Re: Anthroposophy, a Secret Religion?
Date: May 19, 2020 06:06AM
I have have enjoyed the wonderful trove of information on various things related to Cults in our culture from Scientology to the dubious work of Gurdjieff (in my younger years, I had an interest in one such group--but more of that in a moment) so I appreciate this page.
But I feel I must defend Anthroposophy or the work of Rudolf Steiner.
Firstly, Steiner contributed a whole host of information on such a rich variety of subjects that it's almost impossible to define him in any succinct way, but I will try by telling you something about my own search in things esoteric.
Firstly, I almost fell for Gurdjieff, who I realized was a cunning trickster of sorts with some sprinkles of truth. This is probably why Ouspensky--his biggest promoter (an accomplished author and journalist in his own right before meeting Gurdjieff, important to note)--took a while before he "woke up" and realized he was being conned...and it's most essential that any potential pupil of Gurdjieff understand that the author of IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS, a foundational book on the Gurdjieff work, ended up rejecting Gurdjieff altogether later. This proved pivotal in my looking back on those years when I thought Gurdjieff might have had something real to offer.
Some years later, and after much development in my own spiritual path, I came across the work of Rudolf Steiner. I have been reading Steiner--I never say I am an Anthroposophist (I do pay a small dues for Membership to the Society every year, however!) as I am leery of the "ists" and the "isms"--some 25+ years now, and I must say: it's impossible to sum him up except to maybe start with this:
Anthroposophy--definition: "human wisdom" or better yet: "the consciousness of our humanity". There is a modesty implied here and this is key to understanding Steiner, who was extremely self-effacing. (Contrary to what most might believe).
Steiner was involved with the Theosophical movement but broke off from it because of the Krishnamurti hero-worship. He thought it dangerous and had reservations on some other things like too much emphasis on Eastern traditions, and no interest in Western esotericism, etc. Trust me, folks, but Steiner is clean. And here is why--
One of the prime foundational books of Anthroposophy is a work called: THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM--major importance to this point and why this is not a cult. Right there in the title. One has total freedom in exploring this work. No rules. No demands. No nothing. Except Steiner warns that this is not a belief system...that's the other point..In fact, it is well understood in Steiner circles that one does not take his word for anything. That one must weigh and balance what he says for oneself. This is the premise for all of Steiner's hundreds and hundreds of copious lectures (there are about 300+ titles--all books--credited to this man's amazing amount of exhaustive work on anything from Economic systems, Money, Christology, Biodynamic Farming, Angels, Education, Medicine,..it goes on and on. Yes, some of it is off the wall..I admit...but I read and sort and sift..Steiner was a clairvoyant--never does he ask anyone to believe or accept what he comes up with..it's all on the individual's shoulders and perceptions as he or she sees fit. Period.
So the two main pillars of the work of Steiner are: You have total freedom and it's not a belief system--but one based on one's own capacity for knowledge. And you're the ultimate judge of this material. Steiner is its humble servant. He was a PhD in Philosophy--so expect the heavy lumber. The ideas of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic and the Christ impulse at humanity's center is a way of understanding the spiritual forces that work against but in some ways for humanity, with the coming of the Christ being a central force in counteracting the deleterious effects of those darker forces. Ahrimanic: Cold science, insistent materialism as the end all of life--; the Luciferic: --the rush to the spirit world, drug addiction. These are simple ways of understanding these forces. The Christ being is a being for all.
As far as Waldorf education--there are problems with parents understanding that the next basic thing about Steiner's work is seeing that life itself, in all its capacity, is imbued with a spiritual essence. Because of the variety of people seeking Waldorf education, there are problems with schools' celebrating Christmas or Christian celebrations. So there's all this stuff parents argue and fight about in these matters. Understand, Steiner was Euro-centric. He was a man of his times. So keep in mind that the key to approaching his work is freedom and flexibility. Don't take his work for anything.
There have many times where I have disagreed with Steiner, and there are times where I feel he so amazingly correct and this is what keeps me reading him, year after year! Yes, I think some people in this work are a little odd, but that's so true in many things. So I wear it all: "like a loose garment."
I recommend looking at the Goetheanum website..just click on Events. Explore the page. And there are Anthroposophical groups and branches all over the world.