Questions for you, Peter and suggestion to the list 1

questions and answers

 

From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:23 am
Subject: questions and answers

Hi Daniel,

speaking of broken records.... you quoted the following paragraph from an earlier post of mine:

[From "Questions for you, Peter and suggestion to the list 1"]

Peter Staudenmaier:

In that article [Anthroposophy and Ecofacism] I mostly had in mind the dismal record of too many anthroposophists and anthroposophically-influenced figures during the Third Reich. But I also think these effects continue to this day, and can occasionally be seen right here on this list. A number of anthroposophists hold truly unfortunate beliefs about race and ethnicity, in my view.

And you then asked:

Peter, I thought you declaimed proudly that you never, no, never ever, work by implication.

I didn't proclaim this proudly, I simply pointed it out, calmly and without fanfare. You very frequently read by inference (and not just when you read me; you do so with Steiner as well, often with rather comical results), which suggests that you see other writers as relying on implication rather than plain speaking.

But what is this paragraph?

It's explication, not implication. I don't imply anything at all in the paragraph above. Instead I say what I mean. What did you think I was implying, if I may ask?

What dismal record do "too many anthroposophists and anthroposophically-influenced figures" have during the Third Reich?

Erhard Bartsch had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Margarete and Eugen Link had dismal records during the Third Reich. Franz Lippert had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Johannes Bertram had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Alwin Seifert had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Els Moll had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Hanns Rascher had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Otto Ohlendorf had a dismal record during the Third Reich. Guenther Wachsmuth's record wasn't so hot either. Nor Elisabeth Klein's. Nor Helga Scheel-Geelmuyden's. Nor Rene Maikowski's. Nor Richard Karutz's. You are welcome to disagree with any or all of those assessments. But I don't see what it has to do with implication.

What is the reader to make of such a paragraph except that the majority of Anthroposophists did truly horrible things, marching to Hitler's orders.

Some of the people I just named did indeed march to Hitler's order's, and a couple of them did truly horrible things. But most of them simply were happy to join the Nazi party, or to collaborate with the SS, or announce their sympathy for the Nazi regime, or emphatically distance themselves and anthroposophy from any connections to Jews and declare themselves and anthroposophy perfectly compatible with the Volksgemeinschaft.

Yet you know this is nonsense, and have said so yourself.

You mean the part about "the majority of Anthroposophists" "marching to Hitler's orders"? Yes, that is nonsense. But my paragraph above says nothing about this, and implies nothing about this.

I've watched you shift positions a dozen different ways to always come off knowing more than your interlocutors

I think you've got that backwards. Since I do know much more than my present interlocutors about the topic at hand, many of them think I am shifting positions every time I add more details. This happens alot when significant differences in background knowledge are involved.

In response to my remark that my non-academic status is in the process of changing, you asked:

[From "Peter Staudenmaier's academic credentials?"]

Since you've mentioned this three times, maybe you could be more specific. What program are you enrolled in, and at what school? How far along are you, and what area are you specializing in? Have you decided on a thesis?

Late last year I reversed course and applied to graduate school. I'll begin a PhD program in August, specializing in my current field, modern German intellectual history. My prospective advisors and I have tentatively agreed on Steiner's racial theories as my thesis topic. Hence all of you who have been eagerly awaiting my book on that theme will have to wait a few more years.

Regarding Steiner's book about "root races" and "folk souls" you wrote:

[From "Mind Gambling for Beginners"]

Re-read the exchange! I am accusing you of hypocrisy. You are making a big deal of something that is irrelevant - claiming that there is significance in the chapter titles of GA 121, when you previously informed us with all snottyness that they are not actually originally in the text. Try some intellectual consistency and honesty for once.

I don't know what you think was inconsistent in my argument about this book. I disagree with you that the book does not preach Aryan superiority. I disagree with you that it does not discuss "root races". I disagree with you that it does not contain racist statements. I very much disagree with you that I am making a big deal of all this; it seems to me that this honor belongs to you, Detlef, and Sune, not to me. Pretty much all I keep doing is pointing out how the text actually reads in the two existing English translations, and telling you what I think of its content. What exactly is hypocritical about that?

Regarding one particular sentence from the same book, you wrote:

[From "Reading and Falsehoods"]

Peter, I am forced to point out (for about the 8th time) that you have snipped my post beyond recognition and then in an immense display of obtuseness completely missed the point.

In that case, we apparently disagree about what the point was. I thought the point was your proffered interpretation of Steiner's sentence about American Indians dying out. You think, following your usual practice of reading by inference, that Steiner somehow implied or intuited some connection to immunology and disease. I think that reading is absurd. Steiner says nothing at all about either immunology or disease. He says that Native Americans died out because of their racial character and because they were destined to do so. If that wasn't the point you had in mind, what was it?

Regarding more general issues of our exchange, you wrote:

[From "Reading and Running"]

I think it is possible for two intelligent people to have a discussion without one of them feeling the need to condescend.

I don't think intelligence has anything to do with it. It's a matter of familiarity with specific historical subjects, texts and contexts. I don't see how I could possibly avoid condescending to you when we discuss the history of Nazism or antisemitism, for example. It's just built in to our different positions vis a vis these topics.

So no, you don't have my permission to pull your attitude out and spew it all over. I'd prefer you remain civil.

I think I have remained civil. Much more civil than many of my interlocutors on this list, for what it's worth. Maybe we disagree about what civility means; in my view, there is nothing uncivil about saying that another person's argument is weak or illogical or naive; whereas I think it is uncivil to pretend that another person is lying when all you really mean is that you disagree with their claims. Which brings us to the theme that preoccupies you so much:

Quite a few of the queries you re-posted are ones I consider frivolous, and I'm afraid I can't respond to them without being both snide and condescending. In other cases (the one about "generally accepted" theories of evolution, for example), I did in fact already reply, some time ago; you simply forgot that, once again. The questions about Rosenberg and Rittelmeyer, on the other hand, are interesting and relevant, though I must say it does get tiresome after a while to do all your reading for you. But I'm not bluffing on those questions, I simply haven't gotten around to digging up references for you. Perhaps I could remind you that insufficiently thorough citations are not the same thing as implication.

I suppose it really comes down to a sort of obvious double standard. I simply disagree with many of your expectations for proper public discussion, and you plainly disagree with several of mine. But even the ones that you insist on most loudly are ones that you often fail to respect yourself, and that's what puzzles me here. Since you frequently decline to respond to my posts, and since you have no compunctions about adopting a snide and condescening attitude toward your listmates, I don't really see why you find it so distressing when I do the same. If you'd like, we could keep arguing about that, or we could get back to the question of what is important and worthy of discussion in Steiner's racial and ethnic theories.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Peter

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From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:16 pm
Subject: Re: questions and answers

I just noticed the previous title of this thread, which Peter has just changed. It said:
"Racist is as Peter S does." and it has run along this way for several days. No one has protested. No one has murmured that this is libel. I look back, and of course, it's Mike who named it thus. Disgusting! So you accuse him of racism, Mike? Since I know you know that is not true, I can only assume you have no scruples at all.

You guys oughta tighten up ship. This sort of thing doesn't make anthroposophists look ethical at all, and you look like utter idiots then complaining that critics of anthroposophy "smear" you, and Daniel, tut-tutting about people who argue by "implication."

Diana

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From: dottie zold
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:42 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: questions and answers

Diana:

I just noticed the previous title of this thread, which Peter has just changed. It said:
"Racist is as Peter S does."

Diana, you are beginning to sound hysterical in your constant defence of Peter. Seems like you don't mind defending Peter but slam us all here for speaking of for Dr. Steiners work. Pretty hypocritical I think.

Any issues you would like to address that pertain to Waldorf?

Dottie

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From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:02 pm
Subject: Re: questions and answers

Diana, you are beginning to sound hysterical in your constant defence of Peter.

How so? I object when someone is called racist when all present company knows it isn't true. I think that's really shitty. Even if Peter were wrong about Rudolf Steiner being racist, do you think calling him racist in return, when you know he isn't, is an ethical thing to do? Isn't there supposed to be stuff in anthroposophy about leading a moral life? Do you think this is okay, Dottie? I think better of you than this. I don't think you'd have titled a thread to call Peter racist.

Seems like you don't mind defending Peter but slam us all here for speaking of for Dr. Steiners work. Pretty hypocritical I think.

Huh? I slam you for speaking of Dr. Steiner's work?

Any issues you would like to address that pertain to Waldorf?

Well, I've written at least one post in the past week on Waldorf that got no replies. More will follow, I will reply to Patrick.

Diana

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From: at
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:17 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] questions and answers

Daniel wrote:

I've watched you shift positions a dozen different ways to always come off knowing more than your interlocutors

Peter Staudenmaier:

I think you've got that backwards. Since I do know much more than my present interlocutors about the topic at hand, many of them think I am shifting positions every time I add more details. This happens alot when significant differences in background knowledge are involved.

Daniel:

It is nothing about adding details. Just consider your inability to define a standard for determining anti-Semitism. It is not about adding details. It is about changing stance. You offered about half a dozen different standards, and every time I questioned you to determine your exact position, you changed it again. Finally after about a month of shifting, occasionally contradictory positions, you admitted that you consider Steiner to be an anti-Semite (despite repeatedly excoriating listmates for their inability to separate persons from ideas) simply because you decide on it, and not for any standard. You gave reasons, but most of these rested on faulty translation, out of context citation, tertiary sources or vague catch-all criteria that apply equally to millions of Europeans. That is what I mean by shifting positions.

Daniel Hindes

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From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:18 pm
Subject: Re: questions and answers

Daniel to Peter:

It is nothing about adding details. Just consider your inability to define a standard for determining anti-Semitism. It is not about adding details. It is about changing stance. You offered about half a dozen different standards, and every time I questioned you to determine your exact position, you changed it again.

That is not at all how that thread went. Peter listed several criteria for anti-Semitism and suggested that a person's actions or words could be judged according to the various criteria. They don't "shift." They just don't all apply all the time to any individual person, seeing how people live a long time and sometimes say and do a variety of contradictory things. And some things can be judged different ways by different people, certain actions could be understood differently in different contexts, and how the different criteria should be weighted in different cases might be arguable. Some criteria only make sense paired with other criteria, for instance. One of them, I recall, was if a person has publicly expressed sympathy or support for others acknowledged to have anti-Semitic views. If a person has done this, it might in turn make other, more questionable evidence of the person's anti-Semitism appear to be stronger evidence. It casts a certain light on other things the person says and does.

Apparently that was all too subtle for you, and the best you can do is complain that things "shifted" if the discussion got more complicated in subsequent posts, and your own words weren't quoted each time for reference.

You gave reasons, but most of these rested on faulty translation, out of context citation, tertiary sources or vague catch-all criteria that apply equally to millions of Europeans. That is what I mean by shifting positions.

What a bunch of bullshit, Daniel. It's hard to believe you mean this junk. Steiner said the Judaism was obsolete and shouldn't exist in modern society. Tarjei and Bradford have both elaborated on the meaning of this at great, detailed length. The Jews provided a body for Christ and ought to have understood their gig was up then; if they want to hang around now, they ought to be sharing their genes - and other, similarly creepy notions. The more they say the worse it gets. That isn't good enough for you, eh, go on and on about "faulty translations." Crock of you-know-what.

Diana

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:00 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: questions and answers

Dianna do ever read your own posts? do you ever listen to your self talk? You say that my writing (or maybe even me) is "disgusting," that I have "no scruples at all," and that we look like "utter idiots." My experience with stuff like this is that it takes one to know one. So if you really think that all this stuff is true, then I would suggest that you take a good hard look at yourself.

Just to clear things up a bit, I don't consider myself an anthroposophist; I am not an official spokes person for RS or Anthroposophy. My opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude on this "open free speech forum" are just that - my opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude.

And did you write the book on what is ethical, and what is not? You obviously must think that it is "ethical" to say that I "have no scruples," and that we "look like utter idiots."

I don't think that PS is a racist. I do think that his behavior toward people on this list parallels that of how I see racists as treating other people: with separatism and arrogance based on militant ignorance.

Dianna, again, this is a free speech forum. I am "disgusted" by Peter S's posts as well as bored of listening to the broken record. He said that he was only going to stay for six weeks and I think it has been about eight. I'm counting the days. Until then his posts go right in the delete folder. I would suggest that you do the same with mine.

And quit with the holier than thou righteous bullshit will you...It's getting kinda old.

Mike

I just noticed the previous title of this thread, which Peter has just changed. It said:
"Racist is as Peter S does." and it has run along this way for several days. No one has protested. No one has murmured that this is libel. I look back, and of course, it's Mike who named it thus. Disgusting! So you accuse him of racism, Mike? Since I know you know that is not true, I can only assume you have no scruples at all.

You guys oughta tighten up ship. This sort of thing doesn't make anthroposophists look ethical at all, and you look like utter idiots then complaining that critics of anthroposophy "smear" you, and Daniel, tut-tutting about people who argue by "implication."

Diana

Continued in the thread "Please pack up and go..."

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From: at
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:41 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] questions and answers

Peter Staudenmaier:

Quite a few of the queries you re-posted are ones I consider frivolous, and I'm afraid I can't respond to them without being both snide and condescending. In other cases (the one about "generally accepted" theories of evolution, for example), I did in fact already reply, some time ago; you simply forgot that, once again.

Daniel:

Peter "Distortion" Staudenmaier is at it again. I have not accused you of not answering in our discussion about "generally accepted" theories of evolution, as you imply here. That thread ended when I stated that I did not consider myself expert in Biology, and would leave the topic open rather than pretend to expertise I did not possess. You did not reply. Nor I did not mention it in the list of things you have run away from.

I guess this is yet another example of Staudenmaier World, where he is always right, and everyong else is always wrong (and dumb, too) and neither facts nor history can contradict him.

For reference: (April 8th, 2004)


Hi Daniel, you wrote:

There are many theories of evolution. Relativly few of them involve natural selection as the method of evolution (though the generally accepted ones do).

Peter Staudenmaier:

Yep. The generally accepted ones are the ones I was talking about. By all means feel free to disagree with the theory of natural selection.

Daniel:

I've been careful not to take any position on the issue. I don't feel I have sufficient training in biology or evolutionary theory to fob myself off as an expert on the issue. Unlike yourself I do not consider myself an instant expert in any area in which I have read the dust jacket for a dozen books. My own background is strongest in history - and there the debates around the various forms of evolution come up in a number of contexts. Personally I see no reason to disagree with natural selection as the means of evolution, but my opinion is worth very little in this area, as I have not studied it in depth. I do find Steiner's position relative to Lyell, Lamarck, Darwin and Haeckel interesting. I also enjoy Gould's writing on the issue. But that does not make me an expert, so I won't talk like one.

Daniel Hindes

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From: at
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:52 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] questions and answers

Peter Staudenmaier:

I suppose it really comes down to a sort of obvious double standard. I simply disagree with many of your expectations for proper public discussion, and you plainly disagree with several of mine.

Daniel:

I don't have any set expectations for public discussion. You and I have a few disagreements about Steiner's ideas. I am pointing out that you do not live up to the standards that you proclaim are important to you. This is not about what I think everyone should do in public discussions, only about the differences between what you say you want to do and what you actually do in this discussion here.

Peter Staudenmaier:

But even the ones that you insist on most loudly are ones that you often fail to respect yourself, and that's what puzzles me here. Since you frequently decline to respond to my posts,

Daniel:

Please. It is the Magic Staudenmaier Labeling Trick again. I have accused you of running away from substantive issues when you claim to want to discuss them. I accuse you a failing to substantiate you generalizations. And I almost pedantically respond to nearly everything you write. But you simply turn the accusation, create the reality you desire for yourself, and proclaim it as truth. In your version, you alwyas respond and never avoid, I frequently run away. Peter, simply saying it does not make it so. You have issues here that are almost pathological.

Peter Staudenmaier:

...and since you have no compunctions about adopting a snide and condescening attitude toward your listmates,

Daniel:

Everything I know about this I learned from you. I have been quite consciously mimicing your tone and manner for the last four weeks. Prior to that I was deferential to a fault. You have never conceeded a point no matter how I put it, or how many times I reiterated it.

Daniel Hindes

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From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Apr 22, 2004 6:49 pm
Subject: Re: questions and answers

[Mike:]

Dianna do ever read your own posts? do you ever listen to your self talk? You say that my writing (or maybe even me) is "disgusting," that I have "no scruples at all," and that we look like "utter idiots." My experience with stuff like this is that it takes one to know one. So if you really think that all this stuff is true, then I would suggest that you take a good hard look at yourself.

Ok, Mike, I'll do that. What have I written that is disgusting or shows a lack of scruples? Please tell me.

My opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude on this "open free speech forum" are just that - my opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude.

Yeah? Saying someone is racist is ok because it's "free speech"? Do you ahve that confused with "anything goes"?

And did you write the book on what is ethical, and what is not? You obviously must think that it is "ethical" to say that I "have no scruples," and that we "look like utter idiots."

Sorry for the idiots remark.

Yeah - I think it's ethical to say you have no scruples, because you haven't shown any. You think nothing is wrong with the crap you spread around, and I think there is plenty wrong with calling someone a racist who you know is not. In this post you admit that you know he is not but your conscience is apparently not bothering you that you called him that anyway.

Diana

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From: holderlin66
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:13 pm
Subject: Re: questions and answers

Mike Helsher wrote:

Just to clear things up a bit, I don't consider myself an anthroposophist; I am not an official spokes person for RS or Anthroposophy. My opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude on this "open free speech forum" are just that - my opinions and occasionally flagrant attitude.

Dianna, again, this is a free speech forum.

http://www.useless-knowledge.com/articles/apr/104.html

"It has become un-American to speak out against those leaders for which some have an unaffected scorn. Showing anything but full support for our president on any issue relating to the security of this country is met with cat-calls of "terrorist," and "treason." Online stores now stock bumper stickers that read "Does My Flag Offend You? Get Out!" while Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, among the top brash leaders of a movement determined to stomp out dissent speech, rail on those Americans who do not believe that President Bush is always correct in his motives.

Free speech, indeed, free dissent, is being stepped on by the most conservative and secretive administration since Richard Nixon took office. Protesters, a common sight – or maybe not – at Bush Administration speaking venues, are herded into "Free Speech Zones," often enclosed areas up to a mile away from where the official they are protesting is speaking.

Protesters who carry signs often have them confiscated as "The stick with which the sign is attached could be used as a projectile weapon," as one Miami riot officer said upon dispersing a crowd of protesters outside a building where Florida Governor Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother, was speaking.

This debacle has come to the point where ex-Bush Administration officials, including ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Counterterrorism Advisor Richard Clarke, are being viciously attacked by the machinery of the White House to discredit their first-hand accounts of what occurred behind closed doors. The White House even went so far as to threaten a lawsuit against O'Neill, claming the documents they gave him weren't supposed to be published.

We saw no such debacle with Bob Woodward's first Bush biography, Bush at War, as it painted a flattering portrait of the President of the United States as the bold leader after the September 11th tragedies. However, when Woodward published his second book, a critical attack on the White House for its near-obsession with Iraq, Plan of Attack, nearly every power player in the Administration was mobilized to neutralize the threat.

The danger here comes not only from the fact that free speech is being drastically curtailed, but from the fact that few Americans are doing anything to stop it. They have grown accustomed to hearing the words "National Security" used as a blanket censor to keep unpopular government information from going public. They have heard and believed that answering questions before the Congressional 9-11 Commission about the atrocities of that day would somehow jeopardize the current quagmire in Iraq. These events have reached a dangerous precipice.

If we become used to not fully having our freedom to speak and print unpopular opinions, so will our children, and theirs, and future generations thereafter. No man, not even the President of the United States during time of war, has the right to remove our most basic of freedoms. Abraham Lincoln tried during the Civil War, as did Woodrow Wilson in World War I. An able public expecting of their rights prevented these two leaders from removing our basic freedom of speech and press. In a nation such as this, where so many have paid for our freedoms with life and limb, we cannot commit the ultimate treason of letting our rights atrophy and die.

That is un-American"

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From: at
Date: Fri Apr 23, 2004 6:54 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] questions and answers

Daniel wrote:

I don't have any set expectations for public discussion.

Peter Staudenmaier: [From thread "more questions, more anwers":]

Sorry to hear that. I do have expectations for public discussion. I recommend them to you.

Daniel:

Care to explicate? What do you expect from public discussion? Or are you just being snide for no specific reason?

Daniel wrote:

Everything I know about this I learned from you. I have been quite consciously mimicing your tone and manner for the last four weeks. Prior to that I was deferential to a fault.

Peter Staudenmaier: [From thread "more questions, more anwers":]

That's preposterous. You were snide and condescending long before I joined the list, particularly in your exchanges with Diana, where you misunderstood virtually every second sentence and then projected your misunderstanding onto her.

Daniel:

I was talking about my posts to you. I can, on occasion, be snide and condescending. With you I was deferential until your own writing degraded (particularly towards Dottie).

In my exchanges with Diana, I don't recall her accusing me of misunderstanding her (that is my consistent complaint about her, not the other way around). Diana accuses me of misunderstanding Steiner and just about anything else I talk about. However, I don't hear her saying that I did not get what she said, only that she doesn't agree with what I say.

This is another Staudenmaier "Redefine Reality" attempt - make claims that sound good - regardless of how things are in reality.

Daniel Hindes

----- Original Message -----
From: at
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 6:52 PM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] questions and answers

Peter Staudenmaier:

I suppose it really comes down to a sort of obvious double standard. I simply disagree with many of your expectations for proper public discussion, and you plainly disagree with several of mine.

Daniel:

I don't have any set expectations for public discussion. You and I have a few disagreements about Steiner's ideas. I am pointing out that you do not live up to the standards that you proclaim are important to you. This is not about what I think everyone should do in public discussions, only about the differences between what you say you want to do and what you actually do in this discussion here.

Peter Staudenmaier:

But even the ones that you insist on most loudly are ones that you often fail to respect yourself, and that's what puzzles me here. Since you frequently decline to respond to my posts,

Daniel:

Please. It is the Magic Staudenmaier Labeling Trick again. I have accused you of running away from substantive issues when you claim to want to discuss them. I accuse you a failing to substantiate you generalizations. And I almost pedantically respond to nearly everything you write. But you simply turn the accusation, create the reality you desire for yourself, and proclaim it as truth. In your version, you alwyas respond and never avoid, I frequently run away. Peter, simply saying it does not make it so. You have issues here that are almost pathological.

Peter Staudenmaier:

...and since you have no compunctions about adopting a snide and condescening attitude toward your listmates,

Daniel:

Everything I know about this I learned from you. I have been quite consciously mimicing your tone and manner for the last four weeks. Prior to that I was deferential to a fault. You have never conceeded a point no matter how I put it, or how many times I reiterated it.

Daniel Hindes

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From: Charlie Morrison
Date: Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:43 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Questions for you, Peter and suggestion to the list

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Staudenmaier
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 3:09 AM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Questions for you, Peter and suggestion to the list

(snipped)

Peter S to Tarjei

In that article I mostly had in mind the dismal record of too many anthroposophists and anthroposophically-influenced figures during the Third Reich.

Charlie:

How many people were swept along at the beginning of those terrible times thinking that Germany now had a chance to get out of the quagmire it was in, realising too late the nightmare they were actually careering into. What would I have done in the shoes of those people? I dread to think. People make stupid decisions and take the wrong path all the time. What choices faced some of these people? Do I flee? Am I running to save my own skin or do I feel that I can be of better help to others from a distance? Maybe I could help others most by collaborating? Or maybe I just care about myself? How hard it is to judge people without knowing the motives behind their actions. Instead of saying "they did this" or "they should have done that", shouldn't we collectively be saying "we did this" or "we should have done that". We can't say "it's nothing to do with me mate", and then turn round and say that we feel the unity of humanity and life.

Looking back on the initiatives started by Anthroposophists around that time, I don't see any projects with the goal of furthering the aims of the German people at the expense of the rest of us. They all seem pretty altruistic to me. All these initiatives were intended to benefit the whole of humankind IMO. Just take the example of Karl Konig below. Instead of making accusations about people who may have been under pressures that we know nothing about I think it's much more healthy to look at the achievments of people that we can be inspired by.

Outcasts - in Scotland*

Pioneers in an Old Manse

KARL KONIG

During the years 1936 and 1937 a few young men and women gathered around a country doctor who had come to Vienna, the city of his birth, to build up a medical practice in one of its suburbs. The doctor and his family had been forced to leave Germany, where he had worked for some time, by the conditions Nazism imposed. Under this doctor's guidance the group of young people began to study anthroposophy and many an evening was spent in reading and studying Rudolf Steiner's work. The group consisted of young teachers, medical students and a few artists. All of them had one thing in mind and that was not only to understand anthroposophy but basically to change their attitude to life. They felt more or less clearly that Nazism was a sign that destructive forces were coming to a peak and that something would have to be done to counteract this evil force. But they knew that opposition by force or by a mass movement would not be effective. They felt rather that a new understanding of the human being and of all nature, and a devotional attitude to life in all its manifestations through living Christianity would be the necessary balance to Nazism. Through Rudolf Steiner's teaching, they learned that thoughts and ideals alone would change nothing, but a change of attitude to life could do very much. They decided to start a community outside a town, working the soil, educating children and educating themselves through daily work, daily study and daily devotion.

Then Nazism flooded Austria as well. These young people had to leave the country with the hope of finding one another again in some other country which was still free from oppression and race laws and which would give them the opportunity of living their lives as they thought best.

These young men and women went through many adventures and setbacks. Some of them spent weeks and months in Italy, France, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Holland, with no knowledge of the whereabouts of their friends. They went through hardships and loneliness, until they were all finally able to come to Britain, where they decided to ask the authorities if they would agree with their ideas and give them help to form the community.

Through chance and destiny, some helpful members of the Church of Scotland became interested and other friends in the north-east of Scotland lent a house. This was Kirkton House, an abandoned manse on the slope of a hill overlooking a wide valley north of Aberdeen. It was the first actual roof over the heads of this small group. The estate owners provided them with potatoes, milk and oatmeal. The doctor had been able to bring his furniture over from Austria, and after a few weeks the manse was ready for occupation. The walls were painted, the garden was dug up, the debris in the outbuildings was cleared away. After two months the first handicapped children arrived and the fees paid for them made it possible to begin to live a regular life. The good and strong ideals and the will to stick to them on the part of these few people overcame all the difficult circumstances, and this was encouraging and grand to see.

May 12,1940 was a fateful day for the community, because on this Whit Sunday all the male members of the community were interned, ultimately to be sent to the Isle of Man. The women were left alone with the children and, to begin with, they were uncertain as to whether they should carry on what was begun or wait until the men returned. But they decided to carry on. Not only that, they decided to extend the work.

Just before the men were interned the community had had many enquiries for places for children, and so the community tried to find a better and bigger place. Owing to the unforgettable kindness of a friend and father of one of the boys who was due to join us, Camphill estate was purchased and ready to receive us. Everything for the move to Camphill had been prepared and the date fixed when the men were interned, and the move seemed, for a moment, impossible.

But the women were full of confidence, strength and faith. They moved to the new place on 1 June 1940, furnished the house, worked the gardens and fields, took care of the children and struggled through the early months until in October the first two men came back from internment, finding everything in the best of order and the ground prepared for the expansion of the work.

From then on the work gradually enlarged. The community now (1941) has a big house, a cottage and lodge and 22 acres of ground. Throughout the winter we had our own potatoes and a lot of fruit and vegetables. We have 10 children and some more to come. Most work is running according to our aims. We shall soon have some goats and pigs and already have hens. We hope to acquire a cow in the near future.

So again, faith and confidence guided the community through hard and bitter times to brighter and more hopeful times.

New Life for Outcast Children

What we have established until now has been described. But what are our further aims?

We aim to become a real community closely connected with all the work of a household and on the land, and connected with our own children and those who have been given into our care. Handicapped children are mostly outcasts of human society. They are children who are unable to speak or to work - unable to find a place in their own homes, who cannot find schools and training. We want to try to share our work with them, to show them how to hold a spade and dig, how to make a compost heap and how to plant vegetables. But we also want to show them how to learn about the world and to understand it, to teach them to appreciate the beauty of the world and the kindness of human beings. We want to try to teach them to understand numbers, music, writing and reading, painting, modelling, wood·carving.

We shall have common meals, common joys and common sorrows. We shall have the Sunday services with our children. And our children will begin to establish themselves in the community and find their own identities because their environment is one of love and understanding.

We hope in time to build a few more small houses for them and to establish a tiny village in which there is a community of outcasts, who are not outcasts but active citizens, who will make their own contribution, and who have faith in what is spiritual and love for one another.

Karl Konig.

* First published in 'Young Scotland (Church of Scotland Youth Magazine), 1941. A revised version appeared in the Camphill journal 'The Cresset, Vo1.15 (1969), No.3.

*******

Charlie:

Unfortunately the planners in their infinite wisdom would now like to run a bypass right through Camphill in Aberdeen. Anyone interested can go to http://www.newtondee.org.uk/ or straight to http://www.savecamphill.org.uk/

I suppose I should forgive those who are making all the decisions for the rest of us, from a global level right down to my own doorstep, because I am not in their shoes and don't know the pressures they are under. But their record recently seems to be not just dismal but downright diabolical. I think I've just nullified my own arguement, oh well!

warm regards,

Charlie

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