Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

 

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Sat Apr 10, 2004 3:10 pm
Subject: Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Hello everyone,

sometime recently someone asked for the exact Steiner quotes fuelling the discussion on how to translate "Hauptrasse". I said at the time that I'd leave that to somebody else. As that somebody else did not appear, I decided to search for all the place where Steiner used "Hauptrasse(n)" ("main race") in the "Missions ...." book (GA 121).

Surprise! He uses the word "Hauptrasse" (the singular form) exactly zero times and he uses the word "Hauptrassen" (the plural form) exactly once! That is in the second page of the seventh lecture. Here is the context of the one and only occurrence of the word:

"Wir müssen nämlich weit zurückblicken, zurückblicken bis in die ersten atlantischen Zeiten, wenn wir die Zeit erfassen wollen, wo die Verteilung stattgefunden hat in die fünf Hauptrassen, von denen wir gesprochen haben, wenn wir fragen wollen: Wann sind hingekommen an den bestimmten Punkt nach Afrika diejenigen Menschen, die dann die schwarze oder äthiopische Rasse bildeten, wann sind in das südliche Asien gekommen diejenigen Völker, welche die malayische Rasse ausmachen? Da müßten wir in frühe atlantische Zeiten zurücksehen."

It's not online in English. So I will have to do a quick translation:

"We have to look far back, look back into the first Atlantean times, if we want to understand the time where the division into the five main races, of which we spoke, took place, if we want to ask: when did those people come to a particular point in Africa, who then formed the black or Ethiopian race, when did those peoples come into southern Asia that then made up the Malaysian race? There we have to look back into early Atlantean times".

"...of which we spoke earlier...": the whole previous lecture talked about this. But there Steiner consistently called them the five "Grundrassen" (i.e. the five "principal" or "basic" races). The editors later put "Die fünfte Hauptrassen der Menschheit" in the table of content as the title of lecture six ("The five main races of humanity"), even though this word does not occur once in lecture six. But that is OK, because Steiner is obviously using "Grundrassen" and "Hauptrassen" (the one time he uses the latter in GA 121, see the above citation) synonymously. The division into five main (or prinicple) races refers to the division into the black, yellow, brown, red and white race, as these are the only races he talks about in the "Mission ..." book. He talks about "Atlantean times", but does NOT refer to this as a "root race" à la Blavatsky.

Anyone who replaces "main races" in the above quote with "principle races" would be replacing the word with a synonym. Anyone replacing it with "root races" - as has been done by translators - is making an obvious error, because then the five root races would refer to the black, yellow, brown, red and white race. But we have hitherto agreed on this list that there is obviously not a 1-1 correlation between the black, yellow, brown, red and white race and the five historical root races of Blavatsky, one reason being that the first two root races didn't even possess physical bodies, as has been correctly pointed out.

In fact, Steiner explicitly talks in lecture 7 not of the "5th post-Atlantean root race", as Blavatsky would have done, but of the "5th post-Atlantean cultural epoch". Steiner has by 1910 shed the "root race" terminology altogether as a misnomer and replaced it with "cultural epoch". I recommend reading lecture seven! He talks about various archangels in relations to peoples and cultures (also the Semites). It reads very much like a big symphony. No more mention of race as the lecture proceeds. Yes, he does make value judgements about certain cultural impulses. For example, it is clear that for him the Semitic impulse is of central significance.

I don't want to go into any more depth here. I simply wanted to point out that anyone who still claims that "root race" is the correct translation the one time "Hauptrasse" occurs in this text after all that has been said cannot think straight (and probably doesn't have enough wits to have made it to the end of high school with a diploma). But some people are so confused on certain things that they're beyond help.

Detlef Hardorp

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From: at
Date: Sat Apr 10, 2004 5:31 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Detlef,

It is amazing how Peter Staudenmaier's case just melts away! All this arguing, and a quick check of the context completely rules out the translation he proposes! Steiner obviously did not mean something to the effect of "we go back to the beginning of the fourth root race to find the origins of the five root races". Only principle races makes any sense in this context. It makes me wonder why he spends a month fighting for the wrong translation based merely on his pet theory. Did he not check the context? Does he simply like to be argumentative? Did he not think we would check?

Daniel Hindes

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From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 12:24 am
Subject: Re: Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Daniel,

you wrote:

It is amazing how Peter Staudenmaier's case just melts away! All this arguing, and a quick check of the context completely rules out the translation he proposes! Steiner obviously did not mean something to the effect of "we go back to the beginning of the fourth root race to find the origins of the five root races". Only principle races makes any sense in this context. It makes me wonder why he spends a month fighting for the wrong translation based merely on his pet theory. Did he not check the context? Does he simply like to be argumentative? Did he not think we would check?

He gives the answer to this himself. You just have to be able to read it. In psychopathologies, it is often the case that you project your own problems and shortcomings onto the people about you. It is trying to avoid self-knowledge: something deep inside you makes these shortcomings surface, but the person doesn't want to see them in themselves and projects them onto people about them. Actually a very common phenomenon.

Now to the concrete case at hand: In message 4324 he writes: "To follow on your own sentence above: if "root race" can be translated as "Hauptrasse", that does indeed mean that "Hauptrasse" can be translated as "root race", even in those circumstances where you might have preferred a different rendering."

"... you might have preferred ..." needs to be read: "I (PS) prefer a different rendering to what Steiner actually says."

Or in message 4277: "This renders Detlef's argument absurd. I confess that I have no idea why this remains somehow unclear to Detlef. Would anybody else care to explain it?"

This needs to be read: "This renders my (PS's) argument absurd. I confess that I have no idea why this remains somehow unclear to me (PS). Would anybody else care to explain it?" Well, I'm trying here! But this kind of explanation never helps towards self-knowledge. It always infuriated the people concerned even more. Self-knowledge has to come from within, it cannot be "thrust upon you" (Malvolio).

And one last one (there are more): "Detlef's private views on the appropriateness of such terms are irrelevant to the question of translation."

This needs to be read: "PS's private views on the appropriateness of such terms are irrelevant to the question of translation."

The translators that made the mistake decades ago can easily be excused. The word only occurred once in the text. And they translated without sufficient reading comprehension. It happens all the time. But translators are generally quick to admit mistakes when these are pointed out. Since Parker and whoever translated the first edition (maybe also Parker? does it say who the translator was? Or Parker simply copied the mistake from the first translator, whoever he was?) are long since dead, they won't get the chance. But I'm sure they're shouting at PS as loud as they can from beyond the threshold. To which PS, of course, is completely deaf.

Detlef Hardorp

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:38 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Good morning Detlef, you wrote:

The division into five main (or prinicple) races refers to the division into the black, yellow, brown, red and white race, as these are the only races he talks about in the "Mission ..." book.

So far so good (though you are missing the various other terms he uses in this book for each racial group).

He talks about "Atlantean times", but does NOT refer to this as a "root race" à la Blavatsky.

That is incorrect. Blavatsky freely mixed her root-race terminology with stuff about black, brown, etc races, throughout her works. Root races were not just chronological periods for Blavatsky, they were human types.

Anyone who replaces "main races" in the above quote with "principle races" would be replacing the word with a synonym.

Indeed.

Anyone replacing it with "root races" - as has been done by translators - is making an obvious error, because then the five root races would refer to the black, yellow, brown, red and white race.

That makes no sense whatever. How could this be an "error"? All you are saying is that you prefer one usage of root-race terminology over the other uses. Since neither Steiner nor Blavatsky shared your preference, why do you demand that their translators do so?

But we have hitherto agreed on this list that there is obviously not a 1-1 correlation between the black, yellow, brown, red and white race and the five historical root races of Blavatsky, one reason being that the first two root races didn't even possess physical bodies, as has been correctly pointed out.

Quite so. For the fifteenth time, what would that possibly have to do with "errors" in translation? The translator's job is not to anticipate your predilections and conform to them. Your personal sensibilities are not a meaningful standard of error. If you really, truly disagree with that, go right ahead and say so.

Yours for reading comprehension,

Peter

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:46 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Hi Daniel, you wrote:

All this arguing, and a quick check of the context completely rules out the translation he proposes!

You're having trouble following the argument again, I'm afraid. I do not propose any particular translation of the 'folk souls' book. Several anthroposophist translators have already provided authorized translations of the book. Those are the translations we've been discussing. They both use "root race" in the exact same places in the text. You and Detlef think this is an "error" because it does not align with your preferred reading of the text. That argument is nonsensical.

Only principle races makes any sense in this context.

Principle races would be a fine translation choice. So would primary races. And so would root races, of course.

It makes me wonder why he spends a month fighting for the wrong translation based merely on his pet theory.

The anthroposophists who translated the book did not base their choices on my theories. Or on your theories. Get it?

Yours for reading comprehension,

Peter

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:54 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Hi again Detlef, you wrote:

"... you might have preferred ..." needs to be read: "I (PS) prefer a different rendering to what Steiner actually says."

But my preferences make no difference to the translators. Neither do yours. That's why your argument about their "errors" is silly.

It always infuriated the people concerned even more.

You haven't infuriated me, you've entertained me, along with several other readers of this exchange.

This needs to be read: "PS's private views on the appropriateness of such terms are irrelevant to the question of translation."

Yes, exactly. That is the point. The authorized anthroposophist translators of this book paid no attention to either my private views or your private views. They were entirely correct, and not at all mistaken, to do so. I once again invite you to explain why you disagree with that stance.

Yours for reading comprehension,

Peter

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From: dottie zold
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:56 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Peter

Since neither Steiner nor Blavatsky shared your preference, why do you demand that their translators do so?

Hi Peter,

It seems Steiner did not share YOUR preference that would be neccessary in order to make your pet theory have some semblance of reality. You are barking up the wrong tree and you should retrain your sights on ARIOSOPHY. But unforutnately for you this study would hold no value as they really don't exist as a group in the manner that Anthroposophy does today. There would be no recognition for what you are hoping for in this sphere.

We all look for recognition in our lifes chosen career path. Unfortunately for you this ego of yours has overridden any kind of basic understanding in order to make its mark on the world. It will make you look foolish as it drives you on this seriously mistaken path of trying to hook Dr. Steiner and a nazi ideology as one. You could not be more mistaken. If you continue to allow your ego to run roughshod all over your self far be it from anyone else to try and wake it up from its deep slumber. You continue to talk in circles and nothing good can come from it Peter.

Happy Sunday,
Dottie

p.s. once again I have to ask: are you riding the horse or is the horse riding you?

One time a word appears, and you have grabbed onto it like a drowning man holding onto a limb before fallling into the abyss. Let go Peter and course correct yourself.

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

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:03 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Hi again Dottie, you wrote:

It seems Steiner did not share YOUR preference that would be neccessary in order to make your pet theory have some semblance of reality.

Since Steiner isn't around, we can't ask him what his preferences might be. As for my preferences, they played no role whatsoever in the translations of this book. I didn't translate it.

Peter

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From: Deborah
Date: Tue Apr 13, 2004 1:42 pm
Subject: Occurrence of "main race" in the "Missions ..." book

Dear Detlef Hardorp,

I was the one who asked for the quotes. Thank you very much for doing the tedious work of tracking them down and translating the relevant passages. Of course, clearing up the occurrence and context of the word hasn't convinced Peter to either shut up or go away. He certainly is a persistent nuisance (sort of like a mosquito, he just keeps on buzzing).

I believe we exchanged a few e-mails back in the 90's when I was working for the Anthroposophical Society in America. I can't remember what the topic was, probably something to do with computers.

Deborah Kahn

Hello everyone,

sometime recently someone asked for the exact Steiner quotes fuelling the discussion on how to translate "Hauptrasse". I said at the time that I'd leave that to somebody else. As that somebody else did not appear, I decided to search for all the place where Steiner used "Hauptrasse(n)" ("main race") in the "Missions ...." book (GA 121).

Surprise! He uses the word "Hauptrasse" (the singular form) exactly zero times and he uses the word "Hauptrassen" (the plural form) exactly once! That is in the second page of the seventh lecture. Here is the context of the one and only occurrence of the word:

"Wir müssen nämlich weit zurückblicken, zurückblicken bis in die ersten atlantischen Zeiten, wenn wir die Zeit erfassen wollen, wo die Verteilung stattgefunden hat in die fünf Hauptrassen, von denen wir gesprochen haben, wenn wir fragen wollen: Wann sind hingekommen an den bestimmten Punkt nach Afrika diejenigen Menschen, die dann die schwarze oder äthiopische Rasse bildeten, wann sind in das südliche Asien gekommen diejenigen Völker, welche die malayische Rasse ausmachen? Da müßten wir in frühe atlantische Zeiten zurücksehen."

It's not online in English. So I will have to do a quick translation:

"We have to look far back, look back into the first Atlantean times, if we want to understand the time where the division into the five main races, of which we spoke, took place, if we want to ask: when did those people come to a particular point in Africa, who then formed the black or Ethiopian race, when did those peoples come into southern Asia that then made up the Malaysian race? There we have to look back into early Atlantean times".

"...of which we spoke earlier...": the whole previous lecture talked about this. But there Steiner consistently called them the five "Grundrassen" (i.e. the five "principal" or "basic" races). The editors later put "Die fünfte Hauptrassen der Menschheit" in the table of content as the title of lecture six ("The five main races of humanity"), even though this word does not occur once in lecture six. But that is OK, because Steiner is obviously using "Grundrassen" and "Hauptrassen" (the one time he uses the latter in GA 121, see the above citation) synonymously. The division into five main (or prinicple) races refers to the division into the black, yellow, brown, red and white race, as these are the only races he talks about in the "Mission ..." book. He talks about "Atlantean times", but does NOT refer to this as a "root race" à la Blavatsky.

Anyone who replaces "main races" in the above quote with "principle races" would be replacing the word with a synonym. Anyone replacing it with "root races" - as has been done by translators - is making an obvious error, because then the five root races would refer to the black, yellow, brown, red and white race. But we have hitherto agreed on this list that there is obviously not a 1-1 correlation between the black, yellow, brown, red and white race and the five historical root races of Blavatsky, one reason being that the first two root races didn't even possess physical bodies, as has been correctly pointed out.

In fact, Steiner explicitly talks in lecture 7 not of the "5th post-Atlantean root race", as Blavatsky would have done, but of the "5th post-Atlantean cultural epoch". Steiner has by 1910 shed the "root race" terminology altogether as a misnomer and replaced it with "cultural epoch". I recommend reading lecture seven! He talks about various archangels in relations to peoples and cultures (also the Semites). It reads very much like a big symphony. No more mention of race as the lecture proceeds. Yes, he does make value judgements about certain cultural impulses. For example, it is clear that for him the Semitic impulse is of central significance.

I don't want to go into any more depth here. I simply wanted to point out that anyone who still claims that "root race" is the correct translation the one time "Hauptrasse" occurs in this text after all that has been said cannot think straight (and probably doesn't have enough wits to have made it to the end of high school with a diploma). But some people are so confused on certain things that they're beyond help.

Detlef Hardorp

 

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