Reading and Falsehoods

how to misread Steiner

 

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 11:04 am
Subject: how to misread Steiner

Diana wrote:

I truly must be missing something, Daniel. He said nothing at all about their dying of disease! I understand you think that's what he meant but surely it is obvious even to you that to claim it's "exactly what Steiner said too" is preposterous.

I think that this actually is not obvious to Daniel, believe it or not. As far as I can tell, he really does think -- just like Detlef and Andrea et al. -- that his own inventive reading of the Steiner passage is what Steiner himself said. This is called an eisegetical interpretation: reading into the text content that is not there. One reason this approach seems sound to so many anthroposophists is that they believe their own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings. Andrea, for example, writes:


Anthroposophy is a "Symphony" and you can't discuss on and on only a single note or movement without a true knowledge of the whole!!

Because Andrea mistakes himself for the conductor of the symphony, he thinks that his own perception of "the whole" determines what "true knowledge" is. Since anthroposophy as a whole simply cannot contain any jarring notes that do not fit onto Andrea's or Daniel's or Detlef's private copy of the score, it is a simple matter to declare that the false notes in Steiner's published works aren't really there in the first place. Such arguments are, in turn, remarkably persuasive with people who find something really weird about examining their own thought process. Thus does the auto-reinforcing cycle of anthroposophist misreadings of Steiner continue.

Peter

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From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 20:54:53 +0200
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, April 23, 2004 8:04 PM
Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Diana wrote:

I truly must be missing something, Daniel. He said nothing at all about their dying of disease! I understand you think that's what he meant but surely it is obvious even to you that to claim it's "exactly what Steiner said too" is preposterous.

I

Anthroposophy is a "Symphony" and you can't discuss on and on only a single note or movement without a true knowledge of the whole!!

[PS:]

Because Andrea mistakes himself for the conductor of the symphony,

[Andrea:]

Because what????
Pls quote where I presented myself like a "conductor" or something like this.
Your mental shape is worsening over and over, Peter........

A.

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:42 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Diana wrote:

I truly must be missing something, Daniel. He said nothing at all about their dying of disease! I understand you think that's what he meant but surely it is obvious even to you that to claim it's "exactly what Steiner said too" is preposterous.

Peter answered:

I think that this actually is not obvious to Daniel, believe it or not. As far as I can tell, he really does think -- just like Detlef and Andrea et al. -- that his own inventive reading of the Steiner passage is what Steiner himself said. This is called an eisegetical interpretation: reading into the text content that is not there. One reason this approach seems sound to so many anthroposophists is that they believe their own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings. Andrea, for example, writes:

Mike:

You know, If you're just reading words, and looking for your own bias associations, and have no regard for the integrated unitary world view that Anthroposophy is, or for trying to think pictorially (lets not get into the witch hunting thing) then I can completely understand why you could come the conclusions that you have on this subject.

I could turn that whole paragraph around on you, Let's give it a try shall we?

Re-write of Peter's paragraph:

I think that this actually is not obvious to [Peter], believe it or not. As far as I can tell, he really does think -- just like [Dianna]and [Dan D.]et al. -- that his own inventive reading of the Steiner passage is what Steiner himself said. This is called an eisegetical interpretation: reading into the text content that is not there. One reason this approach seems sound to so many [anti] anthroposophists is that they believe their own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings.

Mike:

RS stated in a 1908 lecture that soon a "rise against alcohol'' would come into humanity. 20+ years later AA was founded and has spread all around the globe. But you know what? he didn't actually say the WORD AA did he?

I guess that if the WORD "clairvoyance" only means to you the ability to accurately guess lotto numbers, then I can see why you would throw that whole association above out the window as well.

Peter:

<snip>

This is called an eisegetical interpretation: reading into the text content that is not there. One reason this approach seems sound to so many anthroposophists is that they believe their own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings. Andrea, for example, writes:Andrea, for example, writes:

Anthroposophy is a "Symphony" and you can't discuss on and on only a single note or movement without a true knowledge of the whole!!

Mike:

There you go again, telling people what other people believe, based on what you believe they believe. I believe that you believe this. But I also believe that your beliefs are just that - belief's.

What makes you believe, that Andrea actually believes, that his "own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings." I don't believe that he actually said that. Therefore I'm having trouble believing that you actually believe it to be true.

All this stuff about your beliefs is un-believably hard for anyone but your self to believe.

Believe me.

Peter:

Because Andrea mistakes himself for the conductor of the symphony, he thinks that his own perception of "the whole" determines what "true knowledge" is.

Mike:

Well, that's an interesting belief. I don't believe that this belief is grounded in actual fact. But that's just my belief.

I also believe that we could do a reversal on this one as well, with a few added extras, and it might still be believable. Let's try it shall we?

Re-write of Peters paragraph:

Because [Peter] mistakes himself for the conductor of the [PLANS cult], he thinks that his own perception of "the whole" [of anthroposophy] determines what "true knowledge" [of anthroposophy] is. Since anthroposophy as a whole simply [must] contain [many] jarring notes that [must] fit onto [his] or [Dianna's] or [Dan D's] private copy of the score, it is a simple matter to declare that the false notes in Steiner's published works [are the only ones] really there in the first place. Such arguments are, in turn, remarkably persuasive with people who find something really weird about examining their own thought process. Thus does the auto-reinforcing cycle of [anti] anthroposophist misreadings of Steiner continue.

No that I can believe.

Mike

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 8:00 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Hi Mike, you wrote:

You know, If you're just reading words

Steiner left a lot of words behind. The way to understand words is to read them. You don't have to "just" read them, but it is a necessary first step. If you ignore Steiner's words, you won't understand them.

and have no regard for the integrated unitary world view that Anthroposophy is

That's backwards, Mike. You don't first decide what his supposed "integrated unitary world view" is, and then start reading his words. You need to do it the other way around.

I could turn that whole paragraph around on you, Let's give it a try shall we?

Sure. That's a good way to get a clearer sense of the difference between a credulous approach and a critical approach.

Re-write of Peter's paragraph:

I think that this actually is not obvious to [Peter], believe it or not. As far as I can tell, he really does think -- just like [Dianna]and [Dan D.]et al. -- that his own inventive reading of the Steiner passage is what Steiner himself said.


Well, except that I haven't invented any hidden references to immunology and imagined them floating somewhere behind Steiner's own words. What I've done is point to what Steiner actually wrote. The rest of you don't like this because it conflicts with your perception of Steiner's "integrated unitary world view". That is why you keep misreading Steiner.

This is called an eisegetical interpretation: reading into the text content that is not there. One reason this approach seems sound to so many [anti] anthroposophists is that they believe their own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings.

But that isn't what I believe, obviously. What I say is that no understanding of Steiner's work as a whole can possibly set the standard for specific readings. Not mine, not yours, not anybody's. To hold otherwise is to misunderstand what reading means and what it is for. It is entirely wrongheaded to try to fit specific passages into a pre-existing notion of what his work "as a whole" stands for.

RS stated in a 1908 lecture that soon a "rise against alcohol'' would come into humanity. 20+ years later AA was founded and has spread all around the globe. But you know what? he didn't actually say the WORD AA did he?

That's an excellent comparison. In that case, Steiner does indeed refer to alcohol (taking your word for it on the quoted passage), and it isn't far-fetched to connect this to the later emergence of things like AA, though it would be a mistake to project this later development back onto Steiner's 1908 statement. But the passage Daniel quoted does not mention disease or immunology in any way. The connection to immunology is something Daniel invented.

What makes you believe, that Andrea actually believes, that his "own personal understanding of Steiner's work as a whole sets the standard for all readings."

Because otherwise he couldn't determine what constitutes "true knowledge" of Steiner's doctrines, and declare which readings are and are not compatible with anthroposophy "as a whole", instead of examining the actual text in question.

I don't believe that this belief is grounded in actual fact.

Then maybe you should read Andrea's post to Diana again. What do you think he was trying to say about the relation between specific readings of particular Steiner passages and the ostensible integrated unitary world view that Anthroposophy is?

Re-write of Peters paragraph:

Because [Peter] mistakes himself for the conductor of the [PLANS cult],

I am far from the conductor of PLANS. I'm not even a member of PLANS.

he thinks that his own perception of "the whole" [of anthroposophy] determines what "true knowledge" [of anthroposophy] is.

No, that is the opposite of what I've been saying.

Since anthroposophy as a whole simply [must] contain [many] jarring notes that [must] fit onto [his] or [Dianna's] or [Dan D's] private copy of the score, it is a simple matter to declare that the false notes in Steiner's published works [are the only ones] really there in the first place.

But I keep arguing exactly the contrary of the position you ascribe to me. My argument is that no appeals, of any kind, to any "integrated unitary world view" can tell us what specific texts mean. If you want to make sense of these texts, you need to set aside the notion that they all form one big harmonious symphony. That is the case with every single author, Mike, not just with Rudolf Steiner.

[Mike in the thread "in my view?":]

I'm not sure that we will ever resolve our differences of what constitutes "Proof."

I think that's beside the point. The issue isn't resolving our differences, the issue is that different standards of proof are likely to impress very different sorts of readers. The standards you aspire to are a sure-fire way of reassuring people who already believe that anthroposophy cannot possibly be racist.

I don't believe that Anthroposophy, in written form, couldn't possibly be interpreted racist. Quite the contrary. Especially if that's all you're looking for.

But that obviously isn't all I'm looking for. Racism is one aspect of anthroposophical doctrine, by no means the only one.

I also don't believe that RS is thought of by many on this list as being "immune to criticism."

Then why do some of you believe that it is racist to sort different racial groups into higher and lower categories, except when Rudolf Steiner does so?

If I may make a suggestion: Instead of saying "all they keep saying" as you do above, you might want to try 'all I keep hearing.' This kind of approach, I think, is much more inclusive and less likely to set off other peoples defenses.

That's silly. If I were worried about setting off your defenses, I wouldn't have come here. Your defenses were already in high gear long before I joined the list.

I think there's a fine line between "critical thinking" and Cynicism.

Yes, I've noticed that you have a hard time telling those two things apart. That's precisely why you find critique so baffling.

Steiner"s would-be defenders?

Yes. They're not defending Steiner, they're defending a cherished idealized image of Steiner.

Maybe it's because those who utilize anthro ideas on occasion, like me for instance, don't make sense of it in the same way that someone else would.

You can say that again.

And why should I?

You shouldn't, if you don't want other people to take what you say on the topic seriously. But in that case, it doesn't make sense to moan about how critics of anthroposophy are constantly misrepresenting Steiner because gosh, that's just not how you look at Steiner personally.

For someone that claims to be a anarchist, you seem to adhere to allot of "standards" as to what constitutes racism, incompetent readers, muddled thinkers and the like. That surprises me.

It does? Why? Because you think that anarchists oppose standards?

I think that arrogance and a lack of empathy is, for the most part, based on ignorance.

That could be. But you haven't explained why you think it is arrogant and unempathetic to point out the circular reasoning that you find so compelling. Critique is not a sign of arrogance. It is a sign of arrogance, on the other hand, to pretend that you have found some sort of special spiritual path, and that to really understand the doctrines associated with this path you have to view it from within, and that people who view it critically from without are unspiritual and lacking in empathy.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Peter

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:48 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

M:

Hey, what the hell happened to over all theme of my original reply?

and have no regard for the integrated unitary world view that Anthroposophy is

P:

That's backwards, Mike. You don't first decide what his supposed "integrated unitary world view" is, and then start reading his words. You need to do it the other way around.

M:

I did read the words. I read the words, found what I was looking for, and found them to ring true for me. just like you did.

P:

The rest of you don't like this because it conflicts with your perception of Steiner's "integrated unitary world view". That is why you keep misreading Steiner.

M:

Well, I could say the same thing in reverse: that you keep misreading Steiner because you have conflicts with your "Perception" (or lack there of) of Steiner's integrated and unitary world view. That is why you keep misreading Steiner.

M:

Since anthroposophy as a whole simply [must] contain [many] jarring notes that [must] fit onto [his] or [Dianna's] or [Dan D's] private copy of the score, it is a simple matter to declare that the false notes in Steiner's published works [are the only ones] really there in the first place.

P:

But I keep arguing exactly the contrary of the position you ascribe to me. My argument is that no appeals, of any kind, to any "integrated unitary world view" can tell us what specific texts mean. If you want to make sense of these texts, you need to set aside the notion that they all form one big harmonious symphony. That is the case with every single author, Mike, not just with Rudolf Steiner.

M:

So here we are at the old separate the feelings from the words thing again.

I think it safe to say that you dislike racism. can you honestly tell me that you separate this (your dislike racism) from the outcome of your analysis of the material?

M:

I'm not sure that we will ever resolve our differences of what constitutes "Proof."

P:

I think that's beside the point. The issue isn't resolving our differences, the issue is that different standards of proof are likely to impress very different sorts of readers. The standards you aspire to are a sure-fire way of reassuring people who already believe that anthroposophy cannot possibly be racist.

M:

And your standards do just the opposite.

Can we resolve our differences by agreeing to disagree?

M:

I don't believe that Anthroposophy, in written form, couldn't possibly be interpreted racist. Quite the contrary. Especially if that's all you're looking for.

P:

But that obviously isn't all I'm looking for. Racism is one aspect of anthroposophical doctrine, by no means the only one.

M:

Exactly. But it is certainly all you seem to want to talk about on this list. And you certainly cast a negative spin by doing so. And you certainly don't seem to be looking for any kind of positive outlook

M:

I also don't believe that RS is thought of by many on this list as being "immune to criticism."

P:

Then why do some of you believe that it is racist to sort different racial groups into higher and lower categories, except when Rudolf Steiner does so?

M:

I don't know what others believe in detail, but I think that RS was defining cultural evolution, not simply separating racial groups - something I know that you don't believe in.

So here we are with the "Beliefs" thing again.

M:

If I may make a suggestion: Instead of saying "all they keep saying" as you do above, you might want to try 'all I keep hearing.' This kind of approach, I think, is much more inclusive and less likely to set off other peoples defenses.

P:

That's silly. If I were worried about setting off your defenses, I wouldn't have come here. Your defenses were already in high gear long before I joined the list.

M:

I didn't say that you should worry about my defenses. Admittedly I was being somewhat patronizing about your sometimes abrasive callus and curt style. It's a common theme in psych circles that keeping your statements focused on yourself - "all I keep hearing" - makes for healthier communication.

M:

I think there's a fine line between "critical thinking" and Cynicism.

P:

Yes, I've noticed that you have a hard time telling those two things apart. That's precisely why you find critique so baffling.

M:

I find cynicism to be always shining a light on the negative, like you with do with your opinions of RS.

M:

Steiner"s would-be defenders?

P:

Yes. They're not defending Steiner, they're defending a cherished idealized image of Steiner.

M:

Then maybe you should write: "Steiner's cherished idealized image defenders."

But don't forget Steiner's would be critics: "Steiner's racist demonized image creators."

M:

Maybe it's because those who utilize anthro ideas on occasion, like me for instance, don't make sense of it in the same way that someone else would.

P:

You can say that again.

M:

No. I don't have time to go read the original context cause you chopped all out.

M.

I think that arrogance and a lack of empathy is, for the most part, based on ignorance.

P:

That could be. But you haven't explained why you think it is arrogant and unempathetic to point out the circular reasoning that you find so compelling. Critique is not a sign of arrogance. It is a sign of arrogance, on the other hand, to pretend that you have found some sort of special spiritual path, and that to really understand the doctrines associated with this path you have to view it from within, and that people who view it critically from without are unspiritual and lacking in empathy.

M:

I hope not to imply in any way that I have found "the one and only right way," because in all honesty I feel that there are as many paths to walk on this planet as there are people. But I'm not going to "pretend" that I haven't found some deeply moving aspects of RS's work either. Just like your not going to pretend that you've found what looks like racism to you. I don't think that your unspiritual either, quite the contrary. I think it's dumb to think like that. I found a spiritual path long before I started reading RS and I don't think I'm special because of it; dam lackey I think. I didn't have to many options left.

And we all have our assets and liabilities. I see you as not understanding the kind of empathy that I have come to understand after working for 15 years in a Twelve step fellowship. I've seen it drastically change lives for the better for many people.

On the other hand, Moody mike does have a hard time reeling himself in sometimes.

P:

Thanks for your thoughts

M:

yeah, you like-em I can see. You like to chew-em up and spit-em back out. :)

Mike

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:17 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Hi Mike, thanks for the tone of this post. You wrote:

Hey, what the hell happened to over all theme of my original reply?

I thought I addressed it. I think the notion that anthroposophy as taught by Steiner constitutes an integrated unitary world view is false. I think it constitutes a far-flung, somewhat fragmented, and internally contradictory set of doctrines.

I did read the words. I read the words, found what I was looking for, and found them to ring true for me.

Yep, that's the problem. You found what you were looking for, instead of looking for whatever you might find, regardless of whether it happens to ring true.

Well, I could say the same thing in reverse: that you keep misreading Steiner because you have conflicts with your "Perception" (or lack there of) of Steiner's integrated and unitary world view.

Yes, you could say that, but it quite obviously is not what I say, much less what I do. It is the opposite of my stance. Since there is no such thing as "Steiner's integrated and unitary world view", as far as I am concerned, it is plainly not the case that I am assimilating my reading of specific Steiner passages to this imaginary construct. Instead, I begin from the premise that specific passages need to be read within their historical, textual, and ideological context, keeping in mind that Steiner's doctrines changed and developed over time and were thus inconsistent, as with any important thinker. Far from being "the same thing", my approach is flatly incompatible with yours.

So here we are at the old separate the feelings from the words thing again.

No, that isn't what I was getting at here (though I do think you would do well to learn that simple lesson in public discourse). What I said is that for any author, not just Rudolf Steiner, if you want to make sense of particular texts, you need to set aside the notion that they all form one big harmonious symphony. It's not a matter of feelings.

I think it safe to say that you dislike racism. can you honestly tell me that you separate this (your dislike racism) from the outcome of your analysis of the material?

No, of course I don't say that. You and several other listmates seem to have trouble grasping this. My dislike of racism inevitably plays a role in my analysis of the material. I told you this very explicitly when I first joined the list, not to mention during our earlier exchanges elsewhere. But whether I like or dislike racism is obviously a different question from whether some of Steiner's doctrines are racist. Not everybody dislikes racism, and some folks find Steiner's racial doctrines appealing precisely because of their racist content.

And your standards do just the opposite.

Uh, yeah, that's the point. My standards of proof are meaningless to people who have already decided ahead of time that Steiner's teachings cannot possibly contain any racist elements. That's why I don't normally write for such people.

Can we resolve our differences by agreeing to disagree?

I think that resolving differences is sort of the opposite of agreeing to disagree, but I am happy to agree to disagree on this or on anything else.

But it is certainly all you seem to want to talk about on this list.

Yes, that is quite true. I have a bad feeling that you're going to decide I'm a sneaky slippery intellectual for saying this, but the distinction between "what I'm looking" for in my research on anthroposophy and "what I'm looking for" in my participation on this list is a crucial one, and one that I take to be both obvious and unremarkable. From reading this list for some time before I joined it, I noticed that quite a few members took a keen interest in my arguments about Steiner's attitudes toward Jews, toward "primitive savages", and so forth. I came to the list in order to discuss those things. That certainly does not mean that I think Steiner only held racist views, and no others.

And you certainly cast a negative spin by doing so.

You mean because I don't like racism, and thus I have a negative attitude toward those doctrines which I consider racist? That is certainly true, but I don't see why it's a bad thing, if that's what you're getting at.

And you certainly don't seem to be looking for any kind of positive outlook

You're right, I didn't come here to talk about what I think is positive in Steiner's work, though I did address that topic briefly in my first week on the list, particularly in exchanges with you and Bradford.

I don't know what others believe in detail, but I think that RS was defining cultural evolution, not simply separating racial groups - something I know that you don't believe in.

I'm not sure I follow you -- which part of that do you think I don't believe in? I agree with you that Steiner was "defining cultural evolution" as he saw it (and I do believe in cultural evolution, for what it's worth). The trouble is that he linked his conception of cultural evolution directly to his model of progressive racial evolution. In the 'folk souls' book, just a few sentences after he says that American Indians died out because of their racial character, Steiner writes that cultural evolution is a higher stage of racial evolution. He explictly classified some racial groups as higher and others as lower, in a variety of contexts. That sort of narrative of racial progress and racial decline is what lots and lots of people consider racist, no matter whether Rudolf Steiner promoted it or somebody else.

So here we are with the "Beliefs" thing again.

Yes, I think that's where we've been all along. I do not think it is wrong to describe some beliefs as racist. I don't think it is arrogant or unempathetic to do so, and I don't think it is smearing.

It's a common theme in psych circles that keeping your statements focused on yourself - "all I keep hearing" - makes for healthier communication.

Yes, we do that in co-op circles too. In those circles, it often makes sense to focus on the feelings of the people you share the room with. I do not think this makes nearly the same sort of sense on a public email list with a bunch of people who mostly don't know one another personally.

I see you as not understanding the kind of empathy that I have come to understand after working for 15 years in a Twelve step fellowship.

Yes, I know you see me this way, and I have no idea why. You've never encountered me in a 12 step fellowship. You've only ever encountered me via the internet, in public forums, discussing controversial topics on which both of us have strong views. I don't understand why you want to transfer the practices of the one realm to the other. Public discussions of controversial topics are exactly the right place for critique, in my view, and as far as I can see this tells us nothing about our respective capacities for empathy. Chewing up ideas and spitting them back out is part of what public discussion of controversial topics is for.

I find cynicism to be always shining a light on the negative, like you with do with your opinions of RS.

I'd say that's a pretty good description of criticism, not of cynicism. Cynicism typically refers to motives and character. Criticism typically refers to ideas and arguments. Criticism does indeed involve shining a light on the negative, and that is exactly what I often do with Steiner. I think this is a very good thing to do, not a bad thing. In fact I'd go so far as to say that it would be downright cynical to reject the practice of criticism.

Thanks again for explaining your thinking,

Peter

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From: holderlin66
Date: Sat Apr 24, 2004 4:37 pm
Subject: Re: how to misread Steiner

Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

Uh, yeah, that's the point. My standards of proof are meaningless to people who have already decided ahead of time that Steiner's teachings cannot possibly contain any racist elements. That's why I don't normally write for such people.

Letter to Dr. Staudenmaier
Office of Germanic Racism

Dr. Dr. Staudenmaier, I'm sorry, I thought you got the memo I left. Well, incase you didn't, to catch you up; We started out about 30 years ago on the trek, the whole student body, we left a memo under the doormat with the key. You know the doormat in front of your office that said, "Welcome to Racism.Com".

We started off in wagons, shooting Indians and scalping gooks, by the time we got to our destination, our fearless leader, Dr. Dread Rudy the Racist, was driving a chevy pickup truck. Time is a strange thing. Like Cocoon, we never grew old and we exchanged our bodies with replanted biodynamic pods. I don't remember any brainwashing, but I fell asleep about 18 years into the trip, but been happy ever since.

But the results of our extended field trip into Anthro country, was that, to my surprise, anybody could come for dinner, Dread's motto, was come as you are even if you are a brittle, anal, sceptic or skeptic. Dr. Dread spent most of his precious time, between visitations from Angelic Beings, feeding the hungry with his own Iron ladle. Now there is a story behind that big huge Iron ladle which I wanna tell ya, when I see ya.

Habitats for humanity were erected free of race creed or color, called Wally's Wide Eyed Wonder Holes. Children flourished as far as I could tell, but when ever Dr. Dread blew on his famous Socrates Pan Pipes, the children would go single file like a bunch of mice. I suppose that could be documented and used for your project. That seemed odd, but I guessed it was the strange intervals in the music. Most economies of the little Wally WEWH were a little shaky but they were very disciplined and took baths on fridays.

So, I'm afraid that I failed in my mission to find racism. Ain't no Racism here, after 30 years of treking through the low country of Anthro land, I only saw four kinds of faces. Giddy-Stern-Jolly-Warrior Class. It kinda reminded me of the Caste System of India..but as for bad language, yelling at the stupidity of Red Folks and Yellow Folks and Green Folks, and Orange folks...like you said, I heard no complaints and recorded no yelling...Course I yelled at em but Dr. Dread kinda had his door open all the time for anybody to knock and chat for awhile when they were peeved.

For awhile I thought that is where he did his hypnotic Bela Lugoisi magic, by staring in their eyes and whispering, you know, racist stuff. But anybody could look in cause his door was always open and I didn't see any of that eye stuff you were talkin about.

Now instead of telling me who I should marry and taking all my money, I got showered with riches daily, new gold just kept popping up where ever I leaned on a shovel. So I was never told to stop giving my gold away to strangers, in fact it was encouraged. Dr. Dread always said there was more where that came from. So I guess he wasn't the old stingy race baiting scrooge we all thought he was.

I now live in a house in Malibou next to Dick Clark. Dick has takin a liken to the music of the spheres and Man as symphony. I frankly didn't think Cassie Casem or Dick would like classical, but they drop by every chance they get and study Man as Symphony together.

Anyways Dr. Staudenmaier I hope you are doing better with the RED HUNT and your mission, given to you from J.Edgar Hoover's death bed. I also hope the office you share with Roy Cohn, Office of Red-Racism-Rug Rats isn't too crowded. As I recall your office was just a block away from McCarthy's grave site. Ya, I'm still in touch with Dr. Dread, he still wears that long Black Wyatt Earp coat, with that stupid string tie... But, I didn't find any Racism.

But don't worry, the Truth is Out There!

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Apr 24, 2004 8:21 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Peter, I really don't have time to go into detail right now. This jumped out at me.

M:

I think it safe to say that you dislike racism. can you honestly tell me that you separate this (your dislike racism) from the outcome of your analysis of the material?

P:

My dislike of racism inevitably plays a role in my analysis of the material.

M:

EXACTLY.

My Love of metaphorical understanding obviously influences my analysis of the material as well.

P:

But whether I like or dislike racism is obviously a different question from whether some of Steiner's doctrines are racist.

M:

Well yeah, it's a different question. So what? Your dislike of racism is going to effect your view of the material regardless, as well as your many other dislikes that have brought you to call Anthroposophy a "pseudo-religion" ( I think that's a negative judgment by the way, something you say you do not have). All this inevitably plays a role in your analysis of the material.

The AA big book was written in the 30's I think. It has a chapter in it entitled "to wives" that by today's standards can be seen as sexist. Especially if the person reading it really dislikes sexual discrimination. (I'm not a member of AAYou can call it sexist, or you can say that it was a reflection of the cultural norm for that time period, depending on your likes and dislikes. But we should (I think) be responsible and view the bigger picture and ask if it was meant to be sexist. In doing so we might ask: "what has this phenomena contributed to the world? Does the utilization of these doctrines by modern day people, exemplify an attitude of discrimination toward women?

A few people might say yes, if they have no regard for what this organization has brought to the world.

The doctrines, as written, have elements that can certainly be seen as sexist. However the practical, uniquely individual, hands on heart felt utilization of what these doctrines convey is absolutely anything but.

Same goes for Anthroposophy, "in my view."

M:

And your standards do just the opposite.

P:

Uh, yeah, that's the point. My standards of proof are meaningless to people who have already decided ahead of time that Steiner's teachings cannot possibly contain any racist elements. That's why I don't normally write for such people

M:

I never decided "ahead of time" that Steiner's teachings cannot possibly contain racist elements. I tried, from our very first exchange, to keep an open mind about it.

But as strange as it may sound to you, your work has been very influential in helping me come to know the truth as I see it today.

Thanks

Mike

...................................................................................................................................

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sun Apr 25, 2004 10:08 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] how to misread Steiner

Hi Mike, you wrote:

All this inevitably plays a role in your analysis of the material.

Yes, of course it does. Are you trying to say that you think it would be better if people who study the history of racism liked racism rather than disliking it?

The AA big book was written in the 30's I think. It has a chapter in it entitled "to wives" that by today's standards can be seen as sexist.

But not by the standards of the 1930s?

Especially if the person reading it really dislikes sexual discrimination.

Or if they really like sexual discrimination and are trying to find evidence of its ubiquitous and benign nature.

But we should (I think) be responsible and view the bigger picture and ask if it was meant to be sexist. In doing so we might ask: "what has this phenomena contributed to the world?

Those are two fundamentally different questions, Mike. You keep getting them mixed up. Whether something was "meant to be sexist" does not determine whether it is sexist, much less whether its actual consequences in the world are sexist.

A few people might say yes, if they have no regard for what this organization has brought to the world.

But it is entirely possible for people who do have high regard for what the organization has brought to the world to recognize that it also has some flaws.

The doctrines, as written, have elements that can certainly be seen as sexist. However the practical, uniquely individual, hands on heart felt utilization of what these doctrines convey is absolutely anything but.

How could you possibly know that one way or the other? You only know what a small segment of these utilizations is like.

Same goes for Anthroposophy, "in my view."

Mine too. That's why I address anthroposophy as a doctrine, rather than speculating about what all utilizations of it in today's world are like. My focus is on what Steiner taught and on the reception of his teachings among the first generation of his followers.


Peter

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