Waldorf Principles

 

From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 11:38 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

To the Waldorf and Athroposophical communities and to the Waldorf Critics and PLANS communities:

You know, flaming and high emotional tactics certainly make for a circus atmosphere level of entertainment, but this stuff just isn't doing our "cause" any good at all.

I think that there is a very profound good in having a group like "Waldorf Critics" - although I wish it were more of a "Waldorf Challengers" group, which they can be sometimes. The fact that they question Waldorf Education's philosophy, methods and materials is actually a good thing if it sparks intelligent Waldorf Educators to stop a moment and re-think and re-evaluate their work in the light of the most contemporary sociological and psychological findings in education. It is my personal conviction that Waldorf Education is inherently consistent with all the best findings of educational psychology and can hold its own against any challenger. The difficulty may be in finding people who have the time to do the necessary work. Waldorf teaching is a truly 24/7 vocation and while there are many Waldorf teachers who could contribute a lot to this discussion, probably very few actually have time to do so. In fact, very few active Waldorf teachers probably have time to spend in front of the computer on the internet or reading e-mails. So it falls on the shoulders of a few people out here in cyberspace to at least champion the cause. The reality here, though, is that people who have such time are likely to be inactive in the movement, either because they have been involved at one time, but had to leave for personal reasons; or have a great interest in Waldorf education but have not as yet become a trained Waldorf Teacher; or (unfortunately) may have once been involved in Waldorf Education, but have been forced to become inactive due to problems in their own personalities or mental and emotional balances. (And yes, there are such - I have met quite a few).

The danger in even attempting to respond to or refute allegations made by WC and PLANS members is that we are all working with bits and pieces of events and situations brought out as examples. Each "side" brings forth only what supports its goals and intentions and rarely is a discussion focused, level-headed and open minded enough for a real consensus to take place. Attacking the WC/PLANS side for being "materialistic" "atheistic" or "Ahrimanic" is meaningless for our purposes, as is, on the other hand, their attacking WE and Anthroposophists for being "cultish" "anti-science" or "religious".

WC/PLANS members have every right to their own world view, as WE/Anthropops have a right to ours. There is much middle ground, actually, to be found in the very latest findings of educational psychology, neuroscience and sociological studies, but nothing will be gained along these lines by an us/them antagonistic approach.

I have stated before and I will state again here and in any other forum that I agree with and support these basic, fundamental principles and objectives of the WC/PLANS movement:

1. Waldorf Education philosophy, methods and materials do not belong in a public school system.

2. Full and detailed disclosure should be made to every prospective parent who approaches a Waldorf School as to the nature and intention of the philosophical movement known as Anthroposophy as it forms the basis and foundation of Waldorf Education; as well as the presence and nature of religious and philosophical teaching as it appears in the Waldorf curriculum.

3. Waldorf Educators should be ready and able to acknowledge when a parent feels that either his or her child or his or her self has suffered in some way through their experience in a Waldorf classroom or through the actions or words of a Waldorf Teacher or other member of a Waldorf School community. All such grievances should be taken seriously and addressed in a timely and open minded manner. Explanations for methods used in a Waldorf classroom should be provided in a manner and context appropriate to the understanding of the parent, with all due respect for the parent's educational and philosophical background. While the need may arise for a family to withdraw from a school due to inherent differences in religious philosophy or world view, there should be a check point system to evaluate whether or not
a. full and appropriate information was given to the parents from the outset;
b. the teacher in question was actually putting Waldorf methodology into practice appropriately from any standpoint, within or outside of the WE/Anthro community; and
c. there were any factors that may have influenced a breakdown of communication and trust between a teacher and student or teacher and parent separate from Waldorf Educational philosophy per se, such as school/community politicals, personality clashes, student problems outside the scope of a "normal" classroom situation requiring outside assistance (physical problems requiring a medical doctor's advice and involvement, for example.)

The above being stated as my personal convictions, I will also state my objections to the WC/PLANS tactics and approach to Waldorf Education as I understand it to have been promoted so far:

In their efforts to acquire a base of support for their legal efforts against Waldorf Charter Schools, PLANS has actively sought particular statements by Rudolf Steiner and passages from published books and books of lectures that can be interpreted to make Rudolf Steiner, the philosophical movement known as Anthroposophy and by association, the Waldorf School Movement to appear to be an elitist, racist organization that promotes a narrow world view that seeks to involve people in a cult movement. The words "racism" and "cult" are powerful buzz words in this culture and are very effective in promoting an emotional backlash toward any group associated with them. PLANS has been well aware that the use of these words would gain them a large number of supporters who may other wise have no particular objection to the presence of Waldorf Education in their public school classroom, indeed, who may not have had any particular interest in it, one way or another. The WC/PLANS organization has gone out of its way to paint the Anthroposophical Movement and everyone in it with the National Socialism emblem and to associate it emotionally with a neo-nazi cult mentality. This is a libelous association which does a severe injustice to the movement at large and to the widely diverse philosophical, social and political backgrounds of its members and associates. It is my belief that PLANS has a legal basis for removal of Waldorf Education from the public school system without this defamation of character (although support for its objectives may have been slower to come and smaller in scope). The association of WE/ Anthroposophy with either word must be stopped and irrefutable evidence brought forward into the arenas of legal and social opinion that both Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education are in concept and practice universally human and make no qualitative or quantitative differential between any persons in respect to race, creed, color, sex or national origin. In fact, Waldorf Schools for example are more universally inclusive in both concept and practice than many private school systems and organizations and have a curriculum in which is built a basic introduction to every religious thought system of mankind - ancient and modern. To my knowledge, no other school system has this claim to make.

As to the use of the word "cult" in relation to either the Anthroposophical Movement or the Waldorf Education Movement, this is also a libelous allegation and it does not stand up against current definitions of "cult" which can be found in movement such as the following:

www.factnet.org
American Family Foundation (AFF)
Community Resources on Influence & Control (CRIC)
Cult Awareness & Information Centre, Australia
Cult Awareness Network (CAN)
Cult Hotline & Clinic
Cult Information Center (CIC)
Dialog Center International (DCI)
Escape
Ex-Cult Archive
FAIR
Info Cult
reFOCUS Network
Religious Movement Resource Center
Resource Center for Freedom of Mind
The Ross Institute
V.V.P.G. vzw
Watchman Fellowship
Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center
Cult Information Service
The Ex Cult Member Organization

While any group of people whose stated purpose is to study and possibly put into practice the ideas and teachings of any individual, living or dead, can be viewed to a certain point as a "cult", which would include by such definition, all recognized churches and philosophical organizations, the use of "cult" in the context of attack against the Waldorf School and Anthropsophical movements has been an attempt to associate them with the concept of "coersive persuasion". Cults which perform the actions and reactions that make of the technique of "coersive persuasion" use the following tactics as outlined at www.factnet.org:

HOW TO DETERMINE IF A GROUP IS A DESTRUCTIVE CULT

Q) Anybody can unfairly attack a group they disagree with by calling it a cult or saying they are using coercive mind control. How does FACTNet prevent this type of problem and determine fairly whether or not a group is a cult?

A) FACTNet uses specific criteria to determine if a mind control system has been used, and does not suggest organizations are destructive or dangerous cults without careful research and determination that the evidence fits definite criteria. These criteria are threefold.

The first set of criteria comes from the group' use of a specific set of mind control tactics. Please see "A technical overview of mind control tactics" at http://www.factnet.org/rancho1.htm for details or see http://www.factnet.org/coercivemindcontrol.html for a shorter version. These two documents are derived from the work of Dr. Margaret Singer professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley the acknowledged leading authority in the world on mind control and cults.

The second set of criteria has to do with defining other common elements of mind control systems, as defined by Robert Jay Lifton's eight point model of thought reform. Please see "Robert Jay Lifton's Eight Point Model of Thought Reform" also at http://www.factnet.org/rancho1.htm. If most points in this model are being used in a cultic organization, it is most likely a dangerous and destructive cult.

The third set of criteria have to do with defining common elements of destructive and dangerous cults. The following section will help clarify what some of those specific elements and criteria are.

Common Properties of Potentially Destructive and Dangerous Cults

The cult is authoritarian in its power structure. The leader is regarded as the supreme authority. He or she may delegate certain power to a few subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to the leader's wishes and roles. There is no appeal outside of his or her system to greater systems of justice. For example, if a school teacher feels unjustly treated by a principal, appeals can be made. In a cult, the leader claims to have the only and final ruling on all matters.

The cult's leaders tend to be charismatic, determined, and domineering. They persuade followers to drop their families, jobs, careers, and friends to follow them. They (not the individual) then take over control of their followers' possessions, money, lives.

The cult's leaders are self-appointed, messianic persons who claim to have a special mission in life. For example, the flying saucer cult leaders claim that people from outer space have commissioned them to lead people to special places to await a space ship.

The cult's leaders center the veneration of members upon themselves. Priests, rabbis, ministers, democratic leaders, and leaders of genuinely altruistic movements keep the veneration of adherents focused on God, abstract principles, and group purposes. Cult leaders, in contrast, keep the focus of love, devotion, and allegiance on themselves.

The cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of the behavior of its members. Cults are likely to dictate in great detail what members wear, eat, when and where they work, sleep, and bathe-as well as what to believe, think, and say.

The cult tends to have a double set of ethics. Members are urged to be open and honest within the group, and confess all to the leaders. On the other hand, they are encouraged to deceive and manipulate outsiders or nonmembers. Established religions teach members to be honest and truthful to all, and to abide by one set of ethics.

The cult has basically only two purposes, recruiting new members and fund-raising. Established religions and altruistic movements may also recruit and raise funds. However, their sole purpose is not to grow larger; such groups have the goals to better the lives of their members and mankind in general. The cults may claim to make social contributions, but in actuality these remain mere claims, or gestures. Their focus is always dominated by recruiting new members and fund-raising.

The cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the only viable system for change that will solve life's problems or the world's ills. While claiming this, the cult then surreptitiously uses systems of psychological coercion on its members to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.

A careful, honest and factual study of Rudolf Steiner and the Anthroposophical movement will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that NONE of the above criteria apply. The last criterium seems to be the one that the WC/PLANS groups most want to associate with the WE movement. However, the following is in fact the truth:

1. Rudolf Steiner carefully placed his teaching in the context of objective world history and scientific fact as it was known through 1925. Anthroposophists since 1925 have constantly re-examined the original world to see if it remains valid in light of developments in both fields since 1925.

2. There is no social, economic or political structure in place anywhere in the world by which the Anthroposophical Society headquartered in Dornach, Switzerland or the Anthroposophical Society at large can influence anyone to join the movement, pay money to the movement or limit their personal expression and/or interpretation of Rudolf Steiner's material. There is no persuasive element, either obvious or covert that can or tries to put pressure on anyone inside or outside of the organization to "believe" anything that Dr. Steiner said or to support through words, deeds or money any ideas contained in his work or any individuals who have gone on to work with his ideas. Members of the Anthroposophical Movement are not under any directive, spoken or unspoken as to what they wear, eat, read, watch, listen to, say or do. Members are never encouraged in any way (direct or indirect) to avoid or ignore other religious teachings, scientific findings or philosophical, social or political ideologies.

Members are never requested, directly or indirectly, to locate in a geographic area or to limit or restrict their contacts with any family members or friends outside the "movement." Members are never requested or required to reliquish any memberships or associations with any other religious, political or social organizations. Members are never limited or restricted in participating in the work or society of the movement through judgments or evaluations by other members, other than considerations of basic civic and ethical proprieties. Members do not hold in "veneration" any other member of the society, either living or dead, including Rudolf Steiner, beyond an affectionate respect. Members do not actively recruit people to join the Anthroposophical Society, nor is there any such recruitement system in existence. Members are never solicited for money except for yearly dues if active, subscription fees for publications and occasional appeals for economic assistance for specific projects, the response to which is always voluntary and confidential.

3. Rudolf Steiner never promoted himself or allowed himself to be promoted as a cult leader or figure. In point of fact, when the Anthroposophical Society was created, after a group of people wished to separate themselves from the Theosophical Society, Rudolf Steiner was asked to be the "President" of the Society. He refused the position, while agreeing to be involved as a teacher and

lecturer. It was only after the burning of the first Goetheanum in Dornach on New Year's Eve, 1921, that Rudolf Steiner accepted the position of the President of the Anthroposophical Society in an effort to renew the courage and vitality of the worldwide movement in the face of brutal attack (my interpretation). Rudolf Steiner maintained avidly the supreme importance of the individual's study of Anthroposophical concepts on their own, and their own personal connection with and committment to those ideas. He refused point blank on many occasions to tell any person what he or she "ought to do" in any given situation, personal or Society related. He stated definitively on many occasions what the result (physical, emotional or spiritual) was of particular human activities, but he expressly left it to the individual to do or not do what he or she saw fit.

The other primary objection that I have to the tactics and strategies of the WC/PLANS groups is the use of personal problems as being illustrative of problems to be found worldwide inherently in the practice of Waldorf Education. By this I mean, that while each individual parent or family has a perfect right to express dissatisfaction with the methods and practice of Waldorf Education in relation to themselves, they repeatedly infer that Waldorf methods and techniques are inherently destructive to all students and their families. They also characterize all Waldorf Teachers and Waldorf Schools as being uniformly alike and "mindless" in their application of those methods and techniques. This is far from the truth and borders on a "smear" campaign. In the stories that I have read so far on their websites, I find no indication that the whole story is being told or that the parents feel themselves to have had any responsibility for the outcomes of the situations they are describing.

I personally have never known two Waldorf teachers to be exactly alike on anything! I have never known any Waldorf teachers who are instructed to "take Steiner's word for it." or who would consent to do so. I have known Waldorf teachers who were not Anthroposophists and many who considered themselves Anthroposophists but who also participated in other religious or philosophical groups at the same time. There were conflicts from time to time when several teachers, usually with a group of parents, tried to promote an outside sect (for example, Sufiism) in a school in a way that interfered with standard Waldorf curriculum and practice.

I can't even remember having had any "Anthroposophical" parents in the initiative schools that I taught at. (I'm trying to remember if there were.) I have had classes of children whose parents ranged from "pagan" to "Christian" with everything possible in between. I can't remember any Moslems, but I have written an article called "Religion in the Waldorf Schools" which outlines why I think most fundamentalist Christian or Moslem parents would not choose a Waldorf School for their children. The Waldorf curriculum is specifically designed to expose all of the students to all major world religions at the appropriate age and stage of development of the child. Any parent with a strong fundamentalist or atheistic view would quite rightly not choose a Waldorf School for his or her child. Every parent should be made aware of the Waldorf curriculum and how it is taught as soon as they approach the school for information.

Lastly, I object to the tactic used by both the Waldorf Critics and PLANS groups of asking for answers to their questions or objections then refusing to listen to the answers or information provided or to acknowledge the honest and open minded efforts of Waldorf supporters. This is a common strategy (concious or otherwise) of groups and individuals who adopt an offensive approach. Questions asked with this motivation are designed only as springboards to further attacks and the position in taken in which it is assumed that the side being attacked will not provide any meaningful answers. The motivation here is not one of inquiry and research but of adversarial debate. Since PLANS has a legal agenda to promote, it makes sense to use the political debate forum as a model. Unfortunately, political debates are not designed to reach understanding and consenus of opinion. They are designed to be emotionally charged and devisive and usually, to mask real problems behind the buzz words and catch phrases of popular "issues." A real mutual study of Waldorf methods and educational perspectives in the light of other philosophies and techniques of education in use today in both public and private schools would be a really useful tool for educators and parents in the Waldorf Movement and outside of it. Like any other practice, in art or science, there is always room for evaluation and adaptation.

Human beings are never static, children the least of all. There is something new to be learned every day. We do not live in the same world as Rudolf Steiner, Maria Montessori, Piaget, Froebel, Dewey, Aristotle, Albertus Comenius, Sylvia Ashton-Warner or any other wonderful educator or educational philosopher that we can study and learn from. Every idea has to be metamorphosed into today's lesson, today's experience.

I have heard experienced Waldorf teachers say that after they have completed an eight year journey with one class, when they come to take a second First Grade, it is like they never taught before. The world has already changed and the children have changed too. So has the teacher. It is a different concept from the kind of school where a teacher may teach Third Grade for thirty years, after a while possibly falling into a "routine" of teaching the same material the same way, no matter what the children may bring into the classroom, adapting only to material obtained from time to time through required "teacher refresher" courses mandated by the state. This repetition of material has as its very good intention the goal of making a teacher an "expert" in his or her field and niche of curriculum. It does not, however, failsafe against mistakes that the teacher may make, in some cases repeatedly. It does not guarantee the optimisation of student learning from year to year. It does not guarantee that every child in a public school will be understood and evaluated as an individual and that each child's strengths and weaknesses will be factored into the learning process by every teacher he meets in the course of eight years. Waldorf schools cannot make that guarantee, either. But the fact that the teacher must "live" with the results of his or her mistakes over the course of eight years and cannot pass them off to another teacher in the following year, means that the teacher is inherently making a committment to self evaluation and continued learning and growth. The smaller size of any private school and the more intimate working together of parents and teachers to promote and support the school offers the opportunity for more frequent dialogue and communication. It may also lead to more heartbreak when such communication breaks down, but it is a very human risk and must be weighed against the kind of state school system where the communication is less frequent and more artificially constructed and censored.

Waldorf Education requires the following principles, the three H's of education, from every one of its participants - parent or teacher:

Honesty - to be ruthlessly honest with one's self and tactfully honest with each other
Humility - to be ready to learn and adapt to what comes both from the children and from the community
Honor - to honor both the ideals which live in one's own heart, mind and soul and to honor what lives in the heart, mind and soul of the other, whether child or adult

To the extent to which any group that seeks to criticize or challenge the Waldorf School Movement and its Members, that group should adopt, promote and defend these three principles as well.

Christine Natale
February 8, 2004

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 12:29 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

At 20:38 08.02.2004, Christine wrote:

To the Waldorf and Athroposophical communities and to the Waldorf Critics and PLANS communities:

You know, flaming and high emotional tactics certainly make for a circus atmosphere level of entertainment, but this stuff just isn't doing our "cause" any good at all.

Frankly, the role of a missionary for a cause doesn't appeal to me one bit. I want honesty. The circus is already there; the only question that remains is who are going to be its directors and who will be the dancing elephants. On the WC list, anthro-clowns are doubling as dancing elephants for the PLANS directors.

I think that there is a very profound good in having a group like "Waldorf Critics" - although I wish it were more of a "Waldorf Challengers" group, which they can be sometimes.

It took me a long time to become aware that the PLANS-WC cult was supposed to be a "Waldorf Challengers" group like you describe. I discovered their organization when someone gave me some print-outs from their website about Steiner and the Jews, Anthroposophists and the Holocaust, abut anthroposophy being racist to the core and disgusting and so on. so frankly, I don't give a damn about Waldorf schools or their critics. They can tie up the courts all they want, and I don't give a shit about what the judges decide about taxpayers money and curriculum in so-called charter schools. It's none of my damn business, but the critics keep saying that I'm a Waldorf representative in their court circus because I defend RS. They keep saying that everything I write is to be used to warn Waldorf parents against Waldorf schools. I don't care.

I have therefore refrained for the most part from participating in discussions about Waldorf schools and their educational system, because it's outside my field of experience and knowledge. I have only discussed Christology, ocultism, initiation and things like that. And Nazism. But I've been through the Waldorf dance too; they're only going around in circles. Check out these threads from 1999, when I was there:

Steiner/Waldorf/Anthroposophy Disclosure to Parents
http://www.uncletaz.com/wc/wcthreads/disclosure.html

What is Anthroposophical Influence?
http://www.uncletaz.com/wc/wcthreads/anthroinflu.html

First Amendment and WE
http://www.uncletaz.com/wc/wcthreads/firstamendwe.html

All this stuff has been discussed so thoroughly that what's happening now is only senseless repetition and a PR effort to persuade the world to the PLANS point of view, not only regarding Waldorf, but regarding Anthroposophy and Steiner as well. Why Steiner's Christology is compatible with the KKK and things like that. Flaming and high emotional tactics? You bet.

The fact that they question Waldorf Education's philosophy, methods and materials is actually a good thing if it sparks intelligent Waldorf Educators to stop a moment and re-think and re-evaluate their work in the light of the most contemporary sociological and psychological findings in education.

I would never disturb or disrupt or criticize intelligent discussions of this kind, and I never have.

It is my personal conviction that Waldorf Education is inherently consistent with all the best findings of educational psychology and can hold its own against any challenger.

It may hold its own in an honest debate, but the Jews did not hold their own against allegations of global conspiracy. The lies were too many and too gross.

The difficulty may be in finding people who have the time to do the necessary work. Waldorf teaching is a truly 24/7 vocation and while there are many Waldorf teachers who could contribute a lot to this discussion, probably very few actually have time to do so. In fact, very few active Waldorf teachers probably have time to spend in front of the computer on the internet or reading e-mails. So it falls on the shoulders of a few people out here in cyberspace to at least champion the cause.

The cause of Waldorf schools must be championed by experienced Waldorf teachers and parents. There is room for that here at Anthroposophy Tomorrow too if they come forward and start some threads. Your post here may be a good start.

<snip>

Attacking the WC/PLANS side for being "materialistic" "atheistic" or "Ahrimanic" is meaningless for our purposes, as is, on the other hand, their attacking WE and Anthroposophists for being "cultish" "anti-science" or "religious".

That's what makes it a circus.

"Come now, gentlemen, your love is all I crave
You'll still be in the circus when I'm laughing,
laughing in my grave"

- Mick Jagger: "Memo from Turner"

WC/PLANS members have every right to their own world view, as WE/Anthropops have a right to ours.

I don't think any of us have argued against free speech or freedom of thought.

There is much middle ground, actually, to be found in the very latest findings of educational psychology, neuroscience and sociological studies, but nothing will be gained along these lines by an us/them antagonistic approach.

Neither do I think we have expressed ourselves antagonistically against any educational or psychological theories. We have expressed ourselves antagonistically against calling Anthroposophy Nazism, and it is our right to do so.

I have stated before and I will state again here and in any other forum that I agree with and support these basic, fundamental principles and objectives of the WC/PLANS movement:

<snip>

If this were all PLANS-WC was about, I wouldn't have bothered with them in the first place. They wouldn't have interested me. I am not, and have never been, a Waldorf teacher. My son attends Waldorf school in a different city where his mother lives, who is a Waldorf teacher.

There are Waldorf schools all over Norway, called Steiner schools, and that's the only thing ordinary people associate with RS and anthroposophy: Steiner schools. I'm sick of it. I'm sick and tired of having the pulpit and the pedagogy hurled at me every time I talk about Lemuria! I'm tired of hearing about schools! I have nothing to do with them! Even in my recent discussion with Diana here, she talked about my clients being Waldorf parents! Hello? Is this a damn circus or isn't it?

I wish PLANS-WC would stick to schools and leave us ordinary anthro's alone and stop spreading the poison that we're brainwashed Nazis and racists and even child-abusers because for some reason they think every anthro is after their children.

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 12:40 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Well, Waldorf Education is a "daughter movement" of Anthroposophy. So if it is proven beyond all doubt by the standard criteria of today's awareness of cults that Anthroposophy is NOT a cult, then, Waldorf Critics should leave Anthroposophists and Anthroposophical discussions, per se, alone, because there is absolutely no intention on the part of Anthroposophists and Waldorf Teachers to try to make anyone - adults or children - Anthroposophists. There is no mechanism for recruitment and no incentive. There is no evidence of a high proportion of Anthroposophists sending their children to Waldorf Schools and no evidence of even a small proportion of Waldorf School graduates "becoming" Anthroposophists.

So, Anthropsosophists can believe that the earth was once made of green cheese, which is why the moon is now made of green cheese and that when we die we will all go to heaven where everyone is eating green cheese pizza and that wouldn't have anything at all to do with whether or not Waldorf Education is a good educational system.

Right?

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 12:42 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Taz

so frankly, I don't give a damn about Waldorf schools or their critics.

Oh, what will I do? I MUST get him back. I'll think about that at "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" because "tomorrow is another day."

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 12:52 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

At 21:40 08.02.2004, Christine wrote:

So, Anthropsosophists can believe that the earth was once made of green cheese, which is why the moon is now made of green cheese and that when we die we will all go to heaven where everyone is eating green cheese pizza and that wouldn't have anything at all to do with whether or not Waldorf Education is a good educational system.

Right?

I don't understand your point.

Tarjei

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 12:56 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

At 21:42 08.02.2004, Christine wrote:

Taz

so frankly, I don't give a damn about Waldorf schools or their critics.

Oh, what will I do? I MUST get him back. I'll think about that at "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" because "tomorrow is another day."

My point is that I've been flaming with the critics and doing circus with them regarding issues not related to the classroom, which I don't give a damn about. But I do believe that my Steiner-inspired philosophy is a healthy one. It's up to the pedagogists to decide whether or not such Steiner-inspiration is also healthy for schools. I don't meddle in that discussion.

Tarjei

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From: golden3000997
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 1:12 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

The point is that I can understand the distinction between Anthroposophy and it's "world view" or "belief system" or basic ideas and Waldorf Education as a work in itself, but obviously the WCs do not and refuse to do so when it is pointed out because it is more politically useful to use the more avante-garde bits from Steiner as a proof that Waldorf Teachers must be nuts!

And it does concern you in a way, Tarjei in a general sense - because we live in an international culture and people borrow precedents from any country or political system if there are points to be made within their own. Just because Norway is cool with Steiner schools now, doesn't mean they will always be. And I have said before that it is my personal belief system that when the world political situation heats up in the "Ahrimanic arena" EVERYONE who has been even peripherally involved with Waldorf Schools may come under attack and prosecution, whether they were a "true believer" or not. One relatively small court case involving one charter school on the west coast of the United States could very well have repercussions around the globe. As you said regarding Jews trying to defend themselves with reason:

Christine

It is my personal conviction that Waldorf Education is inherently consistent with all the best findings of educational psychology and can hold its own against any challenger.

Tarjei

It may hold its own in an honest debate, but the Jews did not hold their own against allegations of global conspiracy. The lies were too many and too gross.

We are all in a situation where it behooves us to insist on clarity in this situation.

You just said:

I wish PLANS-WC would stick to schools and leave us ordinary anthro's alone and stop spreading the poison that we're brainwashed Nazis and racists and even child-abusers because for some reason they think every anthro is after their children.

If the PLANS movement can get the words "racist" "Nazi" and "cult" imbedded into their California lawsuit, then there will be a legal record that will be very useful in the future to those with even more violent political agendas. They could potentially say "See, we have to destroy Waldorf Schools and everyone associated with them. After all, it was proven in a California court that they are a racist, Nazi cult." Look around you on the street, even there in liberal Norway. Do you think those people are going to take the time to read through all of your WC posts and articles on your website to decide for themselves if such a label is, in fact, deserved?

We are all in this together, Tarjei, like it or not.

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 2:03 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

At 22:12 08.02.2004, Christine wrote:

The point is that I can understand the distinction between Anthroposophy and it's "world view" or "belief system" or basic ideas and Waldorf Education as a work in itself, but obviously the WCs do not and refuse to do so when it is pointed out because it is more politically useful to use the more avante-garde bits from Steiner as a proof that Waldorf Teachers must be nuts!

No avant-garde bit from Steiner says the moon is made of green cheese. That's why I didn't understand your point. The PLANS'ers dont recognize any difference between that and Buddha's mission on Mars, just like some of them don't even see the difference between the Easter Bunny and the Risen One.

And it does concern you in a way, Tarjei in a general sense -

Of course it does, and I've been doing my share. I've defended Buddha on Mars and I've discussed the seven races of Atlantis with Peter S. I even received a token monetary award from an anthro-fund a few years ago for "defending Anthroposophy in the public debate."

Do you think those people are going to take the time to read through all of your WC posts and articles on your website to decide for themselves if such a label is, in fact, deserved?

No, but they may notice that my anarchosophical website is linked up all over the liberal and anarchist left, anti-fascist and anti-racist websites and so on and ask themselves if that looks Nazi or racist.

We are all in this together, Tarjei, like it or not.

That doesn't mean we all have to play the same tune. And sometimes we can have ourselves a party and be the circus directors..

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 9:40 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Dear Christine,

I deeply appreciate the time and effort that you put into this post. I love your writing because it seems to me that you are coming from the heart, along with the obvious facts that you are well read, and have much experience with Anthroposophy, and WE.

I agree in theory to the following:

The danger in even attempting to respond to or refute allegations made by WC and PLANS members is that we are all working with bits and pieces of events and situations brought out as examples. Each "side" brings forth only what supports its goals and intentions and rarely is a discussion focused, level-headed and open minded enough for a real consensus to take place. Attacking the WC/PLANS side for being "materialistic" "atheistic" or "Ahrimanic" is meaningless for our purposes, as is, on the other hand, their attacking WE and Anthroposophists for being "cultish" "anti-science" or "religious".

I love the ideal. And I hope not to lose sight of it. There are two quotes that stick out for me right now -- "where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow me afterwards" and "My time has not yet come."

I love the idea of consensus too. My little bit of experience with the struggle to come to such, leaves doubts in my mind about our ability to really come to this ideal in our present day and age. Seems to me that we all have to barf up our neurosis first, in order to really understand its potential -- which probably doesn't amount to much (neurosis). But all to often we pretend that it doesn't exist -- "lets all be speerchill and start up a waldorf school."

I say that Peter S. is an atheist with a materialistic world view, and that that is paramount in his decision to say that Anthroposophy is racist to the core. He calls me a "clueless character." Ping pong, ping pong, bla bla bla...

I think an even bigger danger happens when this kind of stuff starts to become fun -- a game of sorts. That's the kind of shit that all wars are made of.

I'm not trying to justify stupid behavior, just maybe reluctantly accept that we all do the best that we can and hopefully learn from our stupidity.

I've learned allot from shooting my mouth off and then having to eat crow afterward. Unfortunately we seem to me to be stuck with a messy process.

All the best

Mike

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

From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 10:11 pm
Subject: R: [anthroposophy] Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

A little remark about it.

Since my three year toddler is a Waldorf "customer" I'm directly experiencing something about this topic. Well, here in Rome,, as I can see, not only teachers; but the whole movement of the schools is trying to help, the growth and the rejuvenatiomn of the movement itself; tks also to the very peculiar history of the Italian Anthro-Movemnet which has at his core a special non-dogmatic spiritual stream, most of all here in my own tome. In other words: we are working in order to avoid the double danger towering above us: the dogmatic "parroting" of 80 years old insights and the blind strife for the "new" in education.

Andrea the Italian

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 5:22 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Hi Mike!

The purpose in writing this was not to criticize you or Tarjei or anyone else. I have always been the sort of person who gets real mad and just wishes I could roar loud enough to get the other person to back down and say I was right no matter what. But I think I had a high school teacher who was the one who really took time to show me how important it is to try to reign in those feelings (imagine trying to teach that to a 16 or 17 year old Leo girl!) and to try to develop an argument based on what the other person was actually saying.

I certainly am no great example of this, even thirty something years later, but I have a paranoid feeling about this WC/PLANS thing and it arises in me that we need to be able to fight fire with fire and leave an extremely clear record of our position and our reality. They may seem like a somewhat isolated group of right wing fanatics, but their kind of "information" spreads faster than truth and I am sure that Waldorf Schools and potential school communities are having to deal with a backlash from this mess all the time. Part of my intention in writing little "treatises" is to possibly give someone somewhere a response that they may not have the time to write themselves. So, if you all think there is any value in it, please pass it on to anyone that you think might need it. If you think corrections are needed first, please let me know.

As I said to Tarjei, this "mud" sticks to us all and we might not be able to foresee down the road how many people will turn up their noses at us if we even mention the word "Waldorf". If Waldorf schools get branded (wrongly and unfairly) as a "racist Nazi cult" which the WC/PLANS group is coming perilously close to doing, every one of us will be suspect and will have to spend the rest of our lives trying to explain, defend and exonerate ourselves. That is why I think we should be watching the court cases very closely and if anyone is directly involved or knows someone who is, try to insist that those buzz words not be allowed into the proceedings.

In my personal opinion, this is one of the biggest problems caused directly by the Waldorf School movement ever allowing Waldorf Education to be brought into a public school classroom in the first place. It was a stupid move. These are the things I think are wrong with the idea:

1. It brings Waldorf Education under the scrutiny and to an extent, under the control of the state government. While there is nothing about Waldorf Schools or Waldorf Education that needs to "hide", there are many aspects of our methodology which are ahead of their time and require a great deal of effort on our part to give the background and reasoning for. There are many elements of state education that we do not want to participate in, for example, pledging allegiance to a national flag. In this unparalleled time of flag-waving, the lack of the flag in the classroom is enough to raise antipathy from any government entity. Also elements such as the Sistine Madonna, morning verses with the word "God" in them, candle-lighting and other "rituals" of our day all envoke religious school practices and make state orthodoxy very uncomfortable, to say the least. Remember, these people want the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance itself!

Technically, Waldorf teachers come from many different backgrounds and from the inception of the first school, Steiner made it clear that a good teacher did not necessarily have to have a state teaching credential, but there were other criteria of character and life experience that were more important. The fact that some Waldorf teachers do not have state certification, some not even a standard Bachelor's degree is not something that sits well with the government, either.

2. The financial paradigm of tax funded education is wrong and against the social principles on which the Waldorf schools were founded.

3. The state schools as they exist today, since the 1960s have become self-proclamed bastions of secularism. Legal measures have been used ruthlessly to strip every religious element out of the public school classroom. The concept behind this (ostensibly) is to ensure that all children can feel comfortable in a public school setting and do not have to face potential ostracism due to their families' religious beliefs or lack of beliefs. Considering the amount of "Christianity" active in the public schools from around 1850 to 1950, there is a justifiable basis for this attitude.

If I had a kindergarten age child and, for whatever reason, had to or wanted to put him or her into a public school, I would be appalled if it were run as a Montessori school. The reason is that Maria Montessori's EXPRESS purpose in her educational philosophy was to make all children good Catholics. Whether the methods and techniques of a private school system are "good" universally, the very existence of a "religious" or "spiritual" background is enough to justify keeping them out of the public school classroom.

Perhaps some day far in the future, Waldorf Education will be so universally desirable within society at large, that it will be mandated for all schools. But I have a feeling that if society moves in a more "spiritualized" direction, at least here in America, the rabid Christian fundamentalists will pounce on it first and we will see a "Christian" public school system the likes of which will make the early 20th century seem positively enlightened.

I've got to run. More later.

Love,
Christine

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

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 9:44 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

At 14:22 09.02.2004, Christine wrote:

Hi Mike!

The purpose in writing this was not to criticize you or Tarjei or anyone else. I have always been the sort of person who gets real mad and just wishes I could roar loud enough to get the other person to back down and say I was right no matter what.

I understand. I knee-jerk sometimes when I'm left with the impression that someone may be wishing to tell me what to write in my own posts, just like you once reacted to somebody else on this list in November.

Tarjei

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

From: Joel Wendt
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 10:56 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Dear Christine,

Thanks for your work that appeared under this subject heading. I know a lot of effort had to go into it. For the purpose of a little levity in dealing with PLANS and the WClist, let me share a little story from life.

From 1964 to 1967, I attended the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula Montana, graduating with a J.D. (Juris Doctor) in June '67. While there we had a number of interesting professors, of which one of the most memorable was Professor Mason, a scholar of Constitutional Law, and Federal Civil Procedure, the former a rather life filled and dynamic course, but with the latter one being dry and mind numbing. Unfortunately, it was the latter course that was the most important, but that is another story.

Professor Mason was a very deliberate and disciplined individual, wearing always a dark suit and a white shirt with French cuffs. He lived near the School, and on the weekends in the Spring he could be seen in his rose garden, tending his flowers dressed in a starched white coverall and white gloves.

His speech was always precise and careful, and he demanded of us an equally discipline approach to the law.

As a young lawyer, he had been on the team that prosecuted the Nuremberg trials after WWII. This later was used against him by a rather ambitious editor of the University's student Newspaper, one David Rorvik. Mr. Rorvik picked a fight with Professor Mason during our senior year ('67), for reasons that remain obscure, during which Professor Mason was accused of anti-semitic behaviors for certain aspects of his work on the Nuremberg trials. It was clear the accusations were spurious, and that Rorvik had some other agenda (his editorials at the paper were often outrageous in one degree or another), but as students of Professor Mason we were naturally concerned.

Professor Mason basically did nothing. He made no reply, sent no letter to the Editor, or any other activity other than continuing his teaching. Finally after about a week, as we were leaving class one of us asked Professor Mason why he did not reply to these clearly spurious charges. His reply, below, was quite out of character with his generally formal classroom behavior, which made it all the more memorable and which makes it also apply to the WClist to some degree.

Here is what he said:

"Never get in a pissing contest with a skunk."

warm regards,
joel

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

From: Linda Clemens
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 11:54 am
Subject: Re: Waldorf Principles

--- golden3000997 wrote:

Whether the methods and techniques of a private school system are "good" universally, the very existence of a "religious" or "spiritual" background is enough to justify keeping them out of the public school classroom.

Perhaps some day far in the future, Waldorf Education will be so universally desirable within society at large, that it will be mandated for all schools.

Could you elaborate on this idea? I understand your point that public education today rejects the all religious or spiritual elements, and that one day this may relax. But then you seem to leap to suppositions about which "spiritual elements" would win out and ultimately become mandatory in public education.

Surely, the idea that any one particular view could or would become "mandatory" is reason enough to dissuade society from "moving in a more spiritualized direction" in public education. I'm not sure I understand why it needs follow, why making a particular view "mandatory" would be the inevitable outcome. And speaking for myself, I wouldn't be at all reassured about any "spiritual" mandates in education just because they were Waldorf-brand spiritualisms.

L

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 4:05 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Waldorf Principles

I meant in a few more centuries, when (hopefully) the entire view of the human being will have matured. I certainly don't mean the infantile, egotistical views of "spirituality" that many people entertain today.

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 4:11 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

Howdy Joel!

Yup! You may have missed my forwarding of some "country quotes" from another site. One of them was about wrestling with pigs & getting muddy. I made a snide aside to Daniel who had made a really good response to Diana Winters and she had treated it like dirt.

She got really offended at the intended offence and hence removed herself from our presence!

Welcome home! How did your adventures in New Hampshire go? Did you freeze your *** off?

: ) Christine

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

From: Linda Clemens
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 4:49 pm
Subject: Re: Waldorf Principles

--- golden3000997 wrote:

I meant in a few more centuries, when (hopefully) the entire view of the human being will have matured. I certainly don't mean the infantile, egotistical views of "spirituality" that many people entertain today.

I'm a little troubled at the idea that in the future our "spirituality" may mature to the point where society would mandate Waldorf education in public schools. Mandating any particular public education system because it is "perceived" to have the Best Spirituality component seems a major step backwards to me.

Let me qualify this by saying, again, I'm not an anthroposophist or an expert in Rudolf Steiner, but it's my understanding that it was his view that education should be completely free of government control (ie "mandates"). Would this view change, would he be supportive of a "mandatory" educational system so long as the educational system mandated was his? Waldorf?

L

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 5:14 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Waldorf Principles

Sorry again - to clarify - not mandated by Government- but by the totality of the social environment. Please try to understand I am fantasizing a very different human community than what we live with today. You are trying to fit it into today's world and social/ political reality. That is not what I was trying to say. It's like French schools teach in French because the people in their society speak French. The government doesn't have to "mandate" it by law. Schools in a more "spiritual" society will teach in a more "spiritual" way because that will be the "language" of the people in that society.

Who knows what a few hundred years may bring about? : )

[See also "Fwd: In Your Neck of the Woods"]

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

From: Linda Clemens
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 5:46 pm
Subject: Re: Waldorf Principles

--- golden3000997 wrote:

Sorry again - to clarify - not mandated by Government- but by the totality of the social environment. Please try to understand I am fantasizing a very different human community than what we live with today. You are trying to fit it into today's world and social/ political reality. That is not what I was trying to say.

Thank you. I think I'm understanding you. Not "mandated" in the sense of forced on anybody but "mandated" in the sense of fulfilling the demand? Sorry, I know my terms are clumsy, hidebound by current connotations, but I hope I'm getting closer to your meaning. :)

It's like French schools teach in French because the people in their society speak French. The government doesn't have to "mandate" it by law.

Maybe not in the far and very different future, but the French government doesn't allow for any wiggle room on this issue today. I'm pretty sure it's mandated......... /g

Who knows what a few hundred years may bring about?

I know this is petty, but somewhere near the top on my wish list would be that "Beam Me Up" transportation system they have on Star Trek. Fast, clean...no traffic jambs. I'd REALLY love to have that.

L

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 6:04 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Waldorf Principles

Teleporting would be cool, although remember the episode where that guy got caught in the in-between stage? Kind of like the clock I wrote about a day or two ago. I hope that if they learn to take apart my molecules, they can remember how to put them back together again! Hey, but what if we wanted to lose a few pounds quickly? Maybe they could leave those out!!

Personally, I am waiting for them to "discover" the force of levity (as opposed to "gravity). Then we can learn to fly! I always had flying dreams as a child. Did you ever see the David Copperfield magic program about flying?? It made me cry and cry. I wish I had a tape of it!

Do you remember the scene with Uncle Albert in "Mary Poppins" where the children go with Mary Poppins to visit him and they find him bouncing around the ceiling because he "goes UP" when he laughs? Levity = Levity. Ha-Ha! Of course, Mary Poppins doesn' have to laugh to do it, because she is in complete control of the forces of the Universe. Have you read the originals?? So WONDERFUL! Remember the chapter about Maia, the youngest of the "Seven Sisters" - the Pleiades, who comes down to do her Christmas shopping with Jane and Michael? What about when she goes dancing with the Zodiac on her birthday?

Oh, when spiritual reality really sinks in, Teleporting will only one of the many wonders we will know!

: ) Christine

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

From: Joel Wendt
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:26 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

On Mon, 2004-02-09 at 17:11, golden3000997 wrote:

Welcome home! How did your adventures in New Hampshire go? Did you freeze your *** off?

Yes, it did fall off about 2 hours after I stepped off the plane in Manchester and the temperature at the airport was minus 14. I think the high during the two weeks I was there was about 10 above.

I spoke in Great Barrington MA on Moral Grace, and in Wilton NH on the Four Forms of Love, to small intimate groups, which gave us wonderful opportunities for conversation. I also taught a seminar (again to a small group) at Keene State College on the relationship between the history of ideas, ordinary event history, and the evolution of conscious as these three interrelated streams converged in the phenomena of modern problems in political and social existence (or as their course instructor called it: Campaign Finance Reform, and the New Hampshire Primary).

There were other matters I attended to, but as this place is watched by prudes on a witch hunt, I shall not violate what could be called the rules of writing for a family newspaper.

j.

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

From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:32 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf Principles

You GO Joel! : )

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