Steiner, Kepler, Einstein, Astrology, Numerology

The following thread spins around the questions of science, pseudo-science, superstition and epistemology, and answering some socio-political questions about anarchism and anarchosophy. Definition of the "Christ Impulse." Also introducing the notorious bully "critic," Michael Kopp.

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 10:55:38 -0500

So Kepler's day job was as an astrologer?

<satire>Perhaps we should revise his contributions in light of his questionable
leanings, and dealings in the occult. </satire>

e

400-Year-Old Kepler Horoscope
Found (Last updated 8:02 AM ET March 5)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Reuters)

- A California researcher perusing an archive drawer of miscellaneous documents has come across a 400-year-old horoscope written by one of history's greatest astronomers, Johannes Kepler.

Anthony Misch, an astronomer at the Lick Observatory of the University of California-Santa Cruz, said Thursday his discovery of the annotated horoscope in the school's archives in December was a shock.

"There it was, in a cheesy little frame. It caught my eye. It was quite clearly something much older than other stuff that fills the archive," Misch told Reuters. "It was very, very exciting."

Kepler, a German who lived from 1571-1630, is famed as the discoverer of the laws of planetary orbital motion and is widely considered to rank with Copernicus and Galileo as one of the most important astronomers of the modern era.

Misch said that, despite his scientific grounding, Kepler also produced horoscopes as part of his duties as court mathematician for Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II.

The document discovered in Santa Cruz is an astrological reading for Hans Hannibal Hutter von Hutterhofen, an Austrian nobleman born in 1586. Inscribed in a flowery hand, the horoscope weaves signs and symbols from the Zodiac.

The document has been authenticated by the firm of J.A. Stargardt, autograph specialists in Berlin, Misch said -- although he added that no one had yet been able to decipher what Kepler's predictions actually were.

"What it means astrologically, I haven't a clue and I don't know whether anyone else would either," Misch said.

But he added that Kepler's scientific research on the motion of the planets may have given him a unique astrological perspective for his time.

"Kepler is one of the figures who helps to establish the modern scientific method, but at the same time he has a foot in the medieval world view," Misch said.

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 12:17:38 -0700

On 5 Mar 99, at 10:55, Ezra Beeman wrote:

So Kepler's day job was as an astrologer?

Yeah, he was court astrologer, although he did make statements to the effect that he did not personally believe astrology to have value.

This is really exciting to me, to think that an original writing of Kepler has been sitting right up the hill at UCSC since before I attended the school.

Apparently, the document sat at an observatory in St. Petersberg until the 1850's, when the owner of the observatory was giving away Kepler horoscopes as gifts to visiting dignitaries. It was purchased by the University of California in Europe around that time, and shipped to UCSC around 1960 with a bunch of other astronomical papers. It wasn't catalogued, though, so no one knew it was there.

[section about formatting editorially snipped]

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 21:54:59 +0100

Ezra Beeman wrote:

So Kepler's day job was as an astrologer? <satire>Perhaps we should revise his contributions in light of his questionable leanings, and dealings in the occult. </satire>

Someone told me that also Kepler said the earth is a tetrahedron. Has anyone else heard about that?

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 23:46:55 +0000

Tarjei Straume wrote:

Someone told me that also Kepler said the earth is a tetrahedron. Has anyone else heard about that?

Yes, but not quite -- in a nutshell, he was trying to find a way of nesting platonic solids that would give the correct ratios of planetary distances -- in one of his models, earth fits on the sphere of a tetrahedron -- then he discovered ellipses...

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 10:08:58 -0800

EZRA BEEMAN

So Kepler's day job was as an astrologer? <satire>Perhaps we should revise his contributions in light of his questionable leanings, and dealings in the occult. </satire>

TARJEI

Someone told me that also Kepler said the earth is a tetrahedron. Has anyone else heard about that?

Kepler was so blinded by mysticism that he wasted most of his productivity on a vain attempt to prove a foregone conclusion, that the solar system was based on simple geometric relations, "perfect" forms like tetrahedrons, cubes, etc. He was led on by nature because his scheme sort of fit. Sort of. Numerologists want order, not the chaos that nature really is. But he did one brilliant thing, discover the gravitational geometry of the elliptical orbits of the planets, and for that we honor him. If Anthroposophists are lucky, Steiner might be remembered for something he did that was good and true and useful, and all the nonsense, like Kepler's (and Newton's too, he was similarly distracted) will be forgotten. But I don't see him showing up in surveys of history as Kepler does. Steiner didn't do anything that significant. It's tragic such brilliant people put so much of their energy into cracked enterprises.

-Dan Dugan

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 19:34:12 +0100

Dan Dugan wrote:

Numerologists want order, not the chaos that nature really is.

We cannot prove that natural order is chaos. Albert Einstein was not a numerologist, but he also could not accept the allegation that nature consists of random coincidences, which is a philosophical conclusion beyond the realm of orthodox natural science.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 16:09:50 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

We cannot prove that natural order is chaos. Albert Einstein was not a numerologist, but he also could not accept the allegation that nature consists of random coincidences, which is a philosophical conclusion beyond the realm of orthodox natural science.

Einstein complained that God does not play dice with the universe when confronted with the uncertainties that those who built on his work were finding, but the fact that he could not accept it doesn't mean it's not true.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 22:19:02 +0100

Dan, I already commented on your following statement, but I would like to add one small anarchosophical rumination.

You wrote:

Numerologists want order, not the chaos that nature really is.

The common objection to anarchism is that it will result in chaos, and the word "anarchy" is normally associated with civil wars and the total absence of law and order and discipline. If the natural world order is indeed a chaotic one, and the spiritual world order behind it is an illusion, then anarchism is an absurd pipe-dream. I have held the opinion that atheism is an unsuitable world view on which to build a realistic anarchist society, which is impossible without the Christ Impulse. Now I realize that anarchism, which means a society where no adults have the right to rule other adults, can only be realized if there is a corresponding awakening in humanity to the reality of a moral order in the universe.

In other words, the Cult of Anarchosophy (based upon the teachings of Uncle Taz) would stand or fall on the question whether nature is chaos and coincidence on the one hand, or harmony and order on the other. Thank you Dan, for your valuable contribution to the riddle of anarchosophy.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 22:27:16 +0100

Robert Tolz wrote:

Einstein complained that God does not play dice with the universe when confronted with the uncertainties that those who built on his work were finding, but the fact that he could not accept it doesn't mean it's not true.

I did not endeavor to prove or disprove the notion that chaos is the cause of nature and existence. My point was that Dan Dugan wrote that it is, revealing his subjective opinion, not an established fact. The reason for this is that many humanists and atheists desire nature to be chaos, and because they can't back up their wishful thinking with hard evidence, they state it as an unquestioned objective truth.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 16:20:41 -0800

It seems to me nothing in nature can be chaotic and prosper.

In the book Complexity, with the red sand cover, the author speculates life thrives on the border between chaos and stasis. This no man's land (damn pun) is complex. Complex systems maintain a dynamic stability and thus viability.

Of course I am oversimplifying a great deal, but there are another 300 odd pages in the book.

You throw in coincidence, which makes me wonder if you meant random and not chaotic. Which fits more with Einstein's comments on probabilistic systems (the single observation is completely random -- if I remember correctly).

Chaos is not disorder, it is a very sophisticated order. Lorenz's 'strange attractors' are classic examples of the hidden order in chaos. the problem, as I see it, is that chaos is too chaotic (gimme a break) to support complex systems, like life -- especially if the system is not robust.

One problem I have with anarchism is it must be spontaneous, emerging on its own. Nor can it be enforced except collectively. I am still searching for the force or property in nature capable of bringing such a state of being into existence. Excuse me if I discount the Christ impulse. (grin)

I think anarchy is a political singularity, on the opposite end of the spectrum from totalitarianism and equally as improbable.

e

Tarjei Straume wrote:

In other words, the Cult of Anarchosophy (based upon the teachings of Uncle Taz) would stand or fall on the question whether nature is chaos and coincidence on the one hand, or harmony and order on the other. Thank you Dan, for your valuable contribution to the riddle of anarchosophy.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 23:42:46 +0100

Dan Dugan wrote:

Steiner might be remembered for something he did that was good and true and useful, and all the nonsense, like Kepler's (and Newton's too, he was similarly distracted) will be forgotten.

Near the evening of his career, or of his public mission, Rudolf Steiner was asked which of his works was the most important. Without a moment's hesitation, he replied: "'Philosophy of Freedom' will survive all my other works."

This should also answer your earlier question about the "core scripture" or "core doctrine" of anthroposophy. The entire text of this work is available online in English at

http://www.elib.com/Steiner/Books/GA004/TPOF/

It's a good idea to start with the introduction to this book, "Wahrheit und Wissenschaft, Vorspiel einer 'Philosophie der Freihet,'" which was Steiner's doctoral thesis on epistemology. It may serve as a refresher of the debate about the definitions of science and pseudo-science.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 16:20:49 -0800

Einstein, in his God doesn't play dice quote, was commenting on the nature of reality with respect to the apparently probabilistic implications of quantum mechanics. He cherished a more orderly and deterministic world view.

In fact, his equations for relativity and gravity were principally attractive due to their elegance in bringing order our of seemingly disparate forces, not any empirical evidence. Same appreciation of elegance and order goes for guiding the likes of Heisenberg (though there might have been proof to compare against his equations, I dunno).

I agree with Bob, though, simply because a Titan said it, does not mean it is Gospel.

e

Tolz, Robert wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

We cannot prove that natural order is chaos. Albert Einstein was not a numerologist, but he also could not accept the allegation that nature consists of random coincidences, which is a philosophical conclusion beyond the realm of orthodox natural science.

Einstein complained that God does not play dice with the universe when confronted with the uncertainties that those who built on his work were finding, but the fact that he could not accept it doesn't mean it's not true.

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 16:22:24 -0800

A similar question was posed to Newton, and he stated without hesitation it would be his cosmology. Funny.

e

Tarjei Straume wrote:

Dan Dugan wrote:

Steiner might be remembered for something he did that was good and true and useful, and all the nonsense, like Kepler's (and Newton's too, he was similarly distracted) will be forgotten.

Near the evening of his career, or of his public mission, Rudolf Steiner was asked which of his works was the most important. Without a moment's hesitation, he replied: "'Philosophy of Freedom' will survive all my other works."

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 16:28:02 -0800

When John Forbes Nash (Nobel in Economics, brilliant mathematician) went crazy, and roamed the halls of Princeton scribbling message for aliens on blackboards, he was listening to his 'special voice'.

Later, when he recovered, someone asked him why he listened to his special voice when it was telling him wacko things and he replied, "Because those same voices guided my mathematics without fail." (paraphrased)

I think part of genius is madness, and it is left for posterity to decide what stands the tests of time. It is not often clear, especially at the time, which branches will ultimately bear fruit.

e

Dan Dugan wrote:

It's tragic such brilliant people put so much of their energy into cracked enterprises.

-Dan Dugan

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 02:39:53 +0100

Ezra Beeman wrote:

You throw in coincidence, which makes me wonder if you meant random and not chaotic.

By coincidence I meant blind chance, meaning that if it could be explained, it would prove that no causative relationships were involved.

Which fits more with Einstein's comments on probabilistic systems (the single observation is completely random -- if I remember correctly).

Random observation is something different, because it is part and parcel of the scientific method of research.

Chaos is not disorder, it is a very sophisticated order. Lorenz's 'strange attractors' are classic examples of the hidden order in chaos. the problem, as I see it, is that chaos is too chaotic (gimme a break) to support complex systems, like life -- especially if the system is not robust.

Interesting, but I won't venture a comment, since I'm not familiar with Lorenz's works.

One problem I have with anarchism is it must be spontaneous, emerging on its own. Nor can it be enforced except collectively.

Precisely. This is why I am uncomfortable with applying the word "anarchist" to myself, because anarchists, like most other political idealists, dream of "constructing" an anarchist society. This would be a contradiction in terms, because it would entail the enforcement of one's own ideas upon the rest of society. This is why most anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker, were propagandists. Propaganda is the opposite of encouraging people to think for themselves, trusting their free judgement.

I have chosen to call myself an anarchosophist, a word I have coined, because I am not prepared to enforce my ideals on others, but to win the freedom for each individual to cultivate such ideals with the view that they may influence the future course of history. In my case, and in the case of Jens Bjørneboe (http://www.uncletaz.com/linksfolder/anarchoslinks.html), anarchosophy means "anarchist anthroposophy" or "anthroposophical anarchism," but it may also mean "spiritual-philosophical anarchism." (See http://www.uncletaz.com/anarchosophy.html.)

I am still searching for the force or property in nature capable of bringing such a state of being into existence. Excuse me if I discount the Christ impulse. (grin)

The "Christ Impulse" is an anthroposophical term for the best in humanity, as exemplified by Christ when he tells the parable about the Good Samaritan. (For an orthodox Christian of today, this parable might be about the Good Muslim or the Good Secular Humanist.)

I think anarchy is a political singularity, on the opposite end of the spectrum from totalitarianism and equally as improbable.

True. The reason why I emphasize anarchism, apart from the fact that I am a part of it, is that Rudolf Steiner once affirmed in a letter to Henry Mackay that he considered himself an individualist anarchist. He was also tempted to make his "Philosophy of Freedom" a platform for Mackay's political ideas - a temptation he resisted.

This is important, because the record shows that Steiner was closer to anarchism than to any other political ideas before he developed his own "Threefold Social Order" many years later. And the first group to assault this threefold social theory with all means at their disposal was the fledging Nazis, the nationalist fascists.

Today, throughout Europe, there are street battles being fought between young neo-Nazis and young anti-racist anarchists. I have young friends who are constantly involved in street fighting with Nazis and racists. I am critical of them because they use the same brutal methods as the ones they are fighting against, but I just want to show you all where the trenches are and who is on what side. I condemn the use of force and violence, but if I am forced to choose, you know where I'll be: With the anarchists, the anti-racists, who are fighting on behalf of the non-white population of Europe and for the right to immigrate from Asia and Africa. We advocate racial integration, and our ideal is a world without national borders, soldiers, police, passports etc. The non-white population of Europe is constantly harassed by police, by customs officers, etc. I am personally involved in this battle on several fronts, including Norwegian politically oriented usenets where many Nazis are actively trying to influence public opinion openly. They are also arguing for historical revisionism about the Holocaust. Neo-Nazism is scary, it is a serious threat to Europe today, rooted in xenophobia based upon ignorance and fear of people from other continents.

There are perhaps not so many anthroposophical anarchists like myself, but I have pointed out that anthroposophists have always preferred the political left when they vote. And it should be quite obvious that if Rudolf Steiner had indeed been a fascist-racist philosopher, his followers would have voted quite differently. And I would not have been an anthroposophical anarchist. Which is why I take these Nazi-allegations as personal insults to my intelligence.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 20:08:42 +1300

Ezra Beeman said:

I agree with Bob, though, simply because a Titan said it, does not mean it is Gospel [he was talking about Newton, Einstein, et al]

What about applying that skepticism (Beeman and Tolz as skeptics? wow!) to a certain Austrian mystic that a lot of people think was another "Titan"?

Far be it for _me_ to say that Rudolf Steiner was a "Titan".

(It's the defenders of the faith who are comparing him to Newton and Einstein, etc., not the critics.)

But, assuming that we accept Saint Rudy into the hall of fame of thinkers of the last 100 years, in either philosophy or science (or his strange blend of the two) ...

And, assuming that we accept Steiner's oft-quoted commandment not to take his word about anything he said, but to find one's own answers ...

And, assuming we discount the disingenuous pleas of the defenders of the faith that no-one since Steiner has come close to understanding for themselves what the master supposedly learned from the "higher realms" (it being so *difficult*, you see) ...

And, absent any evidence to the contrary that someone -- anyone, adherent or not -- has either falsified something that Saint Rudy said, or gone beyond his thinking in some way similar to, say, Steven Hawking's going beyond Einstein ...

Then we would have to say that Rudolf Steiner, alone among men (we haven't _really_ elevated Saint Rudy to sainthood, godhood, or spirithood, if you prefer, have we now?) has discovered truths about nature which are unassailable and beyond our wildest imaginings. And which outstrip all the other Titans.

Assuming all that (and I'm sure the defenders of the faith will find some reason NOT to agree with all my assumptions, or even any of them) ...

Then why is Saint Rudy just a footnote in history? Why isn't his name up there with Newton's and Einstein's? Or Martin Luther's and Goethe's?

We've had almost a hundred years of Saint Rudy's cult -- and that's what it has remained. A cult of smallish proportions devoted to a brilliant, but insubstantial and inconsequential thinker, compared to the historical greatness of all these other figures.

Can it be that it's just that all the rest of the world is simply too thick to see that Saint Rudy had all the answers? Or that there is a conspiracy of all the rest of us outside the cult -- who really know that Saint Rudy was right, and fear that we're so wrong we'd lose our own status (or sanity) if Rudy's greatness was acknowledged -- to continue to keep Rudy in the dark (no pun intended)?.

Rudolf Steiner's adherents disingenuously claim they're not slavish devotees. Yet none has shaken the "Titan"'s perch, or even attacked it.

Far from it: while they argue amonst themselves about interpretation, or become "anarchosophists", none attacks the fundamental ideas of Saint Rudy himself. Every new book by a Steiner scholar (and there are plenty -- see Amazon or Barnes and Noble) simply adds to the "interpretation" of Steiner, reaffirming his inerrancy and greatness.

No _new knowledge_ of the Universe, no new physical laws, no new principles, no new understanding, come from these books and the works of Steiner adherents like Arthur Zajonc or Ralph Marinelli or Jacques Benveniste.

At least none that is accepted by the rest of the world, outside the cult of Saint Rudy.

Science is different. Nobody is revered as having had all the answers. Science doesn't even claim that it _will_ eventually have all the answers.[*]

Even Steven Hawking, in his recent television series, "Steven Hawking's Universe", which comes as close as anyone yet to a TOE (Theory Of Eveything) closed the final episode with the words "It could be that in a few years we will have a complete theory [of everything] confirmed by experiment. That will be a remarkable achievement, perhaps the ultimate triumph of science. But knowing HOW the Universe works is not enough to tell us WHY it exists. To find the answer to that question would be to know the mind of God."[**]

That doesn't sound like the hubris that anti-science, new-age cultists (read:medieval occult supernaturalist throwbacks) -- including Saint Rudy and his followers -- accuse science of being guilty of.

In fact, it seems to me that Rudolf Steiner, and his following, are far more hubristic.

Let me say again that this does not bother me at all, personally. People should be free to believe what they want to believe.

But if they make claims for what they believe, if they want others (except the credulous, gullible or weak who need a faith) to agree, and they wish to teach these claims as fact to others in such places as state public schools, they have to be able to demonstrate emperical evidence,.

(Don't let's get into the tireless argument that there is no way to demonstrate or experiment with the Big Bang. There's a hell of a lot more evidence for the Big Bang than there is for Steiner's spiritual creation views. Which is to say, some, as opposed to none at all.)

Let me say again that my only problem with the existence of the cult of Saint Rudy is that it hides its true nature from prospective customers of its educational arm, Steiner or Waldorf schools, and that it duplicitously, stealthily inculcates Saint Rudy's belief system into unsuspecting children.

And it is spreading its pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo into the public schools of this country and the U.S., which has a Constitutional guarantee of freedom from religion. (I am saddened that in this country, according to a poll, a majority of people want religion back in public primary schools, at least.)

Rudy might be right. So might any of the zillions of others who have posited supernatural beings to explain existence. But they can't all be right. Why should it be Steiner? And if he is right, then how come he isn't recognised by other philosophers, religionists, and theologians as belonging in the forefront of their lot?

One could wish that adherents and defenders of the faith of Saint Rudy (and his educational system) could apply Ezra's and Bob's skepticism of science's Titans to Rudolf Steiner and his pronouncements and his pedagogy.

Rudolf Steiner: footnote in the history of science; footnote in the history of philosophy; footnote in the history of religion; footnote in the history of education.

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* Well, I _have_ said that I think that science will eventually be able to answer all questions about the physical nature of the Universe. I've never claimed science would be able to answer the "why" question, or even the question "what came before what is now". For those answers, I turn not to personality cults around spiritualists, and a belief in the supernatural, or even to a personal god, but to the great science fiction writers, like Isaac Asimov.

For those of a curious bent who would like to approach an atheistic view of the end of the Universe -- or its beginning -- I refer you to Asimov's short stories, "The Last Question" (maybe the Universe IS a computer) and "The Last Answer" (maybe it's run by a malicious one that looks like God). The Last Question was written in 1956, and Asimov always considered it his finest work, and, never modest, perhaps the best SF short story anyone ever wrote. The Last Answer was written in 1980. Finding them might be difficult, unless you're an SF collector. Let me know if you want the citations.

** Science's next challenge, after it has found the TOE, and tested it empirically, will be to explain ... God. I do hope Hawking will devote some time to explaining God before he becomes one ... or at least justifying that final remark.

--------------------------

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

Ezra Beeman wrote:

Einstein, in his God doesn't play dice quote, was commenting on the nature of reality with respect to the apparently probabilistic implications of quantum mechanics. He cherished a more orderly and deterministic world view.

In fact, his equations for relativity and gravity were principally attractive due to their elegance in bringing order our of seemingly disparate forces, not any empirical evidence. Same appreciation of elegance and order goes for guiding the likes of Heisenberg (though there might have been proof to compare against his equations, I dunno).

I agree with Bob, though, simply because a Titan said it, does not mean it is Gospel.

e

Tolz, Robert wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

We cannot prove that natural order is chaos. Albert Einstein was not a numerologist, but he also could not accept the allegation that nature consists of random coincidences, which is a philosophical conclusion beyond the realm of orthodox natural science.

Einstein complained that God does not play dice with the universe when confronted with the uncertainties that those who built on his work were finding, but the fact that he could not accept it doesn't mean it's not true.

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 20:21:59 +1300

Ezra Beeman says:

When John Forbes Nash (Nobel in Economics, brilliant mathematician) went crazy, and roamed the halls of Princeton scribbling message for aliens on blackboards, he was listening to his 'special voice'. Later, when he recovered, someone asked him why he listened to his special voice when it was telling him wacko things and he replied, "Because those same voices guided my mathematics without fail." (paraphrased) I think part of genius is madness, and it is left for posterity to decide what stands the tests of time. It is not often clear, especially at the time, which branches will ultimately bear fruit.

e

Dan Dugan wrote:

It's tragic such brilliant people put so much of their energy into cracked enterprises.

-Dan Dugan

It's good to hear a defender of the faith implying (by association) that Steiner was at least partially mad.

But unfortunately, none of the ideas that he had came from a _rational_ mind. They all came from what he claimed was a "higher plane". Either that's true, or he _was_ as mad as Ezra's example.

Rudolf Steiner's theses are untestable.

The test of time is irrelevant when there is no evidence.

Few scientific discoveries have had to wait as long as Steiner's thought to even begin to be tested, much less validated.

In fact, it seems that nobody outside the cult of Steiner is interested. (The `scientists' who seem to be interested, like Zajonc and Benveniste, don't qualify, because they're part of the cult.)

Seems to me that 70-100 years of advancement of real science has left Steiner in the dust of history.

The only people who will keep his flame alive are his acolytes, who want to believe in a spirit world.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 01:21:59 -0800

Tarjei Straume, you wrote,

In other words, the Cult of Anarchosophy (based upon the teachings of Uncle Taz) would stand or fall on the question whether nature is chaos and coincidence on the one hand, or harmony and order on the other. Thank you Dan, for your valuable contribution to the riddle of anarchosophy.

Fall it must, then. If the solar system were designed by a master geometer/clockmaker, as Kepler would have it, we'd have a total eclipse every new moon! Wouldn't that be neat! But the universe isn't neat; its sloppiness speaks eloquently of random/chaotic processes. For another example, look at evolution. A "designer" wouldn't build every creature on variations of the same plan, and carry along the baggage of so many "mistakes."

-Dan Dugan

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 05:05:21 EST

Dan Dugan wrote (referring to Steiner):

It's tragic such brilliant people put so much of their energy into cracked enterprises

I am not sure exactly what you mean by "cracked", Dan, but I believe that the enterprises (I might have chosen another word - rather negative in England) are not faulty, or at least weren't when Steiner was here to have a say.

What has happened since might be a different story, but I believe Steiner would have been mortified if his "enterprises" had not developed since his death in 1925. It brings me back to the point that someone made about some anthroposophists being "better" than Steiner. I still cannot see how anyone can believe that, critics or anthroposophists. We are all different, but I cannot say that I am "better" than Dan, or Stephen or Ezra or Alan or Tarjei or Sune... well you get my drift!

But since I believe that Steiner had faculties which I do not have, namely to "see" spiritually, I would tend to respect what he said, trying to "believe" it for myself, by experiment, thought etc, to the best of my ability!

Bruce

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 13:23:12 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

It's good to hear a defender of the faith implying (by association) that Steiner was at least partially mad.

This reminds me of something I heard as a ten year old from my uncle - my father's brother, who was a lensmann (sheriff) in a Telemark district. I lived with him for a couple of years following my parents' divorce. He had experienced a homicide case where a man had killed his friend under the influence of alcohol, believing that his friend was the Devil. This, of course, was madness. He had looked at his friend and actually "seen" the Devil. So he killed him.

My uncle explained to me that my own mother suffered from precisely the same madness, because she said she had experienced demons. (This is similar to the madness of Martin Luther, who once hurled an ink bottle at the Devil. The ink spot on the wall after Luther is still being touched up as a tourist attraction in Germany.) The only reason why my mother wouldn't kill anybody in spite of her madness, my uncle explained, was that she was kind.

When I challenged my uncle's allegation that my mother was mad, he told me that everybody who sees or hears things that "normal people" don't see and hear, is mad. It's that simple. I repeated to my mother what my uncle had said about her. Naturally, she was furious. I said he didn't mean any harm, because he had said she was kind. She said, "It doesn't matter if he thinks I'm kind as long as he has no respect for me!"

My uncle also concluded that Rudolf Steiner was mad after I told him about his ideas. But so was Martin Luther, which would make all Lutherans and other Protestant Christians as mad as anthroposophists. We are all one big mad family.

But unfortunately, none of the ideas that he had came from a _rational_ mind. They all came from what he claimed was a "higher plane". Either that's true, or he _was_ as mad as Ezra's example.

He was mad. And so was Moses and Muhammed, and the apostles Paul and John. And so are all Christians and Muslims and religious Jews.

Rudolf Steiner's theses are untestable.

Are you referring to his doctoral thesis, "Truth and Science"?

The test of time is irrelevant when there is no evidence.

I agree. "The test of time" is an empty phraze used by fundamentalists to "prove" the inerrancy of the Bible.

Few scientific discoveries have had to wait as long as Steiner's thought to even begin to be tested, much less validated.

I think it's irrelevant whether or not the spiritual science of Steiner is tested by the orthodox natural science of the day. His non-metaphysical epistemology on the other hand, may influence the definition of science and knowledge in the future.

In fact, it seems that nobody outside the cult of Steiner is interested.

This WC list testifies to the opposite.

(The `scientists' who seem to be interested, like Zajonc and Benveniste, don't qualify, because they're part of the cult.)

I think it's a great honor to be disqualified in a case like this.

Seems to me that 70-100 years of advancement of real science has left Steiner in the dust of history.

Then what are we discussing on this list, and why?

The only people who will keep his flame alive are his acolytes, who want to believe in a spirit world.

The colony of the mad people who beget mad children and send them to mad teachers. A pity we haven't been sterilized.

Mad greetings from

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 14:09:18 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

Then why is Saint Rudy just a footnote in history? Why isn't his name up there with Newton's and Einstein's? Or Martin Luther's and Goethe's?

Perhaps because the works of Saint Rudy are for those who prefer to read them in quiet, undisturbed. And perhaps because the unknown status of Saint Rudy may prevent people like yourself from refusing employment to anthropops or subjecting them to public ridicule.

Far from it: while they argue amonst themselves about interpretation, or become "anarchosophists", none attacks the fundamental ideas of Saint Rudy himself.

If I did not find myself in agreement with the fundamental ideas of Saint Rudy, I would more or less ignore them and concentrate instead on more constructive ideas. There would be no point for me to attack a set of ideas and then incorporate them in my anarchosophy.

Every new book by a Steiner scholar (and there are plenty -- see Amazon or Barnes and Noble) simply adds to the "interpretation" of Steiner, reaffirming his inerrancy and greatness.

No _new knowledge_ of the Universe, no new physical laws, no new principles, no new understanding, come from these books and the works of Steiner adherents like Arthur Zajonc or Ralph Marinelli or Jacques Benveniste.

At least none that is accepted by the rest of the world, outside the cult of Saint Rudy.

That is fine with us. As long as the cult of Saint Rudy is not banned by law, as long as our children are not forcefully removed from our Waldorf schools and placed in state institutions, and as long as we may have our cult in peace, we are quite satisfied.

Science is different. Nobody is revered as having had all the answers. Science doesn't even claim that it _will_ eventually have all the answers.[*]

If anthroposophically oriented spiritual science has made such a claim (that it will have "all the answers"), please give us an exact reference to this.

Even Steven Hawking, in his recent television series, "Steven Hawking's Universe", which comes as close as anyone yet to a TOE (Theory Of Eveything) closed the final episode with the words "It could be that in a few years we will have a complete theory [of everything] confirmed by experiment. That will be a remarkable achievement, perhaps the ultimate triumph of science. But knowing HOW the Universe works is not enough to tell us WHY it exists. To find the answer to that question would be to know the mind of God."[**]

Again, please give us an exact reference where Steiner claims to know *everything.*

That doesn't sound like the hubris that anti-science, new-age cultists (read:medieval occult supernaturalist throwbacks) -- including Saint Rudy and his followers -- accuse science of being guilty of.

In fact, it seems to me that Rudolf Steiner, and his following, are far more hubristic.

Let me say again that this does not bother me at all, personally. People should be free to believe what they want to believe.

But if they make claims for what they believe, if they want others (except the credulous, gullible or weak who need a faith) to agree, and they wish to teach these claims as fact to others in such places as state public schools, they have to be able to demonstrate emperical evidence.

I don't think Waldorf education was intended to be public schools under state control, so you have a point there. But in the same breath, you are calling millions of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Theosphists, and Anthroposophists "the credulous, gullible or weak who need a faith." Your chronic propensity to personal attacks against individuals and groups who do not share your atheism testifies, I think, to a deep-rooted insecurity about your own convictions.

(Don't let's get into the tireless argument that there is no way to demonstrate or experiment with the Big Bang. There's a hell of a lot more evidence for the Big Bang than there is for Steiner's spiritual creation views. Which is to say, some, as opposed to none at all.)

The ultimate origin of the universe and of life cannot be proven in the strict natural-scientific sense, only conjectured and guessed at. And which theory you find more credible based upon evidence presented to you, is significantly influenced by subjective preference.

Let me say again that my only problem with the existence of the cult of Saint Rudy is that it hides its true nature from prospective customers of its educational arm, Steiner or Waldorf schools, and that it duplicitously, stealthily inculcates Saint Rudy's belief system into unsuspecting children.

The Waldorf teachers on this list have repeatedly explained that religious beliefs and anthroposophical principles are not taught to students.

And it is spreading its pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo into the public schools of this country and the U.S., which has a Constitutional guarantee of freedom from religion. (I am saddened that in this country, according to a poll, a majority of people want religion back in public primary schools, at least.)

With the high rate of violence and crime in the U.S., I can understand that.

Rudy might be right. So might any of the zillions of others who have posited supernatural beings to explain existence. But they can't all be right. Why should it be Steiner? And if he is right, then how come he isn't recognised by other philosophers, religionists, and theologians as belonging in the forefront of their lot?

If he had been recognized as such, the Western culture would have been characterized as anthroposophical. It would have been your nightmare.

One could wish that adherents and defenders of the faith of Saint Rudy (and his educational system) could apply Ezra's and Bob's skepticism of science's Titans to Rudolf Steiner and his pronouncements and his pedagogy.

Rudolf Steiner: footnote in the history of science; footnote in the history of philosophy; footnote in the history of religion; footnote in the history of education.

Exactly. So you may just relax. Saint Rudy is not coming to get you after all.

------------------------

* Well, I _have_ said that I think that science will eventually be able to answer all questions about the physical nature of the Universe. I've never claimed science would be able to answer the "why" question, or even the question "what came before what is now". For those answers, I turn not to personality cults around spiritualists, and a belief in the supernatural, or even to a personal god, but to the great science fiction writers, like Isaac Asimov.

That figures. Asimov was also very snotty and arrogant about religion and spirituality, with disparaging and insulting remarks about believers almost identical to yours. You seem to have learned a great deal from him.

For those of a curious bent who would like to approach an atheistic view of the end of the Universe -- or its beginning -- I refer you to Asimov's short stories, "The Last Question" (maybe the Universe IS a computer) and "The Last Answer" (maybe it's run by a malicious one that looks like God). The Last Question was written in 1956, and Asimov always considered it his finest work, and, never modest, perhaps the best SF short story anyone ever wrote. The Last Answer was written in 1980. Finding them might be difficult, unless you're an SF collector. Let me know if you want the citations.

It seems to me that your ideal world is populated by atheists and that you might like to embark upon a crusade to achieve this end.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 08:11:47 EST

In einer eMail vom 07.03.99 11:13:38 (MEZ) Mitteleuropäische Zeit schreibt Michael Kopp:

In fact, it seems that nobody outside the cult of Steiner is interested. (The `scientists' who seem to be interested, like Zajonc and Benveniste, don't qualify, because they're part of the cult.)

Maybe there is something waiting just around the corner to make you want to eat your words!

Seems to me that 70-100 years of advancement of real science has left Steiner in the dust of history.

then why is it necessary for you guys to keep attacking the poor chap?

The only people who will keep his flame alive are his acolytes, who want to believe in a spirit world.

Whether you (Michael) believe is a Spirit World or not doesn't cause it to exist or not! And there are millions of people who never heard of Steiner who believe there is a Spirit World!

Bruce

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 14:23:49 +0000

Michael Kopp wrote:

Well, I _have_ said that I think that science will eventually be able to answer all questions about the physical nature of the Universe.

Ah well, this is known 'in the trade' (philosophy of science trade, that is) as the "Pickwick syndrome" (read your Dickens if you can't see why) -- however, there is no evidence, be it empirical, logical or philosophical that science, any science, is in a position to offer this sort of promissory note. This belief is as great a leap of faith as is the adherence to any religious teaching or spiritual philosophy. (And, of course, it is not falsifiable so it's not even a scientific statement)

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 11:42:42 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

The "Christ Impulse" is an anthroposophical term for the best in humanity, as exemplified by Christ when he tells the parable about the Good Samaritan. (For an orthodox Christian of today, this parable might be about the Good Muslim or the Good Secular Humanist.)

If the term really addresses a concept as non-religious as what you describe, anthroposophists really ought to search out some other words than "Christ Impulse."

Bob

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 17:57:35 +0100

Robert Tolz wrote:

If the term really addresses a concept as non-religious as what you describe, anthroposophists really ought to search out some other words than "Christ Impulse."

I did not say that the concept is non-religious. And if anthroposophy should be stripped of its religious-spiritual vocabulary, my interest in it would be considerably reduced. A secularization of anthroposophy would impoverish it.

When I say that the Christ Impulse is an anthroposophical term for the best in humanity, what is meant thereby is that the highest in man is his or her spark of divinity. That is very religious indeed, especially because it is a referral to the influence of the Risen One, the Christ Being. If anyone be offended by that, so be it. I, for one, will not be silenced or censored or edited.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 12:28:00 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume [mailto:tastraum@online.no]

Robert Tolz wrote:

If the term really addresses a concept as non-religious as what you describe, anthroposophists really ought to search out some other words than "Christ Impulse."

I did not say that the concept is non-religious. And if anthroposophy should be stripped of its religious-spiritual vocabulary, my interest in it would be considerably reduced. A secularization of anthroposophy would impoverish it.

When I say that the Christ Impulse is an anthroposophical term for the best in humanity, what is meant thereby is that the highest in man is his or her spark of divinity. That is very religious indeed, especially because it is a referral to the influence of the Risen One, the Christ Being. If anyone be offended by that, so be it. I, for one, will not be silenced or censored or edited.

Now we're getting somewhere.

I can relate to the "spark of divinity" within each person. It's a lot more universal than "Christ Impulse."

Bob

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 14:19:26 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp [mailto:mkopp@xtra.co.nz]

What about applying that skepticism (Beeman and Tolz as skeptics? wow!)

Michael,

I would encourage you to refine your thinking about who is a skeptic and who is not, and about who is a blind believer and who is not. Just because I don't agree with much (perhaps most) of what you say does not mean that I think in the same way as all those with whom you disagree. You have sometimes referred to me as a "Defender of the Faith." From my point of view, I think of myself more as a "Waldorf Critic Critic." I think that even you will agree with me that it's wrong-minded thinking to follow the motto of "If you're not with me, you're against me," as well as "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Bob

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 22:38:19 +0100

I wrote:

In other words, the Cult of Anarchosophy (based upon the teachings of Uncle Taz) would stand or fall on the question whether nature is chaos and coincidence on the one hand, or harmony and order on the other. Thank you Dan, for your valuable contribution to the riddle of anarchosophy.

Dan Dugan wrote:

Fall it must, then. If the solar system were designed by a master geometer/clockmaker, as Kepler would have it, we'd have a total eclipse every new moon! Wouldn't that be neat! But the universe isn't neat; its sloppiness speaks eloquently of random/chaotic processes. For another example, look at evolution. A "designer" wouldn't build every creature on variations of the same plan, and carry along the baggage of so many "mistakes."

Your arguments are based upon the assumption that every theistic cosmology is a monotheistic one. In a universe teeming with life, it isn't that simple. The point is, though, that the absence of what you would define as the symptoms of a single, lonesome creator, does not prove your atheism. When you state your atheism as a proven fact, you are practicing pseudo-science and quackery.

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 1999 22:54:51 -0800

Why de - bate when you can fa - bri -cate!

e

Michael Kopp wrote:

(It's the defenders of the faith who are comparing him to Newton and Einstein, etc., not the critics.)

This is non-sequitor from my post. I was not comparing anyone to anything. So the rest of your post necessarily follows its own peculiarly tortured logic.

Furthermore, I have not read a single sentence written by RS (unless you count verse included in WE) and am therefor not very likely to speak of him in particular. Often RS is discussed in a particular context and the conclusions drawn do not follow from that context. I think you mistake my deconstruction of the argument (or some element of it) for defending RS the man or his body of work. This is not so and indicates little more than your own propensity for assumption. Indeed, it is your greatest device.

e

PS For the record, TOE is a misnomer. It is only a theory uniting the very large (gravity) and very small forces (strong, weak etc), nothing more and nothing less. It is absolutely NOT a theory of everything. I prefer the alternative GUT or Grand Unifying Theory.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 01:42:02 -0700

Your are right that we should not rate people, and I feel my comment on being a better person than Steiner was overstated. The point is that Anthroposophists idealize Steiner. There is no willingness to see him as having relative strengths and weaknesses as we all do. This idealization makes it hard for those of us outside of the movement to feel comfortable with those aspects that are objectionable, be it the Aryan race business, the heart is not a pump, aspects of his character, what have you. Following this list reinforces my impression that most Anthroposophists will defend to the death anything that Steiner has ever said or believed. The open conflicts amoung you seem to be based more on disagreements over what Steiner said or meant, never on whether it is true or not. The "doktor gesagt" thing you criticize, seems to be a matter of excessive referencing of Steiner not of any substancial questioning of Steiner. But I may be wrong. So I am curious. Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you. (if there are any such posts in the archives let me know).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 16:15:30 EST

In einer eMail vom 08.03.99 21:00:25 (MEZ) Mitteleuropäische Zeit schreibt Alan S. Fine MD:

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you. (if there are any such posts in the archives let me know).

Can I rest on this one Alan? I need to go to bed, and to do justice to this would need a bit of brain - maybe someone else will get there first! Unfortunately, due to illness at the school, I will be REALLY unable to contribute much for the rest of this week, but if I am inspired... we'll see.

In brief - I don`t believe everything says, but IMHO he has said very little of substance which is wrong, even though he has often contradicted himself. IMHO the spiritual matters he addresses are so difficult to understand that it is not possible to say that something is wrong (or right). Reincarnation is something that Steiner clearly promotes. I believe him: I cannot, materially, prove it!

Bruce

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 23:13:41 +0100

Alan S. Fine wrote:

Your are right that we should not rate people, and I feel my comment on being a better person than Steiner was overstated.

Alan, you deserve a great deal of credit for your ability to self-correct your earlier statements or opinions; this is not the first time I have seen this from you. We could all learn from that, myself included.

The point is that Anthroposophists idealize Steiner.

That is true, but I don't see anything wrong with idealizing Steiner as long as it is based upon a critical evaluation of the man. What may be confusing to "an outsider," i.e. someone who has not studied Steiner's works and also reached the personal conclusion that he was truthful about the spiritual world, is that the admirers, or idealizers of Steiner vary in their degree of critical thinking. I believe it's a superstition of sorts that a critical approach must, ipso facto, entail the discovery of faults and weaknesses. The other factor is that on this list, Rudolf Steiner is subjected to unfair attacks from misinformed critics, which keeps the "defenders of the faith" busy trying to correct disinformation about anthroposophy and its founder.

Having heroes is a natural part of being human. When we are young, we may look up to musicians or movie stars or police heroes or top athletes - whoever looks good to us and whom we might wish to emulate if we could. As we grow older, we develop an eye for achievers in our respective professions or favorite interests, people we can learn from and perhaps try to compete with. In the spiritual realm, we look up to people whose character and understanding touches our insides so to speak. We seek people of wisdom, dead or alive, though literature or in person. We are attracted to those who are treading a path we would like to tread ourselves, and who may have discovered life-wisdom in a form that appeals to our own philosophical and spiritual inclinations. For some people, it may be Isaac Asimov or Carl Sagan. For others, it may be Billy Graham or Maharishi. For me, it is Mahatma Gandhi and Rudolf Steiner. I have many other heroes, but these are the two greatest I can think of who lived in the twentieth century. They both possessed what I admire most in human beings.

There is no willingness to see him as having relative strengths and weaknesses as we all do.

Some people may lack that willingness, but I don't. But like many other anthroposophists, I have come to the conclusion that Rudolf Steiner was an extraordinary human being whose personal character and ethos literally towered above the average. You may dismiss this statement of mine as evidence of my lacking the willingness or ability to approach Steiner critically. But it is not so. At first I read Steiner extensively in my late teens; during the years that followed, I tried many different churches and theologies and paths and cults. I returned to Steiner because I was on the verge of becoming an orthodox Christian in America through the influence of close friends. I had studied the entire Bible and read a lot of theology and history. "Something" depressed me about the orthodox Christian trap, from which Buddhism and Hinduism were viewed as evil inventions by the Devil. What really did it was when I was told that Gandhi wouldn't get into heaven. So I went to the library and picked up on Steiner's lectures. I hadn't read him in a long time, so the first few days went slow. But I had to plow through everything relating to the Bible and the Gospels in particular in order to come straight about the Christianity that I had always carried within me. At this point I also joined a local anthroposophical study group in Houston to get to know people who were thinking the way I did.

When you read the works of Steiner year after year, you become increasingly curious about the man himself. So I read his autobiography and biographies written by others, historical notes, history. And William Shakespeare, who, in my opinion, was an initiate like Steiner, but who got away with it because of his art, where he could speak through any character of his choice.

Oh yes, I have been critical of Steiner, and I still am. But my criticism has been silenced so often by new discoveries about him, and a deeper understanding. Because if you want to get at the truth, at reality, you have to apply your critical thinking to yourself and to Steiner alike when you investigate. And so many times I have found out that my criticism of Steiner was based upon insufficient data, or upon a surface-reading. This is why I am less apt to openly express criticism of Steiner that is not thoroughly purged in thought than I was before.

This idealization makes it hard for those of us outside of the movement to feel comfortable with those aspects that are objectionable, be it the Aryan race business, the heart is not a pump, aspects of his character, what have you.

That is perfectly understandable. The only thing I am concerned about is that some people may be led by their discomfort with anthroposophy and with Steiner to spread slanderous lies publicly in good faith. And then you get things like, "Heard of Rudolf Steiner?" - "Oh yeah, that Aryan supremacist mystic who prompted the Holocaust with his lectures in Germany. I saw that on TV. And there's a lot of people believing that stuff, and they have those Waldorf schools all over the place, some sort of occult satanic Hitler Jugend. Scary shit."

Following this list reinforces my impression that most Anthroposophists will defend to the death anything that Steiner has ever said or believed. The open conflicts amoung you seem to be based more on disagreements over what Steiner said or meant, never on whether it is true or not. The "doktor gesagt" thing you criticize, seems to be a matter of excessive referencing of Steiner not of any substancial questioning of Steiner.

A very valid point. The der-Doktor-hat-gesagt syndrome has been a problem, but not a very big one I think, because most anthroposophists have been alert to it all along. The point is this: When you have arrived at the position where you regard Steiner's statements about the spiritual world as true, and you are convinced that he did have the ability to conduct occult investigations by reading the akashic record through time travels so to speak, the standards (from this position) to ascertain whether or not something he said is true, are of a more difficult character than say, Clinton's statements about Bosnia. Besides, questioning is not synonymous with fault-finding.

But I may be wrong. So I am curious. Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

My weightiest criticism of Steiner is that he may have overestimated his contemporaries, expecting that anyone could emulate his talents and abilities, at least to a certain extent, by reading and doing his suggested exercises. He may also have underestimated his occult opposition, which caused him a premature death and exploded in the rise of the Third Reich. He did warn against catastrophe, but he was always the optimist, especially before the first world war, when he saw the twentieth century as a great spiritual awakening for humanity and the return of Christ in the etheric.

As an anarchist, I am puzzled about Steiner's privately counselling young people to serve in the military and go to war, even though he criticized that war most severely. Even more of an enigma to me has been the statements about blacks posted on the PLANS website. I had only seen one comment like this before that had caught my attention, where he said half in jest that someone was said to look like a Negro, but that he didn't think so be because he had always thought this someone had a sympathetic face. Suggesting that Steiner did not think about black people, whom he never met, as sympathetic.

Still, I think that the critics are drawing the wrong conclusions from this. Rudolf Steiner had a heart of gold, and I am thoroughly convinced that he would have spoken differently about black people if he had lectured to an audience in Africa or if there had been black Germans to meet him personally, rather than speaking about them in the abstract and in absentia. Because his entire teaching is saturated with anti-racism, with egalitarianism and universal brotherhood, and with encouragements to racial integration.

This does not mean that I am incapable of criticizing Rudolf Steiner, but when faced with hostile critics I am moved to the position of preventing Steiner's disparaging remarks about blacks to be blown out of all proportions and then matched with a nazified interpretation of the theosophical-anthroposophical view of racial evolutiion. This is how half-truths are made into blatant lies.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 17:43:04 -0500

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

I don't like his second wife, especially the way she writes.

Robert Flannery
New York

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sune Nordwall
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 00:57:25 +0100

Alan wrote:

Your are right that we should not rate people, and I feel my comment on being a better person than Steiner was overstated. The point is that Anthroposophists idealize Steiner. There is no willingness to see him as having relative strengths and weaknesses as we all do.
...
So I am curious. Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

Personally I found it VERY difficult to not be deeply impressed on reading Steiner by the width, depth and honesty I experienced in his description of the spiritual roots of man and the world and the essence of what it meant to be human and the respect for almost the persons (except for Woodrow Wilson) he described in history, making _everyone_ of them interesting.

If you don´t study him deeply out of anger or specifically to find fault with him, I think it is rather common to have this impression and experience.

To see his weaknesses can be very difficult and take much effort to put him into context in relation to other personalities in history and do his justice in both his strengths and weaknesses, as he can be so overwhelming to study.

Yet, I don´t think _many_ anthroposophists of especially natural scientific inclination have found it difficult to be diplomatically critical of Steiner on many points, even though they don´t express their views in any public form, not to unnecessarily create difficulties for those tring to something good in the world on the basis of anthroposophy, as it can be enough difficult also without this criticism.

Personally I find it difficult to see how his in many instances polemic way of critizising different aspects of modern natural science has continued to influence people interested in natural scientific problems on the basis of anthroposophy.

To these often polemic statements belong - how he describes the heart, totally looking away from its character as a muscle, the type of tissue otherwise associated with the will, - his polarized description of the relation between the organism and the cell, with the "cell principle" as something that when its takes precedence over the "organism principle" leads to cancer, - the roots of important parts of genetics in decadent mysteries of Atlantis and - the doing of experiments only as a sort of compromise because other people demand it.

He also was not only an expert on physics making for example seemingly obvious mistakes as when he describes the objectivity of coloured shadows, making someone in the audience look at only the shadow through a tube without seeing the surrounding coloured area, asking the person if he does not see the colour and the person in question according to the stenographed lecture does not object.

His comments on the cell, cell biology and genetics I find make it very difficult to approach the subjects with a real, positive interest, to discover for example one of the possible aspects of what he meant when he suggested that cell biology be taught in relation to astronomy, one of his many provoking and puzzling suggestions that I have described one possible aspect of at http://hem.passagen.se/thebee/SCIENCE/cosmcell.htm as I understand it.

It also makes it difficult to note out of an anthroposophical background how for example the human genome, normally described as consisting of 23 pairs of chromosomes, stands out in a somewhat other light and leads to possible unexpected new viewpoints when you also see that it consists of 24 different types of chromosomes.

I think letting your undertanding of Steiner as a prophet fade somewhat and more start looking at him as a creative and often strongly original investigator into different problem, with all the problems and possible mistakes that also puts you before, is what makes him really interesting.

Looking at the world with the eyes of an investigator, open to new perspectives on what you think you know about the world, I find him to be really inspiring as someone provoking you to consider once again and think trough what you once have learnt.

This is my perspective on the description by Steiner of the heartpointing to a possible new perspective on the description by Aristotle of the heart or his interesting and original description of 12 sense qualities, seen in relation to the 12 thought categories described by Kant.

Of course Steiner, like all humans, had weaknesses. Yet, what really impresses me, is what I experience as his passionate dedication to the truth, viewed from spiritual perspective and his his understanding of man in this perspective.

Regards,

Sune
Stockholm, Sweden

http://hem.passagen.se/thebee/indexeng.htm
- a site on science, homeopathy, cosmological cell biology and
EU as a mechanical esoteric temple and threefolding of society

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From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 06:01:48 +0000

Alan S. Fine MD wrote of Dr Steiner:

There is no willingness to see him as having relative strengths and weaknesses as we all do.

This is plainly incorrect. Not only do (some) anthropops note that Steiner erred at times, but so did Steiner himself -- a case of "coloured" shadows which turned out not to be coloured springs to mind as an example of the latter.

Whilst it is true that *some* anthropops take Steiner as infallible gospel, to generalise from the specific is plainly an illogical form of argumentation and the existence of even a single counter-example falsifies the entire allegation Alan makes above.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

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From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 01:58:47 -0700

that's not Steiner

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

I don't like his second wife, especially the way she writes.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 22:43:01 -0500

Alan Fine says:

that's not Steiner

with reference to my answer to his earlier question:

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

I don't like his second wife, especially the way she writes.

I stand corrected.

I don't like his taste in women.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 11:05:40 -0700

now I think we're getting somewhere.

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Flannery
Date: Tuesday, March 09, 1999 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits

Alan Fine says:

that's not Steiner

with reference to my answer to his earlier question:

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

I don't like his second wife, especially the way she writes.

I stand corrected.

I don't like his taste in women.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: So much for Eliptical Orbits
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 13:20:29 -0700

Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

Is there an Anthroposophist on this list who has a criticism of Steiner, however small? Let us hear from you.

Robert Flannery responded:

I don't like his second wife, especially the way she writes.

and Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

that's not Steiner

No, but you've gotta admit, it's a pretty funny response. Made me laugh, anyway. :)

Stephen W. Premo, Esq.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: The Christ Impulse (was: RE: So much for Eliptical Orbits)
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 18:43:29 +0100

Robert Tolz wrote:

Now we're getting somewhere.

I can relate to the "spark of divinity" within each person. It's a lot more universal than "Christ Impulse."

The two expressions are still not quite interchangeable, though they would be equally offensive to certain hostile atheists. What separates anthroposophy from theosophy and other occult streams is its emphasis on the Mystery of Golgotha.

If I had to attach a traditional religious label on 'anthroposophically oriented spiritual science' I would have to call it 'Buddhist Christianity' or 'Christian Buddhism'. Yet Steiner's contribution to Christian theology is frequently referred to as 'Christology' rather than 'Christianity'.

The term 'Christology' is also an indicator of Steiner's thoroughly Christ-centered cosmology. He claimed that our account of time (years) since the birth of Christ was very appropriate because 'the Mystery of Golgotha' was the central, the pivotal, and the most awe-inspiring supernatural event in the entire evolution of the earth: A sacrifice by the the most exalted of beings, the Sun-God or the Sun-Spirit, who was worshipped in various pre-Christian cults ('cult' meaning 'holy communion with the spiritual world', of course), incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to redeem mankind, to enable man's gradual reunion with the gods through the course of future incarnations.

This 'Mystery of Golgotha', which is defined by the events recorded in the Gospels, beginning with the Betrayal and ending with the Ascension, - this was, according to Rudolf Steiner, an act of unconditional love and the most profound mystery of all time. In his analysis of history, Steiner traces the effects of the Mystery of Golgotha on humanity, which he calls 'the Christ-impulse'. By this 'Christ-impulse' is meant the evolution of compassion, love, tolerance, the capacity for individual self-sacrifice, and the emergence of new ideals such as 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity'. In other words, all the noblest, purest and dearest capacities of the human soul that are evolving on earth, are, according to Steiner, the fruits of the Christ-impulse, regardless of which particular religion or philosophy an individual may confess to.

In addition, Rudolf Steiner also claimed that all healing forces in nature, everything that contributes to health in plants, animals and humans, combatting and healing illesses, beneficial advances in the art and science of medicine etc., proceed from the Christ Being, or 'the Risen One', because this Christ Being is also the creator of our existence.

It should be obvious from the above that Steiner's cosmology was very Christ-centered indeed, and thoroughly Christian, though he is shunned and condemned by orthodox theologians because of his support of the reincarnation-idea and his positive views on pre-Christian Mystery-religions (paganism).

By the same token, it should be understood that it is quite natural for anthropops like myself to speak about the Christ Impulse as a specific force in nature and in history, and about the divine spark as a reflection of the Christ Impulse in the individual human being.

Cheers,

Tarjei

http://www.uncletaz.com/

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