few of Rudolf Steiner’s meditations. They are bits of spiritual enlightenment he gave to his followers. Meditate upon these wonderful words. Waldorf faculty members often have such words ringing in their minds.
97) [The Living I]
“In the distance beckons spirit image
and the spirit image is with God
and a God is the spirit image;
in him is the living I
and the living I is the light of human beings.”
— Rudolf Steiner, BREATHING THE SPIRIT: Meditations for Times of Day and Seasons of the Year
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 53.
Note how the meditation moves from “God” to “a God,” implying the existence of other gods. Anthroposophy embraces the ideal of a single, ultimate God, but it affirms the reality of many gods. [See "Polytheism".] The image of spiritual fulfillment — with God — beckons. The image is a God, implicitly Christ, the Sun God* — who, as the living Word, is with God. The “I” is the human spiritual ego. In the image of our future selves we perceive our higher “I”: Christ, the living light that guides us, empowering the "I." As we emulate Him, we ourselves may become the living I, the light, with God.
* 98) “Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 277. [See "Sun God".]
99) [Spirit Pastures]
“In the airy light of spirit land
blossom the roses of the soul,
and their red streams out
into earth’s heaviness — in us
is condensed into heart form,
raying back in the vigorous blood
to spirit pastures once again
as earth’s pink and rosy red.”
— Rudolf Steiner, BREATHING THE SPIRIT, p. 41.
Steiner taught that colors have occult power. Red is especially potent, being associated with roses, hearts, and blood.* Roses represent love and, especially, Christ’s love.** Christ, symbolized as the roses of the soul, blossoms in the light of spirit land and streams down to us. Earth and we on Earth are heavy with the the density of physical embodiment and the receipt of Christ’s blood. Divine red flows to Earth, and then — out of us — back into spirit land and its bucolic pastures. The fresh pink and rosy red bespeak our fulfillment of the Christ impulse, the spiritual/evolutionary empowerment Christ bestowed.
* 100) [Blood] Blood has both physical and occult significance. [See Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Health Research Books, 1972).] Blood determines racial and other characteristics. It is vigorous, moving of it own vital force. “The heart is not a pump, however, but only reflects what goes on in the body: the heart beats faster when the blood circulates faster.” — Rudolf Steiner, NUTRITION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008), p. 163.] Christ’s blood, pouring into the Earth at the Crucifixion, sanctified our future evolution on Earth and beyond Earth.
** 101) [Rosy Cross] As Steiner knew, the symbols of Rosicrucianism are the rose and cross; one or more roses, positioned on the cross, represent Christ. Indeed, he taught that Rosicrucianism (as redefined by himself) is the correct spiritual path for humanity now. [See "Rosy Cross".] Steiner used Rosicrucian images in his own teachings, e.g. “Imagine you see before you a black cross. Let this black cross be for you a symbol for the baser elements that have been cast out ... [A]t the point where the beams of the cross meet, picture to yourself seven resplendent bright red roses ... Let these roses symbolize for you a blood that is the expression of passions and impulses that have undergone purification.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 231. The number of roses in this image is significant. For Steiner, seven is a divine cosmic number, the number of perfection, repeated throughout his teachings. [See "Magic Numbers".]
102) [Weaving Destiny]
“The earth body,
longing for spirit,
lives in withering.
The seed spirits,
Take up strength.
And warmth fruits from
the far-spread breadths of space
fortify earth life.
And earthly senses,
see future things
within creating form.
The spirits of space,
look peacefully upon
— Rudolf Steiner, BREATHING THE SPIRIT, p. 97.
Our physical body is fulfilled by dying away, releasing our spirit into spiritual life. Seeds of spirit are perfected here on Earth, becoming dense and strong.* Fruitful spiritual warmth comes from beyond, fortifying us in our lives here below. Earthly senses are dim, except for clairvoyance, which can penetrate deeply and see the forms of future things, being prepared within. The gods look upon the destiny (karma) that we weave for ourselves here.**
* 103) [Seeding a New Earth] “You will see, too, how spiritual seeds are unfolding within the Earth that will in the future enable another realm — in a sense, a 'new Earth' — to arise. “ — Rudolf Steiner, A WAY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE (SteinerBooks, 1998), p. 81.
** 104) [Karma] “Here on earth we have the unfolding life and action of men with their instinct of karma, their ceaseless weaving of destiny....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 3 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977), pp. 35-36. For more on the weaving of destiny, see "Karma".
The gods are not always peaceful, nor are the pastures of heaven always bucolic. The meditation on p. 98 of BREATHING THE SPIRIT begins with these words: “Battling spirit forces/strive in substance....” There are good gods but also bad gods. “[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251.
105) [Spirit Battles] “Battling spirit forces/strive in substance...."
106) [Good and Evil Gods] “[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....”
Rudolf Steiner's cosmology — replete with a pagan conception of Christ (the Sun God), Rosicrucianism, numerology, karma, and celestial wars — looms over Waldorf education. Although many of its doctrines remain unspoken, such doctrines color and shape the life within Waldorf schools. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer", "Sneaking It In", and "Spiritual Agenda".] Like it or not, this is the sort of vibe students may pick up in Waldorf schools.
Let's return to the story of human evolution, as described by Rudolf Steiner. Having evolved through Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, we finally arrived at Present Earth. [To review these phases, see the corresponding sections of Steiner Static.] Life on Earth began with the Polarian Epoch followed by the Hyperborean Epoch. We then entered a pair of even more interesting epochs, when we lived on two continents that later sank. First came Lemuria, then Atlantis.
On Lemuria, we became more physical than ever before (although not as physical as we would become later on). Descending into physicality is the Anthroposophical vision of the Fall of Man — the "expulsion from paradise." This occurred during the Lemurian period, which means it was a bad time, obviously. But some of us fled to other planets, so that was okay.
Humans returning from other planets mated with humans who stayed on Earth, creating significant divergences in human nature: there were now “Mars men”, “Saturn men”, and so on. The development of separate races and sexes can be traced to this period, as can variations in karma. Women, playing the mythic role of Eve, contributed to our premature knowledge of good and evil. And then we blew up Lemuria.
As you can see, it was an action-packed period.
105) [Where It Was; Stunted Results] The people of Lemuria were the ancestors of the people of Atlantis, who were our own ancestors. The Lemurians passed through several stages of evolution while living on Lemuria, but eventually most of them were unable to decline further so they declined. “The ancestors of the Atlanteans lived in a region which has disappeared, the main part of which lay south of contemporary Asia ... [T]hey are called the Lemurians. After they had passed through various stages of development the greatest part of them declined. These became stunted men, whose descendants still inhabit certain parts of the earth today as so-called savage tribes. Only a small part of Lemurian humanity was capable of further development.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 3, GA 11.
106) [Psychic Power; Will Power, "Magic"] “[T]he Lemurian could communicate with his fellow-men without needing a language. This communication consisted in a kind of ‘thought reading.’ The Lemurian derived the strength of his ideas directly from the objects which surrounded him. It flowed to him from the energy of growth of plants, [and] from the life force of animals. In this manner he understood plants and animals in their inner action and life ... [T]he Lemurian built without engineering knowledge on the basis of his faculty of imagination which acted with the sureness of a kind of instinct ... [H]e could increase the strength of his arm by a simple effort of the will. For example, he could lift enormous loads merely by using his will ... He was — the expression should not be misinterpreted — a born magician in all fields of lower human activities." — Ibid., chapter 5.
107) [Our Form; Noble Race; Pliant Nature] “Human nature could unfold more calmly and peacefully [in one part of Lemuria, largely free of volcanos] than in the other regions of the earth. The more nomadic life of former times was abandoned, and fixed settlements became more and more numerous. [paragraph break] [T]he human body still had very malleable and pliant qualities ... Only in the colony described did the body of man increasingly become an expression of his inner soul life. Moreover, this colony had an advanced, externally more nobly formed race of men ... [T]he leaders had really first created what is the true human form ... This physical human body in fact received a fairly unchanging form only with the development of the faculty of reason and with the hardening of the rock, mineral, and metal formations of earth ... For in the Lemurian and even in the Atlantean period, stones and metals were much softer than later.” — Ibid.
108) [Women; Good and Evil; Imagination] “It was from the manner of life of the women that the first ideas of ‘good and evil’ arose. There one began to love some of the things which had made a special impression on the imagination, and to abhor others. While the control which the male element exercised was directed more toward the external action of the powers of the will, toward the manipulation of the forces of nature, beside it in the female element there developed an action through the soul, through the inner, personal forces of man. The development of mankind can only be correctly understood by the one who takes into consideration that the first progress in the life of the imagination was made by women ... One must imagine this manner of the women to have been also a kind of clairvoyance, although it differed from the magic of the will of the men. In her soul woman was accessible to another kind of spiritual powers. The latter spoke more to the feeling element of the soul, less to the spiritual, to which man was subject [the mortal soul is lower than the immortal spirit, Steiner taught]. Thus there emanated from men an effect which was more natural-divine, from women one which was more soul-divine.” — Ibid.
Steiner identified the divine female principle — the feminine side of God, as it were — as Sophia, or Wisdom. [See "Goddess".] Wisdom, according to Steiner, is the Holy Ghost. Thus, the feminine aspect of God is the Spirit that delivers the Word to humanity. Steiner traced Sophia through ancient goddesses, such as Artemis, and he sought future embodiments. As the implicit power of spiritual wisdom within the human soul, Sophia/Eve/Artemis/Mary may be considered the mother of god, the human soul itself, which is creating the still-unfinished deity, the Godhead. [See, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, THE GODDESS: From Natura to the Divine Sophia (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001).] One form of knowledge developed by woman is the knowledge of evil, depicted in the Bible in the story of Eve and the Serpent. Beguiled by the Serpent — Lucifer — Eve desire the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus, in Steiner's teachings, woman is associated with the lures of Lucifer, which can enable human freedom (the power to choose between good and evil) but may also lead us to destruction (if we choose evil). [See, e.g., "Lucifer" and "Freedom".]
109) [Laws of Racial Development; Coming Advanced Races; Feminine Soul] During life in Lemuria, the next human root race was prepared. Root races are central, primary races from which sub-races develop — subcategories of humans standing at different levels of development: “This...took place under the influence of highly developed entities [i.e., humanity's spiritual guides], who were familiar with the laws of the formation of races ... [T]hey possessed superhuman wisdom and power. They now isolated a small group out of Lemurian mankind and designated these to be the ancestors of the coming Atlantean race ... [W]hen men left the colony [on Lemuria] in order to found the different Atlantean races, they could take with them a highly developed knowledge of the breeding of animals and plants ... The preeminence of the feminine soul, which has been described, was especially strong in the last Lemurian period and continued into the Atlantean times, during which the fourth subrace was preparing itself. But one must not imagine that this was the case among all of mankind. It was true, however, for that part of the population of earth from which the truly advanced races later emerged.” — COSMIC MEMORY, "The Lemurian Race".
110) [Lucifer; the Fall; the "Serpent"; Freedom] “Now something else also took place in the Lemurian epoch, something that we have always called the ‘luciferic influence’ [i.e., the influence or interference of Lucifer] ... [A]s a result of the luciferic influence man reached a certain point in evolution earlier than was intended [by the gods] ... We may say that as a result of the luciferic influence, man descended more deeply on to the earth in the Lemurian epoch ... It enabled him to become a free being, able to act in accordance with his own impulses ... This fact is expressed in a very profound way in the description of ‘the Fall’ which represents in a wonderful imaginative picture, what I have just stated ... [N]ow there came the luciferic influences, represented in the Bible as ‘the Serpent’ ... As you can well imagine, man would have been quite different if this descent into matter had not taken place till [the Atlantis period, as the gods intended]; his soul would have been more mature for the descent. He would have descended into matter as a better, a riper, man ... Because man was already a being able to distinguish between good and evil from the Lemurian epoch to the middle of the Atlantean epoch, he made himself worse than he would otherwise have been; he entered a state of lesser perfection. He would otherwise have spent all the intervening time in a much more spiritual way; but as it was, he passed through it more materially. The effect of this was that if he had received in the middle of the Atlantean epoch what the gods had intended him to have, he would have fallen utterly and completely.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRIST IMPULSE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EGO-CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1926), lecture 3, GA 116.
Arguably, falling utterly and completely during our lives in Atlantis would have been a good thing, since we would have been redeemed immediately (i.e., we would have received the divine impulse that would have led us faster, more surely upward toward divinity). But because we “fell” prematurely in Lemuria, we had to wait until the Crucifixion of the Sun God to receive the Christ impulse:
111) [Delayed Evolution; Evil] “[T]hrough man's having acquired a likeness to the gods before he was meant to do so [i.e., we gained the knowledge of good and evil too soon], we have to describe a delay of the Christ-Impulse. For before that could come man had to go through the Earth-Karma due to him on account of the evil that had entered the earth through the luciferic impulse. He had to wait, not only till that influence had rendered him able to distinguish between good and evil, but until, in the course of the earth's development, all the consequences of the luciferic influence had come.” — COSMIC MEMORY, "The Lemurian Race".
112a) [Scratch One Continent; Volcanos; Fire] In the end, Lemuria sank into the sea. “Lemuria was turbulent. After all, the earth at that time did not yet have its later density. The thin ground was everywhere undermined by volcanic forces which broke forth in smaller or larger streams. Mighty volcanos existed almost everywhere and developed a continuous destructive activity. Men were accustomed to reckoning with this fiery activity in everything they did. They also used this fire in their labors and contrivances. Their occupations were often such that the fire of nature served as a basis for them in the same way as artificial fire does in human labor today. [paragraph break] It was through the activity of this volcanic fire that the destruction of the Lemurian land came about.” — Ibid.
112b) [Scratch One Continent; Fire; Lower Humans] The destruction of Lemuria was our own fault. Or, more properly, it was caused by the lower kinds of humans, who fell under the influence of Lucifer and made evil use of the forces of fire. "[I]n the lower kinds of human beings the life-body [i.e., astral body] was after all too little protected, and could not sufficiently resist the encroachments of the Luciferian nature [i.e., the effects of Lucifer]. Such human beings could [use] the fiery spark of the I...to call forth in their environment mighty workings of fire ... This led eventually to a stupendous Earth catastrophe. A great portion of the then inhabited Earth was destroyed in these fire-storms, and with it perished also the human beings who had fallen into error." — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), pp. 191-192.
So there you have it. In a future episode, we’ll look into our life on Atlantis.
Let's revert, again, to the basic Steiner Static format: Miscellany.
113) [Auras] Steiner believed in ghosts, goblins, astrology, magic... He bought into almost every kind of mystical piffle. One more example: auras. A “whole” person includes an aura, which cannot be seen by ordinary senses although it easily perceived through the use of psychic powers. So Steiner said, adding that the “whole” person is surprisingly large. “[A] person’s soul and spirit nature appear as the supersensible portion of a total human being [i.e., the part that can only be seen with clairvoyance]. These spiritually perceptible colors, which surround an active physical human like an egg-shaped cloud, constitute that person’s aura. The size of this aura varies from person to person, but on average we may imagine that a whole entire person to be about twice as tall and four times as broad as his or her physical body.” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 161.
By the way, newer editions of Steiner’s works are often modified to make Steiner seem less benighted. Thus, “his or her” (taken from from an edition of THEOSOPHY published in the 1990s) is an incorrect translation. Steiner spoke of “man” and “his” aura. Here is the same passage, taken from an earlier edition: “The color effects perceptible to the spirit eye that ray out around the physical man observed in his activity, and that envelop him like a somewhat egg-shaped cloud, are the human aura. The size of this aura varies in different people, but we may say that the entire man appears on the average twice as long and four times as wide as the physical man.” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), “Thought Forms and the Human Aura”, GA 9.
Steiner's followers take pains to represent — and misrepresent — Steiner in the most flattering terms. In this case, the distortion is fairly minor. But you should bear the phenomenon in mind when reading Steiner and/or when reading works by Anthroposophists about Steiner. The truth may not always be plainly displayed; you may have to do a bit of digging.
114) [High and Low] Here’s another example of editorial fiddling. Steiner said this about races and nations: “A race or a 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. 252.
In a more recent edition, this blatant racism is softened slightly by shuffling the word order and adding a strategic set of quotation marks: “The more perfectly that individual members of a race or people express the pure, ideal human type...the ‘higher’ this race or nation is.” — Rudolf Steiner, HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS (Anthroposophic Press, 19947), p. 201.
Both versions are deplorable, but the newer version is less faithful to Steiner's original statement. The editors have tried to take the edge off Steiner's racism, suggesting that somehow when he spoke of higher races he didn't really mean higher. Moral: Read Steiner with skepticism, and when you have a choice, read an older edition. [For more on Steiner's racial views, see, e.g., "Steiner's Racism", "Races", and "Differences".]
115) [Amen] Steiner's editors sometimes change his words, altering the connotation and even the denotation of his statements. Steiner did something similar with the sources he drew from. He often changed things so that they are virtually unrecognizable. Here, for instance, is one altered version of the Lord’s Prayer as used by Steiner (he used others as well):
Bearing witness to I-being
and to selfhood's guilt —
Incurred through others,
Experienced in the daily bread
Wherein the will of heaven
Does not reign,
Has separated itself
From Your Kingdom
And forgot your names
Ye Fathers in the Heavens.
— Rudolf Steiner, START NOW! (SteinerBooks, 2004), p. 221.
Steiner said this is the “cosmic” version of the Lord’s Prayer, the one Jesus learned from. It runs more or less backward, beginning with "Aum" (which does not appear in any genuine Christian prayer) and then "Amen" (the ending of any normal Christian prayer). And it ends with the salutation that should be at the beginning (in the Bible, this is "Our Father which art in Heaven" — Matthew 6:9-13). Steiner changed things in order to make them fit in his own spiritual system, Anthroposophy. Notice that in this case he changed the salutation of the Lord's Prayer so that, instead of addressing one God, it addresses many gods: "Ye Fathers." Anthroposophy is a polytheistic religion. Anyone who embraces monotheism should understand this clearly. Indeed, everyone — the pious, the agnostic, and the atheistic — should understand this. [See "Polytheism".]
We should also notice that Steiner's version of the prayer asserts that "Evils reign." Steiner's followers often claim that Anthroposophy is entirely positive, sweet, and upbeat. But in fact Steiner's vision was laced through with apprehensions of violence and evil. [See, e.g., "Evil", "Evil Ones", and "All vs. All".]
116) [Getting Down] Steiner's strange religion, like his devotion to mystical superstitions, is rooted in antipathy toward (and apparent ignorance of) science. Consider the following, for instance: “Gravity is...perceived only by those beings that live on a solid planet ... Beings who could live on a fluid planet would know nothing of gravity ... And beings who live on a gaseous planet would regard as normal something that would be the opposite of gravity ... [B]eings dwelling on a gaseous planet instead of seeing bodies falling towards the planet would see them always flying off.” — Rudolf Steiner, SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Press 2003), pp. 136-137. Physicists will be amazed. In their benighted view (based on solid science), gravity exists everywhere, including on gaseous/fluid planets such as Jupiter — where gravity is far greater than on any solid planet in the solar system, such as little Earth.
117) [Ugliness and Ill-Doing] Here in Steiner Static, we’ve been looking a lot at mankind’s past. Let’s momentarily look into the future. Good humans will continue to evolve and reach high levels of spirituality, Steiner taught. Evil humans will have a different fate. The good people will push them aside, segregating them in a special "kingdom" (for their own good, of course): “[S]ide by side with human souls who have attained this high level of development [i.e., good humans], others will be living who have turned into a path leading towards evil. These backward souls will have burdened their Karma with so much of error, ugliness and ill-doing as to constitute a special group on their own, subject to aberration and evil ... By virtue of their spiritual development the good humanity will then be able to make use of the Moon forces and with their help transmute the bad [people], enabling them too to partake in the further evolution of the Earth, albeit as a distinct [i.e., separate] kingdom.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 309.
118) [Neighborliness] In a previous installment of Steiner Static, I mentioned Steiner’s nationalistic love of Germany. This great man, with his universal perspective, despised Germany’s neighbor and historic enemy, France. He was beside himself when he saw some Germans falling under the influence of French culture. Imagine the effects this could have on the German “race”! Steiner said, “Just think how long people who wished to give themselves airs chattered in French in all the German regions ... [W]hat continued on in the language was also perpetrated in other vices ... The legacy of this is still present in the craving to drink absinthe, indeed, even to enjoy cocaine and so on. These things will produce a weak race [in Germany]....” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 284.
What is wrong with France and the French? Well, for one thing (118a): "The use of French language quite certainly corrupts the soul." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 558. How is French corruption revealing itself? (118b): “The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe." — Ibid., p. 558. What, in total, is the condition of France? (118c): “The French as a race are reverting." — Ibid., p. 559.]
119) [Reincarnation] Steiner’s real area of expertise was not international relations but the spirit realm, or so his followers believe (but, of course, international relations — and everything else — falls within the ambit of the spirit realm). So instead of berating Steiner for his hostility to the French, let’s respectfully listen as Steiner explains something he knows more about, namely reincarnation. “[R]ealize that looking at the human head you are looking at the transformed body of your previous earth life, and that the head you had then was the transformed body of your preceding life — you must imagine it without the head, of course. The head you see now is the transformed organism of the last life lived on earth. The rest of the organism as you see it now will be the head in the next life. Then the arms will have metamorphosed and become ears, and the legs will have become eyes.” — Rudolf Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), p. 59.
I kid you not.
Let's conclude the story of humanity's past, as described by Steiner. To remind you, we evolved through Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon before arriving at Present Earth. Here on Earth, we lived through the Polarian Epoch, the Hyperborean Epoch, and then the Lemurian Epoch. [See the prior sections of Steiner Static titled "Old Saturn", "Old Sun", "Old Moon", "Present Earth", and "Lemuria".] When Lemuria was destroyed by volcanic explosions (our fault), we moved to Atlantis.
I'll describe Atlantis, as per Steiner, momentarily. But first, let's ask where we can find evidence to support Steiner's narrative of human history. For that matter, what evidence did Steiner himself offer to support his assertions? The answer is: None. We can find none, and he provided none. Zero. Zilch. Steiner made up his account of the past, every bit of it. He fantasized. (Or, to be more precise, he borrowed most of his account from Theosophy and other occult systems, which themselves are based on no firm evidence whatever. Zero. Zilch.) Of course, Steiner claimed that he used exact clairvoyance to discover all the things he described. If clairvoyance existed, we might find this persuasive. But it doesn't. (That is, the evidence for its existence hovers in the vicinity of zero. Zilch. [See "Clairvoyance".])
Science has reams of evidence supporting the standard, scientific descriptions of cosmic and human history. Virtually nothing that we actually know about the real world supports Steiner. This is particularly striking in the cases of Lemuria and Atlantis, the two “lost continents” that we supposedly lived on. The ruins of these physical realms should still exist somewhere under the ocean. Steiner said where each continent was: Lemuria, south of Asia; Atlantis, east of Gibraltar. So finding the ruins should be easy enough. Indeed, expeditions have been mounted to find them. They found nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Oh, well. Moving on. Steiner taught that a small part of the Lemurian population — the superior part, the most capable of evolving properly — left Lemuria and settled on Atlantis. If the gods’ original plan had worked out, humans would have received the Christ Impulse there, and we would have ascended the evolutionary ladder all that must faster. But Lucifer fouled things up for us on Lemuria, and Ahriman (the arch-demon of Zoroastrianism) played a similar, subversive role on Atlantis. Both of these demons [see "Lucifer" and "Ahriman" held us back.
Still, life on Atlantis was pleasant. We had flying automobiles and attractive wooden houses. Spiritual wisdom flourished, and everything looked pretty bright. But with Ahriman working his mischief, things went awry. Human initiates (people possessing occult spiritual knowledge) became corrupt, and Atlantis was destroyed.
120) [How the Atlanteans Lived] The people of Atlantis had a highly developed technology, but unlike ours it was based on “the life force.” Steiner points out that, of course, none of this information can be known by modern humans or modern science, because we depend on our senses and brains. But he assures us that everything he says is “quite certain for occult experience” — that is, clairvoyance nails down all the of this information: “While the power to think logically was absent among the Atlanteans (especially the earlier ones), in their highly developed memory they possessed something which gave a special character to everything they did ... Memory is closer to the deeper natural basis of man than reason, and in connection with it other powers were developed which were still closer to those of subordinate natural beings [low-level embodiments of natural forces] than are contemporary human powers. Thus the Atlanteans could control what one calls the life force. As today one extracts the energy of heat from coal and transforms it into motive power for our means of locomotion, the Atlanteans knew how to put the germinal energy of organisms into the service of their technology ... The vehicles of the Atlanteans, which floated a short distance above the ground, traveled at a height lower than that of the mountain ranges of the Atlantean period, and they had steering mechanisms by the aid of which they could rise above these mountain ranges ... Today, the above-mentioned vehicles of the Atlanteans would be totally useless. Their usefulness depended on the fact that then the cover of air which envelops the earth was much denser than at present ... The above-mentioned density of air is as certain for occult experience as any fact of today given by the senses can be.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), pp. 42-44.
121) [The Gods] The Atlanteans knew various pagan gods as well as we today know our neighbors. Gods descended to Earth during the Atlantis period, when the Earth’s atmosphere was more watery than it is today — they walked among us in human form. But later, when we took on more solid bodies, the gods backed off. “Already in Atlantis we meet beings [i.e., gods] who were among men as our fellows are today ... [M]an learned to know Thor, Zeus, Wotan, Baldur [Norse gods] as actual companions ... When man still lived in the water-fog atmosphere...incarnations were possible for [some gods]. Such a figure was the later Wotan [i.e., the god later known as Wotan], for example. He said to himself, ‘If man incarnates in this fluid matter, then I can also.’ Such a being assumed a human form and moved about in the physical world. But as the earth condensed and man took on ever denser forms, Wotan said, ‘No, I shall not go into this dense matter.’ Then he remained in invisible worlds, in worlds removed from the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), p. 140. For more on gods who descended to Earth, see "Avatars".
122) [Unmasking Wotan] Incidentally, you may be interested to learn: “The same being who was called Wotan in the Germanic myths, appeared again as Buddha.” — Rudolf Steiner, EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES, p. 141.
123) [Initiates] The population of Atlantis included initiates. Steiner’s description of them can be applied to Steiner himself and to his followers: “[T]the initiates and their schools...are [or were] in advance of the stage of development of their period [i.e., they were more highly evolved than everyone else]. For admission into such schools, the decisive factor is not age, but whether in his previous incarnations the applicant has acquired the faculties for receiving higher wisdom. The confidence placed in the initiates and their representatives during the Atlantean period was not based on the richness of their personal experience, but rather on the antiquity of their wisdom. In the case of the initiate, personality ceases to have any importance. He is totally in the service of eternal wisdom. Therefore the characteristic features of a particular period do not apply to him.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY, p. 42.
124) [Trouble Comes] Sadly, however, the initiates on Atlantis made terrible errors. “Powerful rulers [of Atlantis] themselves were initiated ... [T]he initiated kings and leaders of the Atlanteans came into being. Enormous power was in their hands, and they were greatly venerated. [paragraph break] But in this fact also lay the reason for decline and decay ... Man wanted to count for something through his power. The greater the power became, the more he wanted to exploit it for himself. The ambition which had developed turned into marked selfishness. Thus the misuse of these powers arose. When one considers the capabilities of the Atlanteans resulting from their mastery of the life force, one will understand that this misuse inevitably had enormous consequences.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY, pp. 51-52.
125) [Ahriman Sticks His Nose In] The errors of the powerful rulers of Atlantis led to the destruction of their beautiful continent. But before we hear about that, we should examine the role Ahriman played. “Ahriman follows Lucifer and instills into human beings the illusion that matter is a reality in itself. So in the course of their evolution, during which the divine-spiritual beings [i.e., the good gods] wanted their influence to work upon them [i.e., us], human beings allowed themselves to be subject to two other forces: those of Lucifer who attacks human beings in their inner nature, in their astral body, endeavoring to confuse and mislead them; and Ahriman who, working from outside, deludes human beings to a certain extent, causing the external world to appear as maya, as matter.” — Rudolf Steiner, ATLANTIS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 37. Lucifer tempts us toward false spirituality; Ahriman tempts us toward excessive materialism. Lucifer and Ahriman remain active today, and this description applies to us today. But In our history, Lucifer played the destructive role for Lemuria, and Ahriman took this role for Atlantis.
Rudolf Steiner, ATLANTIS - The Fate of a Lost Land and It's Secret Knowledge
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001).
126) [Ahriman II, The Sequel] Any movie about Atlantis would include spectacular special effects depicting the destruction of that continent. Here’s Steiner’s version: “Mighty and ominous powers of Nature were thus let loose by the deeds of men, leading eventually to the gradual destruction of the whole territory of Atlantis by catastrophes of air and water. [Steiner equated this with the Biblical Flood.] Atlantean humanity — the portion of it, that is, which did not perish in the storms — was compelled to migrate. As a result too of the great storms, the whole face of the Earth changed. Europe, Asia and Africa on the one hand, and America on the other, began gradually to assume their present shape ... [During that period] supersensible forces [i.e., supernatural forces] were placed in the service of lower instincts, passions and desires ... [Humanity, going astray, produced monsters]: human figures would arise [i.e., did arise] that were monstrous and grotesque in size and shape ... [O]ther beings [i.e., demons] had, since the middle of the Atlantean time, been making themselves felt in the realm of human evolution, owing to whose influence man was induced to enter the world of the physical senses in an unspiritual manner ... The leader of them may be called after the name he received later on in the ancient Persian civilization, Ahriman. (Mephistopheles is the same being.)” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), pp. 198-200.
127) [Racial Divisions] According to Steiner, one crucial result of the catastrophe that destroyed Atlantis is that humans migrated to other parts of the Earth. Some of these people were less evolved than others. Thus, higher and lower human races came into being. We’ll pick up the story by returning to the quotation I just now gave you, filling in some of the words I omitted. (Steiner always rambled; making his statements seem clear and coherent is a challenge.) “...Europe, Asia and Africa on the one hand, and America on the other, began gradually to assume their present shape. Vast numbers of human beings migrated into these countries ... Peoples of many kinds took up their abode in these countries, people that stood at many different levels of evolution — and also of corruption ... Physically speaking, post-Atlantean humanity evolved form Atlantean forebears whose bodily figure had already become firm enough [to survive on the dense, modern Earth] ... Human racial forms which had hardened before this time could continue to propagate themselves for a good while to come, but...these races too had to die out [i.e., some low races managed to survive for a while, but generally they died out eventually]. Many of the forms were nevertheless able to maintain themselves right into the post-Atlantean times [i.e., some of these races survived into the present epoch]; indeed, some of them...survived in a somewhat altered condition for a very long time.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, pp. 198-199.
128) [Steiner’s Racism] Examining Steiner’s unfounded statements about Atlantis brings us, inevitably, to his horrible statements about race. We currently live in the Post-Atlantean Epoch, according to Steiner, and among us are survivors of higher and lower racial types whose roots extend back to Atlantis. I apologize for quoting the following, but anyone who studies Steiner deeply must come to terms with remarks such as the following: “Just at the time when Atlantis began to sink there was a great contrast between men who were good as to their qualities of soul, and were a race of little men [Steiner, who was short, liked little men], and the giant forms who were wicked and in whom everything turned to flesh ... There were people whose inner nature was correctly balanced and who were normal ... [T]hese were the men that the Atlantean initiates could do the most with [they were the most capable of evolving higher]. On the other hand there were other men who had developed a tremendously strong ego-feeling ... There were other people again who had not reached anything like a normal ego-feeling... [So there were good, normal people, and two types of abnormal people: those who were too egoistic and those who were not egoistic enough.] ... [I]t was the normal human beings that were the best material for the initiates to use for the evolution of the future ... Those peoples whose ego impulse was developed too strongly...gradually wandered to the West and became the nation the last survivors of which appeared as the Red Indians of America. Those people who 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 ... [T]he colour of egohood is red or copper or a yellowish brown ... Those people who had developed their ego being too little...became black ... [T]hey deposited too many carbonic constituents in 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), pp. 117-119.
Can you guess what color the best, “normal,” upwardly evolving humans were and are? And can you guess where they migrated to, according to short, white, Austro-German R. Steiner?
On this dreadful note, I will now conclude our summary of human history. Steiner’s views were baseless and, in some areas, deplorable. Fortunately, nothing is or ever was the way Steiner described it. All of his views amount to static: crackling interference in the air — crackling that clears up when we twist the dial, tune in another station, and turn our attention to reality.
IF ONLY IT WERE SO
"If these ideas are not true, they should be true.
What we believe shapes the reality.
If we become conscious of these ideas
and hold them, they will become true."
— from "Anthroposophy 101"
These plaintive words were written by Dr. Ronald E. Koetzsch, an Anthroposophist connected with the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. The essay "Anthroposophy 101" is Koetzsch's summary of Steiner's basic teachings. Koetzsch focuses on Steiner's more pleasing, upbeat doctrines, and in this we can sympathize. We can all feel the deep yearning in Koetzsch's words — we all wish for the wonderful, the transcendent, the glorious. I feel such desires, intensely. I understand where Anthroposophists are coming from.
But wishing doesn't make anything true. Our wishes can be our guides, our motivators — but, in and of themselves, wishes create nothing. Thinking or hoping that something is true doesn't cause that thing to become true. Some thoughts are false, and no amount of fervent belief can redeem their falsity. You may tell yourself that the Moon is made of green cheese. You may dwell on this thought day after day, month after month. You may meditate upon it, visualize it, preach it from the rooftops. But it is false, and your efforts cannot make it true. The moon is not made of green cheese and it never will be. Your idea is false.
True is truth, in other words, and reality is reality. We have no reason to think that the universe is as Steiner described it, and no reason to think that we can make the universe become as Steiner described it. A fairy tale is a fairy tale. A false idea is false.
Anthroposophical thinking is mere wishfulness, which is tantamount to self-deception. During the play "Peter Pan", when the fairy Tinkerbell is dying, Peter tells the children in the audience to wish for Tinkerbell's recovery. And it works! The kids wish and wish, and Tinkerbell revives. It is a nice fairy tale. But that's all it is, a fairy tale.
Truth and reality have a great advantage — they are true and real. And they aren't so bad. We're alive, in a universe of beauty, grandeur, pain, suffering, and achievement and joy and victory. This is the universe that really exists, the universe of physics and astronomy and the soaring human intellect. Steiner would return us to a dark, medieval past. We need not go there. Indeed, we must not go there. For the sake of our planet, and our children, and ourselves, we must face reality squarely and then work to realize its best potentialities.
Truth and reality have a great advantage — they are true and real. Anthroposophy is divorced from truth and reality. And to the degree that it embodies Anthroposophy, Waldorf education is divorced from truth and reality. Waldorf schooling stands on the foundation of Anthroposophy [see, e.g., "Here's the Answer" and "Spiritual Agenda"] — which means that it stands on a foundation of shifting, insubstantial sand.
For additional bizarre, foolish, and downright wrong
statements made by Steiner,
see "Steiner's Blunders".
For still more troubling
statements made by Steiner,
see "Steiner's Bile".
For a glimpse of our future evolution,
according to Steiner,
see, e.g., "Future Stages".
(129) "People merely gape at the rainbow nowadays. If you only look at it with some imagination [i.e., clairvoyance],
you will see elemental beings very active in it, and these elemental beings show us some remarkable phenomena.
Here [red and yellow] you see elemental beings coming out of the rainbow all the time ...
The moment they arrive at the lower end of the green, they are drawn in. You see then disappearing here [green and blue].
On the other side they come out again." — Rudolf Steiner, ART (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), pp. 233-234.
[This is my colored version of the black-and-white, labeled image in the book; 2009.]
Concerning the colors of skins and souls:
(130) "If we take the flesh color of a Caucasian person,
which resembles spring's fresh peach-blossom colour,
we have the living image of the soul.
If we contemplate white in an artistic way,
we have the soul image of the spirit ...
And if, as artists, we take hold of black,
we have the spiritual image of death. And the circle is closed."
— Rudolf Steiner, ART (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), pp. 188-189.
[This is my colored version of the black-and-white, labeled image in the book; 2009.]
Steiner's account of creation and prehistory is incompatible with science. It is also incompatible with the Bible. Here are some details about life in/on/during Old Moon. (131) “[W]armth, air, and water were there but as yet no really solid mineral structures ... During this Old Moon stage, therefore, we are talking of a thickish fluid that contained in solution all the substances which today are solid ... [I]mmense quantities of metals and even of sulphur were present in the air ... The mode of life of the creatures that existed at that time was utterly different ... You can imagine how different the earth looked at that time, like a kind of giant egg yolk ... The creatures...had a bodily structure somewhere between what one needs for swimming — fins — and what one needs for walking — feet ... These creatures therefore had limbs in which there was something of a thornlike nature, but also something like joints. They were really quite ingenious joints, and in between, the flesh mass was stretched out like an umbrella ... Other creatures lived in the dense air ... [They] had no lungs ... They absorbed the air as a kind of food ... [T]he birdlike creatures in the air of that time excreted continuously ... Reproduction was at that time of a very different nature; it went on in the whole earth-body. The upper world fertilized the lower, the lower world fertilized the upper. The whole earth-body was alive. One could say that the creatures below and the creatures above were like maggots in a body ... It was one life, and the various beings lived in a completely living world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), pp. 18-24. [My sketch based on the sketch on p. 20.]
Genesis may be described in varying ways in various Waldorf schools.
Young students and their parents
may not be ready to hear Steiner's "truths."
[All Waldorf student artwork at Waldorf Watch
courtesy of PLANS.]
Entering Earthly life, we descend from spirit realms (blue) to the physical (green).
Here, evil souls may fall farther, into the abyss.
— Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 121.
[This is my colored version of the image in the book, drawn 2009.]
Steiner noticed that most people noticed that the universe we see around us
is nothing like the universe he described. His explanation was that we just happen
to live in a time when we and our surroundings are made of dense material
(physical stuff, made of atoms or what-have-you),
and we just happen to live in a local region where the laws of science hold true.
But at other times, or at other distances, things are the way Steiner described.
He could not know this, but why quibble? It's what he claimed.
(132) "What people discover on the earth by way of natural laws loses its validity
more and more as they distance themselves from earth."
— Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 98.
[My sketch of a portion of Steiner's sketch, 2009.]
This mini-index (not to be confused with the major index for all of Waldorf Watch)
lists topics and the messages in which various topics are mentioned in Steiner Static.
Evil: 10, 11, 12
This means that the topic of evil is mentioned in messages 10, 11, and 12.
(Actually, evil is mentioned on many other pages as well. See below.)
Advanced Races [cf. Savages]: 109
Ahriman: 74, 125, 126
Akashic Record: 93
Americans: 29, 30
Animal Man [also see Old Moon]: 4, 67
Animated Monad: 56
Angels [also see Sons of Twilight]: 19
Animals: 15, 17, 63
Archangels [also see Spirits of Fire]: 67
Astral Body: 12, 67, 69
Astrology: 5, 94, 95
Atlantis: 44, 105, 110, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128
Attila the Hun: 46
Baby Teeth: 32
Bible: 20, 24
Blood: 99, 100
Body (material, physical): 41, 54, 56, 107
Brazil, Emperor: 79
Cause (Unknown) - see Origins
Christ [also see Sun God]: 97, 98, 99
Christ Impulse: 111
Clairvoyance: 34, 102
Competition: 55, 57, 69
Consciousness: 41, 53
Creation, The: 20, 21, 24
Criticism (not): 51
Crystal Heaven: 19, 23
Demons: 12, 35, 48, 73, 74
Demonic Beings: 46
Earth: 37, 38, 89, 90, 90, 91
Earth Body: 102
Education: Irrational: 3, 31
Elemental Beings - see Nature Spirits
Eggs of Warmth: 40
Ego - see “I”
Etheric Body: 11, 32, 56, 90
Europe: 29, 46, 81
Evil: 10, 11, 12, 28, 44, 69, 74, 108, 110, 111, 115, 117
Evil Gods: 106
Evolution: 4, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 36, 37, 39, 43, 44, 64, 88, 89, 90, 91, 105, 110, 111, 126, 128
The Fall: 110, 111
Female - see Sexes; Sophia
Feminine Soul: 109
The Flood: 126
France, French: 118
Freedom: 21, 49, 50, 110
Germany: 73ff., 118
Ghosts: 7, 11
Gnomes: 25, 26, 65
Goblins - see Gnomes
God/Spirit of God: 14, 15, 97
Gods: 19, 22, 36, 97, 102, 105, 106, 121
Good - see, cf., Evil
Good Gods: 106
Great Migrations: 46
Grimm, Hermann: 73 redux, 84
Heart: 99, 100
Holy Spirit: 108
Humans, evolving [also see Evolution]: 40, 39, 41
Hyperborean Epoch: 92
“I”: 12, 91, 97
Ideal Human Type: 114
Initiates: 16, 123, 124, 128
Jahve, Jehovah: 22
Karma: 104, 111
Knowledge: 66. 93
Lemuria: 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111
Life Before Birth [also see Reincarnation]: 3
Life Force: 120, 124
Lord's Prayer: 114
Love: 14, 17, 50
Lucifer: 49, 58, 69, 110, 125
Luciferic Rebellion: 69
Magicians: 28, 106
Male - see Sexes
Meditations: 91, 97, 99, 102
Moon: 1, 4, 22, 27, 34, 36, 37, 65, 88
Moon Beings: 7
Moon Forces: 117
Nature Spirits: 12, 16, 64, 120, 129
Noble Race: 107
Old Moon [also see Moon]: 67, 68, 69, 88, 89, 131
Old Saturn [also see Saturn]: 40, 41, 42
Old Sun: 52, 53, 54, 88, 89
Old Testament: 39
Opposition (not): 51
Origins: 20, 21
Parents vs. Teachers: 33
Physical Body - see Body
Plant Man [also see Old Sun]: 4
Polarian Epoch: 89, 90
Prayers: 13, 14, 15, 115
Priestly Office: 31
Races: 44, 45, 46, 57, 80, 87, 105, 107, 109, 114, 128
Reincarnation: 6, 119
Root Races: 90, 109
Rose(s): 99, 100
Saturn [also see Old Saturn]: 1
Science: 39, 132
Seeds: 102, 103
Separation: 22, 37, 38, 43, 67, 69, 80, 83, 89, 92, 115, 117
Sex, Sexes: 18, 87, 108
Slave Driver: 50
Solar System (ours): 19, 36
Solar System (others): 19, 20, 36
Sons of Twilight [also see Angels]: 56, 67
Soul: 14, 15, 50, 130
Specters - see Ghosts
Spirit: 14, 15, 50, 130
Spirit Land: 99
Spirits of Fire: 56, 67
Spirits of Form: 56
Spirits of Motion: 56
Spirits of Personality: 40, 42, 56
Spirits of Twilight - see Sons of Twilight
Spirits of Wisdom: 56
Struggle - see Competition
Subhumans: 47, 48, 61
Sun: 4, 14, 15, 37, 36, 42, 43, 68, 88, 89
Sun God [also see Christ]: 98
Tagor, Rabindranath: 80
Teachers vs. Parents: 33
Thrones: 19, 42
Verses Before School: See Prayers
Vulcan: 36, 60, 71
Waldorf Schools & Teachers: 31, 33
War : 82, 83
Warmth Fruits: 102
White Skin: 87, 130
Will Power: 106
Woodrow Wilson: 73ff.
World War I: 73ff.
Wotan: 121, 122
Zeitgeists - see Archai
Zodiac: 23, 93, 94
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.
◊◊◊ 7. IN THEIR OWN WORDS ◊◊◊
TOP TEN JOKES
If you'd like more information about any of the topics discussed here,
you might begin by consulting the following resources:
THE SEMI-STEINER DICTIONARY
THE BRIEF WALDORF / STEINER ENCYCLOPEDIA
WALDORF WATCH INDEX
WALDORF WATCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch
are closely connected to the essay on that page;
others are not — they provide general context.