Who is an Anthroposophist?

A short, but boring and braindead thread about the right to call oneself an anthroposophist. I left it in only because I was dumb enough to participate. (A discussion about the right to call oneself an anarchosophist might have been far more interesting.)

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From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: 15 Apr 1999 10:32:44 -0400

I (Luke) wrote:

It is my understanding that the only people who are "anthroposohists" are those people who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. Every one else is some version of "interested in the topic of anthroposophy" (whatever that can be). I think the only thing that a person must do to be a member of the society is accept that there is a place in Dornach, Swizterland called the Goetheanum where people are engaged in the study of spiritual science. Is this correct (or something like this)?

Tarjei answered:

An anthroposophist is any person who accepts that Rudolf Steiner was a bona fide clairvoyant researcher, and that anthroposophically oriented spiritual science is a legitimate field of research.

I don't think membership to the AS is restricted to these individuals. I could join tomorrow and I wouldn't neccessarily have to believe this. So I think your definition is too broad and encompasses anyone who may act on personal volition for whatever. (and critics would have a easy job in labeling personal action as anthroposophist actions).

My basic understanding is that you have to be a member of the AS to be an anthroposophist. Otherwise one is kind of a interested bystander. In maintaining the position that the AS is the set of "all the anthroposophists", it has the ability to protect a good name for anthroposophists by discussing the actions of a member with that member. Otherwise someone like, Sadam Hussein could be an anthroposophist (of his own definition) and anything that he does could be linked to his anthroposophical ties by anyone who wants to make that connection. It seems like a foolish position to put your own organisation in. Either they are not protecting against negative associations by allowing anyone to to do anything in the name of anthroposophy and with no redress with that individual, or they spend inordinate amounts of time jumping up and down saying that doesn't represent anthroposophy. Witness what is done here 45% of the time. (Another 45% of the time is making the association!

s, and the last 10% is split equally between having good criticisms and dialog.)

The reason I ask for this clarification is that I read alot of "anthroposophists this and that..." But beyond this one or few clear shared touchstones "anthroposophists" as a group are nothing else. Everything from that distinction on is a variety of individualism.

The Anthroposophical Movement, which consists of all anthroposophists and their influence on world culture, is indeed comprised of a variety of individualism.

I meant "a variety of individual action not reflecting or connected to another" if I was unclear.

Is the AM different then the AS?

Luke

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:26:51 +0200

Luke Schelly wrote:

My basic understanding is that you have to be a member of the AS to be an anthroposophist. Otherwise one is kind of a interested bystander.

That's like saying you can't be an existentialist or an anarchist or a communist without being a card-carrying member of something. You're saying that I am not an anthroposophist because I'm not a member of anything. But all anthroposophists I have encountered, including AS members, have recognized me as an anthroposophist. So why shouldn't you?

In maintaining the position that the AS is the set of "all the anthroposophists",

The AS doesn't have any authority over anybody. It's a meeting place for anthroposophical professionals who happen to be members (doctors, teachers, scientists, etc.)

it has the ability to protect a good name for anthroposophists by discussing the actions of a member with that member.

Come on, don't make me sick. There is no behavioral standard being enforced by the AS upon its members, except perhaps someone telling tall wild tales to the media and making false claims about his or her position within the AS - in other words, lies and slander.

Otherwise someone like, Sadam Hussein could be an anthroposophist (of his own definition) and anything that he does could be linked to his anthroposophical ties by anyone who wants to make that connection.

And nobody could stop that from happening. Not the AS or anyone else. Freedom and independence has its price and its risks. I, for one, am willing to pay the price for freedom. What do you want? A Stalin structure like the Church of Scientology?

It seems like a foolish position to put your own organisation in.

What is the alternative? Iron discipline? Lawsuits? Threats? Controlling people, writing reports about them?

Either they are not protecting against negative associations by allowing anyone to to do anything in the name of anthroposophy and with no redress with that individual, or they spend inordinate amounts of time jumping up and down saying that doesn't represent anthroposophy.

They have more productive things to do than running around policing people. They're more or less anarchists all of them, whether they know it or not. And anarchists don't act like prison wardens.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Sarah Stein
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:22:36 -0500

Luke wrote:

My basic understanding is that you have to be a member of the AS to be an anthroposophist. Otherwise one is kind of a interested bystander. In maintaining the position that the AS is the set of "all the anthroposophists", it has the ability to protect a good name for anthroposophists by discussing the actions of a member with that member. Otherwise someone like, Sadam Hussein could be an anthroposophist (of his own definition) and anything that he does could be linked to his anthroposophical ties by anyone who wants to make that connection. It seems like a foolish position to put your own organisation in. Either they are not protecting agaainst negative associations by allowing anyone to to do anything in the name of anthroposophy and with no redress with that individual, or they spend inordinate amounts of time jumping up and down saying that doesn't represent anthroposophy.

This is exactly the position traditional, Torah-observant Judaism has been in ever since the Reform movement began, and erroneously kept the name Judaism. And now, so-called "Orthodox" Jews must spend too much of their time defending and defining Torah-true Judaism. (At least when the Protestants split from Catholicism, they had the consideration to call themselves Protestants, and not "Protestant Catholics." Thus Catholics, as far as I've heard -- correct me if I'm wrong -- don't have to have debates about "who is a Catholic?")

I don't know if this unfortunate situation can be avoided, even if there is a "Society" whose membership is intended to be an exclusive roster of all faithful adherents... There will always be those who don't join, but do believe, and those who do join, but don't accept all of the "tenets," and those who would misuse or abuse the name of the Society, whether willfully or carelessly.

Respectfully,

Sarah

*****

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 19:31:20 -0400

Sarah points out:

This is exactly the position traditional, Torah-observant Judaism has been in ever since the Reform movement began, and erroneously kept the name Judaism. And now, so-called "Orthodox" Jews must spend too much of their time defending and defining Torah-true Judaism. (At least when the Protestants split from Catholicism, they had the consideration to call themselves Protestants, and not "Protestant Catholics." Thus Catholics, as far as I've heard -- correct me if I'm wrong -- don't have to have debates about "who is a Catholic?")

Oh, indeed they do!

Catholics are split over such issues as abortion, birth control, marriage for the priesthood, and ordination of women. Thus, you can hear of such a thing as a "pro-choice Catholic".

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: who is an anthroposophist
Date: 15 Apr 1999 21:23:53 -0400

I posted

it is my understanding that the only people who are "anthroposohists" are those people who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. Every one else is some version of "interested in the topic of anthroposophy" (whatever that can be). I think the only thing that a person must do to be a member of the society is accept that there is a place in Dornach, Swizterland called the Goetheanum where people are engaged in the study of spiritual science. Is this correct (or something like this)?

Bruce responded:

Something like that, yes! But I reckon there are lots of other organisations where "members" are not necessarily card-carrying. I honestly do not know whether Religions qualify, but sports certainly do: I am a tennis-player, but I do not have a card to say so. I am a scientist - maybe if all scientists had to carry a membership card then we would be able to decide whether Steiner really was a card carrying scientist or not. I am a teacher..... when I go abroad with a class I carry a card to prove it!

But "members" aren't official members, they are non-members interested in the same stuff without being a member.(possibly virtually indistinguishable except that they are not members of the association of official members)

You don't have to be a member of anything to be a tennis player but you do have to be a professional player to be a member of the Prof. Tennis Players Association. For example, a lunatic runs out and bashes someone with a tennis racket screaming "i'm a prof. tennis player and you are all gonna get it!" So when the media (or the prof. tennis critics) come knocking on their door to find out why prof tennis players are so violent, the PTPA can point to their books and say "he's not on our list of members so, eventhough that guy screams what he wants, he's not one of us".

The same applies to the AS. It (the AS) can't restrict anyone from believing or understanding or having interest in any or all things anthroposophical, but they can and should (I think) protect the good name that represents their association.

The interesting thing is the RS set up such a simple and easy criteria for membership, which has a small nod to responsibility (acknowledging consciously an association with others) while leaving great freedom of movement for individual positions on the content of the discussions within the society.

Luke

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From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: 15 Apr 1999 22:52:18 -0400

I, Luke Schelly, wrote:

My basic understanding is that you have to be a member of the AS to be an anthroposophist. Otherwise one is kind of a interested bystander.

TS

That's like saying you can't be an existentialist or an anarchist or a communist without being a card-carrying member of something.

LS

Are you suggesting that if I said you were not a part of my family, you would argue with me? If there are no defining elements of existentialism, anarchism or communism, I couldn't say that you *are* one of any of those either. At some point you just become a "Tarjei", at once everything and nothing.

TS

You're saying that I am not an anthroposophist because I'm not a member of anything.

LS

I guess (in my mind) I am saying that since you are not a member of the AS, you are not an anthroposophist. Although, a part from that one small distinction you seem to be indistinquishable from an anthroposophist. But, to me, since that is the only thing that delineates an anthroposphist from anyone else, it may be small but not it is not insignificant.

TS

But all anthroposophists I have encountered, including AS members, have recognize me as an anthroposophist. So why shouldn't you?

Because I define anthroposphists as those who are members of the AS.

LS

In maintaining the position that the AS is the set of "all the anthroposophists",

TS

The AS doesn't have any authority over anybody.

LS

But it ("it" being the group of people that are in association) does have responsibility to its own members.

TS

It's a meeting place for anthroposophical professionals who happen to be members (doctors, teachers, scientists, etc.)

LS

Small point of clarification, the Goetheanum is the place, the AS is an intentional association of people.

it has the ability to protect a good name for anthroposophists by discussing the actions of a member with that member.

TS

Come on, don't make me sick. There is no behavioral standard being enforced by the AS upon its members, except perhaps someone telling tall wild tales to the media and making false claims about his or her position within the AS - in other words, lies and slander.

LS

First of all Tarjei you can ratchet down the rhetoric for me. (I like waldorf schools and anthroposophists and anthroposophist-like people, but i'm not an anthroposphist)

The only behavioral standard that I imagine would be in place (imposed by each individual upon themself) might be to treat each other as one would when one was part of an intentional association. TMM that would be having sympathy and respect for each other and acknowledging the responsibility that in some way, each represents all the others.

Otherwise someone like, Sadam Hussein could be an anthroposophist (of his own definition) and anything that he does could be linked to his anthroposophical ties by anyone who wants to make that connection.

TS

And nobody could stop that from happening. Not the AS or anyone else. Freedom and independence has its price and its risks. I, for one, am willing to pay the price for freedom.

seems more like a morass. When the anti-anthro people start after you because "you associate with the same stuff as Saddam" (not really) you have to eventually define what is and what isn't anthro. to release yourself and anthro. from the slander. Seems Back-ass-ward. Besides then you look like an apologist, or at least that will be the first line of rebuttal (ad nauseum into what this list looks like)

TS

What do you want? A Stalin structure like the Church of Scientology?

LS

Personally i want to have breakfast in bed every day and my own sauna at home. Seriously, I would want to be part of an association of people that have a mutual sense of respect and sympathy for our individual natures while also balancing our individuality with a responsibilty to each other as a group with a shared intention.

It seems like a foolish position to put your own organisation in.

TS

What is the alternative? Iron discipline? Lawsuits? Threats? Controlling people, writing reports about them?

LS

Damn Tarjei you sure do gravitate to the repressive expressions rhetoric quick. How about an agreement of mutual respect?

Either they are not protecting agaainst negative associations by allowing anyone to to do anything in the name of anthroposophy and with no redress with that individual, or they spend inordinate amounts of time jumping up and down saying that doesn't represent anthroposophy.

TS

They have more productive things to do than running around policing people.

LS

You seem to spend alot of time here on this list having to explain and delineate the fine distinctions and general accusations.

TS

They're more or less anarchists all of them, whether they know it or not.

LS

That's really nice of you to say Tarj. What if "they" (AS members I take it) are offended at being called anarchists? Are you now the arbitor of who is and isn't what?

TS

And anarchists don't act like prison wardens.

LS

I don't know Tarjei, you do seem to have an ease with placing people in "cells" (boxes, pigeon holes). (I know it is not as good a backhanded compliment as Micheal Kopp could do but I'm still young and learning)

Cheers to you Tarjei

Luke

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 07:36:17 EDT

There are so many threads going on this issue that I am not citing anyone.

In 1984 I chose to sign a piece of paper and became a Member of the Anthroposophical Society. I paid a sub, which was voluntary but encouraged.

Rather later I decided to support my local group and sent them a sub too - in return I got a newsletter.

I now live in Germany, but I still get the newsletters from the AS in GB and the local group to which I then belonged. I now pay nothing. I COULD transfer to the General Anthroposophical Society, or to Germany.

Before 1984 I would have also called myself an anthroposophist, even though I had not signed on the dotted line. A spiritual organisation should have its roots in physical membership, but the GAS does not ban people from calling themselves anthroposophists who are not members.

I would also call myself a socialist, but I was only for a short time a card carrying member of the university Soc Soc!

My question to Tarjei and Luke is: where is this thread going? Is this helping anyone at all, and has it anything to do with waldorf-critics?

Bruce

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:02:50 +0200

Bruce wrote:

My question to Tarjei and Luke is: where is this thread going? Is this helping anyone at all, and has it anything to do with waldorf-critics?

In my opinion, this thread is pure nonsense as it is. We should teminate it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Who is an anthroposophist?
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 15:17:09 +0200

I wrote:

But all anthroposophists I have encountered, including AS members, have recognize me as an anthroposophist. So why shouldn't you?

Luke wrote:

Because I define anthroposphists as those who are members of the AS.

I'm involved in too many threads as it is, taking up too much of my time. This is the dumbest.

The End

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: For Tarj
Date: 16 Apr 1999 14:13:15 -0400

I'm involved in too many threads as it is, taking up too much of my time. This is the dumbest.

The End

I love you too Tarj.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: For Tarj
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 20:40:13 +0200

I'm involved in too many threads as it is, taking up too much of my time. This is the dumbest.

The End

I love you too Tarj.

Welcome to my fan club.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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