I spend a couple of hours every day on Waldorf. Here are some of the comments I've made on this article:
Val wrote: “Hi, Pete and readers,
You wrote (Nov. 17, 9:36 am): “Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge California teaches Anthroposophy disguised as science.” Could you give us a concrete example? ”
I already did. See my post above, about the “blood of Europeans” – this is pure racism that only finds support in Steiner’s ideas. Steiner taught this as Anthroposophy, and Waldorf teachers teach this to students.
“Maybe the fact that hopefully Darwinian evolution is taught in high school as a theory, as it really is, and not as a scientific fact, truth of faith?”
Maybe you should learn what “scientific theory” actually means. Evolution is not just a good guess – it’s a FACT!
“Have you read Faculty Meetings? ” Yes, part of it. Cite a passage that, in its real context, shows Steiner’s dishonesty. When Steiner said to call a verse just a verse and not a pray, this was due to the fact that he did not want Waldorf or Anthroposophy to be wrongly taken as religions — which they are not.
Besides that one, there are LOTS of passages where he tells teachers to be dishonest. I’d be happy to quote them but this isn’t the place. As an example, Steiner describes demonic possession in children (pp649-650) and tells teachers not to mention to people that people can be possessed by demons.
” The non-racist element of Anthroposophy relies on that PROOF.” Reincarnation is not taught in WSs. If a teacher does it, s/he should be oriented that this goes against the principles of Waldorf Education.”
Really? Then why did Steiner DIRECTLY tell them to teach reincarnation? It’s right here – in the required reading for all Waldorf teachers – Faculty Meetings: “For the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade independent religious instruction we could move into a freer form and give a theoretical explanation about such things as life before birth and after death. We could give them examples. We could show them how to look at the major cultural connections and about the mission of the human being on Earth. You need only look at Goethe and Jean Paul [i.e., Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, a German author] to see it. You can show everywhere that their capacities come from a life before birth.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 184.)
” Ideally, only after age 21 a young person should learn about reincarnation. Now, what kind of proof do you want? If it is a physical proof, forget it. Reincarnation is not a physical phenomenon, it makes no physical sense.”
So, why teach it to kids?
” Its correct concept had to disappear from humanity, otherwise we would not have fallen into matter and become free beings. Now it is time to revive it, because without it human life makes no sense. In fact, from a true materialistic view of the universe, human life makes no sense.”
No, it’s what you just said that makes no sense Val. I think you’re trying to say what Steiner said: Thinking is oriented to the physical plane. Feeling really has a connection with all the spiritual beings who must be considered real … In the sphere of feelings, human beings cannot liberate [i.e., separate] themselves from the spiritual world.” [PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, p. 70.]
Schools are for educating children. THIS is not education, it’s spiritual nonsense that should be reserved for the home. This is NOT what children should be involved in. This is ADULTS pushing their beliefs on other people’s children without their knowledge.
Val wrote: “Pete, I didn’t have the English version of “Faculty Meetings”. … Please give more details, as the GA and date, so I can locate your citations.”
I can do better than that. Here’s the text : http://digitalseance.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/faculty_meetings_1_2.pdf
“As for “blood of Europeans”. Steiner said that the blood played a very important role in the ancient past – for instance, in its preservation in the biblical Hebrew people, the origin of their custom of not mixing with other peoples – but nowadays it has no meaning anymore. I don’t recall where I read it, but I think I may locate the reference if you wish.”
You probably read it on Waldorf Answers – the disinformation site. You’ve missed the whole point, however. What Steiner taught is NOT supposed to be taught to Waldorf students is it? Especially something as racist as this… and yet it IS BEING TAUGHT – AS SCIENCE! They tell you they don’t teach Anthroposophy… but they DO! Even the racist parts. And, FYI, in scientific reality – blood NEVER HAD the significance Steiner attributed to it… not in the distant past… not now… not in the distant future. Stieiner made that up… and Waldorf teachers teach it to kids. It’s shameful.
” Sure, you need lots of knowledge to understand that. You are mixing dishonesty with knowledge requirements.”
So, you think demonic possession in children is “knowledge”?
“For instance, Waldorf teachers regularly use a knowledge of temperaments to deal with their students, but they don’t tell the students about it.”
Are you kidding me? 1) There is no “knowledge” of temperaments… 2) they ABSOLUTELY tell students about it. Have you heard of the “pentathlon” or “Greek Olympics” in the 5th grade? The kids are divided by TEMPERAMENTS… which include physical and genetic attributes. It’s their first exercise in racial segregation. You’ve swallowed a lot of this stuff hook, line and sinker Val.
“If your children are not adults, you certainly don’t tell them lots of things you know about. When I speak with people that have no knowledge of Anthroposophy, I don’t use its terms. – BTW, I don’t use terms of Computer Science, my profession, when talking to laymen! Are you being dishonest with your children? Am I being dishonest with those laymen?”
People have an absolute right to know what is being taught to their kids… whether the teachers think it’s “knowledge” or not… whether they think the parents are “laymen” or not… Teachers have no right AT ALL to teach nonsense to children and call it science.
Val wrote: “As for “blood of Europeans”. Steiner said that the blood played a very important role in the ancient past – for instance, in its preservation in the biblical Hebrew people, the origin of their custom of not mixing with other peoples – but nowadays it has no meaning anymore. I don’t recall where I read it, but I think I may locate the reference if you wish.”
BTW, I think you may be misremembering this. I believe the standard line from the disinformation site is that “race” had significance but no longer does. That isn’t true, of course (as with all disinformation) – Steiner predicted a great race war first – between “white humankind and colored humankind” after which race will begin to lose its significance. Race, according to Steiner’s teachings, is very significant today… but maybe in a few thousand years it won’t be. Waldorf teachers are taught that race is VERY significant and children in their classrooms are evaluated in accordance with their race (if they’re using the Waldorf method).
Getting back to blood… Steiner attributed the blood with “spiritual essence” – so there is no way blood loses its significance in the future. Here’s some of what Steiner had to say about the blood and the races:
“But all such questions are illuminated as soon as we recognize the nature of the spiritual essence which lies at the back of our blood. Who can deny that this question is closely linked to that of race, which at the present time is once more coming markedly to the front? Yet this question of race is one that we can never understand until we understand the mysteries of the blood and of the results accruing from the mingling of the blood of different races. And finally, there is yet one other question, the importance of which is becoming more and more acute as we endeavor to extricate ourselves from the hitherto aimless methods of dealing with it, and seek to approach it in its more comprehensive bearings. This problem is that of colonisation, which crops up wherever civilised races come into contact with the uncivilised: namely – To what extent are uncivilised peoples capable of becoming civilised? How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised? And in what way ought we to deal with them? And here we have to consider not only the feelings due to a vague morality, but we are also confronted by great, serious, and vital problems of existence itself. Those who are not aware of the conditions governing a people – whether it be on the up- or down-grade of its evolution, and whether the one or the other is a matter conditioned by its blood – such people as these will, indeed, be unlikely to hit on the right mode of introducing civilisation to an alien race. These are all matters which arise as soon as the Blood Question is touched upon.” (Steiner, The Occult Significance of Blood p. 13)
And here’s a quote from… you guessed it… Faculty Meetings (required reading for Waldorf Teachers): “The use of the French language quite certainly corrupts the soul. The soul acquires nothing more than the possibility of clichés. Those who enthusiastically speak French transfer that to other languages. The French are also ruining what maintains their dead language, namely, their blood. The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 558-559.)
The above was Steiner joining many Germans who after WWI, complained about the stationing of black soldiers in France and on the German border.
Stephanie wrote: ” I’d like to ask, do these statements leave room for personal freedom? They are inherently divisive and beg for either complete approval or rejection; when using such statements, its clear one does not seek to alter his/her perception, or wishes to leave anything open. Is seems clear that they hold contempt yet one must also recognize and admit that it comes from one person’s individual experiences.”
Is that what you believe goes on in Waldorf teacher training? That they read statements by Steiner and discount them as the experiences of one individual? Seriously?
“There are many people who have similar reactions to Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy itself… from my own understanding and experience it seems that the world view which is Artistically portrayed in R. Steiners lectures and books, is most misunderstood when taken literally.”
Steiner was VERY clear about the fact that his words were to be taken LITERALLY, not as metaphors or parables or analogies. If you don’t take what he said literally, then it is YOU who is misunderstanding Steiner – according to Steiner.
“One needs an active and flexible imagination, and not just for reading Steiner. Words such as Christ, God, Angels, Spirits are heavy words, loaded with subjective feelings.”
It takes quite an active and flexible imagination to read Steiner’s words and to come away with something not contained in them… I’ll agree. This is not, however, what Steiner intended, nor is it something that Waldorf teachers are at liberty to do. They are trained to follow Steiner’s words and Steiner went to a lot of effort to meet with Waldorf teachers to instruct them on exactly how to interact with children of each of the different races, children with special needs, children who were demonically possessed, and so forth. As the very first Waldorf teachers expressed individual concerns, Steiner corrected them back to his twisted way of thinking. Please read Faculty Meetings (I provided a link) which is required reading for Waldorf teacher trainees.
“We can seek out gestures or forms which exemplify Christ yet do not hold religious connotations. But this takes time, reflection and courage. It is much easier to dismiss it something upon superficial grounds, yet what kind of example is this for our children?”
What kind of example does it set to go to such great efforts to infuse Christ into our children’s education? While claiming to prospective parents that it’s a non-religious education? It’s obviously dishonest and there is NO reason for it. If anything sets a bad example for children, it’s dishonesty.