Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Anthroposophy and Race

For some people, the title of this article may open a Pandora's Box. I don't see it that way, however. I've never perceived anything remotely controversial in the works of Rudolf Steiner what race or racism is concerned.

This opening statement may easily provoke strong and hostile reactions from certain quarters, especially from individuals who have allied themselves with small but loud groups and organizations dedicated to dishonor Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy in order to discredit the most famous offshoot of this movement, namely the Waldorf schools, or Steiner schools.

Opposition to Anthroposophy

During the last couple of decades, a new fierce opposition to anthroposophy has arisen from atheist environments. These environments are characterized by a cast of mind where the scope of materialistic natural science is extended to include the realm of religion by proclaiming that the universe is basically one giant mechanism, and that conscious or self-aware biological life as we know it, has its origin in something lifeless or inorganic. This origin of life occurred by pure chance in some primordial chemical soup or electric charge where a molecule was transformed into a living biological cell, as though by random magic.

The idea that the material natural sciences can answer man's most sophisticated philosophical riddles is called scientism.

According to the Wikipedia, "The term scientism describes the position that natural science is the most authoritative worldview or aspect of human education, and that it is superior to all other interpretations of life."

This philosophy often goes hand in hand with reductionism. Wikipedia again
"Religious reductionism generally consists of explaining religion by boiling it down to certain nonreligious causes. A few examples of reductionistic attempts to explain the presence religion are the view that religion could be reduced to humanity’s conceptions of right and wrong, the belief that religion is fundamentally a primitive attempt at controlling our environments, or the opinion of religion as a way to explain the world around us. Typical religious reductionists are such theorists as Edward Burnett Tylor and James Frazer. Sigmund Freud's idea that religion is nothing more than an illusion, or even a mental illness, and the Marxist view that religion is 'the sigh of the oppressed,' providing only 'the illusory happiness of the people,' are two other influential reductionist explanations of religion."
In Marxism, this philosophy is traditionally described as "dialectical materialism," and religious or spiritual notions are categorically dismissed as "spiritual idealism" or "mere ideologies." An idealistic ideology cannot, of course, be scientific in the proper sense of the word, although scientism and Marxism are indeed ideologies.

Subscribers to these materialistic ideologies have never been really intensely antagonistic against religions per se (in spite of the ban on religion in Communist states), because religions are exclusively based upon mere belief, faith. Such beliefs rarely intrude upon the territory of natural science, and when that happens, it is never very challenging. On the contrary, they often contradict obvious scientific facts, to the great delight and amusement of atheist ideologues. Especially Christian theologians often believe in an almighty deity who can make all kinds of exceptions to natural laws through so-called miracles.

The only endeavor to intrude upon science from such religious quarters has come from "creationists" who pursue scientific proof of "intelligent design" and the literal exoteric interpretations of Biblical events and myths. Most of these claims are so preposterously out of synch with natural-scientific reality that their proponents have been, for the most part, a source for amusement and ridicule, and understandably so.

Other religious endeavors have been equally unsuccessful at making religious theologies scientific, such as Mary Baker Eddy's "Christian Science."

Anthroposophy, on the other hand, accurately described as "anthroposophically oriented spiritual science," has a point of departure that is radically different from religion. First off, it is based upon a philosophy that is totally humanistic, and a thoroughly monistic epistemology, proclaiming empirical experience as the sole basis for reality:
"The moral laws which the metaphysician who works by mere inference must regard as issuing from a higher power, are, for the adherent of monism, thoughts of men; for him the moral world order is neither the imprint of a purely mechanical natural order, nor that of an extra human world order, but through and through the free creation of men. It is not the will of some being outside him in the world that man has to carry out, but his own; he puts into effect his own resolves and intentions, not those of another being. Monism does not see, behind man's actions, the purposes of a supreme directorate, foreign to him and determining him according to its will, but rather sees that men, in so far as they realize their intuitive ideas, pursue only their own human ends. Moreover, each individual pursues his own particular ends. For the world of ideas comes to expression, not in a community of men, but only in human individuals. What appears as the common goal of a whole group of people is only the result of the separate acts of will of its individual members, and in fact, usually of a few outstanding ones who, as their authorities, are followed by the others. Each one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, just as every rose bud has in it a rose."
 ( -- Rudolf Steiner: GA 4: The Philosophy of Freedom, The Basis for a Modern World Conception: Some results of introspective observation following the methods of Natural Science. The Reality of Freedom, Chapter 10: Freedom — Philosophy and Monism)
Secondly, this same approach to philosophy, epistemology, and science employs Charles Darwin's pioneering work as its initial foundation, as evidenced in Chapter 12 of the same book (PoF): Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality).

From that point on, when Rudolf Steiner uses his clairvoyant faculties to extend scientific research into the realm of the invisible, namely the spiritual world, where he corroborates much of what has been communicated through religious revelations and holy scriptures, calling it spiritual-scientific facts based upon the science of seership, then his entire worldview represents a real threat against dialectical materialism and reuctionist scientism.

So they strike back with a vengeance. And by "vengeance" I mean that they refuse to play by the rules of fairness, intellectual honesty, and justice that normally characterize discussions and controversy. They stoop to cheating, by resorting to malignant slander made possible by quotes taken out of context from shorthand transcripts of six thousand lectures that were never revised by the lecturer. The idea is to malign Rudolf Steiner not only as a racist, but also as another version of Adolf Hitler (like Trotsky was Lenin's rival), and to dishonor anthroposophy by portraying it as a racist ideology with very close similarities to Nazism.

Cultural Epochs and Human Races

These allegations are positively not made on the basis of misunderstanding; they are very deliberate, although several people who keep propagating this vicious slander have become believers in their own distortions. One thing that is deliberately taken advantage of and shamelessly abused in this manner, is the many complicated meanings of the word "race" in the works of Helena Blavatsky, especially terms like "rootraces" and "subraces." Rudolf Steiner also adopted this terminology when at first he began lecturing to the Theosophical Society where the members were familiar with Blavatsky's books, although later on he replaced the expressions "rootraces" and "subraces" with "great epochs" and "cultural epochs."

The reason why the word "race" got mixed in with "epochs" is that in the previous great epoch or rootrace, namely Atlantis, a new human race actually evolved during each of the seven successive cultural epochs, or subraces. These seven successive races, i.e. subraces, on Atlantis were: The Rmoahals, the Tlavatli, the Toltec, the Primal Turanians, the Primal Semites, the Akkadians, and the Mongols.

Here is a detailed description of these Atlantean races. One significant reason why Rudolf Steiner gradually discontinued to use the term "subraces" for epochs after Atlantis was that the epochs of our era (i.e our post-Atlantean great epoch) no longer has anything to do with race.

In a lecture about the Ego, held in Munich 4th December, 1909, Rudolf Steiner said:
"What we call races today are only the relics of those important distinctions between human beings as were customary in old Atlantis. The idea of race is only really applicable to old Atlantis. Since we deal with a real evolution of mankind, we have never employed the idea of race in the most eminent sense for the post-Atlantean age."

("The Ego," Lecture 1, Munich 4th December, 1909, GA 117)
RS points out many times that human races are no longer relevant after Atlantis. Here is an interesting quote from GA 193 ("The Ahrimanic Deception", Zurich, 27th
"And so, in order to create dissensions, Ahriman also makes use of what develops from the old conditions of heredity which man has really outgrown in the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. The Ahrimanic powers use all that is derived from old circumstances of heredity in order to set men against each other in conflicting groups. All that comes from old differences of family, race, tribe, peoples, is used by Ahriman to create confusion."

(The Ahrimanic Deception, Zurich, October 27, 1919, GA 193)


Racists, of course, are especially influenced by this particular type of ahrimanic confusion. If we leave regular bigots and people with social prejudices and biases aside for a moment and focus upon the so-called ideological racists, i.e. the most fanatical ones, Rudolf Steiner had a very interesting explanation for their condition: Between death and rebirth, each human being is preparing the next incarnation is cooperation with the higher hierarchies. We choose our parents; advanced souls prepare this a long time in advance by choosing a lineage and following it through several generations before incarnating. And we choose a nation, a people, based upon our loving attraction to that group. This gives us a natural fondness and affection for our homeland and its people.

On the other hand, if an individuality has no such loving preference but instead only cold indifference, this soul will then be placed somewhere based upon automatic karmic law and then become a fanatical chauvinist on behalf of his nation, or a racist on behalf of his ethnicity.

The remnants of humanity's racial differences (that date back to Atlantis) are now in the process of disappearing because of migrations, demographic changes, increases in all kinds of intercultural and interracial families all over the planet etc. This means that in a couple of millennia, our present-day human physiologies will have disappeared.

Racists have a very big issue with this, and their frustration boils down to the fact that although they identify their own Egos, their very existence, with their ethnicity, such as their skin color or complexion, they cannot control the sexual behavior of their successors, the future generations of their own bloodlines. This is how we get very tragic situations where racists refuse to acknowledge their grandchildren because they don't meet their own standard of "racial purity." There is no such thing as a "pure" human race left on earth, but racists obviously don't know that.

Christ and Racial Intermarriage

And while we're on the subject of racial intermarriage, or the mixing of blood through the course of human generations on earth, what did Rudolf Steiner have to say about this subject? In the ninth lecture of GA 112 (The Gospel of St. John in Relation to the other Gospels, 1909), he speaks about something extraordinarily interesting and significant in connection with the first 'sign' (or 'miracle') by Christ, namely the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana:
"Why does the Evangelist, in speaking of this miracle, insist that it took place at ‘Cana in Galilee’? Because it was essential to emphasize that the event in question must necessarily have occurred in Galilee and nowhere else. That is to say, Christ could not have found the persons necessary for this event in other regions, but alone in Galilee. I have already explained that in order to produce an effect, the active agent alone does not suffice; there must also be others who are capable of responding to the influence. Christ could not have performed His first miracle within the Jewish community itself; but it was quite possible for Him to do so in Galilee, a district in which the most diverse peoples and tribes were mingled together. Precisely on account of this mixture of races from far and wide, there was far less blood relationship in Galilee than in Judea, in the more strictly Hebrew circles. The people of Galilee were a medley of races. But what was the mission to which Christ felt Himself especially called, by virtue of His impulse?

"We have pointed out that one of His weightiest sayings was given in the words: ‘Before Abraham was, was the I AM!’ And that other: ‘I and the Father are One!’ The meaning of these words is as follows: Among people who cling to the old forms of life, the Ego remains ensconced in the brotherhood of blood relations."

(The Gospel of St. John in Relation to the other Gospels, especially that of St. Luke, GA 112, Lecture 9, 2nd July, 1909)
The background for this may take us beyond the scope of the present article, but a brief explanation is in order: In the old days, so-called consanguineous marriages were customary, i.e. the partners had the same ancestry or descent; they were related by blood. Thus the blood of the ancestors flowed through the descendants, preserving the ancient atavistic clairvoyance as well as the actual memories of the forefathers. In these cultures, the "I"-experience had not yet developed individually, so the human being identified primarily with his or her group, tribe, family, nation -- and with his or her ancestors. This is the real explanation why people in old stories and legends became so incredibly old; Adam was 900 years old according to the Bible and so on.

These atavistic soulpowers were the heritage of the Atlantic civilization, which probably lies about fifteen thousand years behind us. And one of the major tasks for humanity during the post-Atlantean era, which has now lasted for about ten or twelve thousand years with another seven or eight millennia to go, is to break with all such atavism and develop the invidual "I" which makes freedom and self-dependence possible.

As explained elsewhere, the intervention of Christ in human evolution was made necessary because man -- and also the rest of nature -- had sunk deeper into matter than intended; too deep to pull himself up by his bootstraps, with the possible exceptions of Buddha and high-ranking avatars. And it was Christ's mission to fulfil the promise made to man by Lucifer, the God of Freedom and Christ's 'baser' twin brother so to speak, in the third chapter of Genesis:

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." ( -- Genesis 3:4-5)

This is the only place in the Old Testament where man is promised full godhood, referred to by Christ in the Gospel of John:
"The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot  be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" ( -- John 10:33-36)
In order to bestow this individual spark of divinity upon man, atavism and the ancestor cult  had to be cleared out of the way, which was why Christ had to start his mission in Cana. Rudolf Steiner continues:
"Hence He had perforce to go to those who, by reason of their mixed blood, no longer clung to the old belief — the Galileans. His mission necessarily began there. Though the old state of consciousness was generally on the decline, He found precisely in this people a mixed race which stood at the beginning of the mixing of blood. Different tribes, which had previously been under the sway of the old blood-ties, assembled there from all parts. They had come in order to find the transition from the old order to the new."
This sheds light upon an oft-quoted statement by Steiner, namely that "Racial ideals lead humanity into decadence" -- a very interesting observation indeed.

Rudolf Steiner:
"And Christ came to those who had just reached the point at which they could understand this, to those who, having broken down the ties of blood, stood in need to find, in the individual soul, the power which enables man by degrees to give expression to the spiritual in the physical."
To develop the self-aware spiritual "I" in the physical environment, is the very goal, purpose, of human evolution. I expressed this in more radical terms fifteen years ago, when I wrote in my Gateavisa-article Anthropos Anarchos that the gods themselves are ideed anarchists:
"The innumerable gods are man's creators, but they have now withdrawn their authority so that we shall become mature and self-dependent enough to make it on our own. The gods are in other words anarchists. The free spirit in man, the anarchist soul, is the goal and purpose of creation."
This anarchism is deeply rooted in esoteric Christianity, an anarchism that is helped forward through interracial reproduction:
"It was in Galilee that the old ties of blood were severed, and the blood of strangers mingled together." ( -- Steiner, ibid)
Christ's sign at the wedding in Cana consisted of turning water into wine. With the ideas of old and new family ties in mind, Christ's following words become especially significant:
"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. "
( -- Matthew 9:17)

Attacks Against Rudolf Steiner Reexamined

The nationalists, fascists, and racists in Germany and the rest of Europe represented a major source for the extremely vicious opposition to Rudolf Steiner and his work after the first world war. Pamphlets were distributed accusing Rudolf Steiner of being a Zionist bohlshevik megalomanic Jew and the like. The political aspect of this hostility was undoubtedly provoked by the universal, internationalistic, cosmopolitan ideals expressed through theosophy and anthroposophy --  characteristics they had in common with orthodox Christianity, Buddhism, and also Communism. This was unpalatable to the fledging Nazi ideology based upon "blood and soil."

Steiner, on the other hand, spoke about the necessity of becoming e "homeless soul," i.e. someone who has outgrown his ties to family, tribe, nationality and race. He said we might live one life in India, another in Africa, one in Europe etc. And that the difference between so-called "civilized man" and type of human being that Rousseau called "the noble savage" would disappear.

The Anti-Semitic, Fascist-Communist Zionist

In a leading article, 14 September, 1922, "The Patriot" warns its readers against "The Subterranean War" and writes:
"For those who desire to learn we publish to-day the first of a series of articles by 'G.G.' (or 'Dargon'), a writer who has made a study of secret societies. The purpose of 'The Anatomy of Revolution' is not to take the reader deeply into any part of the subject, but to give a general and historical view of that complex of subversive organization which is working for the destruction of Christianity, of Civilization, and of the British Empire. The writer, who is a true Briton and a good patriot, has one purpose only - to warn the British public of the unsuspected danger which, as he believes and we believe also, imminently threatens it.

"To quote G.G.:

" 'Here we must note that there has always been among the Arcane societies a dual movement - on the one hand mystical, on the other hand political. Such esoteric bodies as the Fraternity of the Rosy-Cross, the Martinists, the Swedenborgians, and Theosophists have consisted no doubt largely of harmless enthusiasts to whom mysticism and magic appealed. But they have also been used, as the cover for political intrigue, and as a net wherein to catch, test, and select persons who could be used for subversive ends. For it is one of the methods of the revolutionary directorate to use, wherever possible, harmless bodies as their cloak, and innocent people as their unconscious agents....

" 'I may refer briefly to the existence of an offshoot of the Theosophical Society, known as the Anthroposophical Society. This was formed as the result of a chism in the ranks of the Theosophists, by a man of Jewish birth who was connected with one of the modern branches of the Carbonari. Not only so, but in association with another Theosophist he is engaged in organising certain commercial undertakings not unconnected with Communist propaganda; almost precisely in the manner in which 'Count St. Germain' organised his dyeworks and other commercial ventures with a like purpose. And this queer business group has its connections with the Irish Republican movement... and also with another mysterious group which was founded by Jewish 'intellectuals' in France about four years ago (about 1918), and which includes in its membership many well-known politicians, scientists, university professors, and literary men in France, Germany, and England, It is a secret society... although nominally a 'Right Wing' society, it is in direct touch with members of the Soviet Government Russia...' "
The above text was not only published in "The Patriot," but it was printed on flyers and distributed all over Europe. Rudolf Steiner was a Jew born in Spain, and as a greedy megalomaniac he was an important agent for the bolshevik-zionist conspiracy. He was also affiliated with all kinds of sinister occult closed societies that were aspiring to dominate the world.

Compare the above to the allegations that have arisen against Rudolf Steiner during the last couple of decades from certain atheist reductionist quarters, which interestingly enough have allied themselves with Christian fundamentalists in their common cause against anthroposophy, and with certain academics who enjoy entertaining this particular crowd with intellectual ping-pong acrobatics and historical revisionism. These people accuse Rudolf Steiner of having been a nationalistic pan-Germanist, fascist, racist, anti-Semite, and a Nazi, i.e. Adolf Hitler's rival with the same type of ideology in the same way that Trotsky was Lenin's rival.

One may ask, of course, how is it possible to attack the same movement and the same founder with diametrically opposite claims, like Zionism and Nazism? As already mentioned, Rudolf Steiner explains this himself in The Ahrimanic Deception:
"Ahriman makes use of this confusion in order to prepare the triumph of his incarnation and to drive men with increasing force into what they find so difficult to realize - namely, that by intellectual or modern scientific reasoning today, one can prove anything and equally well prove its opposite. The point is for us to recognize that everything can be proved and for that reason to examine the proofs put forward in science today. It is only in natural science that reality is shown by the facts; in no other field can one consider intellectual proofs valid. The only way to escape the danger that threatens if one accepts the lures of Ahriman and his desire to drive men deeper and deeper into these things, is to realize through anthroposophical spiritual science that human knowledge must be sought for in a stratum deeper than that in which the validity of our proofs arises. And so, in order to create dissensions, Ahriman also makes use of what develops from the old conditions of heredity which man has really outgrown in the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch. The Ahrimanic powers use all that is derived from old circumstances of heredity in order to set men against each other in conflicting groups."
This is how it becomes so easy to transform Rudolf Steiner from a communist-connected zionist Jew to an anti-semitic fascist, because with Ahriman all such things are a piece of cake. When intellectual proof is applied in non-scientific fields, anything goes. Steiner is a zionist communist Jew as well as a Jew-hater. Either way, the object is achieved: Dissensions and chaos related to heredity, race, and pinned upon the founder of the anthroposophical movement.

The main fodder for latter-day Steiner-attackers consists of various statements found in his lectures that look racist, especially when quoted out of context. I will deliberately refrain from citing any of those quotes here, because endless analyses, interpretations, explanations and discussions would have to follow. Been there, done that; my contributions to the subject are all over the relevant internet forums, from between 1999 and 2005. The reader should have no trouble finding a collection of the disputed RS quotes online.

We're basically talking about sixteen statements in Rudolf Steiner's lectures which comprise less than .05% of the entire Gesamtausgabe (GA), as mentioned in the summary of the Dutch Report, which concludes:
"The number of pages with statements that can be experienced as discriminatory today is less than .05% of the 89,000 pages of Rudolf Steiner's collected works. Anthroposophy and social Darwinism are diametrically opposed to each other. Suggestions that racism is inherent in Anthroposophy, or that conceptually Steiner helped prepare the way for the holocaust, have been proven categorically incorrect. The Commission has the distinct impression that, compared with other nineteenth and pre-World War II twentieth-century authors, such as Hegel or Albert Schweitzer, Rudolf Steiner has become the victim of 'selective indignation.' "
Because of the subject matter covered in this article is perceived to be controversial to certain mentally unbalanced people, I have now disabled comments on this blog in case the proponents of latter-day accusations against anthroposophy should throw a psychotic tantrum, something they've been prone to do in the past. They are known to be extremely aggressive and obsessed with their crusade. The nature of their fanaticism has been described in a previous blog article titled The Abominable Abyss.

The Future of Race 

As one should be able to conclude from the comments related to Christ's first sign at the wedding in Cana, the role of heritage in connection with "race" or "racial characteristics" will gradually disappear completely in the future. Human reproduction as we know it will also disappear and be replaced by reproduction through the spoken Word, through the organ of the larynx, and women may begin to become barren as early as the seventh millennium, i.e. before the end of the present great epoch or rootrace.

Rudolf Steiner:
"Humanity as such is becoming younger and younger. Human beings are coming to a point when their development of body and soul will proceed only up to a certain age in life. At the time of the death of Christ, of the Event of Golgotha, human beings in general were capable of development in body and in soul until the 33rd year of life. Today this development is possible until the 27th year. In the fourth millennium a time will come when men will be capable of development only until the 21st year. In the seventh millennium the bodily nature will be capable of development only until the 14th year of life. Women will then become barren. An entirely different form of earthly life will ensue."
( -- A Picture of Earth-Evolution in the Future, Dornach, May 13th, 1921, GA 204)
In the future, human races as such (to the extent it's possible to call them that) will be formed through what each individual human being harbors inside his own soul-nature. If we also take into consideration that humanity will develop a new type of conscious, self-dependent modern clairvoyance (unlike the atavistic variety which has faded), one significant difference between the present status quo and the relatively distant future is that human beings will no longer be able to hide their inner natures.

The significance of heritage or blood will disappear from the constitution of human races in the future. Man will no longer be able to hide what lives inside him. Today, it's quote possible to be stunningly beautiful on the outside and totally hideous and evil on the inside; man will lose this disguise.


Because the relevance of racial characteristics through heritage is rapidly fading and racial differences are beginning to disappear, the charge of racism won't continue to be an effective weapon against anthroposophy for very long. Such polemics will soon be met with public indifference. But in the meantime, it's still possible to use the special vocabulary found in Steiner's texts to create confusion and misunderstandings and to exploit such chaos in the media. This is not much to worry about for anthroposophists, however, because the impulse given by Rudolf Steiner will probably be a major influence on civilization and culture all over the world during the next couple of thousand years at least.

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