Bits and Pieces

 

From: golden3000997
Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 5:17 am
Subject: Bits and Pieces

Thank you so much Daniel!

And the aspect that I have always loved and appreciated most about Rudolf Steiner's work is just how he does not stand "at either end" but is constantly in motion, running up and down and back and forth through all of the "hierarchies" of knowledge and the interconnections of knowledge.

I like to think that there are two "basic" forms of thinking (in terms of the ordinary, everday kind of thinking) analysis and synthesis. Very simply, analysis takes the whole and breaks it down into its component parts - pieces of objects or pieces of ideas. Synthesis takes a bunch of pieces, some apparently connected, others not apparently so and tries to put them together to form a cohesive whole, like a jigsaw puzzle. I myself love the synthetic kind of thinking - always looking for the interconnectivity between phenomena or ideas. But I certainly value quite highly those who are good at analysis. They are both absolutely essential kinds of thinking. Those who love to see "the whole" and don't want to be bothered by "the bits and pieces" run the danger of staying up in the hierarchical end of ideas that is broad and general as Mr. Feynman outlines it - the hope, good, evil, God, etc.. end of ideas. But they may find their "castle in the sky" ideas get very shaky as those dwarfs (very positively intended reference here) constantly hack at the groundwork of ideas "beneath their feet."

On the other hand, the dwarfs who are busy "underground" mining away at the ideas of the world, breaking them down, tearing apart the rocks in search of the separate minerals that we call "earth" those building blocks of knowledge and existence itself, run the risk of missing the "big picture" from time to time and of being caught in the minutiae of facts and figures.

During the "Age of Enlightenment" (late 18th, early 19th century?) the world was discribed as a "clockwork" a great construct of material parts and mechanical laws created by God to stand on its own and run forever.

Have you ever known a child who loved to take apart clocks? (I remember doing it once myself) It is so fascinating, all those different bits and pieces. It's not all that difficult to take apart, but Oh, trying to put it back together!! It is not as easy and there are almost always bits and pieces left over. And rarely does the clock work again - but then, we are children! Well, as "god's children" we are doing a pretty good job of taking the world apart bit by bit. But eventually, somebody's got to "put it back together". And beware of throwing away any bits just because we "think" they don't fit or aren't important! If it came out of the world and/ or "us", then it has a meaning and a place and no matter how insignificant, probably is integral to the functioning of the whole.

In my experience, Rudolf Steiner, more than any other thinker that I know of personally, put together more bits and pieces of the puzzle than anyone else. Of course, not the entire puzzle, because that is a collective thing - every person that ever was, is or ever will be is needed in the effort, because every person has his or her own unique "bit" to contribute. But certain people have a clearer picture of what's on the cover of the puzzle box. Possibly, some even have a set of directions, at least to part of the puzzle. It makes sense to at least check it out when someone claims to have a "bigger picture" because in looking at this bigger picture for ourselves, we might find a clue or two as to where "our bit" fits in!

Thus the wonder and the challenge of Anthroposophy as a "world view" - that it brings so many apparently disparate ideas, events of history and individuals together while at the same time throwing it all back on the individual to understand and to make sense of. There really is nothing in Anthroposophy to "believe" anymore than there is in nuclear physics. It is just a matter of establishing some starting points for research and the methods of research. There is always value in understanding and respecting the work that has gone before us, as there is value in re-evaluating the material from time to time to see if it still holds up when new data is added.

There is really no "cult" of Anthroposophy to join. There is an Anthroposophical Society, but it is a very loosely knit organization really. There are thousands of people who study and work with ideas presented by Rudolf Steiner who are not members or who are technically members but have very little really to do with the organization in Dornach or even the Anthroposophical Society in America. There is very little if any "control" over the work of individuals by a larger organization. Even the name "Waldorf School" is not copyrighted and there is no legal control over its use. I have personally never seen anyone "recruited" into the Anthroposophical Society and when I joined in the 70s, I was told point blank that the only criteria for membership were 1. That the person recognized something of value in the work of Rudolf Steiner and 2. that the person recognized the Society located in Dornarch as the central "seat" of Anthroposophy. I may have that a little bit wrong - it has been a long time since I joined. So if anyone has a clearer definition, please contribute. I have never given the Anthroposophical society any money and I have experienced no more dire repercussions than that I stoppped receiving the "Journal of Anthroposophy". No one ever contacted me and asked me why I wasn't contributing or insisted that I had some kind of "duty" to contribute or "karmic obligation" to do anything at all with or for the Society. I was simply placed on an "inactive" list so that the Society in America didn't have to pay dues for me to Dornach.

I bring this up because I have started to investigate the WC charges of "cult" and "mind control" in connection with the Anthroposophical Society. Using criteria outlined by organizations actively working to release people from the destructive cults that do exist, I wish to examine the group to which I ostensibly belong to see if I have indeed been brainwashed!!

More to follow, but here are some good links that I am using:

http://factnet.org/

http://www.csp.org/development/docs/vaughan-spiritual.html

http://www.factnet.org/coerlink.htm#MOTHER%20OF%20GOD

http://www.factnet.org/orgspubs_list.html?FACTNet

There is a pretty good listing of recognized cults - and we are NOT ON IT!!

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From: dottie zold
Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 7:35 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Bits and Pieces

Christine wrote:

There is a pretty good listing of recognized cults - and we are NOT ON IT!!

Hey Christine,

You are racking them up; one great post after another:)

Where we are recognized as a cult is on the the list of those who give Dan Dugans Waldorf Critics money to survive the lawsuit. I don't recall the name as it's been a while since I have been involved on their list. (kicked off for calling Peter Staudenmaier a fibber and then liar) The things people do for money. Whew. If I remember correctly it is a religious fundy group that pulls hardcore to the right.

I remember thinking Dan Dugan was selling the soul of the critics argument by hooking up with the team of Staudenmaier and Zegers and then the devil, with this fundy group cult spouting group, as he follows an atheistic approach.

Good work Christine,
Dottie

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 10:54 am
Subject: cults [was: Bits and Pieces]

At 14:17 06.02.2004, Christine wrote:

There is really no "cult" of Anthroposophy to join. There is an Anthroposophical Society, but it is a very loosely knit organization really. There are thousands of people who study and work with ideas presented by Rudolf Steiner who are not members or who are technically members but have very little really to do with the organization in Dornach or even the Anthroposophical Society in America. There is very little if any "control" over the work of individuals by a larger organization. Even the name "Waldorf School" is not copyrighted and there is no legal control over its use.

Good point, Christine. On January 26 1999, I crashed the misanthropic tea party party known as the WC with an appeal: "Cult Victim Needing Help". DD got grumpy about it, but it seemed I had hit the nail on the head, and when Walden recently referred to it as evidence of my moral bankruptcy (five years later!), I must have made quite an impression with this stunt. The entire thread is available online in easy-to-navigate Uncle Taz format at:

http://www.uncletaz.com/wc/wcthreads/culthelp99.html

Concerning the definition of "cult", I kinda wrapped it up as follows:

Basically, the word "cult" has four meanings:

1) Communion with the spiritual world, with higher beings or gods. (This is how the word is used in Baghavad Gita.)

2) Any religious or spiritual-philosophical view that contradicts the doctrines of Fundamentalist Christianity in the Religious Right. (According to this definition, you are a cultist if you read astrology or Tarot cards, or if you believe in reincarnation.)

3) Any spiritual philosophy embracing beliefs that may be defined as strange or weird by atheists or orthodox religionists because of their unfamiliarity. (The doctrines of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the Ressurrection and Ascension of Christ in his physical body is weird, but it is familiar and therefore considered normal and acceptable.)

4) A religious group or organization that practices coercive tactics, aggressive proselytizing, control of members' personal life, family life, financial life etc. plus other factors.

For a further exploration of definition 4, I recommend the AFF Cult Group Information at

http://www.csj.org/index.html

I believe that Anthroposophy belongs to definitions 1, 2, and 3, but not 4.

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 2:22 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] cults [was: Bits and Pieces]

Christine wrote:

Even the name "Waldorf School" is not copyrighted and there is no legal control over its use.

Er... here in the United States, the term "Waldorf" is trademarked by the Association for Waldorf Schools in North America (AWSNA) and a school is not allowed to call themselves a "Waldorf school" unless approved by AWSNA. With the exception of the Urban Waldorf School in Milwaukee, public/charter schools do not have that approval, which is why they refer to themselves as "waldorf-inspired".

I believe AWSNA took this step to avoid the problems of Montessori schools here in the States -- where anyone can say they have a Montessori school whether they follow Maria Montessori's methods or not.

Cheers,
JoAnn

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From: golden3000997
Date: Fri Feb 6, 2004 3:48 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] cults [was: Bits and Pieces]

Thank you JoAnn - the last time I participated in a discussion of this, was, let me try to figure it out -

I think it was my teacher training year in Fair Oaks - 1977 -78 with Ann (?) I forget her name but she was then the head of AWSNA. I do remember that I was the one who questioned her about it and she said that they couldn't copyright it.

My, how quickly things change!

: ) Christine

(I'm glad, though!)

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From: at
Date: Sat Feb 7, 2004 6:19 am
Subject: Trademark and copyright

Christine,

There is a big difference between copyright and trademark. Copyrights cover fixed expressions of ideas, whether film, photo, art, sculpture or written works. Only the form is copyrighted, not the idea. The copyright allows the copyright holder to control how copies are made (hence the name). A single word, and even most phrases, are too short to copyright. I cannot decide to take control of the word "green" by copyrighting it and then tell everyone else they may not use it in any context without my permission. Copyrights currently last for the life of the author plus 70 years (or 90 years when a corporation registers it) in the US.There are built-in exceptions to the power of copyright, called "fair use" and these apply under specific circumstances.

A trademark is a word or short phrase that a company or individual uses on its products or services. It must be registered and continually used or it lapses. It is limited to the sector and industry of the product. Hence, for example, Reliant is a trademark of a financial services company and also of an auto manufacturer. The standard for deciding disputes is whether a reasonable consumer would confuse the one product for the other.

"Waldorf" is trademarked by ASWNA, meaning no one may use it for their school without permission. It probably extends to other education-related products as well, but AWSNA has not defended it there. Meanwhile, Waldorf salad and the Waldorf-Astoria hotel are in different lines of business, so AWSNA has no say over the use of the name there. The hotel has doubtless registered their name as a trademark to prevent other hostelries from profiting from the association most consumers have with the name.

I hope this brief explanation suffices. For more info on copyright see: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/index.html

For trademarks: http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/trademark/trademarkFULL.html

Daniel Hindes

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 7, 2004 7:05 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Trademark and copyright

Thank you Daniel!!

It was the use of the name that was the discussion back then, hence it would have been "trademark" we were talking about. Do you know when they legalized it?

: ) Christine

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