This morning, we discovered that pharmaceutical companies in Germany that manufacture homeopathic remedies, had being paying shills to discredit critics of alternative medicine. One of the organsiations was Weleda, an anthroposophical health care company founded by Rudolf Steiner.
Yesterday, on my blog post on the Steinerist Triodos Bank, a pro-Steiner commenter tried to discredit my interpretation of Steiner’s views on race and geology by calling an academic who had researched these ideas a “Janus faced historian and intellectual con artist”. I asked him to tone down his language before I would allow him to post. It turns out that the person responsible was actually paid by a Steiner organisation to ‘monitor the web’ for criticisms of Steiner schools and he has done so with associated legal threats against groups like Mumsnet.
When I first started writing about Anthroposophical Medicine and Steiner Schools, I struggled to understand the nature of this strange organisation that appeared to be behind so many schools, businesses, farms, banks and medical centres. There is not a great deal of independent writing about Anthroposophy. Much information has to come from places like discussion forums for ‘survivors’ of Steiner schools where parents have actually started to ask questions about what is going on in these schools.
What appears to be a common theme is that Steinerist organisations do not make a habit of being open about their anthroposophical roots. When I wrote about the proposed Frome Steiner Free School, I was critical that parents were being given no insight into the true nature of a Steiner education, instead relying on empty phrases such as it employing “progressive approach to teaching that uniquely follows a child’s personal development”. Anyone investing in Triodos Bank, again, would have to work hard to uncover its Anthoposophical aims.
The only way I can really describe Anthroposophy is as an esoteric crypto-religious organisation based on a mystical and racist view of humanity and an astrological and clairvoyant view of understanding science. Anthroposophy is full of barmpot ideas, such as the literal existence of gnomes, that the British Isles floats on the sea, homeopathy works, and burning mice ritually will protect your crops from them. Oh, and if you are good, you will be reincarnated as an Northern European Ayrian. And its adherents either don’t want to know this themselves and most definitely do not want you to know this. Should its fundamental beliefs and aims become common knowledge then it would cause all sorts of problems, not least for Gove’s new free Steiner Schools*. Adherents deny and spread disingenuous misinformation in order to soften criticism.
After Jeevan Vasagar wrote a rather watery article in the Guardian last May about the new Steiner Schools, I wrote to him asking if I could respond with a piece for Comment is Free highlighting some of the concerns about Steiner Schools, their secretiveness, and their anti-science. I got a response back from a CiF editor telling me that Jeevan’s article ‘had been critical enough’. It did not surprise me to learn that many journalists in the Guardian stable have anthroposophical links. We see senior journalist Yvonne Roberts tweeting that “Waldorf Steiner schools start at 3 but they also educate the whole lovely child not produce exam robots!” And media reporter Jemima Kiss tweeting an advert for a Steiner teacher. Various Steiner puff pieces have appeared in the Guardian over recent years, including Steiner parent Nikki Schreiber telling us that the schools are ‘not full of weirdos‘. And Adharanand Finn telling us that it is possible that the time for state funded Steiner Schools has come.
So, with that out of the way, here is some correspondence sent to me recently between a concerned ex-Steiner parent who wanted to alert the Holocaust Educational Trust about some of the darker associations of Anthroposophy. This, one might think, is important not least given the links between Steiner company Weleda supplying Dachau with ‘experimental’ medical supplies and the biodynamic garden set up in the same camp.
I hope you get to the end. There is quite a punchline.
Message: I am writing to ask if the trust are aware of the links between Anthroposophy and Nazism? Helmut Zander, historian of German history calls Anthroposophy ‘the most successful alternative religion of the twentieth century’. Anthroposophy operates almost invisibly and is known by many different names. There are over 10,000 institutions and initiatives that have been founded that endeavor to apply the belief system – Steiner Waldorf education, Spiritual Science, Triodos Bank, the Camphill Movement, Biodynamic agriculture, Anthroposophical Medicine, Weleda, the Movement for Religious Renewal (also known as The Christian Community) and Eurythmy.
Anthroposophy is advertised as spiritual enquiry, the ‘wisdom of man’. What is not made clear is that central to Anthroposophy is the belief that the soul reincarnates through a racial hierarchy from Black to Aryan via the actions of karma. The belief system was claimed to be gained by clairvoyant vision from Anthroposphy’s founder Rudolf Steiner 1865 -1925
The reason I am writing to you is that many Steiner Waldorf schools are applying for public funding under the government’s Free Schools initiative. I noticed from reading a number of the school newsletters that members of the HET have been invited to speak at Steiner Waldorf schools. I have also written to Michael Gove expressing my concerns and was told that diversity and parent choice are at the heart of his Free School policy, an adviser also referred to a number of disclaimers recently issued from the movement which myself and a colleague analyzed for Professor David Colqhoun’s blog here:
The historian Dr Peter Staudenmaier provides further analysis of the various disclaimers here:
I have a copy of Dr Staudenamier’s recent dissertation which I can email. In the meantime I hope the following articles may be of interest:
Dr Staudenmaier writes:
“The Waldorf school in Stuttgart was founded as a bulwark against the corrosive powers of intellectualism and materialism in 1919, when our Volk was at its lowest point politically and culturally. Already at that time, when international tendencies were dominant, and despite facing strong hostility, the school consistently cultivated German spiritual life and built the entire education of the children on this basis. Eighteen years of experience have proven that through the Waldorf school, our children are being brought up to be hardworking, full-fledged members of the national community, healthy in body and soul. We are therefore convinced that the educational work of the Waldorf school can be successfully made fruitful for the cultural rebuilding of our Volk within the framework of the National Socialist state.” (Eingabe der Elternschaft der Stuttgarter Waldorfschule, March 14, 1938; BA R4901/2521: 9-22)
The real difficulties arise when these worldviews are put into practice and implemented in concrete practical endeavors, like agriculture or health care or the education of children. Schools based on an esoteric belief system have a special obligation to delineate their underlying ideology clearly and plainly, without obfuscation and euphemism and to explain how they apply occult ideas in practice’.
Steiner Waldorf schools state that Anthroposophy is not taught to the children, this statement is disingenuous. Anthroposophy underpins every aspect of the pedagogy in Steiner Waldorf schools and communities. The self-described “fastest growing education movement in the world” has given rise to a survivors group and critics across the world. Dr Staudenmaier pinpoints my main concern:
“What is worrisome about the Waldorf movements continued failure to address anthroposophy’s racial legacy is not that Waldorf schools in the twenty-first century will start churning out little Hitler youths; what is worrisome is that Waldorf advocates and sympathizers may unknowingly help prepare the ideological groundwork for another unforeseen shift in the broader cultural terrain, in which notions of racial and ethnic superiority and inferiority could once again take on a spiritual significance that lends itself all too easily to practical implementation in a changed social and political context. For this reason among others, I strongly encourage those involved in Waldorf endeavors to take another look at the history of their movement and the doctrines at its core”.
I very much look forward to your reply.
I received a reply nearly 2 months later:
Many thanks for your email and apologies for the delay in replying, it has taken me some time to read through all the web links you provided.
I do appreciate your vigilance and concern about the influence of Nazism in UK schools, however having read extensively through the sources you provided, I must say that the assertions made about Steiner-Waldorf do not appear to be from reputable sources. As I’m sure you can appreciate, with the prevalence of antisemitic and Holocaust denial websites on the internet today, we are particularly aware of the need to scrutinise the neutrality and historical accuracy of all web sources – and I can assure you that the claims I have read are not ones which should give you any cause for alarm.
The Holocaust Educational Trust aims to educate as many students as possible about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We work closely with many types of schools including faith schools, specialist schools and academies – and we hope that we will soon have the opportunity to engage with Free Schools as well. Of course if we ever have any reason to suspect any schools of promoting antisemitism in any way at all, we will take immediate and appropriate action.
Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.
The writer of the letter told me they were “completely baffled by his reply” and so she researched the person who worked for HET online. She found he lists Brighton Steiner School on his facebook page.
I did a little more digging and found his wife used to work at Brighton Steiner School.
* On a side note, Gove approved the UK’s first Steiner Free School in Frome within the past few days. The bid has been supported by local Steiner School leader, Emma Craigie, who just happens to be sister of local Somerset Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and journalist Annunziatta Rees-Mogg.
The person at HET wrote: ‘I do appreciate your vigilance and concern about the influence of Nazism in UK schools, however having read extensively through the sources you provided, I must say that the assertions made about Steiner-Waldorf do not appear to be from reputable sources.’
That this person says that Peter Staudenmaier is not a reputable source is utterly inappropriate. It also pretty much proves that this person relies on highly biased sources for this judgement, in particular perhaps the writings of the anthroposophist you mentioned earlier in the post, Andy, the one who has been accusing Peter of being a con-artist for years now. It should make us question this person’s knowledge and competence. Unfortunately, too many people within the waldorf and anthroposophical movement don’t bother to make an effort and rely instead on the accuracy of positive messages that there is no problem and that anthroposophy was always on the ‘good’ side doing good things and that there is no problem with racism in the philosophy itself, even though it contains a theory on racial hierarchies.
This topic should be important for the HET, or at least not be brushed away like that. Not because, for example, anthroposophists today bear responsibility for what other anthroposophists did during the nazi era (they don’t), but because anthroposophists today are so eager to justify, ignore or even outright deny these ethically compromised elements of the movement’s past. That is the troubling thing. It’s about how the past is dealt with, not that it contains some not so pretty and nice thing.
My guess is that the HET person probably found one of the various Steinerite “debunkings” of Dr. Staudenmaier (here’s a typical one in that it doesn’t actually debunk anything Staudenmaier said or wrote: http://www.uncletaz.com/peterbull.html ) and since he trusts his fellow Steinerites more than anyone else decided that Staudenmaier was somehow dodgy without bothering to look further into the matter.
It would be one thing if the Steinerites acknowledged their founder’s follies but made it crystal clear that they had moved away from those follies. Planned Parenthood acknowleges that Margaret Sanger, as did nearly the entire scientific community of her time, held what are now considered racist views. This fact, carefully and deceptively shorn of historical context, is used by hypocritical anti-contraception conservatives who are often themselves racists to bash Planned Parenthood. I suspect that many of the Waldorf enthusiasts don’t know that much about the writings and actions of Steiner and his key disciples, and so suspect that attacks on him are of the same deceptive right-wing kind as attacks on Sanger and Planned Parenthood.
Just to be clear, Peter Staudenmaier is a Cornell-trained historian and a professor at Marquette University in Wisconsin. The lunatic who runs around the Web trying to “debunk” him is a Steiner zealot named Sune Nordwall. He has actively tried to derail Dr. Staudenmaier’s career, including accusing him of “forgery,” and continues to repeat bizarre allegations today. When he finally understood that the “forgery” charges were not going to stick, he backed off and said he meant that Peter’s work is a “spiritual forgery.”
Peter Staudenmaier’s CV:
Some of his recent activities – includes a blurb w/more professional info:
Actually, the “forgery” issue is very easy to understand.
I’m Swedish, not English or American and from the beginning have used “forgery” to mean “false description” with regard to Staudenmaier¨s description of the source he claims to describe as introduction to his first solo article on anthroposophy.
His original story and a number of his followup stories about it, when called on what he writes, are all described here:
It made me completely lose all confidence in his further writings on or related to anthroposophy until I have checked the sources he claims for them down to the last comma.
LOL. Yes, Sune, I find it easy to understand as well, but thanks for trying to help. You know quite well what the word “forgery” means, and if in doubt you could always consult a dictionary. It doesn’t mean “something Sune Nordwall disagrees with.”
Wow….so many misconceptions out there. I am a Waldorf trained teacher who taught in steiner education for fifteen years and was a memember of the anthroposophical society. The Waldorf education movement has a important task I believe to untake…to look carefully at why it practises the cirruculum it does.
Yes the curriculum is based around a racial theory of re-incarnation and many of the so called spiritual indications set out by Stiener are very questionable and unfounded…In the schools I have taught in I have heard my co-teachers explain away many things in regards to individual childrens development and behaviours as “karmic lessons” and thus have not support the child towards resolving problems in a balanced, healthy way….it is common, alarming and a practise that is often denied…
Much in anthroposophical circles is not made fully clear until a student of anthroposphy is deemed evolved enough to go on a journey in the occult truths!!
Parents my advice to you all is Do alot of reading and ask many questions around the evolution of consciousness and its relationship to the incarnating child as parents, so that you can make an informed choice before sending your child into Steiner based education…be certain it holds the ideals you want reflected for your childs future.
Many steiner teachers will be very upset at me posting such a frank statement, yet I am tired of the hushed unspoken aspect of Waldorf curriculum that needs to open…anthroposopy is the foundation that the curriculum stems from, so of course it influences how a teacher views and works with the children in their care.
I have never met a waldorf teacher that does not turly love the children they teacher yet I fear, have experienced and held myself views as a teacher that now objectively I can see were unbalanced and distorted, which I am very a shamed of as I am of “mixed races” as Steiner would point out!!
ex Steiner teacher: “Parents my advice to you all is Do alot of reading and ask many questions around the evolution of consciousness and its relationship to the incarnating child as parents, so that you can make an informed choice before sending your child into Steiner based education”
This is excellent advice. Thank you for speaking up.
In other words, that’s who they’re saying is not a “reputable source.”
“Not because, for example, anthroposophists today bear responsibility for what other anthroposophists did during the nazi era (they don’t), but because anthroposophists today are so eager to justify, ignore or even outright deny these ethically compromised elements of the movement’s past.”
And because anthroposophy today is attractive to holocaust deniers. The vast majority of anthroposophists certainly are not holocaust deniers, but the movement is reluctant to publicly disassociate from holocaust deniers, because in so doing, they would call attention to the aspects of Steiner’s writings that holocaust deniers and other racists continue to find sympathetic.
Anthroposophy’s survival is quite remarkable. Other neo-esoteric traditions of the nineteenth century have fallen by the wayside or become transformed into something else. It is important to be clear that anthroposophy did not emerge out of a vacuum and is very much a product of the Occult revival of the period, especially in Germany and Austria. Ariosophy was a contemporary but very much darker yet anthroposophy can be seen as part of a continuum with it. If it were not for Steiner’s interest in Judaism, anthroposophy would have been regarded as much more völkisch. Oh, and the lack of runes and Odin didn’t help either.
Interesting article – thanks for all the links to back it up. Except you haven’t provided evidence for this statement:
” It turns out that the person responsible was actually paid by a Steiner organisation to ‘monitor the web’ for criticisms of Steiner schools”
I’d love to see that one as it would be one heck of a smoking gun!
I’ve heard of Sune Nordwall before, but by putting this statement up (which he flatly denies), you may be making him look more important than he actually is.
the information about Sune’s employment was found in the minutes from a meeting of the Swedish waldorf school federation (the Swedish equivalent of the Steiner Waldorf School Fellowship). I have blogged about it here:
The document was swiftly withdrawn after its existence had been discovered (still available elsewhere via a link on my blog post). They have never denied they employed him, but they have never actually admitted it either. Other than in that document which was probably not meant for public consumption but which I found by accident.
Sune Nordwall does not, to my knowledge, deny that he was employed by the Swedish Waldorf federation. (He does not want to answer questions, but that’s another thing.) He has written, however, that his employment ended in the end of 2011 (I assume lasting the year). I’m sorry I don’t have a link to this. I think it was on my blog somewhere but can’t find it, so maybe it was elsewhere or I’m not searching the right alias (he has several). Maybe he’ll clarify things, as I’m pretty sure he’s reading this.
Sune has, at times, indicated there’s a distinction between when he’s speaking as an individual and when he’s speaking as an employee of the SWSF. Whether or not the “distinction” part is true, the statement is indeed acknowledgement of having been employed by them to misinform. Who are these people – that they need their own propaganda machine?
Alicia writes about me and my employment as part-time media consultant for the Swedish Federation of Waldorf schools from 2008 to 2011:
“He has written, however, that his employment ended in the end of 2011 (I assume lasting the year). I’m sorry I don’t have a link to this.”
The link is: http://excalibor.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/interview-with-zooey-ambivalent-former-steiner-waldorf-pupil/
Good. Interesting that Keith seems to think you’re flatly denying your employment. Have you been doing that? one wonders…
And for everyone else: he’s presuming to present a picture of me in that link. In my opinion, it’s a quite an odd piece of text.
Well, he has verified, at least, that Waldorf DOES pay people to misinform readers and derail critical discussions on the internet. So the question is not who and when, but WHY? It’s flatly dishonest and amounts to fraud! Why would a school system pay people to do this? To the obvious detriment of children? Read the stories of parents who were deceived by Waldorf representatives like Sune Nordwall here: http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/ Then stand up to Waldorf dishonesty whenever it shows its ugly head! Children are the victims of this fanatical group for whom ethics is meaningless.
Diana Winters writes:
“The vast majority of anthroposophists certainly are not holocaust deniers, but the movement is reluctant to publicly disassociate from holocaust deniers” …
Are you denying that there are any anthroposophical holocaust deniers?
Oh my, not the best link to convince people of the educational value of Steinerism.
“In anthroposophy, the development of humanity in connection with the development of our present solar system is not described in terms of “root races”, but with the term “Earth epochs”, and the development of humanity during post-glacial times in this long-term perspective is described as the fifth “Earth epoch” or with the terms the “post-Atlantean epoch” or the “post-Atlantean cultural epochs”.”
If a great many people in the best institutions of our age — the HET, a first rate newspaper, a socially responsible bank — are interested in a theme, I begin to wonder if this might reflect something interesting that is going on there, rather than that it is a conspiracy. That a representative of HET has her children at a Steiner school speaks volumes.
As historical anchoring: The Society of Friends (“Quakers”) was from the first and often still is termed a dangerous cult. Many of my friends have their children at the Friends schools, which appear to be great places, despite the radical and unconventional ideas of their sponsors. One generation’s dangerous cult (e.g. Christianity, secular humanism) is another generation’s conventional thinking.
Would you like to declare any association with anthroposophyy?
I doubt that the literal existence of gnomes and the idea of the British Isles floating on the sea are either likely to become conventional thinking.
Perhaps you can give us an annotated list of the parts of Steiner’s vision that are historical wackiness, at which we should point and laugh, and which bits are valid descriptions of the world.
I know which list contains those gnomes and the floaty Britain. What about you?
My family (not me) are Quakers; it’s actually quite offensive to bracket anthroposophists and Quakers. As well as great social reformers and philanthropists, they certainly have no “hidden agenda”, no occult or racial doctrine; I think they have been occasionally called a cult because they questioned the dogma of the day. They are open and accepting of all, some aren’t necessarily even very Christian, some Quakers believe in reincarnation too, they have no creed except “seeing God in everyone”. Generally very honest, open, true, fair and believing in the absolute equality of all humans. Their schools are actually liberal in the widest sense but also fairly conventional; there is a great deal of mutual respect between teachers, pupils, kitchen staff, technicians; bullying is dealt with and absolutely and totally unacceptable. Steiner schools, Camphill and Anthroposphy on the other hand…oh, well, couldn’t be more opposite in my view and experience.
Thank you for some excellent posts here; it really is about time Steiner schools were forced to be open
“That a representative of HET has her children at a Steiner school speaks volumes.”
It suggests she likely hasn’t read much Steiner. Most Steiner parents haven’t, and the schools are fine with that.
A few facts people:
1)The HET representative is a he not a she.
2)His wife worked one hour per week at the Brighton Steiner School for a total of 6 weeks.
3)Both parents believe that most of Steiner’s philosophy is bonkers.
4)Their child goes to the local Steiner for reasons to do with issue regarding UK education. If they could afford it they would home educate. The Steiner school is the best of a bad bunch.
5)Both parents have read quite a lot of Steiner’s stuff so they were able to reach a difficult decision – and hence recognise it is nonsense.
6) The anti-Steiner lobby are just as biased as the pro-Steiner lobby.
7)What (legal) digging was done to find out the HET representative’s wife worked very briefly at the Brighton Steiner – it is not on anyone’s Facebook page, so were school records hacked? We should be told. Especially if the pertinent facts are misleading and or inaccurate.
8) The Brighton Steiner School can hardly be held up as a model of Steiner eduction.
Tom Jackson, you are the Holocaust Education Trust outreach co-ordinator.
Would you please explain why you told a member of the public that American historian Peter Staudenmaier, Professor of Modern German History at Marquette University, whose doctoral dissertation on the history of Anthroposophy and its relationship to National Socialism (1900-1945) was conducted at Cornell, is not a ‘reputable source’?
The Holocaust Education Trust should consider carefully before questioning the integrity of an academic, I’m sure you would agree. I believe you owe Dr Staudenmaier an apology, and that your actions reflect poorly on the HET as a organisation. It is best for all concerned that the history of Anthroposophy (an esoteric belief system which informs all Steiner schools, including Brighton) is openly and honestly discussed. What is concerning is that supporters of Steiner education (including you) seem incapable of acknowledging that history.
A few replies to the sordid pronouncements of the Nordwall misinformation machine:
Steiner quote, displayed prominently atop the page to which Sune linked:
“Value should be attached solely to the mutual exchange between individuals. It is irrelevant whether someone is a Jew or a German … This is so obvious that one feels stupid even putting it into words. So how stupid must one be to assert the opposite!”
In other words, some of Steiner’s best friends were Jews.
There’s no doubt Steiner felt friendly toward some individual Jews. So do most antisemites. Anthroposophists aren’t Nazis, for the most part, and neither was Rudolf Steiner.
In anthroposophy, reincarnation means that you alternate “incarnations” in different races. You might be Jewish this time, and Hindu next time – all a question of your personal spiritual development. You can go backwards or forwards, alternate in “advanced” or not so advanced races, many times. Anthroposophists will not hold your present race or your present incarnation in a less advanced group such as Jewry against you. We are all said to be “striving.”
“Evil will be openly present in a large number of people as an attitude, a way of thinking, not any more covered up or hidden. The evil ones will praise the evil as something especially valuable. A certain sensual pleasure in this evil, this demony … can already be seen in many people … Nietzsche’s ‘blond beast’ is for example only a spectral premonition, pointing to it.”
I find this quote unpleasant, but I don’t think it relates to antisemitism. You seem to think by placing it prominently at the top of a page about Steiner and antisemitism, we’ll read it as a denunciation of antisemitism?
“What was Steiner’s view of Jewry and Judaism and their role in human culture, and how is Judaism treated in Waldorf education and Waldorf schools?” with some bizarre material titled:
STEINER: THE MAIN POST-GLACIAL CULTURES OF HUMANITY ORIGINATE WITH NOAH
This is intended to show that Steiner thought highly of the ancient Hebrews and their contribution to the advancement of civilization. That’s true. You fail to note that Steiner also said that that time was PAST:
“It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable. We do not mean the forms of the Jewish religion alone, but above
all the spirit of Jewry, the Jewish way of thinking.” (Rudolf Steiner, ‘Robert Hamerling: Homunkulus’, Deutsche Wochenschrift 1888 vol. VI nos. 16 and 17; reprinted in Steiner, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur
Literatur, pp. 145-155; quotes at 148 and 153.)
So, Waldorf education and Judaism. Yes, we know third graders study the Old Testament and Hebrew culture – because it is thought to “correspond” to their own level of development, spiritually. Jews are in third grade, spiritually. They study this BEFORE ancient Greece and Rome etc. because those civilizations are thought to have superseded Judaism. Spiritually. Karmically. The child is thought to “recapitulate” the spiritual development of humanity through the course of cosmic eons. This “spiritual” framework is superimposed on the timeline that is taught as history in Waldorf schools. In anthroposophy, it’s always about spiritual progress, whether of individuals, nations and races, or humanity as a whole. You have the less spiritually advanced coming before the more spiritually advanced. This is a basic principle and a basic structure of thought in anthroposophy. It’s juvenile, of course, but mistaken for “deep” by anthroposophists.
And no – changing the theosophical term “root race” to the preferred term in anthroposophy -“Earth epochs”- makes no difference. This is lipstick on a pig. It’s not the terminology that matters, but the actual concepts. The concept is spiritual development by race. Later, more spiritually evolved races are supposed to replace older, less spiritually evolved races. That is why you can have pronouncements such as Steiner’s that the continued existence of Jewry is a “mistake of world history.”
“Anthroposophy completely rejects and condemns everything that Nazism developed in these contexts.”
‘Tis good to hear … but never mind the Nazis, it is not really that impressive to run around shouting that you reject Nazism. You don’t say?
What critics ask is that you reject the antisemitic things that STEINER taught. Clean your own house and you won’t find Nazism so worrying. Help those in your midst who don’t necessarily “reject everything Nazism developed in these contexts” get the message that anthroposophy doesn’t want them around. So far, that hasn’t happened and some holocaust deniers somehow still feel they’ve found a comfortable niche in anthroposophy.
“A historical anchoring: The Society of Friends (“Quakers”) was from the first and often still is termed a dangerous cult. Many of my friends have their children at the Friends schools, which appear to be great places, despite the radical and unconventional ideas of their sponsors. One generation’s dangerous cult (e.g. Christianity, secular humanism) is another generation’s conventional thinking.”
Sorry, but as someone whose child attended Quaker schools, I cannot let this pass. Nobody says Quakerism is a dangerous cult today. Or would you like to produce some evidence of someone today who calls Quakerism a dangerous cult?
I have observed closely at length in both Waldorf and Quaker schools and the differences could not be more stark. I have written often advising Waldorf to take a page from Quaker schools in their PR practices – the Quaker schools are entirely honest and forthcoming in their promotional materials and their recruiting methods.
Yes, we could say that Quakerism espouses some “radical and unconventional” ideas, assuming you mean pacificism. The Quaker school my son attended has a huge sign out front, placed strategically to maximize its visibility to passing traffic on a busy road:
PEACE IS THE WAY.
They aren’t hiding this. They will tell you about it until you are ready to scream No More! The children are practically pounded with it, in weekly “meeting” and in the classroom as well.
I look forward to the day Waldorf schools promote themselves with the same honesty, the same self-scrutiny and humility. I want to see a big sign out front the Waldorf school:
KARMA IS THE WAY.
Isn’t that what they believe? Why then aren’t parents told this proudly, up front, every day? Why isn’t it printed in the brochures and flashing in a pretty Waldorf font on the welcome page of every Waldorf school web site?
Just an aside, really. Years ago, about 1980 I think, in the course of my work I had to visit a Steiner school on behalf of a local authority. Before the journey, I was browsing in a newsagents, looking to purchase a copy of “New Society” (which folded a few years later). That week’s headline, which remains engraved in my grey matter, was “The Image of Benign Dottiness” – about our friend Rudolf. With hindsight, “benign” was no doubt far too indulgent, while “dottiness” something of an understatement.
The single greatest selling for us at the Quaker school, after we took our son out of the Waldorf school, was their absolute and total, nonnegotiable, assurance that physical violence would not be tolerated at the school. Your child is as safe as humanly possible in a Quaker school.
There is a significant difference in philosophy on this point, between Quakerism and anthroposophy. In a Quaker school there is no hesitation to stop physical violence, and absolutely no doctrinal fuzziness over its wrongness at all times; no mulling over privately whether “karma” is involved in interpersonal conflicts.
It seems a common practice among anthroposophists and their organisations to try and “out” critics, pathologise their actions, deliberately strike in a very personal way, rather than actually the discuss the criticisms themselves.( I’ve even been in contact with people who have had death threats made against them.) I find all this quite arbitrarily irrational, and quite chilling.
Cathy wrote: “I’ve even been in contact with people who have had death threats made against them.”
That, I could have handled. When a Waldorf teacher made threats against my CHILDREN if I didn’t stop my criticism within the school community, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I became (arguably) the world’s most outspoken Waldorf critic (the Anti-Sune?). I know I’m not the only angry dad, but I very well may be the angriest.
Pete, six hours after I gave a link (July 6, 2012 at 10:09 am) to a description of the specifics of my relation to the Swedish Federation of Steiner Waldorf schools in 2008-2011, telling that it has not paid me to write anything on their behalf on the net, only and purely inform them about what was published in the net durint the period in uestion, you write that I have “verified, at least, that Waldorf DOES pay people to misinform readers and derail critical discussions on the internet.”
If you had read the link I gave, you’d see that it does not tell what you write.
Sune, why would anyone follow your links down your personal rabbit hole? Just answer honestly, were you working in your official capacity for the SWSF when you threatened mumsnet with a lawsuit if they didn’t remove critical discussion? Was Percy Bratt your personal lawyer or was he working for the SWSF?
Sune, I suspect you won’t answer my question above.. I’m certain everyone reading this believes you threatened legal action against mumsnet as a private citizen who was just so anguished by the unfair criticism of Steiner, you had to involve your personal attorney to threaten a lawsuit against them. Individuals acting on their own do that sort of internet bullying of parenting magazines all the time. That makes complete sense.
Another question… During your employment with the SWSF, you claim you were monitoring the internet in order to inform them of what was being published about Waldorf. While you were monitoring the internet from 2008 to 2011 under the employ of the SWSF, were you also posting on the internet? It’s easy enough to verify. If so, how were you able to differentiate the hours for which you billed them from the hours you were posting? Did you have a stopwatch going? Or did they just sort of pay you WHILE you were also posting stuff that they were in complete agreement with? Also, did the SWSF ask you to misrepresent yourself as a mother with children on the internet or was that your idea? Was disguising yourself as a mother part of their directive to gather information or was it just you as an individual being your regular old dishonest self? The truth hurts Sune… but lies are like murder in the spirit world. 😉
Remember writing this Sune?
“If I see her posting promotion of libel at Mumsnet once more, I won’t tell you about it, but ask Percy Bratt of Bratt and Feinsilber in Sweden to contact you in cooperation with the legal representatives of The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland (http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html), about your negligent way of allowing libel to be published at Mumsnet and the one who is the most fervent publisher of it to continue to publish at Mumsnet.”
You weren’t expecting Sune to reply to any of this, were you, Pete?
@Diana – No, not in my wildest dreams. Sune disappears whenever someone turns on the heat. But at least everyone who reads this will know who he is. No wonder he posts by so many different identities. An honest person wouldn’t have to – or want to.
After he was debunked as a pseudo-skeptic, one could expect that Canard would produce another collage against the anthroposophy. Well, he has produced two collages within a short period of time. I don’t want to spend many words to it. In fact two words will do: cheap populism. When you want to damage a person or a movement you accuse them of racism. Further, you don’t give a definition of racism but leave it open, so you can manipulate with that concept.
There is however something else I want to say here.
In my opinion there are two great people who deserve a statue (and this time I don’t mean you, Pete Karaistos).
The first one, as you may be expect from me, is Albert Memmi. His great theory and definition of racism is the solid wall protecting Steiner against all accusations of racism, no matter how thick the books are German professors are writing or what American anti-anthroposophy- gurus are saying.
What again was the definition of racism by Albert Memmi?
Memmi: “racism offers overall and final validity to the idea of biological differences, real or imagined — all to the advantage of the dominant party or to the detriment of the victim, in order to legitimate an act of aggression or certain privileges.”
In his article “What is racism” Alain de Benoist comment this definition. (http://alaindebenoist.com/pdf/what_is_racism.pdf)
“ In this case, racist domination is no longer seen as a result or as a potential consequence of theory. On the contrary, theory is seen as resulting from the intention to dominate or exploit. Thus, racist ideology turns into a theory forged to justify an act of aggression or to legitimate a relation of domination from which one would expect to profit. Racism,
then, becomes a belief which justifies behavior. This is not unlike the idea
that class consciousness is the driving force of proletarian action. It is also
similar to so-called “conspiracy” theory, a pseudo-explanatory construct
occasionally used by victims of racism. Close to Memmi is Colette
Guillaumin, for whom racism is not so much a theory or an opinion but a
social relation. She writes: “This is a very particular relation, one of domination,
which is seen as completely natural.” More broadly, racism is
generated from the “normalization” of a relation of domination. This idea is frequently espoused by authors who see an intimate relation between racism, colonialism, imperialism, etc “
It is clear that we do not find ”the intention to dominate or exploit” in the work of Rudolf Steiner. His theory is NOT ” forged to justify an act of aggression or to legitimate a relation of domination from which one would expect to profit”.
I recommend Memmi’s book “Racism” to all opportunistic critics and adversaries of anthroposohy.
The second person who deserves a statue is Marcello Truzzi. He made me see that many skeptics who have prejudices towards the existence of a supersensible world and who attack the anthroposophy are in fact pseudo-skeptics.
They betray the original skeptic principles of being non-dogmatic and non-prejudiced.
They claim that it is certain that there is no spiritual world. Pseudo-skeptics cultivate the prejudice against Anthroposophy, not seeing they are destroying their own reputation.
Tell us about the gnomes.
Too lazy to look up yourself?
[edited as cut and paste of long articles from wikipedia is just comment spam]
OK, a bit shorter now, from Encyclopedia Britannica
in European folklore, dwarfish, subterranean goblin or earth spirit who guards mines of precious treasures hidden in the earth. He is represented in medieval mythologies as a small, physically deformed (usually hunchbacked) creature resembling a dry, gnarled old man. Gob, the king of the gnome race, ruled with a magic sword and is said to have influenced the melancholic temperament of man.
The term was popularized through works of the 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus in which gnomes were described as capable of moving through solid earth as fish move through water.
So, are you saying gnomes aren’t real?
Wait… how come you went to Encyclopedia Britannica for your “gnome” definition but had to go to Encyclopedia Universalis for your racism definition? What’s wrong with the definition of racism in Encyclopedia Britannica – since you have it handy? Here it is:
“racism, also called racialism , any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview—the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races,” that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral features, and that some races are innately superior to others.”
Wow, what a surprise? No “aggression” is required to be a racist. Does Encyclopedia Universalis define gnomes as real beings?
I don’t see that a pseudo-skeptic label arises out of being skeptical of a pseudo-religion.
Anthroposophy is a complexly woven combination of imaginations, philosophy shorn of its axioms and rewritten rules of social interactions. It is just goofy. How anyone with a sense of himself and his relation with the world (social and environment) would change everything to follow these ramblings does not make any sense. The key is the word “supersensible”, I don’t believe it. So much of anthroposophy is too much like a revealed religion without any sensible proof.
What about the gnomes?
OK, JimR, you don’t believe it.
Well it is no matter of believing but of investigating.
Pseudo-skeptics do not investigate just cultivate their prejudices
About the gnomes:
[edited as cut and paste of long articles from wikipedia is just comment spam]
Jan, you know, because I’ve told you several times, that Steiner’s teachings fit very nicely within Memmi’s definition of racism. There is no question of this except in your mind. And that ONE definition has been the flag you’ve been waving for how long now? Besides, what Memmi is describing is racial bigotry, not racism (the notion that one race stands above another race – which is exactly what Steiner taught).
Furthermore, it isn’t only “skeptics” who find fault with Steiner’s materials. Lots of people, most Christians for example, find Steiner’s Christian works extremely problematic. Farmers find his ideas about biodynamics silly. Scientists find his beliefs laughable. Architects look upon the Goetheanum as an eyesore. Outside of Anthroposophical audiences, Steiner’s works are embarrassingly crude.
What I find funny, is the folks I know, who send their kids to Steiner or Waldorf are either Black or Jewish, and one kid I know is both, and they try to educate me about the philosophy and encourage me to send my blond haired blue eyed child there.
Their kids seem happy, very healthy,imaginative and bright, I wish my catholic up bringing was as stimulating.
Show me then, Pete Karaistos, that Steiner has developed his general theory about races with the intention to dominate or to exploit, or has forged his theory to justify an act of aggression or to legitimate a relation of domination from which one would expect to profit.
But don’t come up with loose standing, separate quotations it is about the theory as a whole, and please leave the “hierarchy of races” because this is a fabrication of Ralf Sonnenberg and not a concept of Steiner.
Well, firstly, Jan, Steiner doesn’t have to fulfill ANY of those criteria to be a racist – those are only Memmi’s criteria (under which almost NOBODY is a racist)… but you’re also quite mistaken here. The “hierarchy of races” is absolutely Steiner’s concept. Steiner put everything into hierarchies. He went into great detail about spiritual hierarchies, cherubs, angels, archangels, seraphim, thrones and so forth. He put the plant kingdom into hierarchies too – with the rose representing the most highly evolved plant (according to Steiner). The mineral kingdom too had hierarchies – and at the top, Steiner placed diamonds. Steiner described human racial characteristics in great detail – as derived from spiritual science. While one group had characteristics like “intelligence” and had achieved the “highest” physical form, other racial groups were “degenerate” and “regressing”. The truth of the matter is that Steiner was indeed a racist, spiritual science did little more than simply exploit a lot of racial stereotypes of the day for its readers. And anything you can say positively about Steiner with regards to racism falls apart when the notion of “reincarnation” isn’t applied to his teachings. His idea of not being a racist was encouraging people to work harder to become WHITE!
A very weak reaction Pete.
You come up with all kind of hierarchies that are not relevant here. Steiner never talked about a hierarchy of races. Like I said it was Ralf Sonnenberg who invented this concept in one of his articles. It was a concept the adversaries could use but it has nothing to do with Steiner.
The characteristics you mention and which Steiner brought in connection to different races are not brought by Steiner as an instrument to “justify an act of aggression or to legitimate a relation of domination from which one would expect to profit” and you know it.
I really think the game is over Pete.
The above definition of Albert Memmi is not standing alone. I will always use this definition and it is an accepted and leading definition. Guru Peter Staudenmaier might say differently, and his followers will say “yes Peter “and “of course Peter” and “amen”. But still Albert Memmi has a greater reputation than Peter Staudenmaier, his definition is in the Encyclopedia Universalis and more scholars are thinking like him.
Peter Staudenmaier has disappointed me. I had to read on yahoo Waldorf Critics that anthroposophists did not come up with a definition of racism. He knows and you know that that is not true.
could you please link to the article where Ralf Sonnenberg supposedly invents that there is in Steiner’s work a hierarchal conception of human races?
PS. Your preferred definition of racism has been discussed many times before. As far as I can tell, the game is over — but for you!
Boy, talk about your weak arguments… You’re kidding right? The following quote is from STEINER, nobody else.
“The relation between soul-development and race-development is preserved to us in a wonderful myth. Let us imagine race following race, civilization following civilization. The soul going through its earth mission in the right way is incarnated in a certain race; it strives upward in this race, and acquires the capacities of this race in order next time to be incarnated in a higher one. Only the souls which sink in the race and do not work out of the physical materiality, are held back in the race by their own weight, as one might say. They appear a second time in the same race and eventually a third time in bodies in similarly formed races. Such souls hold back the bodies of the race. This has been wonderfully described in a legend. We know, indeed, that man progresses further in the fulfillment of the mission of the earth by following the great Leaders of humanity who point out the goals to be attained; if he rejects them, if he does not follow them, he must remain behind with his race, for he cannot then get beyond it. Let us think of a personality who has the good fortune to meet a great Leader of humanity, let us suppose such a personality confronting Christ Jesus himself, for example; he sees how all his deeds are evidence for leading humanity forward, but he will have nothing to do with this progress, he rejects the Leader of humanity. Such a personality, such a soul would be condemned to remain in the race. If we follow this thought to its conclusion such a soul would have to appear again and again in the same race, and we have the legend of Ahasuerus who had to appear in the same race again and again because he rejected Christ Jesus. Great truths concerning the evolution of humanity are placed before us in such a legend as this.” (Rudolf Steiner, The Apocalypse of St. John, pp. 80-81)
Jan, you’re trying to redefine racism as requireing “aggression”. That doesn’t fit the rest of the world’s understanding – but still, since you’ve fallen down Sune’s rabbit hole… do we need to redefine “aggression” too? Telling people they don’t belong on your continent is “aggression”… It’s VERY AGGRESSIVE. Steiner said this about blacks publicly in articles. That activity falls firmly within Memmis definition and YOU know it. Um… the game was over the last time I explained this to you but you don’t get it. I’ll keep explaining it to you for the other readers who do. Steiner was a racist. This is rather obvious by what he believed and espoused. If you need further proof, a commission of Dutch ANTHROPOSOPHISTS found his writings to be racist! Get it? Even Anthroposophists had to admit Steiner’s writings are racist. But YOU certainly don’t have to admit this – denial of this obvious fact is quite common among Anthroposophists.
Hey, why not help Anthros invent their own definition of racism now that you know Memmis’ still fits Steiner? After all, they’ve redefined “medicine”, “education”, “gardening”, “banking”, even stuff like “honesty” and the relationship between parent and child. They got the idea of “redefining” stuff right from Steiner. You’re doing the same.
How many people have to explain this to you before you get it… let alone declare victory? Show me ANYTHING written by Steiner that suggests he believed in the equality of people of all races and you can declare victory. Short of presenting that statement, you’ll have a lot more definition-twisting to do. If Steiner believed all races are equal he could have mentioned it in over 40 books and 6000 lectures. He DIDN’T – because he didn’t.
You are misinformed, the Dutch Commission found the work of Rudolf Steiner to be not racist but discriminatory, which is not true either. His work is on the contrary, if well-understood on its own basis and not by debunking it with intellectualistic non-immanent criticism, able to overcome all forms of despicable racism.
You form a long line of Steiner supporters who try to wave away his racism rather than condemning it.
I was curious about gnomes and found this authoritative web site which has copies from the German book, “The Big Gnome Book”. 😉
This was published in the 70’s, but I assume the material was available from other sources in RS lifetime.
Anthroposophy is an anagram for Harpoon Typos, whatever that means.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that particular group has confused gnomes with trolls… 😉
“While you were monitoring the internet from 2008 to 2011 under the employ of the SWSF, were you also posting on the internet?”
I have never been employed by the SWSF. The link to the posting at http://excalibor.wordpress.com that I have given above give the details of my relation to the Swedish Federation of Waldorf schools 2008-2011.
“I have never been employed by the SWSF.”
Sune, you’re such a bad liar, you can’t keep your stories straight. On July 9th – RIGHT HERE ON THIS THREAD, you admited you were employed by the SWSF. You were either lying then, or you’re lying now. Which is it?
You’re wrong. What I wrote referred to my work as media consultant 2008-2011 for the Swedish Federation of Waldorf Schools. SWSF is the umbrella organisation for Steiner Waldorf Schools in the UK and Ireland.
But Sune, in order to get posts by ex-Steiner mothers removed from mumsnet, you threatened the forum that you would:
‘..ask Percy Bratt of Bratt and Feinsilber in Sweden to contact you in cooperation with the legal representatives of The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland (http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html), about your negligent way of allowing libel to be published at Mumsnet..”
were you just posturing? Or were ‘the legal representatives of The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland (http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html)’ involved in your attempt to silence mothers on mumsnet?
Oh crap… I got SWSF and SFWS mixed up… now Sune’s going to devote a few blog pages telling the world what a liar I am… Stand by everyone.
“If Steiner believed all races are equal he could have mentioned it in over 40 books and 6000 lectures. He DIDN’T – because he didn’t.”
Sune linked to his disinformation website. Unfortunately, that link DOES NOT suggest all races are equal. Sorry. It’s a weasel-worded expose of Steiner’s words taken OUT OF CONTEXT (notice all the … where text has been removed?). In other words, this is another one of Sune’s carefully crafted LIES!
Sune NEVER places the full context of Steiner’s quotes on the page… how come? Does he EVER provide the link to Steiner’s actual text – so that readers can verify what Steiner ACTUALLY wrote? NOPE! Sune has gone to a lot of effort to produce a disinformation website – and it works very well to misinform people on a daily basis. READ THE FULL CONTEXT when Sune quotes Steiner – you will come away with a VERY different picture of what Steiner had to say.
Steiner NEVER, EVER said all races are equal. At best, he said racial differences will be insignificant – A FEW THOUSAND YEARS FROM NOW! Read the full context – or let Sune, the paid disinformation officer cherry-pick Steiner’s words for you… it’s up to you!
Sune can’t tolerate honest discussion. When the boys come out to play, Sune Nordwall runs away.
I just love it when Sune links to a page. Here’s an example of the distortions available on Sune’s website – from the page he linked to:
“Accusations that racism was taught in Waldorf schools in the Netherlands and appeared in Steiner’s writings prompted the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands in July 1996 to set up a commission to investigate the issue, led by an anthroposophical lawyer specializing in discrimination issues. The commission set about analyzing the published works of Rudolf Steiner, encompassing approximately 89,000 pages, mostly transcripts of some 4,000 lectures, but also some 50 written works.
The key question it tried to investigate was whether Rudolf Steiner taught a racial doctrine, in the sense of a seemingly scientific theory whereby the superiority of one race is supposed to be legitimized at the expense of another.
The 720 page report of the commission, that was published on April 1, 2000, going through the complete collected works by Steiner, answered the question in the negative: anthroposophy contains no such racial doctrine.”
Is this accurate? In TRUTH, the ENTIRE COMMISSION was made up of ANTHROPOSOPHISTS (not just one lawyer as Sune claims). Even so, they were forced to ADMIT that there were at least 16 racist remarks by Steiner that would have landed him IN JAIL if they were uttered today. Sune doesn’t mention this on his website.
That a team of Anthroposophists could suggest to the world Steiner’s racism is benign is LAUGHABLE, yet Sune continues to use this as some sort of “evidence” that Steiner wasn’t a racist.
He also claims, as evidence, that the Waldorf schools in Nazi Germany were shut down… but in fact, ALL non-national schools were shut down – and Waldorf schools lasted the longest BECAUSE they (teachers AND parents) made a good case that they were in alignment with Nazi thinking. Sune doesn’t mention this… why not?
I followed Sune’s link to the quote by Steiner… it is supposed to be from GA192. GA192 isn’t listed in the Rudolf Steiner Archive but I found it here. I can’t find the quote Sune listed: The lecture is called “Proletarian Demands and how to put them in practice” – do you have the page number Sune? Searches for the words you have quoted don’t seem to work.
Does anyone see the quote Sune has on his website in that lecture? I may be missing something here. The name of the book that contains the lecture is revealing “Education as a force for social change”. Does anybody believe they’re really getting math, geography and history at Waldorf schools?
Well, I Googled Sune’s quote and the only place the quote seems to be listed is on Wikipedia (where it could easily have been fabricated) – again, no link to the source.
Sune, it behooves YOU to make the source of this quote available. On what page of GA192 does your quote reside?
The search continues for the quote Sune has on his website. I’ve asked Waldorf critics to help find it since Sune won’t post a link to where it can be found. It isn’t unlike Sune to put words in Steiner’s mouth (read on his website how Sune explains early humans with regard to things Steiner never said). I’ll give you another day to provide the link Sune. Unless you can show you haven’t made this quote up (like you’ve fabricated other things Steiner supposedly said) – I’ll assume this has been another one of your fabrications. Did you get the number wrong Sune? Is it in a different lecture? NOW is NOT the time to run away Sune… your credibility is at stake!
It turns out, following Sune’s link, I’ve discovered that Steiner had yet another way to divide children. In the conclusion of this series of lectures (link is in my previous post), (p208) – Steiner makes a distinction between bourgeois children (spoiled – brought up in a “hot house”) and proletarian children (rowdy – brought up with nothing good to imitate).
So, besides pigeonholing children as being large or small-headed, right or left handed, and assigning them to one of the four temperaments, and taking all their racial qualities into account, Waldorf teachers also differentiate between the spoiled from the rowdy children. Good to know.
Well, Sune’s good friend Peter Staudenmaier provided information on the missing quote: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/24870 and also confirmed what I and most readers already know, that Sune has misunderstood (once again) what Steiner wrote.
Peter advises checking out p6 for some of Steiner’s feelings about Asians.
Above, Diana Winters on July 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm quotes from a page a WaldorfAnswers, but does not give the link to it.
It is http://www.waldorfanswers.com/AAntisemitismMyth.htm
She also quotes from a comment by the 27-year-old Rudolf Steiner in an 1888 literary review of the drama “Homunculus” by the poet Robert Hamerling.
The quote is commented on at http://waldorfanswers.org/OnSalonArticle.html#Anti-Semitism
Sune complains in his link, above, that this quote is taken out of context – claiming it’s by poet Robert Hamerling:
“Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable”
According to Sune, Steiner wouldn’t say such a thing. Yet, he said the SAME THING in The Fifth Gospel, only this time pretending it was JESUS who was saying this. Here’s the quote from The 5th Gospel – by Rudolf Steiner:
Jesus (speaking to Mary): “All the forces of soul which I believed had been bestowed upon me lead only to the realisation that in the evolution of the Jewish people there is no longer the capacity to reach the heights of Divine revelations.” (Steiner, 1913, The Fifth Gospel. (1913) Trans. C. Davy & D.S. Osmond. London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968. p. 67)
Clearly, Steiner was of the opinion that Jews had outlived their purpose. No amount of distortion by Steiner apologists like Sune will change that FACT!
Read more of Steiner’s bright ideas here: http://petekaraiskos.blogspot.com/2010/12/steiner-quotes-jews-racial-progression.html
Sune has pointed us to his own analysis of the Steiner quote mentioned above. For balance, I think viewers would do well to read Peter Staudenmaier’s analysis of the quote by Steiner:
Here’s a peek:
In an 1888 Deutsche Wochenschrift review of the book “Homunculus” by the Austrian pan-German author Robert Hamerling, a darling of Schönerer’s faction, Steiner made this point with particular force. Hamerling’s book was a wide-ranging satire that included a crucial antisemitic chapter structured around malicious caricatures of Jews.[viii] Among the well-worn anti-Jewish
stereotypes that Hamerling employed were the fantasy of a Jewish drive for world domination (the Jews aspire to “the triumph of homunculism on earth”, and emigrate to Palestine in order to “found a new Kingdom of Israel, destined to encompass the whole world eventually”)[ix]; the Jew as usurer (“Schacherjuden”,
“Wucherjuden”, “Börsejuden”, and “mauschelnde Finanzbarone”)[x]; and the “concentrated oriental perspiration” of the Jews.[xi] In Hamerling’s portrait,Jews have taken over European newspapers, art, literature, and the medical profession and live parasitically off of the debts of gentiles. At one point he
compares “the entire Jewish population” (das gesamte Judenvolk) to an anthill, “raucous, wailing, screeching, croaking, raving”.[xii]
Steiner vigorously defended Hamerling’s book and excoriated critics who objected to its antisemitism, dismissing these critics as “oversensitive Jews” incapable of reaching an “objective judgement” on the work.[xiii] The heart of Steiner’s
celebratory review of Hamerling’s crude parody was the following passage, in which Steiner laid out his beliefs about the Jews in general terms for the first time:
“It certainly cannot be denied that Jewry today still behaves as a closed totality, and that it has frequently intervened in the development of our current state of affairs in a way that is anything but favorable to European ideas of culture. But Jewry as such has long since outlived its time; it has no more justification within the modern life of peoples, and the fact that it continues to exist is a mistake of world history whose consequences are unavoidable. We do not mean the forms of the Jewish religion alone, but above all the spirit of Jewry, the Jewish way of thinking.” [xiv]
For an intro to the Dutch study mentioned at a page linked on to from the page mentioned above, see http://waldorfanswers.org/ARacistMyth.htm#Netherlands
For more on the study and its background, see http://thebee.se/comments/Holland/
For some comments on anthroposophy in the time of Nazi Germany, se http://www.waldorfanswers.com/AnthroposophyDuringNaziTimes.htm
You ALMOST mentioned the truth about the Dutch commission in your Steiner apologia page. They were 100% Anthroposophists. No mention of that. The comments were not only “discriminatory” – they would have landed Steiner in JAIL… no mention of that. It sounds like ONE Anthroposophist was on the commission. That’s dishonest. You say only five of Steiner’s lectures were on the races… that’s a flat lie.
I have allegations of Waldorf teachers teaching Steiner’s racism as science in California. Are Anthroposophists going to form a commission to see what’s going on Sune? So far, they are denying that any racism is being taught… the teacher has moved on to another Waldorf school – teaching the same subject. Who’s going to look into it Sune? Wouldn’t it be better to look into it than to hear about it on every blog that talks about Waldorf? The fact is – STEINER’S RACISM IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANTHROPOSOPHY AND WALDORF EDUCATION – AND THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE. I challenge you, if you aren’t a racist, Sune, to look into Highland Hall – a 50+ year old Waldorf school – and find out why they stood behind the teaching of racism as science.
When the TRUTH comes out to play, Sune Nordwall runs away!
This author, and former Dutch Waldorf student, describes the Dutch Anthroposophical commission’s report and gives us a sense of how much they completely IGNORED in the way of Steiner’s racism. It’s a long article, but the commission study is near the beginning. The remainder of the article provides great information about Steiner’s/Anthroposophy’s relationship to the races.
As an aside, I think he casually mentions our friend Sune as “one of the contributors” when he says:
“If you think back in time, keeping in mind that the bones were still soft, you may never be found fossil remains of the ancestors of the current humans. Cartilage, or soft material, now has been lost and didn’t fossilise like hard bones’.
I think this is a quiet effective explanation, except for one thing. For so far I know Steiner doesn’t discuss, or hardly discuss (on ‘racisme debat’, one of the contributors claimed that he does somewhere, but these passages are unknown to me) earlier forms of man, like the Neanderthals, etc.. Steiner talks about ‘human races’.”
So, I guess I’m not the only one who can’t find verification for the things Sune has attributed to Steiner. Maybe Sune can provide a link to Steiner (not his own website) where he talks about primitive, earlier forms of man like Neanderthals… since he claims Steiner described these.
When the truth comes out to play, Sune Nordwall runs away!
Pete: “When the boys come out to play, Sune Nordwall runs away.”
And you get banned as editor from Wikipedia for foul play and an uppercut to the chairperson of the Wikipedia arbitration committee that you did not like.
LMAO! That’s right Sune – I stand toe to toe with you guys… 5 to one isn’t much of a fair fight – but I sure as hell didn’t run away. I let myself be banned rather than put up a defense for a SECOND trial. Babysitting Wikipedia became a ridiculous waste of time. I got your websites excluded and the archives expose a lot of information. You really think I’m banned? I could ALWAYS go there anonymously – like the Anthroposopists do – but I have too much integrity. All one has to do is look at the edits and discussions to see what’s going on at Wikipedia. I’m not interested in Wikipedia anymore. Nobody uses it as a source with a straight face these days.
Uppercut? You’re the only one who threatened to physically punch anyone while we were there, Sune. You mean exposing the “arbitrator” – the former attorney who had his license to practice revoked but still felt he made a good judge? Thugs and bullies don’t make it in my book. The guy was as unscrupulous as YOU are Sune… well, almost.
You never answered my questions to you Sune? Why not? Running away? Do you represent yourself when you post on forums as a mother? Steiner says Great Britain floats in the OCEAN, not on a bed of magma. What deep crevice did you pull that nonsense from? Do you acknowledge that your quotes on your “myths” page are EACH taken out of context – and that Steiner never, not once, said all races are equal? Can you show ANYWHERE where Steiner made such a claim without distorting the context of the lecture? The world is waiting for your answers… YOU have been exposed Sune.
Wow, I just had a look at the Wikipedia talk page Sune linked to above. I suggest everyone read it. People who question the integrity of the article get blocked immediately by Waldorf teacher Harlan Gilbert. He’s finding excuses for using Steiner foundation-funded studies and flying under the arbitration committee guidelines. Meanwhile, people continually ask where the criticism of Waldorf is. Gilbert acts like there isn’t any.
Thanks for the link Sune. You do an amazing job of shooting yourself in the foot with every post.
Did Sune Nordwall run away?
C’mon Sune, you’ve got LOTS of pages you haven’t linked to yet… Don’t you want to advertise your website here anymore? Are you thinking it may be better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to provide more links and remove all doubt.
Readers should know that Sune is also the author of the Americans4Waldorf website (is he representing himself as an American now too?).
I have never come across a forum so rich with disinformation and chock with attempts to mould opinion – all based on lies, huge generalisations or half truths. There is a distinct pattern to the structure, arguments and attitude of internet trolls regardless of topic and I hope people can see it for what it is as I do now.
There is quite clearly an attempt to destroy Steiner’s wok. The oldest trick in the book Anti Semitism, if that fails then hell lets go for Nazis and if that doesn’t work we will play on the fears of parents. Anything as long as Steiner teachings disappear along with Christianity in general.
How is Steiner a racist?
Any progression or technological advances of the European race have come at a cost of spiritual powers and knowledge so one is only higher than the other depending on what your OWN values are. When most of the planet is mindlessly consuming and waging war to consume even more I think Native American Indians and the harmony with which they lived in nature is immensely more mature and “evolved”
Does this make me racist towards Europeans?
The Nazis hated Steiner and all he stood for. They did though, in the exact same manner as some posters here, twist occult teaching to suit their own needs and make it appear as if one race was superior.
Throughout Steiner’s books and lectures he is consistently pointing out the fact it is easy to misunderstand what is being said and that it is no question of one thing being better than the other or more valuable than this or that as each is essential to progress, therefore showing his own thorough understanding of such things at the same time as revealing the lack of any understanding on the part of the naysayers.
What is the difference between Anti Semitism and Racism?
I have no desire to destroy Steiner’s wok.
And yes, you are a racist if you ascribe general attributes to people based on skin colour etc.
Africans are really good at running especially endurance.
Am I racist?
You see it is your own ignorance that calls me racist for an honest and truthful remark that is not borne out of hate or predudice but solid fact backed by statistics.
It is probably something to do with Geography and body fat content but my point is that I have been unfairly labeled a racist when I am certainly not.
I have just fininshed reading that Anti Steiner paper by Staudemier and he makes the same kind of unfounded allegations, he selects his translations to fit his theory which he admits is only probable (in his mind) while making absurd comments designed to cause a reflex such as “Steiner knew many people with anti semetic tendancies”
Yes… perhaps because he was in Germany post World War! were a great deal of people had those inclinations.
Ridiculous allegations against one of the few people who truly do not deserve it.
Rob, you should learn a little more about Steiner. You have made a lot of errors that are common to people who read Steiner apologia – for example, that the Nazis hated Steiner. That’s simply not true. His philosophy aligned very nicely with the Nazis – they found it to run in parallel with many of their ideas. They liked Steiner. And more importantly, Anthroposophists loved the Nazis. Again, they heard a lot of ideas that paralleled their gurus lectures. It’s hard not to find similarities between the two ideologies.
Steiner absolutely was a racist – his ideas are the very definition of racism. His ideas weren’t about who can run faster (something that could be tested perhaps) but rather about who was more SPIRITUALLY evolved… something nobody could really know. Nobody can test what Steiner said about people of color – they can accept it or reject it. If you’re not a racist, you reject it.
Yes – you are a racist.
In what sense are “Africans really good at running”?
Let me pose a thought experiment to you. Let’s imagine a race where twenty random ‘African’ school children race against twenty random German school children, for example. Who will win? For the purpose of this experiment, you can limit the choice between children who are healthy and well nourished, not over weight etc, so as to exclude any gross social effects.
Do you really think all the African children will beat the German children? Or, actually, do you think there might be a lot of variation in who does well and who does not.
Let’s be clear. The variation in characteristics within any grouping will be much larger than the average difference between groups. Racists ignore this rather obvious fact and instead characterise individuals according to some small perceived average differences – ignoring any individual characteristics. Rudolf Steiner did this and his philosophy is riddled with such racist assumptions.
That an almost infinitesimally small number of East Africans have done very well in long distance running competitions tells you very little indeed about any particular individual from East Africa. That a few are blessed with a particular body shape and can consistently train at high altitude tells you zilch about what you call ‘race’.
Steiner education is based on the preposterous idea that you can classify children according to absurd criteria and then drive their schooling according to such classifications and all the well proclaiming they treat children as individuals. It is actually sick.
Defenders of Steiner cannot appear to get past the fallacy that racism is all about ‘hate’. I am happy to be convinced that Steiner’s racism was out of some misguided love of humanity. But all racism is harmful and it is unchallenged prejudices and assumptions that do the harm. And the World of Steiner appears to be riddled with them and unable to grasp its own inherent prejudices – no doubt because to do so would contradict the revelations of the master,
Im not racist, for you to call me so is absurd and offensive
Why imagine an experiment with children when you can look at all the marathons and endurance races run by adults in real competition. Children are not fully developed so its no wonder you wish to swap proper record for some imaginary experiment.
Ill say again I’m no racist.
For you to deny that East Africans have a statistical advantage in long distance running is wilful ignorance of fact.
I brought this point up because it is a perfect example of how people like you and Pete go around calling people racists for comments which you take out of context or manipulate.
I have already stated its most likely to do with body fat, climate, elevation and not neccesarily genes, the fact is nobody knows so you have just made a huge assumption that I am racist when all I did is innocently state a valid observation – one which in the West is very sensitive due to Cultural Marxists like yourself.
Wikipedia says “Racism is generally defined as actions, practices, or beliefs that reflect a worldview according to which members of a race share a set of characteristic traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics and which means that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others”
Rob said “Africans are really good at running especially endurance.”
You deny you are racist.
The point is not that East African countries have done well in distance running. It is that you are prepared to characterise a whole group of people according to this fact.
You appear to be completely unable grasp what the problem is here despite me spelling it out to you. Let me repeat:
When I state that Africans are really good at long distance running it is not meant every single African! It is a generalisation and it has to be so for if I were to construct a politically correct statement to the same effect It would have to be exceedingly detailed and exhaustive to the point were the original point is lost.
By your logic if I were to state Brazilians are good at Football that also makes me a racist.
Imagine the conversation if one were to remove all generalisations from speech in case of accusations of racism or discrimination!
It is the same with political correctness, the fear of having ones remarks construed as harmful or legal proceedings made against them have led to the most absurd situations arising that have ZERO common sense.
Likewise Rudolph Steiner also asserts in every book that when relaying information regarding the super sensible realm human language can only go so far and this is made even more difficult when you have people just itching to accuse you of hate or prejudice.
My comment bears no malice, hate or prejudice toward Africans yet it is used by you to assert I am a racist.
There is a difference between making a generalisation in order to make a point efficiently and Racism. You intentionally blur the distinction for your own agenda using a loose consensus about the definition of a word.
“you appear to be completely unable grasp what the problem is here despite me spelling it out to you.”
Let me explain something to you, there is no problem apart from loose definitions of racism which clearly are open to manipulation by unscrupulous hidden agendas.
I generalised a statement, the moment that statement is used to justify exalting one race over another – THEN that becomes racism by whoever is doing so. There has to be a distinction here or else all communication is liable to be rendered absurd and lacking any sense.
Example – Steiner says something like “the White Europeans are deeply materialistic and this has enabled them to be leading forerunners of technology”
Aryan Supremacists then use this as justification for a doctrine of a master race.
Rob said “Imagine the conversation if one were to remove all generalisations from speech in case of accusations of racism or discrimination!”
By jove, I think you’ve got it. What a different world that would be where we treated people as individuals and not according to misleading generalisations.
Rob said “Steiner says something like “the White Europeans are deeply materialistic and this has enabled them to be leading forerunners of technology””
Go back to the Wikipedia quote I gave you on the definition of racism. Given that, in what way is Steiner’s view on Europeans here not racist?
“I brought this point up because it is a perfect example of how people like you and Pete go around calling people racists for comments which you take out of context or manipulate.”
What was taken out of context in what you said? The entire context is here for everyone to read. You obviously don’t understand what being a racist entails – since you apparently don’t believe Steiner was a racist. I didn’t call you a racist, btw, I asked you to gain a better understanding of what you’re talking about. That advice still holds.
“gain a better understanding of what you’re talking about”
You would do well to follow your own advice. Especially when comparing Steiner and Nazism.
Can you show where I’ve mis-represented something? Didn’t think so…
Boy this line of comments made laugh…you are telling us what racism is as Andy and Peter pointed out and then trying argue that it is not…mmm interesting completely flawed approach.
As a ex- Steiner teacher and anthroposophist I can tell you that STEINER and his works are steep in antiquated racist constructs on institutional, educational, and spiritual levels.
In the Stuttgart Nazi archives there are held letters from Maria Steiner to Hitler explaining how Anthroposophy and Nationalism share the same spiritual ideals…they are extremely alarming…look them up.
The most disturbing thing is that people whom ‘follow Steiner’ ( and people do even if they argue otherwise) have this false illusion of his insights, and a perception that racism is always a aggressive act; yet all of the world indigenous cultures have been adversely affect by well meaning loving missionaries and colonialists whom perceive through ‘education’ they can help less developed societies evolve in advanced wrongly ‘loving racism in action’, not understanding the advanced civilization, that indigenous peoples globally have…a major western problem, which has had a devastating impact on cultures and ecology!!!
“In the Stuttgart Nazi archives there are held letters from Maria Steiner to Hitler explaining how Anthroposophy and Nationalism share the same spiritual ideals…they are extremely alarming…”
I would argue she is trying to convince rather than stating fact if that letter is genuine. The Nazis were out to destroy Steiner perhaps she was appealing to them on that basis. There is far more evidence for Steiner being anti Racist than pro Racist.
The Nazis latched onto Steiner’s teachings, perverted them and used them for their own sick agenda. Occult teaching was kept from the public for this very reason – people who have no idea what they are talking about will use them to justify all sorts of abominable ideas and practices.
The fact remains that Steiner said mentally challenged people should be educated with lots of attention and care for their needs because of their extreme sensitivity while the Nazis just executed them. A rather marked difference.
If Steiner had said the future seed of humanity would be comprised of any other race other than White Europeans I would not be offended in the slightest. Not only because I am mixed race myself but because it says more about me than it does about Steiner if I was to throw my toys out of the pram and scream racism.
He was free from notions of race as you see them today. This is what you all fail to understand and it is a fundamental point.
Instead of reading a few supposed quotes on the Internet that have been taken completely out of context and sometimes altered via translation for certain agendas you would do well to read a few of his books then you might realise how ridiculous it is to compare him to Nazis and Racists.
I still stand by my point East Africans are exceptionally good at long distance running and Brazilians are great at Football – this does not make me racist.
These are generalisation that can’t be avoided unless a long drawn out and extremely pedantic explanation is given for my assertion in order not offend cultural Marxists.
And please stop advertising the fact your ex-Waldorf teachers and as such a badge of authority on the matter because some Priests are paedophiles for the very fact of how much harm they will cause when or if they are ever found out.
Rob. You have failed to address this central question:
“Go back to the Wikipedia quote I gave you on the definition of racism. Given that, in what way is Steiner’s view on Europeans here not racist?”
Can you defend Steiner’s views as not racist given that definition? And your own views on East Africans too?
“My comment bears no malice, hate or prejudice toward Africans yet it is used by you to assert I am a racist.”
Yep. That’s the way it works… sorry. Did you think “racism” and “bigotry” mean the same thing? The dictionary is your friend here. Maybe *you* should provide a definition of racism that you feel somehow excludes Steiner. Lots of people have tried that before – without success – but hey, maybe you can come up with one. Start with Albert Memmi – his definition sounds closest to your confused position. Steiner was a racist by ANY definition. That shouldn’t be a big problem – except for the fact that Steiner schools follow his racist teachings to the letter.
There is far more evidence for Steiner being anti Racist than pro Racist.”
That’s an interesting statement. I’d like to see you back that up. Anything? Do you, perhaps have quotes that are NOT taken out of context that would suggest this?
Your comments are so uninformed Rob… come on making bizzare connections between Waldorf teachers and catholic pedophiles….weird!!
For your information… I AM very ‘well read’ having spent 25 years as a anthroposophist then as a Waldorf teacher, I was a member of the Anthroposophical society , in fact a member of the spiritual class…and I am of mixed ethnicity too; you need to do the reading Rob!!
Steiner was a racist, many anthroposophist acknowledge this…Maria Steiner was appalling in her letter to Hitler, end of story. I am fluent in German so can read EXACTLY what was said, without needing a translation, and your weak argument that maybe Maria Steiner was ‘trying to appeal to Nazis/Hitler’ is JUST AS DISTURBING; why would any half decent well balanced human-being even ‘contemplate’ appealing to a facist political movement, to keep a school open; I’d close the door instead as a strong form of protest against it.
the largest problem within anthroposophy, is that is is completely self referencing thus biased
I know as I have come from the inside of its highest levels
It may take Rob a while to collect and assemble all the evidence that Steiner was “anti-racist”. He probably started with AWSNA’s website thinking this was easy… then realized they have taken Steiner’s words out of context – and in order to confuse parents even more, claim critics are doing this. Perhaps Rob is reading Steiner – in context – for the first time. I’m certain an apology is forthcoming.
Haha yes Peter thanks for that…yet considering Rob is still unable to get his head around the very simple realities of want actually racism by definition means and that Steiner was extremely racist in his concepts of thr hierarchy of race descripted at many of his works the education of the child, the kingdom of childhood, buddhist to christ, philosophy of freedom, knowledge of higher worlds, The evolutin of cconsciousness lecture series etc…it may well be a long wait
P.s written on a new tablet on a train please excuse my spelling errors
“Steiner was extremely racist in his concepts of thr hierarchy of race descripted at many of his works”…
Yes, many of the titles you mentioned are required reading for Waldorf teacher trainees. It begs the question – if Steiner’s racist ideas aren’t part of Waldorf, why are they required to be read by teachers?
Waldorf teachers use lots of Steiner’s criteria to pigeon-hole children… the four temperaments, large and small headedness, lefthandedness, body size and shape, and yes, the distinct characteristics of each race is absolutely part of what they are taught and are expected to apply to the children in their classroom.
I went to a Steiner school that my parents founded. My mum went all the way through Steiner education and my dad was a biodynamic farmer. To say i have anthroposophical roots would not be an understatement!
As an adult i have read a number of books and lectures by Steiner including his lectures on education to see for myself what it’s all about.
But what matters most, i think, is my experience.
My experience at school fundamentally was that a love for learning and a reverence for life was nurtured. I entered high school (conventional public education) and was immediately topping my class in subjects like English and Maths. That love for learning however, that ‘doing the work because i WANTED to’, not just because i might pass or fail, went on a fast decline as my years at the public school progressed.
I found an alternative creative outlet in social situations, in partying and other such things (none of which i regret) to compensate for that lack of creative expression that permeated each class at the Steiner school.
I cherish the Steiner education i have had, for the richness it nurtured in me and the holistic abilities that it enabled me to develop.
In terms of what i have read of Steiner, and by no means am i a Steiner scholar, the themes that a find underpin Anthroposophy and Steiner education are a unlocking of the free spirit which is within everyone and the ideas of truth, beauty and goodness as they relate to the human being and the greater world.
The Steiner education was certainly not ‘perfect’ (whatever that might mean), and i have found it to contrast strongly with the everyday culture in some respects. But to feel a connectedness with all of life, to feel inwardly enriched and inspired simply by virtue of being alive, this i have to thank the Steiner education for (at least for nurturing this in me), and what an invaluable gift this is that i will take with me through the rest of my life.
I hear there may be Steiner survivor camps, but i have certainly witnessed kids who have been through the public education system and have not fared well. Kids at my public school were smoking bongs at the age of 13 and coming to school stoned off their faces. Art and beauty (something which was a part of every class at Steiner) wasn’t present at the public schools, and this, i believe, contributed to the lack of respect for each other and the natural world.
In terms of the cult like nature of Anthroposophy, that has more to do with his followers, He would say repeatedly that his philosophy (Anthroposophy) should not be sectarian in any was but open to all.
In terms of the apparent racism, from what i have read Steiner emphasised the ‘universal human being’, something beyond race, sex and creed. He did talk about the different races, but what he said is only applicable to the generics of the race, and not to the individual which transcends (and includes) it.
Alll in all, i find it pretty remarkable that one man one hundred years ago brought something into the world that had deeply benefited my life and continues to impact the world today and will do in the future. Whether his views were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, i admire him for what he did in the face of all the criticism (which he had during his lifetime, and obvioulsy afterwards as well) i truly believe if everyone had the guts to bring their unique gifts to the world we would live in a radically different and inspired world.
“I went to a Steiner school that my parents founded. My mum went all the way through Steiner education and my dad was a biodynamic farmer. To say i have anthroposophical roots would not be an understatement!”
Do you think that may have contributed to the positive outlook you have? Mom and dad confirming the universal importance of whatever you learned each day?
“In terms of what i have read of Steiner, and by no means am i a Steiner scholar, the themes that a find underpin Anthroposophy and Steiner education are a unlocking of the free spirit which is within everyone and the ideas of truth, beauty and goodness as they relate to the human being and the greater world.”
Truth? That’s a word I never really associate with Steiner. Steiner was about dishonesty, not truth. You know he instructed teachers to lie to parents, right? And you know Waldorf associations like AWSNA and SWSF lie to the public – and post Steiner quotes out of context suggesting they are saying something which is the opposite of what they actually say. Have you read Waldorf’s endorsement of racism – “Overcoming Racism through Anthroposophy” yet? Please, please don’t use the word “truth” when describing Steiner’s attributes… it just isn’t so.
“Whether his views were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, i admire him for what he did in the face of all the criticism (which he had during his lifetime, and obvioulsy afterwards as well) i truly believe if everyone had the guts to bring their unique gifts to the world we would live in a radically different and inspired world.”
So, right or wrong, Steiner’s unique gifts inspire the world? I find that to be an amazing statement that I can’t imagine coming from someone not immersed in Steiner.
Pete, how is ‘Overcoming Racism through Anthroposophy’ an endorsement of racism? The article that i read was about proving what the title suggests: an overcoming of racism, not an endorsement of racism. “…the anthroposophical movement…, must cast aside the division into races. It must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people.” How is that an endorsement of racism? And please point me to where Steiner instructed teachers to lie to parents, or at least provide a direct quote.
I answered this question here https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/27471
Notice the ellipsis (…)? Ever wonder what has been left out (of context)?
The quote is: “Therefore, in its fundamental nature, the anthroposophical movement, which is to prepare the sixth period, must cast aside the division into races. It must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people. The old point of view of race has a physical character, but what will prevail in the future will have a more spiritual character.”
So, in a few thousand years (the 6th period) race will have no meaning in the physical world… only in the spiritual world.
” And please point me to where Steiner instructed teachers to lie to parents, or at least provide a direct quote.”
I’ll do better than that – here are several quotes by Steiner instructing teachers to lie:
In fact, read Faculty Meetings cover to cover.
And here’s one about how they slip Anthroposophy/religion into lessons (while they tell you they don’t)
The quote in full still doesn’t advocate racism, and it never says that race will have no meaning in the physical world, only the spiritual world. He says: “The old point of view of race has a physical character, but what will prevail in the future will have a more spiritual character.” He is talking about a point of view, not physical and spiritual worlds. Who’s to say the physical world and the so-called spiritual world are separate anyway?
The oxford dictionary defines racism as: “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”
According to this definition, Steiner has racists beliefs, and so does science and society at large.
Races have qualities (i.e skin colour) that are specific to that race. 494 of the 500 best-ever 100m times were recorded by black athletes. That may be a coincidence or it may suggest that certain races have certain qualities that predispose them to being better at certain things. Now that’s a racist statement according to the oxford definition: there are qualities specific to certain races which may distinguish them as inferior or superior.
So back to Steiner. He says “the characteristics of race, people, nation and sex are the subject matter of special branches of study… none of these branches of study are able to advance as far as the unique content of the single individual. Determining the individual according to the laws of his genus ceases where the sphere of freedom begins… If we would understand the single individual we must find our way into his own particular being and not stop short at those characteristics that are typical” (from the Philosophy of Freedom)
The point is that in our sciences and in our society we judge people by the characteristics of their race.
The idea, and the way i interpret Steiner, is that these observations and characteristics have their place only up to a certain point. Beyond that point, we are dealing with the individual human being that includes and transcends their physical and genetic characteristics. This is the ‘sphere of freedom’ that lies within every human being regardless of race, sex or creed.
Whether you believe in this or not is up to you. I believe in a world where we see people for who they really are, not only for their physical characteristics. This seeing beyond the physical could be called a ‘spiritual’ view, however it’s a view that lives within our sphere of being human on this planet and is no more spiritual than physical. It’s a view that embraces our total human nature, and when we can accept our human condition as it is, we can accept the human condition as it is expressed all over the world in infinitely diverse ways.
Thanks – I use the phrase “It can’t be racist if it’s true” a few times on my Waldorf parody website, but I’ve never heard it articulated quite so stylishly by an Anthroposophist.
“Beyond that point, we are dealing with the individual human being that includes and transcends their physical and genetic characteristics. ”
Can you show me anywhere in Steiner’s work where he suggests an individual with black skin can achieve the highest spiritual form?
Replying to your comment below Pete. Given that Steiner wrote, “Freedom is not a given fact of human existence, it is a goal”, I will assume for the sake of this argument the highest spiritual form is freedom.
Rather than a quote where Steiner suggests each person can reach the highest spiritual form, here’s one that explicitly states it:
“Each one of us has it in themselves to be a free spirit, just as every rose bud has within it a rose”.
He doesn’t say some of us, or only white skin people. EACH one of us. When it comes to extetnal characteristics, this is what he says:
“We are equal as human beings, here in the physical world, specifically in that we all have the same human form and all manifest a human countenance.”
“Those who judge human beings according to generic characteristics only reach the boundary, beyond which people begin to be beings whose activity is based on free self-determination”
“Where the realm of freedom of thought and action begin, the determination of individuals according to generic laws ends.”
Its obvious to me that anyone, regardless of their skin colour, sexual orientation or whatever else we might have prejudices against, not only can reach the highest spiritual form, but actually is this highest spiritual form even if it may be in germinal form.
In regards to “It can’t be racist if it’s true” comment, I said it can be racist if it’s true.
LMAO! You either don’t understand Steiner, or you think I don’t. “Freedom” is not the highest spiritual form “for the sake of argument”… sorry! Here’s Steiner talking about the Spirits of Form – and how they have worked to diminish the human form for the races that aren’t white:
“With a progressively more definite and concrete conception of this racial distribution you will develop an inner understanding of the racial characteristics peculiar to the peoples spread over the Earth, an understanding of this unique cooperation of the normal and abnormal Spirits of Form.”
“Now how do we look upon a member of the Ethiopian race, of the Mercury race? We see him as one who was originally chosen, who was predestined by the Elohim to express the quintessence of the all-human. But from the Mercury Centre the potent influences of the abnormal Spirits of Form intervened and modified the form of man to such an extent that the Ethiopian race arose. And such was the case with each individual race.”
Steiner was very specific about how this took place:
“Now how do these Race Spirits work in and upon man? They work in a very unique way; they permeate his vital energies, they penetrate even down into his physical body. Now you know that the four fundamental members of man find their impress and are reflected in corresponding parts of the physical body: the ‘I’ finds its impress in the blood, the astral body in the nervous system, the etheric or life body in the glandular system. Only the physical body is self-sufficient; it is a reflection of its own inner being which for the man of the present is subject to its own fixed laws. Now those spiritual Beings who are stirring in man and determine his racial character cannot at first work directly into his higher vehicles. They are active first of all in these reflections of the higher vehicles in the physical body. They cannot as yet enter directly into the physical body, but they are active in the three other members, in the blood which is the reflection of the ‘I’; in the nervous system, the reflection of the astral body; and in the glandular system which is the reflection of the etheric body. The Race Spirits, the abnormal Spirits of Form, are active in these three systems, which are part of man’s organic system, but are reflections of the higher vehicles. Thus the physical body of man is determined from within. These various spiritual Beings invade those members of the physical body which are the preliminary drafts, the suggestions of the higher vehicles. Now where, for instance, does Mercury make his influence felt? Under Mercury, I include all the abnormal Spirits of Form to be found in Mercury. He makes his influence felt by cooperating with others, especially in the glandular system. He is active in the glandular (or lymphatic) system where are manifested the forces born of that preponderance of the Mercury forces which are present in the Ethiopian race. Everything which gives the Ethiopian race its distinctive character sterns from the ferment of the Mercury forces in the glandular system of this people. What transforms the undifferentiated universal human form into the distinctive Ethiopian typewith his black pigmentation and woolly or frizzy hair is the consequence of their activity.
“Consequently the various peoples may assume the most diverse forms. According as the eye or the ear or one of the other senses predominates, so will the different peoples respond in this or that way to the particularnational tendency within the racial character. In consequence of this they are faced with quite specific tasks. The particular task of the Caucasian race is to find the way to the spirit through the senses, for this race is orientated chiefly towards the sense-world. Here is disclosed something that introduces us to the deeper secrets of occultism; it shows how, in those peoples who are subject to the Venus forces, the initial steps in development, even in occult development, must be concentrated on the respiratory system. Amongst the peoples living more in the Western Hemisphere, on the other hand, the initial steps must start from an enrichment and a spiritualization of the life of the senses. This is experienced by those peoples inhabiting countries more towards the West in their stages of higher cognition, in Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition, in so far as the Jupiter Spirit originally modified the character.
“Finally, the abnormal Spirits of Form who have their centre in Saturn work indirectly via all the other systems into the glandular system. In the Saturn race, therefore, in everything to which we must ascribe the Saturn character, we must expect to find the combination of the forces leading to the twilight of mankind, forces which set the seal upon its development and sow the seeds of its ultimate decline. This action and its effect upon the glandular system can be seen in the American Indian race and was the cause of its ultimate extinction. The Saturn influence finally works via all the other systems into the glandular system which secretes the hardest parts of man. This slow decline is characterized by a kind of ossification which is clearly reflected in the external form. If you look at the pictures of the old American Indians the process of ossification described above is evident in the decline of this race. In a race such as this everything pertaining to the forces of the Saturn evolution has become realized in a special manner; then Saturn withdrew into itself, abandoned man to his bony system and thus hastened his decline.”
“On the one hand there is the black race, which is the most earthly. When this race goes toward the West, it dies out. Then there is the yellow race, in the middle between the earth and the cosmos. When this race goes toward the East, it turns brown, it attaches itself too much to the cosmos and dies out. The white race is the race of the future, the race that works creatively on the spirit.”
So sorry… you can talk about “freedom” and pretend that you have answered the question in the affirmative – but that wasn’t the question AT ALL was it? The “highest spiritual form” is not allowed to non-white people because the “Spirits of Form” have ensured that non-white races have declined. You can read it above – or deny what everyone here already knows about Steiner. Please – no more baloney about “freedom” – for the sake of argument.
I find it interesting how the question was whether a black skinned person can reach the highest spiritual form, and in all those quotes Steiner never mentions the highest spiritual form. He talks about spirits of form.
What is this highest spiritual form? A future where the white race ‘works creatively on the spirit’? Whether races will die out or not is one question, whether a human being regardless of their race and in this lifetime can reach their highest potential is another.
It’s so easy and so tempting to descend into an argument about whose worldview is right. But what’s more important, being right or creating more joy in the world?
A wise man said: “what is more true than these forms of consciousness is the heart that can embrace a person if they believe or work out of a different paradigm of thought”.
I met this man at a Steiner youth conference where he’s an international teacher and mentor, he was one of the most enlightening and inspring people I’ve ever met. He was also African.
I may not believe what you beleive, or see the world how you do, but I can choose to believe in YOU, and in something that exists beyond and through our external characteristics that shines a light on the world and enables us to embrace the ‘other’ regardless of where they come from.
This is certainly my challenge, and my choice is to utilise this life and this creative energy to focus on creating life anew. So my friend, I wish that you don’t subscribe to any other view than yours and that you continue to be you completely and unabashedly. If there’s anytning that the world needs, it’s more of YOU.
So, you don’t understand what the “spirits of form” do? If you need me to explain it to you, I’d be happy to.
“But what’s more important, being right or creating more joy in the world?”
Is THAT what you think Waldorf schools are doing? Creating “joy” in the world? You need to get out more – but YOU don’t mind being wrong apparently. Being right isn’t as important as creating joy – in your view – with regard to education.
“I met this man at a Steiner youth conference where he’s an international teacher and mentor, he was one of the most enlightening and inspring people I’ve ever met. He was also African.”
You found it noteworthy that a person with black skin could be inspiring? He was inspiring in spite of his skin color? Why do we get so many racists here making very similar statements? There was a guy here not too long ago who had to explain his encounter with a black nurse. Why does a productive encounter with a black person become so meaningful to Anthroposophists? Steiner himself was obviously embarrassed to explain that a white person was reincarnated in the form of a “negro scientist”. And naturally, you don’t think you are a racist because a black person said something inspiring to you. I find that amazing!
“I may not believe what you beleive, or see the world how you do, but I can choose to believe in YOU, and in something that exists beyond and through our external characteristics that shines a light on the world and enables us to embrace the ‘other’ regardless of where they come from.”
Yeah, it’s all “live and let live” with Steiner followers – while they continue to spread their racial hatred throughout the world – to other people’s children. I don’t think I’ll be embracing racism any time soon… sorry.
It’s a shame you don’t think you’ll be embracing racism anytime soon, perhaps down the track? It appears as though my onslaught of racial hatred has been to no avail with you. So I best be off and continue spreading racial hatred throughout the world – particularly with regard to education and to other people’s children. Whilst of course I live and let live.
“It appears as though my onslaught of racial hatred has been to no avail with you.”
On the contrary – what your type of thinking represents has been demonstrated to this list quite clearly. Thanks!
“So I best be off and continue spreading racial hatred throughout the world”
It’s a lot easier to do when you don’t understand you’re doing it. They say “ignorance is bliss” – if that’s the case, the Waldorf movement must be very happy.
But hey, you don’t even understand what you’re reading when you’re reading it. And I’m sure it helps that you don’t mind too much when you’re wrong. Ignorance can be harmful when you’re ignorant of the harm you are doing. But you’re right about one thing – you’ve done as much harm as you can do here.
i’ve read a few theosophy books. they don’t communicate too well but the content is amazing. religion or atheism can’t compare. (western) religion is just depressing & dull. & atheism isn’t anything. its just non-belief & has nothing to offer. theosophy actually explains stuff – the cosmos, why we’re here, the evolution of consciousness, etc, etc
whether its right i dunno. but the answers sure sound like they make a lot of sense
Yes, it’s very encumbering to those of us who don’t make up our minds until we have determined something is actually the “right” answer. Especially when children are involved. I envy people for which “explanations” and “answers” are the same thing.
How simple it would make life. Instead of solving my daily Sudoku puzzle, all I would need to do is come up with an “explanation” or a reality in which the rules of Sudoku are alterable. Then, I’ll never have to solve another Sudoku puzzle. ALL Sudoku puzzles would have the same “answer” – in the form of my “explanation”.
Wow, this has to have been the very best reply in this page. I am a trained Waldorf teacher and I feel now, after 2 years of having graduated from a Steiner training that this is the biggest underlying problem with the “catch” of Anthroposophy. It gives you answers and somehow it has made people feel very secure to continue their studies because now we know. Now we know where we come from and it is almost proof of what God is. I am suffering. I feel torn weather to put my daughter in a Waldorf school because I was made to feel that through this cosmology, if my child goes somewhere else, like a public school, she will be in danger of not knowing the truth about the spiritual world. That Public Schools harm the spiritual development by teaching things in a certain way. If Anthroposophy is in any way correct than wouldn’t every person in the world be present to the truth of the spiritual world by being anywhere? This is what troubles me: the answer that they know the spiritual world and so your child will be safe, otherwise somewhere else they will be harmed.
You *do* know Steiner made absolutely everything up, right?
In many ways, doesn’t everyone “make things up”? Did Einstein not make-up his theories?
I will re-post when I find the right source, but I watched some episode on the History Channel where this PHD professor was explaining how during the time leading up to WWII some German political party took many spiritual traditions (especially from the East, such as Karma) and mixed it up into other Christian Mysticism and then used this new-mixed-spiritual-theory to MANIPULATE soldiers as a form of control.
Now I say all this in a very vague way because it was like an hour long show with intense research. I will find this source and post it. Well, it rang a bell for me. This was about 2 years ago, right after I had graduated from a Steiner training and it made me afraid.
Despite all my fears, many things that were taught to me were beautiful and I am definitely not ready to throw it all out the window. I am now a public school teacher who believe that I am a great teacher because of the training I had at the Steiner Teacher Training Program.
So, my main concern is that he gave ANSWERS to the meaning of the cosmos. Many of the answers led me to have other great insights into other spiritual texts, the bible, the Zohar, the Koran. I enjoy it but I found that other students there had many other ideas that were so different from mine that it made me fearful of how they might transfer their non-sense onto my child.
For example, one teacher would talk about one child’s endocrine system and how he lacked something-or-other and that was why he had so many problems and Steiner said this and that. I felt fear after hearing her talk. I do not believe that this specific teacher had any kind of advance clairvoyance to be able to speak of a child in such a way. I do believe in clairvoyance and the people I know who posses such powers (people outside Anthroposophy) would never incite such fear in me as a response to a child’s state of being.
Even if there are spiritual truths in the Waldorf movement, I have seen dangerous teachers who talk about the spiritual world as if it is their playground.
I wonder: would a school with psychic teachers be a good idea? YES it would! It absolutely would if there was clarity. If psychic teachers will be “diagnosing” a child then other people need to be on board. There is hidden information, even if what they were doing is for the best of humanity. Let’s say, Waldorf’s mission is to heal children on the psychic plane, whatever that is (the 5th dimension or whatever) then people need to know. Or will this revolution be stifled by people who do not believe in clairvoyance. Maybe that is why they are not open about having clairvoyants at the school, because people who do not understand will definitely attack.
“Maybe that is why they are not open about having clairvoyants at the school, because people who do not understand will definitely attack.”
Yes, the clairvoyants at Waldorf schools obviously know they would be attacked if people knew they are clairvoyant… that’s why they’re playing dumb!
Well, David, homeopathy makes a lot of sense too when it is “explained”. Except that it’s explanations are fantasy and bear no relation to the actual, real physical world. Steiner explanations also have zero relevance to the actual, real physical world.
If you want explanations of the real world you would do worse than study physics, chemistry or biology… and some fact based history to put it all in perspective.
Your comments on “western” religion and atheism are a non sequitur. You do know that Steinerism IS a religion in all but name, and IS very “western”.
And why do you expect atheism to “offer” you anything? It’s not a philosophy in and of itself any more than theism is. It doesn’t say much for you if you don’t have a moral compass and a purpose to your life without a religion. How empty is that?
Whoop what a thread. I’m voting against sending my kid to school at a Waldorf site, just because the racist stuff is still part of training. You know Steiner was not the only racist educator or founder. There are lots here in America, but the “cover up” aspect of the Steiner philosophy and the explaining away is uncomfortable. I’m a Quaker too and our religious organization I currently rehashing racism within itself publicly. So, my girls may attend the day camp but long term I think not. I am excited about the stuff that works bit bummed about the quak ideas that do not make any common or science sense.
First, Matt great to hear your words. Thank you for sharing from your heart.
Everyone else: Rudolf Steiner was not racist. He was a free, systematic thinker. I’m just going to throw that in the mix as is rather than try to prove it here.
Up to each of us to find our own truth.
Yes Anthroposophy has probably lost his way some in the last hundred years. That is not a criticism toward them–what organization doesn’t drift?
There is an abundance of information available on the roots of on Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy. The hundreds of volumes of Rudolf Steiner’s books and transcribed lectures are easily found if you take a moment to look.
Alrighty, take care, all.
Surely what’s important here is the children who are being taught in Steiner schools? Instead of justifying our own beliefs we should be first asking ‘what is best for the children?’. If your belief system is so rigid that you always believe you are right or superior then you are a dangerous person to be around children. Children do not exist to be manipulated or controlled. It is a very sad and weak individual who simply has to say ‘my beliefs are absolutely right..follow them’. With that out in the open I will now say that I have chosen the wrong place to work. I was not fully informed of these beliefs or asked if I was happy to follow this ‘religion’. I am not prepared to adhere to the culture of secrecy that surrounds Steiner education and I will not accept that I am spiritually inferior to the Steiner elite who look down on us mortals from their ivory tower. When I am ready and I have gathered my facts ( very non-steiner! ) then I will spill the proverbial beans because I actually care about the vulnerable children in my care and want what is best for them, not what is best for the memory of a flawed individual. We are all flawed and so was Rudolph Steiner and all is cronies.
“If your belief system is so rigid that you always believe you are right or superior”… Surely this is still a common attitude among many teachers, and indeed, throughout society? This blog and many of the comments here, for example, are dripping with assumed superiority.
From what I’ve seen, Steiner education puts a greater focus on understanding and empathy than many conventional schools, meaning that teachers act on their assumed superiority in a more benign way. But I agree, we don’t need teachers to be superior at all. That’s why I consider Montessori or homeschooling/unschooling to be the better choice for my children.
“And its adherents either don’t want to know this themselves and most definitely do not want you to know this.”
My guess is that adherents mostly aren’t aware of the weirder ideas or are not sold on them themselves. Just as some Christians are jettisoning ideas of homophobia, hell and a 6000-year-old universe, so Anthroposophists seem to be quietly abandoning the more awkward parts of their baggage.
Steiner schools were a great innovation at the time, and still offer substantial benefits over a lot of mainstream schools, for those who want more emphasis on creative and social/emotional growth. I personally prefer a more child-led approach, which is why my children are in Montessori, but I believe they would also flourish in Steiner. From my investigations and my connections with parents of Steiner-educated children, I don’t believe children are being taught racial superiority or spurious geology.
Any Christian institution could be criticized just as much or worse: “They believe the world is going to end at any moment and anyone who hasn’t bought into the cult will be tortured for eternity in a pit of fire!” This doesn’t prevent many Christian institutions operating quite sensibly and being a real force for good in the world.
If Steiner is so bad, where are the Steiner neo-Nazis?
“From my investigations and my connections with parents of Steiner-educated children, I don’t believe children are being taught racial superiority or spurious geology.”
You should investigate my blogs, especially the series linked below regarding an incident in which children were taught that the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians. The statement came in physiology class and when questioned, was supported by the school on two separate occasions. Highland Hall is the home of WISC – the Waldorf teacher training center for Southern California – so the same teachers who support the racist lesson above (which is right out of Steiner’s teachings) are teaching new teachers to be Waldorf teachers.
“If Steiner is so bad, where are the Steiner neo-Nazis?”
If Steiner is so good, why do the schools hide his teachings from parents?
I don’t know about neo-Nazis, but the pages of this and other Waldorf-related blogs here at the Quackometer have had abundant representation from the Steiner racists. Oddly, try as they might, not one person has been able to provide evidence that might support Steiner’s teaching methods, let alone his more ridiculous ideas.
You mention “an incident in which children were taught that the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians”. I don’t doubt that this happened, but I also imagine that parents and teachers would have rallied to put a stop to it. Just as if a teacher at a Christian school announces that Jews will all go to hell, there’s probably going to be disciplinary action (even though that idea comes from core Christian doctrine).
Yes there’s cognitive dissonance involved in revering Steiner but finding some of his teachings inappropriate. Inconsistency is a universal human trait, of which we’re all guilty at times. You yourself say “not one person has been able to provide evidence that might support Steiner’s teaching methods”, apparently without having sought any evidence for your own statement. Benefits of Waldorf education are well documented: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_Waldorf_education.
I realise some slightly odd things are taught in Steiner schools, but really, they can’t teach anything too obnoxious because it all gets back to the parents and creates a stink. Steiner schools have struggled to maintain their legal right to operate the way they do; they’ve come under a lot of scrutiny over the years and are very sensitive to controversy.
Which brings me to your other point: You say “If Steiner is so good, why do the schools hide his teachings from parents?” — as I suggested in my earlier post, probably because the bits they don’t talk about are embarrassing and they have no wish to perpetuate them.
Ben, you can imagine all you like that parents and teachers have put a stop to Steinerist racist beliefs. What I want is some evidence that this has happened. Rather than not talk about ‘the embarrassing bits’ and pretend they do not exist, a thorough examination should take place in the open and the body of Anthroposophy should renounce these dogmas and undertake measures to ensure such teachings never rear their head in schools and how such insidious beliefs can act in discriminatory ways.
“I don’t doubt that this happened, but I also imagine that parents and teachers would have rallied to put a stop to it. ”
No – did you read my links? The teachers rallied to DEFEND it! The offending teacher remained at that school for two more years before moving to another Waldorf school where she continues to teach. During those two years, however, the very same teacher was TRAINING OTHER WALDORF TEACHERS. If anyone “rallied” put a stop to it – it was ME – and me alone – by making her and the school famous for what they did and what they believed and continue to believe! The philosophy underlying Waldorf education is racist. There is no denying this.
Thanks for the link to the Wikipedia article. All articles on Wikipedia regarding Waldorf education are controlled by by Harlan Gilbert a Waldorf teacher – do you see a conflict of interest here? He was a teacher who worked at a school that allowed a known pedophile to roam their halls for decades! Anyway, anything you read about Waldorf on Wikipedia is filtered through the lens of Mr. Gilbert. Check the edit history of any Wiki article about Waldorf if you don’t believe me. Check DEEPLY into the studies and you will discover they aren’t what they appear to be. Did you think nobody here was aware of Wikipedia?
“I realise some slightly odd things are taught in Steiner schools, but really, they can’t teach anything too obnoxious because it all gets back to the parents and creates a stink. ”
No, it doesn’t necessarily get back to the parents. Read about Green Meadow Waldorf school and the scandals there – that were hidden from the parents again for decades. It all created a “stink” when a STUDENT came forward many years later. Kids don’t already understand what they are being taught (that’s the basis of teaching, right). When a teacher talks about blood being “evolved” – most kids don’t even mention stuff like this to their parents. Why would they?
“Steiner schools have struggled to maintain their legal right to operate the way they do; they’ve come under a lot of scrutiny over the years and are very sensitive to controversy.”
Again, you are wrong. They are absolutely insensitive to controversy. They put weasel-worded statements about racism on their websites but never actually refute Steiner’s racism. They hide their underpinnings in an attempt to AVOID controversy – not to be sensitive to it. They could have easily addressed the controversy of not telling parents about Anthroposophy – by simply telling parents about Anthroposophy. They still don’t do this! Why not? The controversy about this has been raging for decades.
“Which brings me to your other point: You say “If Steiner is so good, why do the schools hide his teachings from parents?” — as I suggested in my earlier post, probably because the bits they don’t talk about are embarrassing and they have no wish to perpetuate them.”
And we’re supposed to TRUST Waldorf teachers (and trainees) to determine which of those bits to add in or leave out, right? Their BIGGEST WISH is to perpetuate Anthroposophy in its ENTIRETY. Parents aren’t on board with that – so they don’t tell them. It’s really that simple.
Thanks Pete. I read a bit more about the specific cases you’ve pointed to, and I can see they certainly are cause for concern. I still feel dubious about this problem being as universal as you suggest — basically, as soon as I read vast generalisations such as what you have claimed about all Waldorf teachers and trainees (“Their BIGGEST WISH is to perpetuate Anthroposophy in its ENTIRETY”), I start to treat it as ideologically-motivated hyperbole.
The wikipedia article I referenced may have been written by an Anthroposophist, but the fact remains, it demonstrates the falsity of your statement that “Oddly, try as they might, not one person has been able to provide evidence that might support Steiner’s teaching methods.” You might not be convinced by the evidence, but you cannot justly claim that they have not provided any.
I did a brief search for an independent review of NZ’s most prominent Steiner School, and found this: http://www.michaelpark.school.nz/media/resources/general/ERO-Report-Michael-Park-School-06-06-2012.pdf
This seems like a glowing report to me; it’s also interesting in that it discusses the status and self-esteem of students of non-European extraction. It stands as yet another (and apparently independent) piece of evidence in favour of Steiner’s methods.
It seems to me that your concerns may be valid — in some instances at least — but that you are eroding your own credibility by couching them in a hyperbolic, ideological attack.
Perhaps Pete should have said, “Oddly, try as they might, not one person has been able to provide credible, independent and convincing evidence that might support Steiner’s teaching methods.”
Ah, New Zealand. Is Michael Park school near the Dunedin school?
http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/2014/08/new-zealand-steiner-teacher-talks-about.html How about the Te Ra school? http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2014/08/steiner-teachers-and-racism-tale-of-two.html http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/2014/07/nz-waldorf-school-racism-feedback.html http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/education/fairy-tale-fallout/ Did the independent reviewer visit these schools? The problem in New Zealand is Steiner’s theories on colonization don’t sit well with the indigenous populations there – imagine that? Racists lecture AT THE SCHOOLS.
What mainly astonishes me, as a long-time reader of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, are the claims about racism. In over thirty years I haven’t never found a single word remotely disrespectful of human beings, instead considered by him as whole. Had I found the least impression of racism, I would have avoided of wasting my time. So, those who claim seem uninformed, and probably haven’t read anything, because whichever criticisms could arise in one’s opinion after reading one or more lectures, except that Steiner could have been an advocate of racism.
I have come across many readers of Steiner who do not consider his views on spiritual development of the races as racist. That says much about the reader though and not about the claimed lack of racism.
Taken at random…
““The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world.””
“If we give these Negro novels to pregnant [white] women to read, then it won’t even be necessary for Negroes to come to Europe in order for mulattos to appear. Simply through the spiritual effects of reading Negro novels, a multitude of children will be born in Europe that are completely gray, that have mulatto hair, that look like mulattos!”
“The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.”
Do you consider these statements to be racist?
I have found some mistakes in my writing and I wanted to correct them.
“What mainly astonishes me, as a long-time reader of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, are the claims about racism. In over thirty years I have never found a single phrase or concept remotely disrespectful of human beings, instead considered in his vision as a whole. Had I found the least impression of racism, I would have avoided of wasting my time. So, those who claim seem to be uninformed, and probably haven’t read anything, because whatever criticism could arise in one’s opinion after reading one or more lectures, except that Steiner could have been an advocate of racism”.
“In over thirty years I have never found a single phrase or concept remotely disrespectful of human beings, instead considered in his vision as a whole.”
How many examples would be enough? Steiner was a twisted little man who demonstrated his disrespect of humans every time he opened his mouth. In “Faculty Meetings”, for example, he shows no feelings for a KNOWN student who was killed when a van overturned on him. He has nothing but disrespect for parents whenever one is mentioned in connection with a student… haven’t you noticed that? He instructed teachers to lie to parents about their own children. He had no respect for scientists or other (competing) philosophers or their work – and he certainly had no respect for the races of peoples he considered “savages”. He hated the Jews and their culture. He was hugely disrespectful of people in general who disagreed with him and who weren’t Anthroposophists. Seriously, who did Steiner respect?
Who you are relating to, was a child of seven.The report is contained in Steiner’s lecture “Concerning the Life Between Death and a New Birth” (Kassel 1916-2-18), in which I can’t find disrespectful words at all. Below there are the English translation and the original text in German:
“….At Dornach, during the construction of the building – I have already reported this fact to some of our friends – we had a little boy, who died in his seventh year for a tragic accident. One evening this little boy took away some food from our canteen near the building, and for a strange concatenation of circumstances , after going out of the canteen, he headed for a grove of reeds next to a road where, in that precise moment, was moving a cart fully loaded with furniture. The cart overturned and crushed the little boy. It was a very painful thing. We received the new that the boy wouldn’t have been arriving anymore, at the end of the evening lecture, at ten o’clock. We were left nothing to do but to go and see to understand what happened. The circumstances were very strange. The little boy wanted to leave a quarter of an hour earlier, but had been restrained by someone who wanted to go out together with him. The little boy had the intention to walk out by a certain door – in which case he would have passed on the right side of the moving cart, intstead he had been crushed being on the left -. But he had been told to walk out of another door, so he had been expressly sent there. Probably no cart had moved on that road for many years, and the same will be over the next years. The cart was carrying furniture to one of our members. It was so heavily loaded that it was impossible to lift it up immediately, because the people who drove it hadn’t the proper tools. Their intention was to lift it up the day after, however it was necessary to do it in the night, so they found the dead child beneath the cart……”
[edited to remove cut and paste text – please paste links to texts rather than cut and paste.]
Yes, that’s a very respectful way to say it was the boy’s time to go. All those strange circumstances happened to this boy – as if to prove that karma exists – just as Steiner described. How can anyone blame Steiner for using this tragedy in order to make his point about karma? Why stop there, infants are born with demons inside them. Not disrespectful – just stating the truth.
How about this assessment given by Steiner about a student? More karma at work here – I guess it was this student’s karma to be humiliated by Steiner himself:
“And now, if you will begin to observe the child for yourselves — [to the boy] Come here a minute! — you will find many things to notice. Let me draw your attention, first of all, to the strongly developed lower half of the face. Look at the shape of the nose and the mouth. The mouth is always a little open, which has an effect on dental development. It is important to note these things, for they are unquestionably bound up with the whole soul-and-spirit constitution of the child… The formation you see here in the jaws — the jaws belong, of course, to the limb system — is wholly part of the head system … (Look, he’s amused! I think Fraulein B. was asking him why he keeps his mouth open, and his reply was: ‘To let the flies come in.’ This is a firmly fixed opinion of his.)
“… Here (in the front) as we remarked, the head is pressed together. In all
probability this points back to a purely mechanical injury, either at birth or
during pregnancy, a mechanical injury in which we can see nothing else than a working of karma …
“[T]he whole breathing system … is very little under control … Hence the
symptom that is so conspicuous in a child of this kind … What ought to happen is that gradually, in the course of life, the whole system of movement in man should become a servant of the intellectual system. [To the boy] Stand still a minute! And now come here to me and do this! (Dr. Steiner makes a movement with his arm as if to take hold of something; the boy does not make the movement.)
Never mind! We mustn’t force him. Do you see? It is difficult for him to do
anything; he has not the power to exercise the right control over his
metabolism-and-limbs system….” [Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 106-110.]
They are there. read the education of the child and towards the end of how to no higher worlds steiner explains his theories on evolving through racial groups over life times to a higher pure form of spiritual man…yep African at the bottom and European at the top actually aryian !! Sorry to share this news …it’s very upsetting for many people at first. I was personally greatly shocked
While adding new matter on the side of your point of view, you are losing of sight that the original words don’t prove your claims about no feelings for the killed student or disrespect to the parents, that seem most likely untrue.
Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of “feelings” and “disrespect”. If my child was killed in a tragic accident, and Steiner announced – “meh, shit happens… It’s karma” to me, his attitude not only disrespects me as a grieving parent but disrespects my child’s life. In Steiner’s view, a human life isn’t worth as much as the soul that inhabits that incarnation – so maybe to people who believed his crap, it wasn’t disrespectful to use this tragedy as an example. Maybe the parents didn’t grieve at all.
Hello every one I just want to say I’m am in year 9 in a Steiner school in Australia and I know he had some views that were controversial, but the real controversial I dead are not told or taught to us. This is where I think people have the wrong idea. I think that people see what others say about Waldorf education and only see the criticism and don’t really understand what is taught at the schools. I agree every one is in titled to there own opinion, but please before you criticise learn what is the real philosophy behind now days Waldorf education.
Steiner made it quite clear that teachers were not to directly teach Anthroposophy to children. Instead they were to be immersed in the world of Anthroposophy so that they would grow up thinking it was normal. All aspects of your curriculum are anthroposophical according to Steiner’s teachings. From the way you paint, to the topics you learn about, the festivals you celebrate, the verses (or prayers) you chant, the dances you do every day, and of course, the things you are forbideen from learning and doing.
If you say that there there is a ‘real’ philosophy of Steiner edeucation that is being missed here then ask your school some simple questions: “What aspects of Steiner’s teachings on education have they given up on or repudiated?” If they struggle to say what parts of Steiner’s teachings were false and are no longer uses, you may then come to your own conclusions.
Some people have been inside also that’s why they can have an opinion, and i can tell you that going out is not so easy, but when you are finally free from all this absurd theory you just want to do something to avoid that others fall in the same hole.
It’s no surprise at all to be frank. Race theory of the day was les politically correct. Since Africans mean IQ’s are lower this would have a dysgenic effect on the European population. This does not assume anything innate about the African race. Please provide empirical data to disprove this or accept that reality is not politically correct. Depending on your definition of racism I would argue the truth is never racist.
Steiners teachings provide a sense of community. He understood the power of ethnocentrism, an evolutionary strategy that is lost on currently popular philosophies.
As Durkheim predicted people yearn for community as we are homo duplex and biology teaches us in-group preferences is closely related to ethnicity. Hence the dichotomous nature of the anthroposophical movement; people being afraid to be called ‘racists’ vs holocaust deniers.
The problem of the movement I think is the efforts of people trying to hide behind excuses about bad science of Steiner yet pretending he did not say things about race that are actually scientifically correct. This leaves them defending lies and excusing facts.
Rudolf Steiner is a difficult man- absorbing much study and attention. His quest is remarkable as he had so many steps to climb. I admire his continued efforts to go ever further.
Steiner changed so often his intellectual position as a chameleon. There is no STEINER as such. Those who claim themselves as STEINERS pick from his encyclopedia selectively whatever they please- like any honest Christian does from his own private copy of his special edition of his Word of the Lord…Steiner becomes a universal Ideology, which justifies the personal interpretations. Those exploiting this ideology are not loyal to their Master teacher Steiner. They pursue their own interest. The real question is, how much harm they do. As does any Cult.
About the unfounded claims of racism of Rudolf Steiner.
When I was preparing my examination on General Biology, I learned that human beings all share the same hemoglobin. Also the histological structure of organs and the biochemistry are perfectly the same. What vary are the superficial appearances (phenotypes), as the different fingerprints of identical twins, the skin colour, the eyelid shape, etc. These facts were not so clear, not say unknown at the time of Steiner. Nonetheless, in a lecture of May,30, 1908, he clearly said that to talk of races hasn’t sense anymore, since the human bodies don’t differ among themselves. Divisions can exist only on cultural basis. Below is attached the first paragraph:
“Above all we must remember that in the course of the last lectures, it was made clear that the post-Atlantean humanity falls into seven sub-divisions. It is, in fact, that humanity to which, strictly speaking, we, ourselves belong and which developed after the Atlantean Flood. I intentionally avoided the idea of “sub-races,” because the concept “race” does not fully coincide with the idea we are considering. What we are considering are cultural periods of development and what we still experience as racial laws in our present humanity is, in fact, an echo of the Atlantean evolution. The human evolution which preceded the Atlantean Flood, which took place for the most part upon a continent lying between present Europe and America, upon ancient Atlantis, can also be divided into seven successive groups. To these seven groups the expression “racial evolution” is applicable, for these seven successive stages of humanity upon ancient Atlantis differed widely from each other bodily, both internally and externally. We include in the external body also the inner configurations of brain, blood and other fluids. But it cannot be said that the earliest humanity of the post-Atlantean age, the Indian, differed sufficiently from ourselves for us to be able to employ the expression “race” for it. We must always hold fast to the continuity of Divine Wisdom, therefore it is often necessary to form a connection with this ancient concept of the race. Yet false ideas can very easily be created by this word “race” through our failing to see that the reason for the division of humanity of the present is something of a much more inner character than the idea usually attached to the word race. Race can no longer be used for the culture that will replace our own after the seventh subdivision, because then humanity will be divided according to quite different fundamental laws.”
from The Gospel of St. John – lecture X – May, 30, 1908 (first paragraph).
It is shameful that we have yet another Steiner devotee trying to explain away the dreadful racism of Steiner’s doctrines. You are blind to the obvious.
These blacks in Africa have the characteristic of absorbing from the universe all light and all warmth. They take it up. Now this light and this warmth in the universe cannot go through the whole body because a human being is always a human being even if he is a black one. It does not go through the whole body but stops short on the surface of the skin, and therefore the skin itself becomes black.
A human being is always a human being even if he is a black one.
Great site! Love it! I am a Biochemist Ph. D from Germany, and allergic against all sorts of quackery, that even infiltrates all sciences from the magic underground…But you fight in vain! As any Quackery you may silence, which I doubt, as Quacks are immortal, no quack here! It helps much more to study WHY we so ready to fall for any absurd quackery. I love to contribute on that, if you let me…
It has been over 5 years now since I graduated from a teaching program of Rudolf Steiner. I am only now starting to feel as if I can think for myself! It has taken me a long time to realize that I was in a cult! It brainwashed me and I realize now that it made me think of the world in an anthroposophic way which is not healthy. It is not healthy to feel like only anthroposophy has the solution and that “all the other people” just don’t know what’s best for them. They pulled me in because it was so pretty, so beautiful, clean, pure. But really the philosophy is isolating and distorts the bible. That is what cults do, they take the bible and they fuck it up and use it to control your mind and therefore making you dependent on their thought process, you find yourself not being able to think for yourself!
It does piss me off when people try to talk shit about homeopathy though. Not all homeopathic medicine is anthroposophic medicine. I was cured of a very messed up skin disease that no other line of medicine had been able to cure other than homeopathic vaccines. Homeopathy can be beneficial, just like chiropractors can be beneficial and so can acupuncture.
Most of the Steiner’s stuff isn’t even all from him, it comes mostly from Theosophy and all that messed up devil worshiping Madame Blavatsky. He just took it and added his stuff to it.
This website has no neutral opinion about Steiner but only Quack opinion. Public schools will produce robots for industrial society. Where in Steiner school every pupil is treated as individual and not a mass of faceless people. I do not understand why Madame Blavatsky and Theosophy is misunderstood. This must be an american website that does not understand any of European culture.
The problem I have encountered with the people I know who were Waldorf educated, in Stuttgart, at the first Steiner school, and raised in families devoted to Steiner teachings, is that they have an innocent quality to them that makes them perpetually naive. They want to believe in fantasy. They like to dream, they seem to live in an altered reality, their own reality. It is difficult, if not impossible, for them to acknowledge truth, scientific truth, indisputable fact, staring them in the face. I am sorry for them. Waldorf teaching may not be a cult, but it is cult-like. As adults, the Steiner devotees I’ve known are the quintessential sucker. They’re not bad people, on the contrary they’re kind and sincere. They’ve been duped. Used. And now they’re disciples of a dated, obsolete, faulty belief system that they can’t think their way out of. It’s sad.