to Dottie

 

From: Joel Wendt
Date: Fri Feb 13, 2004 6:09 pm
Subject: to Dottie

Dear Dottie,

You've recently said, at least a couple of times, that you would prefer that I take down Catherine's article from my website.

As I have no intention of doing this, I nevertheless feel that I ought at least to share with you why.

First of all, my website clearly states:

"This essay became the object of much controversy, because of its views of Rudolf Steiner. The most aggressive critic was offered an opportunity to place his criticism along side the essay on my website, but did not take up this offer. Even so, the reader should realize that some individuals find this essay to contain a very incorrect assessment of Dr. Steiner's character."

That statement is preceded by the following:

"It is the fall of 1915, and some members of the anthroposophical society are expelled. The problem of "sex" is raised. In this deep and warm essay Catherine MacCoun examines these events and discovers remarkable meaning, for our time, in this unusual event."

Anyone who can read will realize that I have carefully not advocated for or against the truth of particulars in Catherine's essay , but instead pointed out the disagreements that surfaced as to her assessment of Steiner's character. I also pointed out, as the essence of the article to me, the "remarkable meaning, for our time, in this event".

This meaning, which as far as I can recall was never discussed by Malcolm, and certainly has never been discussed on this list (and please remember that the whole reason Catherine's essay is discussed here at all, was in an effort to MaCarthyize me (guilt by association), which is always a ludicrous and meaningless form of argument. In fact the continuous use of this form of argument really shows that its proponents have nothing of real import to say on the actual issues that I was raising at the time Catherine's article was placed into the discussion.

This leads to the question of whether Catherine's article has anything to say (if we set aside the unresolved controversial elements concerning Steiner's character), to which attention should be paid over and above whether her assessment is correct.

Now usually authors place their conclusions at the end of what they write. The beginning and the middle are a kind of journey, but it is the end that counts. We can ask questions about the end: Is it supported by the beginning and the middle? and so forth, but it has to be asked, in terms of those who have criticized her characterizations of Steiner, whether the conclusion has a validity that pales in connection with any errors in the process.

This is all the more important, given that in the argument regarding Steiner's possible "racism" even the Dutch commission found about 20 quite regrettable statements (referring to Native Americans as "savages" for example). We don't tar and feather all that Steiner said, because of these flaws (yes, they do on the WCList, but we are trying here - I assume - not to engage in similar behaviors), but instead try to see through the rare human flaws to the reality. The same values of appreciation need to be applied to Catherine's article.

Now I'm not going even to try do justice to the main themes of Catherine's essay, except to quote this from the last part, which I believe gives an excellent touchstone of its essence (while not quite covering all the riches):

"Knowledge gained in the vertical does not become moral until it moves one's will in the horizontal. It must enter the life of feeling and of action where, inevitably, it becomes personal. Say for example that out of the altruistic part of his being, a person desires to lead and therefore decides to run for public office. Both the redeemed and the fallen aspects of this person's nature will then want to win the election. It is both a selfish and an unselfish desire. If he were to wait until, through strenuous work on inner development, he had purged his soul of all selfish ambition, many election years would come and go without his declaring candidacy. The longing for purity would become paralysis.

"To say that spiritual motives should not be offered for ordinary actions is to deprive higher knowledge of moral resonance. And alas, this attitude seems to have taken hold. Far too often, anthroposophical discussion has become an exchange of esoteric factoids that have no discernable relevance to life as it is lived. In order for anthroposophy to become a moral force in the world, its practitioners must integrate the vertical and horizontal dimensions, even at the risk of getting them mixed up sometimes.

"In other words, anthroposophy, if it is to regain its vitality, must risk making more messes like the Dornach mess. Its life force at that time consisted in the very circulation among the various dimensions that made the events of 1915 so chaotic and embarrassing. When Steiner attempted to erect a police barricade between the vertical and the horizontal, the result was that stagnation described by the hexagram ku: rigidity above, gentle indifference below. To overcome that stagnation, anthroposophists must get the circulation going again. The spiritual must become personal and the personal spiritual."

Now when this list wants to bother to have a conversation that has this depth to it, then it will be true to what it tries to promise with the title "anthroposophy tomorrow".

warm regards,
joel

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

From: dottie zold
Date: Fri Feb 13, 2004 8:41 pm
Subject: Re: to Dottie

Joel wrote:

You've recently said, at least a couple of times, that you would prefer that I take down Catherine's article from my website.

As I have no intention of doing this, I nevertheless feel that I ought at least to share with you why.

Dear Joel,

I have read your post and have a few questions but not alot of time this evening. My main question to ask you is, if you believe the authors point of view on the Sprengel Steiner moment in time? I am not interested in the idea that it offers a different point of view and so forth but rather if you agree she was correct in her summation of the events?

As regards to this piece being warm and deep I would have to disagree with you. I think it is a very lopsided piece where the authors bias can clearly be seen in how much leeway she gives to Sprengel and the consistant disregarding of Steiners own explication of what had passed.

The ending you share with us is insightful to the spiritual search of a thing but that truly has nothing to do with whether or not her summary of events are credible or not. The author in question has an amazing grasp of the spiritual workings of our world and I hold her in high esteem. With that being said I do not think one can use the fact that her mind is great and even if her point is not proven we should put her work on the website to share with others. Is her point clearly proven in your mind or is it not?

In wondering if you might take it off your list was not a slight to the author, rather what I perceive of my self as a question as to if you believe she has shown her point to be proven or if you just like her mind and that her work shows the community needs to be revitalized. There are other ways of revitalizing the community than promoting a paper one is not clear to the validity of the claim. And this kind of article does nothing to prod or enlighten the community. Rather it helps them to dig in even deeper due to the apparent bias of the author and how she negated explicitely Dr. Steiners understanding of the moment. She readily agrees with Sprengel with nothing truly to back it up except for her own suppositions, imo.

Gotta hit the hay,

Sincerely,
Dottie

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

From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:47 am
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] to Dottie

----- Original Message -----
From: Joel Wendt
Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2004 3:09 AM
Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] to Dottie

to erect a POLICE BARRICADE (!!!!!) between the vertical and the horizontal,

Hi listmates,

consider such a sentence and compare it with the facts and, most of all, with the whole of your knowledge or cognition of Steiner's work and life and tell me if here we are or not on the same standard of Studenmaier or Dugan when they chat about Anthroposophy.

Andrea the cave dweller.

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

From: Gisele
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:03 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] to Joel and all

Joel Wendt wrote:

(snip)

That statement is preceded by the following:

(snip)

In this deep and warm essay Catherine MacCoun examines these events and discovers remarkable meaning, for our time, in this unusual event."

~~~~This, Joel, seems to me a very warm, encouraging and praising introduction to that essay from yourself.~~~~

I also pointed out, as the essence of the article to me, the "remarkable meaning, for our time, in this event".

~~~~So could you explain what this remarkable meaning for our time is, in this event, because if human, earthly, and universal development could be hindered by ignorance of such deep remarkable meaning, ALL human beings ought to know, don't waste any time, and thanks to God there are such inspired beings like the author of the essay in question walking on the earth at these times, to point us to the right direction~~~~

(snip)

This is all the more important, given that in the argument regarding Steiner's possible "racism" even the Dutch commission found about 20 quite regrettable statements (referring to Native Americans as "savages" for example). We don't tar and feather all that Steiner said, because of these flaws (yes, they do on the WCList, but we are trying here - I assume - not to engage in similar behaviors), but instead try to see through the rare human flaws to the reality. The same values of appreciation need to be applied to Catherine's article.

~~~~Sorry, but I cannot apply the same values of appreciation to what has been said by an Initiate of Steiner calibre (stature) and the unhappy musings of an obscure north american writer with dubious claims of spiritual standing. In my experience, I have had the honour to meet very few personalities who could say something with remarkable meaning for our time, as you know there are various spiritual streams and on various levels, true teachers don't resort to attempts at tearing down the moral standing of other teachers in order to put their message across.~~~~

(snip)

Now I'm not going even to try do justice to the main themes of Catherine's essay, except to quote this from the last part, which I believe gives an excellent touchstone of its essence (while not quite covering all the riches):

"Knowledge gained in the vertical does not become moral until it moves one's will in the horizontal. It must enter the life of feeling and of action where, inevitably, it becomes personal. Say for example that out of the altruistic part of his being, a person desires to lead and therefore decides to run for public office. Both the redeemed and the fallen aspects of this person's nature will then want to win the election. It is both a selfish and an unselfish desire. If he were to wait until, through strenuous work on inner development, he had purged his soul of all selfish ambition, many election years would come and go without his declaring candidacy. The longing for purity would become paralysis.

~~~~Please compare this with the following:

"...This leadership, what does it require? This leadership requires the following, and I have, since the Christmas Conference, often had to refer to the specific particular requirements for this leading of the anthroposophical movement: it requires that that which happens in connection to myself, I myself be capable of carrying up into the spiritual world, so that I not only fulfill a responsibility toward something or other here on the physical plane, but a responsibility which ascends entirely into the spiritual world......

.....Of course, amongst the people who are in the anthroposophical movement, various personal things come to expression. That which is represented on earth as personal, that is just the element for which responsibility cannot be claimed in the spiritual world if it remains personal when it is mixed with what is to happen for the sake of Anthroposophy. And what difficulties will arise for the person who has to represent something responsibly before the spiritual world, if he has to, at times, bring along with that for which he is responsible whatever personal aspirations come from the participating people. You really ought to be a bit conscious of the effect that has. It effects the most dreadful reaction from the spiritual world, if one has to meet the spiritual world in the following way: One or another works in the anthroposophical movement. He works along: but into his work, he weaves personal ambition, personal intention, personal qualities...Most people don't know they are personal, most people consider what they do to be impersonal, because they delude themselves about what is personal and impersonal. That then must be carried along. And that really effects the most dreadful reaction from the spiritual world for whoever has to carry into the spiritual world these things which well up out of the personalities...

....Certainly, it is terrible that we have such terrible foes, but these foes must somehow be dealt with appropriately by us. But in regard to the inner life, which is how Anthroposophy must be represented, it is much more terrible, if it become necessary, to carry what is worked on within the anthroposophical movement into the spiritual world when it is weighted down with the personal interests of one sort or the other. And really, this fact is thought about very little." (GA261, Dornach, 1961, p.305,ff.)~~~~

(snip)

When Steiner attempted to erect a police barricade between the vertical and the horizontal, the result was that stagnation described by the hexagram ku: rigidity above, gentle indifference below. To overcome that stagnation, anthroposophists must get the circulation going again. The spiritual must become personal and the personal spiritual."

Now when this list wants to bother to have a conversation that has this depth to it, then it will be true to what it tries to promise with the title "anthroposophy tomorrow".

warm regards,
joel

~~~~no problem Joel, I've got a copy of the I Ching here, although I know all the exagrams almost by heart since I have studied them since I was 18. I have also 'studied' American Indian philosophy for a long time, belong to Granma Twylah school (Seneca) and I have met Steiner's teachings in 1993: I honour any valid teacher that cross my path.

Gisele

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