In response to While Waldorf Schools Adhere to Rudolph Steiner’s Doctrines, His White Supremacist Theories Are Not Taught, this is from “Soul Economy” — Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on Waldorf education:
“Please understand that a Waldorf school—or any school that might spring from the anthroposophic movement—would never wish to teach anthroposophy as it exists today. I would consider this the worst thing we could do. Anthroposophy in its present form is a subject for adults and, as you can see from the color of their hair, often quite mature adults.”
This injunction will have been taken deeply to heart by any teacher schooled in the Waldorf approach: teaching anthroposophy itself is “THE WORST THING” we could do!
Anyone who breaks with this dictum, and starts teaching all the Steiner esoteric material in a Waldorf school, is either incompetent or is a deliberate stooge and provocation.
I highly recommended elsewhere that anyone wanting to make the first acquaintance with anthroposophy could start with “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds”:
Steiner describes in this book how, as one progresses down the spiritual path, one becomes aware of group souls, nation souls, race souls, family souls, which all play a part in carrying human life forward.
When you reach a certain point on the path of initiation, Steiner says, you are shown how these group souls have guided you thus far, and he teaches you to respect them and their traditions, even as you now take charge of your own destiny.
However much you may want to feel part of “humanity as a whole”, he says, you need to understand your own particular origins and respect them.
Steiner really and truly was not a racist.
I feel he treated each soul that came before him exactly as he found them — but he was deeply aware of the realities of different races, how these differences came about, and how they tend to evolve. No one who is scared of the truth should find anything offensive about his revelations in this regard.
I wasn’t aware of painting the walls of different classes in different colors, but here, really and seriously, Steiner is at his best and is worth taking very seriously. Check out the work of Theo Gimbel, who carried further Steiner’s ideas on color therapy:
You can check out two case study cures by Gimbel here:
Read “Soul Economy” and you’ll find the most detailed descriptions of how a child’s emotions, attention, energy and developmental focus change from year to year.
If Steiner says that particular colors are suitable for a particular age, well, I’m not clairvoyant, and unless there is a strong contraindication, I would go exactly with what Steiner recommends.
Here is an anecdote, however. The last high school I ever taught at, in 1994, had a very erratic headteacher, a businesswoman with no degree or teaching qualification.
She told me herself the following story: she was very angry one day, and decided that if she was angry, no one else should be peaceful.
So she ordered the staff room painted basically fire engine red (I was told the actual shade was “Coral Pink”, but believe me, it was flaming red). And I can assure you, it worked.
I knew many rancorous staff rooms, with lots of conflicts, but I never saw anything like that school.
The school counselor painted her office walls soothing dark green, specifically as an antidote to the staff room. I left that school after just a month, because of all the conflict there — kids were assaulting each other in the classroom in front of me. But the worst fights were in the staff room.
I had a book by Theo Gimbel (unfortunately not to hand) in which he showed treatment of septic wounds that had not responded to antibiotics. He illuminated the wounds with red LED light of a specific frequency, and healed potentially fatal injuries that doctors had been completely unable to cure.
I am 100% certain, as antibiotic resistance spreads and superbugs flourish in hospitals, that color therapy will come into its own, in the not-too-distant future; and anthroposophical medicine will lead the way.
Someone was making fun of Steiner because he said the heart was not really a pump — he says it’s actually more of a dam.
When they first created an artificial heart machine, to take over the pumping of blood during heart surgery, they found that by far the most immediate and important function they had to duplicate, was a damming effect, rather than a pumping one. Go check it out.
One thing about “Soul Economy”: it contains one of Steiner’s most important descriptions of how nerves function. He insists that there are no “motor nerves” as opposed to “sensory nerves”.
He said that all nerves are actually sensory, only some of them are providing the brain with information on the internal systems of the body — how the muscles are acting, where the bones are — while others bring information about the outside world. The actual impulses that drive bodily motion come from the “will” system, which is entirely autonomous of the nerves.
Now, this has exactly been borne out by contemporary neuroscience and MRI scans.
They find that the supposedly conscious decision-making region of the brain only lights up AFTER you’ve moved your finger. Some people (the Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams springs to mind) have taken this scientific finding as absolute proof that we don’t have free will — we only make up some excuse after our instinctive system has made us do something.
In fact, this phenomenon is pointing to the true autonomy and independence of the will; but you need to interpret the results correctly. Of course, Western medicine has absolutely no clue about any of this, and the idea of an autonomous “will” system that acts throughout the body is rejected without thought.
Anthroposophy 101 teaches that the human has three completely autonomous systems that operate together:
(2) Feeling; and
Separating these activities, so you can feel something without these feelings affecting your thinking about it, or your will to alter it, is the first part of esoteric training. If you undertake these exercises, you find the reality of what Steiner is talking about.
This threefolding is very characteristic of anthroposophy. It also finds expression in Steiner’s Threefold Commonwealth, his concept of how social life should be arranged so as to minimize conflicts and contradictions.
For me, this is the absolute solution to the crises we are facing in social life across this planet, with contemporary politics completely unable to respond (witness the Yellow Jacket movement in France).
I honestly believe it’s the only possible solution to the manifold problems we face on this planet.
Again, Steiner foresaw all the problems of globalization in his World Economy lectures — he literally asks, when the world becomes one trading bloc, how will we balance our imports and exports, since we are not trading with Mars?
And the solution is the Threefold Social Order, not as a programme, but as a sane and rational separation of powers into their appropriate realms. This has particularly deep implications for education, and you can’t understand what Steiner is pushing for in this realm, unless you broaden your vision to take in the whole of society.
The thing is: there was a massive schism in the anthroposophical movement that fractured it right from the outset. This is one reason for the furtiveness and mystery. I don’t know much about the story, but you can read a very interesting account of it here, from the late British anthroposophist Stanley Messenger.
Messenger suggests very strongly (at the end) that we need to recognize that anthroposophy has really failed to set the world alight the way it was supposed to. And he argues that we should release Steiner from the “tragic karma” of this movement, saying that Steiner himself has moved on to far different realms, leaving people trapped and floundering in a clearly incomplete structure. I really think there’s something to this argument.
However, I’ve been reading first-hand accounts of people who worked with Steiner.
At a crucial stage, he threw everything into promoting the Threefold Social Order, trying to get it on the world agenda. He had a magazine of this name, wrote a book about it, gave innumerable lectures about it.
His fantastic “Lectures on Lecturing” use the Threefold Social Order as a source of examples.
Someone said to him, “Why do you put so much energy into this idea, when it seems doomed to fail?” — and Steiner answered: Sometimes an idea is premature, but for that very reason, you have to try to put it out all the more strongly.
I’m certain that the time has finally come for the Threefold Social Order (TSO) to be put on the global agenda, it’s truly now or never, with all this chaos in the world. Where I would fault Messenger is that he doesn’t stress the Threefold Commonwealth, and for me, this is the big test as to whether someone really understands what Rudolf Steiner was about.
The thing about the TSO is that it applies at the very personal level, as well as at the level of nations.
You have three separate identities:
- a political identity
- an economic identity
- and a spiritual or cultural identity.
The first is governed by the idea of equality: we are all equal before the law, we all have an equal right to be heard on matters that affect us. Note: not freedom of speech rules here, but EQUALITY of speech.
In the economic realm, where we all have to work together to survive, the watchword is fraternity, the sense of being part of a family, an organic community, in which we all have duties.
And in the cultural realm, the watchword is freedom — the liberty to practice your beliefs and to educate your children the way you want.
Liberty, equality, fraternity: but each in its own realm, so that contradictions are avoided.
You do NOT use the school system to enforce “equality”, for example, this is simply insane.
And you do not use the economic system to exert a political influence, the way the Marxists want.
Yes, there is an administration of things and goods and services, the way Engels described it; but this domain is its entire concern, it doesn’t exert an influence over the schools, or over the political laws.
You can try threefolding yourself, right away.
Insist on your equal rights within the political process. Be a positive and professional coworker and a conscientious consumer within the economic world. And in the cultural and religious realm, exercise your beliefs, without insisting on having “equal” representation, just as long as you are free to live your culture.
Can you imagine a Threefold Commonwealth in the USA: the economic parliament in Chicago, where Dow Jones is based and the real economic wheels turn, ask any gangster; the legislative parliament in Washington, DC, to maintain some use for all those fancy buildings; and maybe the cultural parliament in New Orleans, home of the one art form America gave the world, i.e. jazz.
For its iniquities, I would say that New York has disqualified itself as either a financial or a cultural centre.
There’s a theory that the “threefold order” is actually the way the Illuminati rules the world, it’s divided into three autonomous sectors, Money, Military and Media — “military” including the entire political process, and “media” including all cultural affairs.
Only they do it behind the scenes and in secret. If the democratic process was really threefolded, so it was all done in the open, well, we would have a completely different world.
However nuts you think Steiner was, you can look at this proposal of his, and you’ll see, it solves all the great problems of the day we are facing, by allowing them to be addressed in the appropriate forum.
Don’t tell me it’s “impractical” — what we’ve got now is “impractical”, the wheels are coming off in a big way. You show me concepts that are adequate to the issues. Otherwise, look at the issues the TSO addresses, and explain how YOU would deal with them otherwise.
Right now, Bernie Sanders is causing all hell with the Democrats, because working-class people are responding to a candidate who takes their concerns seriously. Take a look, and you’ll see that Steiner aimed his book on the Threefold Social Order straight at the working class, trying to get concepts into their heads that would take them beyond Marxism.
This is still the issue of the day.
Bernie is a sign of the times. But we need to go much further than his New Deal thinking, which is now so Old Deal. And nothing of any use will come from the left or the liberals, for sure.
So it’s time for an idea from the far-out realms of the discourse, and I think Steiner may yet achieve the prominence he deserves.