The New Screwtape: Letter to an Apprentice Demon

Millions of readers have enjoyed The Screwtape Letters, written by C. S. Lewis and first published in 1942. In these letters, Lewis provides a devil’s eye view of how to undermine human beings and their faith in the spiritual world by promoting doubt and disinterest. The book consists of a series of letters from Screwtape, a senior demon in the Lowerarchy of Hell to his nephew, Wormwood, a junior and rather incompetent demonic apprentice, to whom he acts as mentor. In Screwtape’s advice, individual self-interest and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending God’s love for human beings or acknowledging human virtue.

C S Lewis gave little away in the preface about how he managed to get hold of these letters:

“I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands. … The sort of script which is used in this book can be very easily obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but ill-disposed or excitable people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.”

Happily, and just in time for Halloween, the anthropopper has “learned the knack” and has discovered that Screwtape is still active in mentoring junior tempters. In particular, a cache of undated letters from Screwtape to an apprentice demon referred to only as “Staudi” has recently come into my hands. Further research will be needed to establish the identity of this servant of the Dark Lord. I reproduce one of these letters below.

A mysterious carving, believed to represent "Uncle" Screwtape.

A mysterious carving, believed to represent “Uncle” Screwtape.

 

“My dear Staudi,

Congratulations on your appointment to an assistant professorship at the university! Not one of our more distinguished seats of learning, to be sure – but it does have the inestimable advantage of being a Jesuit university. The Jesuits are indeed among the strongest allies of Our Father Below and you will find that the intellectual atmosphere and ethos there are remarkably conducive to your work. They share with us an opposition to the dreadful renewed Mystery impulses that Our Enemy RS and his anthroposophical acolytes are seeking to foster in the human spirit.

RS has caused us a great deal of trouble over the years by revealing all sorts of hitherto secret knowledge that can only hinder our task. If ever human beings really came to understand what they are and what their future evolution will be, as described by the Enemy, then it will be all over with Our Father’s cause. It is therefore very important for us that the exoteric Church continues to demand belief and to impose creeds. On the other hand, it suits us just as well if the atheists and materialists hold the intellectual high ground and engender scorn for the spiritual in the minds of their followers. Either position is convenient for our purposes; and both are much better options than allowing our Enemy to point the way in freedom to a true esoteric knowledge of Christ and the future of humanity. Ideally, what we want in human beings is Doubt in the Spirit, Hatred of the Spirit and Fear of the Spirit.

"Our Father Below"

“Our Father Below”

 

So your task as an historian is to confer the mantle of academic credibility upon our efforts to consign RS and all his works to oblivion. You are to do this by so diminishing him in the eyes of the world that only a very few delusional people will want to pay any attention to what he has said and written.

Your weapons should of course include what we at the Training College call the Three Rs: Racism, Ridicule and Right-Wingery. Let us look at each of these in turn, and examine how you may deploy them for optimal effect.

The accusation of Racism made against any human being is one of the most effective ways today to kill off any real discussion of their views. In the 21st century it has the same effect on most people as did the sound of the leper’s bell in mediaeval times – they run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. By calling RS a racist (and you could add in “anti-semite” for good measure), you will set up in people’s minds the idea that not only should they have nothing to do with any of his endeavours but that it is perfectly respectable to abuse and condemn anything associated with him and his works. They will do this without shame and indeed, with a positive glow of self-approval for being so “right-on”. Now, you and I may know that this is all nonsense and that Our Enemy RS had the most nauseating universal love for all human vermin; but as all our apprentices learn, a lie can be half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on.

In your academic writings, you could try scattering around phrases such as “RS’s racially stratified pseudo-religion” and his “blatantly racist doctrine which anticipated important elements of the Nazi worldview by several decades” in the certain knowledge that these entirely false accusations will scare off thousands of potential followers. Manage to do this really well and you will achieve a situation in which most people, if they have heard of RS at all, will know only one thing about him – and that is that he was some kind of racist. However, a word of advice: try to do this with some subtlety and do not over-egg the pudding. Anything the anthroposophists say in defence of RS can of course be dismissed as special pleading, or better yet, you might say that anthroposophists “lack the sort of critical social consciousness that can counteract their flagrantly recessive core beliefs.”

Ridicule is also a very useful tool; and because of the excellent efforts put in over many years by our cultural zeitgeist operatives, it is now intellectually infra dig for most human beings in the West to express any interest, let alone belief, in matters relating to the spirit. Our Enemy’s pernicious views on so-called “spiritual science” have already put him beyond the intellectual pale, so your work has been half-completed for you already. The kind of people you should be seeking to influence here are the opinion formers and the chattering classes – rich, smart, superficially intellectual and brightly sceptical about everything in the world. They have an ingrained habit of belittling anything that has a whiff of the spiritual about it and they will enjoy pouring scorn on RS and his followers. What we are looking for is a similar outcome to what has already been achieved in ridiculing homeopathy. Your goal should be to give some journalists the idea that not only is anthroposophy ludicrous but that there is also a scandal just below the surface awaiting their investigative attention; for example, you could imply that Waldorf schools are run by a racist cult seeking secretly to indoctrinate our children with their weird beliefs. You can make much hay with this!

You can also make good use of those few sad renegades and turncoats, who were once upon a time active within the RS camp but who, for whatever reason, Hell be praised, have now decided to cast their lot with Our Father Below. These people tend to be active in social media and internet forums and so should you be; your aim should be to become like some kind of intellectual guru and arbiter of thought for them. They will come running to you with little snippets of tittle-tattle, seeking your approval and endorsement; you should encourage this.

The third powerful weapon in your armoury is Right-Wingery, and accusations thereof. You may begin this in quite a subtle, insinuating sort of way, eg: “RS was by his own account ‘enthusiastically active’ in pan-German nationalist movements in Vienna at the end of the nineteenth century.” You could continue with: “During his Vienna period RS fell under the sway of Nietzsche, the outstanding anti-democratic thinker of the era, whose elitism made a powerful impression.” This will help to build a picture of Our Enemy as a right-wing reactionary and elitist. You might then wish to add something like: “RS had high praise for ‘German militarism’ and continued to rail against France, French culture and the French language in rhetoric which matched that of Mein Kampf.” You see what I’ve done there? The implication is that RS’s views led straight on to those of Hitler. The fact that none of this is even slightly justifiable in factual terms is neither here nor there. Of course, this is not academic scholarship we are concerned with, but agit-prop.

So everything is clearly going well and you have made a good start. By the way, have you noted that your new university’s most distinguished alumnus is – Senator Joseph McCarthy! Yes, McCarthy, one of Our Father’s more significant political operatives in the 1950s, he of the anti-communist witch hunts in the USA and the notorious “Are you now or have you ever been…” hounding of some of the most distinguished people of his time. McCarthy is a useful example for you to follow and you should study his methods with care.

Senator Joseph McCarthy, "one of our more significant political operatives."

Senator Joseph McCarthy, “one of our more significant political operatives.”

 

Ultimately, of course, even that brilliant servant of Our Father Below over-reached himself – his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate and he died in disgrace at the age of only 48. Try not to share a similar fate; you should be careful not to be caught out making demagogic, reckless and unsubstantiated accusations – instead, let some of our useful idiots on the internet forums do the heavy lifting for you.

My dear Staudi, your career is before you. Hell expects and demands that it should be one of unbroken success. If it is not, you know what awaits you.

Your affectionate friend,

Screwtape”

57 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf critics

57 responses to “The New Screwtape: Letter to an Apprentice Demon

  1. Excellent esoteric find, Jeremy! I have just posted the following message to the Waldorf Critics Yahoo group, the fiendish cyber den of iniquity against RS and anthroposophy where Apprentice Demon Staudi hangs out.

    Tom

    ———

    The latest from Jeremy Smith’s Anthropopper blog in time for Halloween
    [the Anthropopper link]

    The New Screwtape: Letter to an Apprentice Demon

    (who happens to be named Staudi who is a professor at the same University from which Senator Joseph McCarthy graduated and who teaches his students the 3 R’s of Racism, Ridicule and Right-Wingery to thwart the mission of Rudolf Steiner for human evolution.)

    Like

  2. Ah Jeremy, looks like you have really roiled the Apprentice Demon!
    Look at his piqued reply just posted on WC

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/30698

    Like

    • Dear Tom,

      I knew I could rely on you to rattle his cage. By the way, I think your Yahoo account has been hacked, judging from what has just arrived in my inbox.

      Best wishes,

      Jeremy

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jeremy,

        Actually, my Yahoo account was hacked last year. This time it was my AOL account. I’m told it was probably done by a cabal of Russians or Ukrainians, but to honor the coming 6th Post Atlantean epoch, called by Steiner the Russian-Slavonic, due to commence 15 centuries from now, I will salute my own native Planetary Racial Spirit of Jupiter (Caucasian Race) and stand upon the “white privilege” of my 5th PA karmic inheritance (Anglo-Germanic) and thus magnanimously forgive those pesky Russky/Slavics, who are merely doing the important “advance work” for Ahriman-Christ today.

        Remember, Jeremy, that in the time of Kali Yuga, Christ was the true Lucifer, but now (especially after 1998 = 666 x 3) Ahriman is the true Christ, and Peter Staudenmaier is his prophet. I’m happy that you are beginning to recognize that now and grateful that you are providing this forum to acknowledge the prophet in his own country (meaning the Anglo part of the Anglo-Germanic Epoch we know as the 5th PA).

        Hollywood Tomfortas

        (See, they don’t call me “Hollywood Tom” in the Germanic Steiner Internet for nothing, you know!)

        Like

      • Hello Tom,
        But what do you expect when you hang out at dodgy websites like the WC Cyber-Hole? Not only are you putting your immortal soul at risk, but your online security as well:) And now I know everyone in your Contacts whose name begins with “J”! I just hope Screwtape wasn’t also sent your Contacts, otherwise you might begin to receive some distinctly compromising correspondence!
        All the best,
        Jeremy

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jeremy,

        Since you asked about my longtime presence at the WC, I would like to answer you and I am also now authorized to tell you that indeed I am a secret intelligence agent of the DMP = Dornach Mystery Police. (in German: GPD = GePoDo = Geheimpolizei Dornach).

        And that I have been assigned to the WC group since that great Sorathian year of 1998 = 666 x 3.

        However, my mission actually goes back 35 years, to 1980, long before the Internet of course, when I was assigned to infiltrate the Waldorf Teacher Training program at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, CA where my mission was (and still is) to monitor the very strong Jewish conspiracy against Anthroposophy now being implemented through Waldorf Education in the USA — and interestingly enough, also through the academic work of none other than Herr Doktor Professor Peter Staudenmaier.

        Now you may be asking the question: why would I be assigned to WC to monitor the JEWISH conspiracy against anthroposophy, when you yourself have noted the clear JESUIT conspiracy against anthroposophy that Prof. Staudenmaier himself represents?

        I will answer that question later. But as a preliminary, Jeremy, you must needs read about the Jesuit conspiracy against anthroposophy that my DMP counterpart, Douglas Gabriel, was assigned to monitor at the exact same time I was assigned to RSC in 1980.

        You see, in 1980, Doug Gabriel was assigned to the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College in Detroit, MI. (This Institute is now Sunbridge College of Spring Valley, NY).

        It is of course most noteworthy that the director of the Waldorf Institute in Detroit was a German Jew named Werner Glas, and the President of RSC when I arrived was a Dutch Jew by the name of Rene Querido. And both Rene and Werner were devoted students of the greatest Jewish conspiratorialist in the history of anthroposophy, the one and only Walter Johannes Stein

        Without further ado, I give you Douglas Gabriel’s article

        Are there Jesuit Spies in Anthroposophy?

        (The answer is a resounding YES!!!!)

        http://www.ourspirit.com/#!jesuit-spies-in-anthroposophy/cbbj

        Like

      • Good grief! Only in America…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jeremy,

        I don’t mean this as a digression from the topic here, but Douglas Gabriel has recently founded a new sub-cult or perhaps sub-sect of anthroposophy which he calls Neoanthroposophy
        http://www.ourspirit.com/#!what-is-neoanthroposophy/ccxz

        However, since Steven Hale believes that both Douglas and I are black intelligence operatives working to implement the US government’s fiendish agenda to destroy anthroposophy as a viable movement of social renewal, then perhaps this subcult is a disinformation project funded by whatever 3-letter agency Doug and I belong to.

        In that case, then perhaps this Neoanthroposophy movement is in reality a clever Ahrimanic disinformation project that would certainly place it within the purview of Screwtape and his clever Ahrimanic subterfuge.

        Hollywood Tomfortas (DMP Agent 00777)

        Like

  3. wooffles

    As far as I can tell, the Staudenmaier quotes are taken from ‘Anthroposophy and Eco-fascism’, for which agit-prop is a fair characterization. But since that was written well before he went to Cornell, it could be objected that using over-the-top quotes from an early work to implicitly characterize his academic work is agit-prop itself. In the last decade or so, Anthroposophists, or at least some Anthroposophists, have gotten much better at engaging with historical context, and it is doubtful that this would have taken place without the persistence of not-particularly-sympathetic scholars like Staudenmaier and Zander.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make some fair points and I have already expressed my gratitude to Mr Staudenmaier for informing me about areas of anthroposophical history that I did not know about – and which in my view anthroposophists should know about. How can anthroposophy move on until it becomes aware of such issues and acknowledges that some anthroposophists got far too close to the Nazis and Fascists? I was not told about this in any anthroposophical account of the society’s history and I feel strongly that I should have been. I am doing what I can to bring this issue to the attention of those who are in a position to change this unsatisfactory situation.

      That said, Staudenmaier’s early work is grotesquely biased and I’m pleased that you see the term “agit-prop” as a fair characterisation of it. Daniel Hindes has produced a paragraph by paragraph analysis of “Anthroposophy and Eco-fascism”:

      http://www.defendingsteiner.com/refutations/ps01/anthroposophy%20and%20Ecofascism.php

      which demolishes any pretensions Mr S. may have to academic balance, impartial analysis or even a basic understanding of his subject. What this reveals, of course, is the underlying bias that Mr S. brings to his more recent and seemingly less partisan academic work.

      Thank you for your comment,

      Jeremy

      Like

      • wooffles

        Dear Jeremy,
        Whether or not Hindes comprehensively ‘demolishes’ ‘Ecofascism’ is at the very least a matter of debate, and that debate has already taken place at great length. (I thought Staudenmaier had much the better of Hindes and his supporters in the back and forth). The unfortunate thing about ‘Ecofascism’ for me was that the agit prop element of it was justifiably off-putting and made it easy to dismiss the rest—Screwtape must have been nodding off there!

        So I’m glad that you have benefited from his work and are encouraging others to take it seriously. There was something similar about Staudenmaier in the last issue of the American society’s newsletter— the writer seriously disliked the messenger, but acknowledged that the message was worth grappling with. That’s a breath of fresh air! I don’t recall seeing anything like that yet in the English society’s newsletter.

        I apologize if I’m overreacting to a post that was intended as satire. The thing is that anthroposophists don’t need much encouragement to avoid engaging with the work of critical historians. Your post can be read as fostering that attitude (people have said much the same thing to me about Staudenmaier and dark forces, and they were not being satirical). As for the Joe McCarthy business, to the extent that efforts are made at the overt suppression of free speech, McCarthy’s major contribution, it comes from the anthroposophical side, as in the various well-documented exploits of Sune Nordwall and that ridiculous lawsuit filed against Gregoire Perra. That’s always a potential danger once you start demonizing people you identify as opponents, and that proclivity for demonization might be more effective in limiting the appeal of Steiner than anything Staudemaier writes.

        As for the question of what motivated Staudenmaier to research anthroposophy, as far as I can tell from the progression of his writing, it looks like an original involvement with a particular kind of left wing environmentalism led to an interest/concern with how environmentalism could be connected with right wing politics, possibly connected with the contemporary German political scene. That in turn led to research on Nazi environmentalism, which in turn led to Steiner, and now in the context of being an academic historian who is expected to keep up a research programme. That certainly isn’t the way most people get involved with Steiner, but I think its broader usefulness is that approaching from such an oblique angle means that you notice things that other people have missed or not paid close enough attention to (that’s how his writing is useful for me). The recent troubles in Germany with anthroposophy and right wing movements are a further indication that he is on to something. I think it is always helpful to not be too restrictive about where light and darkness are to be found.

        Best Wishes

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well, Wooffles, Peter S praises your accurate rendition of how he came to write the article 15 years ago.

        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/30706

        ————————–
        I don’t know who the “wooffles” commentator is, but she or he has a fairly accurate reconstruction of how I stumbled onto this topic in the first place:

        “As for the question of what motivated Staudenmaier to research anthroposophy, as far as I can tell from the progression of his writing, it looks like an original involvement with a particular kind of left wing environmentalism led to an interest/concern with how environmentalism could be connected with right wing politics, possibly connected with the contemporary German political scene. That in turn led to research on Nazi environmentalism, which in turn led to Steiner, and now in the context of being an academic historian who is expected to keep up a research programme.”

        That is pretty much correct. My historical research covers a variety of subjects, but the history of right-wing appropriations of environmental concern has been one of my chief areas of focus for many years, and that is indeed how I came to write on anthroposophy.

        My article on “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism” was commissioned by the magazine that originally published it (a Norwegian magazine called Humanist); it was not an academic publication. The editors of the magazine had read the Norwegian translation of the 1995 Ecofascism book I co-authored, and asked me to write an article examining anthroposophy’s connection to the so-called ‘green wing’ of the Nazi movement.

        I certainly drew on my historical research for the article, but it is a straightforwardly political analysis for a broad audience. Though this remains mysterious to countless anthroposophists, it is obvious to any informed reader, and was presented as such in an entirely explicit manner.

        For one of many points of comparison, consider Paul Krugman’s op-ed pieces for the New York Times. Anybody who mistakes those for one of Krugman’s academic publications has no idea how to make basic sense of different kinds of texts.

        Like

      • By the same token, Peter never tires of pointing out the academic naivete and historical cluelessness of our genial host, Jeremy Smith. I continue with PS’ comment above.

        ———————

        “And a whole lot of Steiner fans, alas, have no idea how to make basic sense of different kinds of texts. Like a lot of other anthroposophists, Smith is simply confused about how academics work, indeed about what sort of article he thought he was reading in the first place.

        This sort of confusion is widespread among Steiner’s followers. That is a big part of how they manage to mistake an essay like “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism” for an academic treatise.

        Here is another passage from my 2005 message to Sune Nordwall:

        “My first article about anthroposophy and ecofascism was indeed a straightforwardly polemical piece commissioned by a lay magazine, not a scholarly journal, and written for a popular audience, not for other scholars or professional historians. It does not pretend to be an objective evaluation of the pros and cons of Steiner’s various teachings, and no competent reader could possibly be confused about its tendency.”

        If I may add a further comment: Even beyond the ignorance of academic and popular modes of writing, the level of Smith’s naivete is striking. Stuff like this, for example: “I was not told about this in any anthroposophical account of the society’s history” — You weren’t? Golly, what a shock. You mean anthroposophist accounts of anthroposophy’s history in the Nazi era are incomplete and unreliable? Imagine that!

        Perhaps Mr Smith will eventually come to the earth-shattering revelation that anthroposophist accounts of, say, Steiner’s racial teachings are incomplete and unreliable as well. To think that nobody told him! Outrageous!

        If there are anthroposophists out there looking to get beyond this sort of naivete, you have lots and lots of readily available sources to help you make better sense of your own history. Now might be a good time to start consulting some of those sources.

        Greetings to all,
        Peter S.

        Like

  4. Ian Trousdell

    Well done Jeremy! Thanks for our brief conversation. I can see this is a serious matter and your words setting out Staudi’s ‘inspiration’ are most welcome.

    Thanks again

    best wishes Ian

    Ian Trousdell Director Foundation for Water http://www.foundationforwater.org

    Charity 1133741 in England and Wales Forest Row, Sussex, RH185JX, UK Office phone +44 (0)1342 827965 Mobile +44 (0)7425 699295 Skype: ian.trousdell

    Foundation for Water UK Bank: HSBC 402009 41548743

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  5. Damn you to heaven, Smith. You’ve outed one of my most promising students. Do not despair though. If you delete your truths (aaargh) I will grant you a free pass to my sub-earthly abode where you will sitteth at my left hand. (No virgins here, but plenty of good actors. Get it?)
    Yours Sin-searingly,
    Screwyoutape

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jeremy, It looks like you’re not falling into Screwyoutape’s temptation. So since you are without sin, I’m including a link to this page in the next issue of http://SouthernCrossReview.org

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark

    Could anyone tell me the significance of uncle or who he represents many thanks

    Like

    • Dear Mark,
      I’m reluctant to spoil a joke by explaining it in too much detail – but, briefly, it’s a satire with a serious purpose. Screwtape, as mentioned in the post, is a character created by C S Lewis of “Narnia” fame and you can read more about him in Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters. I’ve simply extended the Screwtape idea into the realm of those who criticise Rudolf Steiner, by suggesting that their motivations are less than benign.
      Hope this helps,
      Jeremy

      Like

      • He’s “Staudi”.

        Like

      • Mark

        Thanks jeremy, although I was not aware of these letters i did get the feeling they were put together by an anthroposophist or the like, what I should have asked was, is “uncle” a fictitious character or is there some historic connected to him, I would love to explain the reason for my question but because of its nature public discussion may be a little inappropriate. Only signed up a couple of months ago really like what I’ve read, thanks

        Like

  8. Lewis had a so-called “great war” with the anthroposophist, Owen Barfield, c. 1925-1930, which led to his conversion to Christianity. It is briefly covered here:
    http://reconditecogitations.blogspot.com/2009/12/great-war-cs-lewis-owen-barfield.html

    In his first book of allegorical fiction, Pilgrim’s Regress, c. 1933, Lewis clearly denounces Steiner, and yet, his own power of Imaginative Cognition only grew over the years, which seems to indicate that Barfield had made a very useful impression on Lewis in forming a spiritual perspective out of Lewis’ own previous atheistic position.

    Owen Barfield has stated that Lewis, “never listened to anything he said”, in their writing correspondence, and yet, I believe that much more can be discerned in the influence. While “The Screwtape Letters” of 1942 convey a very distinctive guard against atheism, it remains to be known whether Lewis still put Steiner in that league of the south, or Lowerarchy, as he clearly indicates in Pilgrim’s Regress.

    And yet, look at how his own imaginations grew out of the strict reasoning that made for the letters with Barfield. It was a discursive war in which Imaginations took on Reason. Who won?

    Regards,

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hollywood Tomfortas was once one of my most trusted servants. Thanks to his experience in U.S. Army M.I., he was able to work in deep cover as a committed anthroposophist. Now he has gone over to the light-side and is damned to eternal heavenly boredom. He is hereby ordered to turn over his Gray-Card as member of the School of Infernal Science (SIS) to Prof. “Staudi”, who will burn it according the the prescribed awesomely awful ritual.
    Screwyoutape (his seal)

    Like

  10. This could be the beginnings of an anthroposophical “inklings”, Jeremy, but I wonder if you could stand the traffic. Tom has made it clear that his prophet, Staudi, is, indeed, the ahrimanic representative of Christ for our time, i.e., 5th PA, but I sincerely doubt that ‘Staudi’ appreciates such an accolade now that he has finally published his book, “Between Nazism and Occultism”, which encompasses the doctoral thesis on anthroposophy and ecofascism.

    Steiner gave a lecture on July 30, 1920, ref. GA197, in which he came as close as he was able to say about the being that the Jesuits falsely call, Jesus, and he designates this being as an underworld figure, i.e., sub-earthly, who has the power to subvert human intelligence to an entirely cold-hearted and materialistic outlook. Thus, he is clearly indicating Ahriman as the so-called ‘Jesus of the Jesuits’.

    I could give the complete reference citation, as I often did on the WC cyber-hole, but refrain due to the oft-cited offense of “spamming the list with steinerisms”, You see, the WC believes in critical thinking without a whole lot of Steiner actually being defended. Go figure 🙂

    Regards,

    Steve

    Like

    • Thank you for your contributions but I’m now going to draw a line under any comments which in my subjective judgment are veering off-topic. Comments on the post and points arising therefrom are of course still welcome.
      Best wishes,
      Jeremy

      Like

  11. Ah, reigning in the ‘inklings’, which has to occur eventually on any topic of fellowship concern. Of course, before tipping into the next subject, let us continue to investigate the identity of this “new screwtape”. Is it Frank, who likes to take credit for lots of stuff, or still a mystery figure sending reams of unsolicited letters informing of the new acolyte of the demon- world, called “staudI’?

    The designation of “staudi” for one Peter Staudenmaier goes back a few years to an original time and place. Its major proponent is a fellow English subject, Jeremy, who you will easily identify in this compendium of remarks from the source-place where the fledgling professor was duly skewered over a number of years, and long before reaching his goal of Modern German History professor at Marquette.

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/anthroposophy_tomorrow/search/messages?query=staudi

    Much of the war of anthroposophy and modern academics has its roots here.

    Regards,

    Steve

    Like

  12. Jeremy,

    I posted my comment to Wooffles (which is still languishing in your Moderator folder) on the WC group here

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/30702

    and Peter Staudenmaier then made this comment:

    ————–
    I don’t have a particular objection to characterizing my “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism” article as agit-prop. It has certainly agitated a lot of historically clueless anthroposophists over the years. The anthroposophical movement is full of Jeremy Smiths, oblivious to their own history. And it is definitely true that many anthroposophists have gotten that article mixed up with my scholarly work. That is a common mistake among readers who are unfamiliar with the academic world.

    Many anthroposophists are beholden to a series of myths about academia, and that makes it hard for them to understand any sort of scholarship about Steiner and anthroposophy. Christian Clement faces the same sort of thing all the time, as we’ve seen right here on this list not too long ago. In the minds of not a few anthroposophists, the Great Academic Conspiracy has many tentacles indeed.

    In a lot of cases, there is also a high degree of basic textual naivete involved. A remarkable number of anthroposophists have a very hard time telling different kinds of texts apart, no matter what the subject — which, as it happens, has a lot to do with their resentments about academia.

    Here is how I put it in that message to Sune a decade ago: “I think that one very basic reason for your outrage at my first article on anthroposophy (“Anthroposophy and Ecofascism”) is a sort of genre confusion: along with Daniel Hindes and a number of my other anthroposophist detractors, you seem unsettled by the notion that historians sometimes engage in highly critical political analysis, using blunt language and without scholarly niceties, when writing for non-historians.”

    It is unsurprising that anthroposophist apologists, from Sune Nordwall to Daniel HIndes to Jeremy Smith and so on, react negatively to my work. It would be odd if they didn’t. If there are Steiner admirers out there who would like to discuss any of my work critically, I invite them to do so. Greetings to all,

    Peter S.

    Like

  13. Some like the idea – “and after Steiner there is nothing” – and some like to keep him in the grave forever by the words “Der Dr. hat gesagt” – so how do the Yellow School actually work – it is neither black or withe.

    Like

  14. Hi Jeremy,

    I’d say this topic is about as close to closing at it can get, but I would hope to say something in response to Soren Voltmar, who wrote:

    “Some like the idea – “and after Steiner there is nothing” – and some like to keep him in the grave forever by the words “Der Dr. hat gesagt” – so how do the Yellow School actually work – it is neither black or withe.”

    I had the welcome opportunity today to actually convey Steiner’s “saids” into a forum that considers UFO’s to be an unexplained phenomenon that might actually mean that alien intelligences are out there somewhere. I know that this has nothing to do with CS Lewis, or screwtapes, old or new, but neither does Soren Voltmar’s comment. Its only relevance concerns what spiritual science reveals in whatever language the original German was translated. Here is what the English had to say from a lecture given on May 13, 1921, c. GA 204.

    “Since the last third of the nineteenth century, we are actually dealing with the influx of spirit beings from the universe. Initially, these were beings dwelling in the sphere between moon and Mercury, but they are closing in upon earth, so to say, seeking to gain a foothold in earthly life through human beings imbuing themselves with thoughts of spiritual beings in the cosmos. This is another way of describing what I outlined earlier when I said that we must call our shadowy intellect to life with the pictures of spiritual science. That is the abstract way of describing it. The description is concrete when we say: Spirit beings are seeking to come down into earth existence and must be received. Upheaval upon upheaval will ensue, and earth existence will at length arrive at social chaos if these beings descended and human existence were to consist only of opposition against them. For these beings wish to be nothing less than the advance guard of what will happen to earth existence when the moon reunites once again with earth.
     
    Nowadays it may appear comparatively harmless to people when they think only those automatic, lifeless thoughts that arise through comprehension of the mineral world itself and the mineral element’s effects in plant, animal, and man. Yes, indeed, people revel in these thoughts; as materialists, they feel good about them, for only such thoughts are conceived today. But imagine that people were to continue thinking in this way, unfolding nothing but such thoughts until the eighth millennium when moon existence will once more unite with the life of the earth. What would come about then? The beings I have spoken about will descend gradually to the earth. Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen, Venus supermen, Mercury supermen, sun supermen, and so on will unite themselves with earth existence. Yet, if human beings persist in their opposition to them, this earth existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years. People will indeed be capable of developing their intellect in an automatic way; it can develop even in the midst of barbaric conditions. The fullness of human potential, however, will not be included in this intellect and people will have no relationship to the beings who wish graciously to come down to them into earthly life.
     
    All the beings presently conceived so incorrectly in people’s thoughts — incorrectly because the mere shadowy intellect can only conceive of the mineral, the crudely material element, be it in the mineral, plant, animal or even human kingdom — these thoughts of human beings that have no reality all of a sudden will become realities when the moon and the earth will unite again. From the earth, there will spring forth a horrible brood of beings. In character they will be in between the mineral and plant kingdoms. They will be beings resembling automatons, with an over-abundant intellect of great intensity. Along with this development, which will spread over the earth, the latter will be covered as if by a network or web of ghastly spiders possessing tremendous wisdom. Yet their organization will not even reach up to the level of the plants. They will be horrible spiders who will be entangled with one another. In their outward movements they will imitate everything human beings have thought up with their shadowy intellect, which did not allow itself to be stimulated by what is to come through new Imagination and through spiritual science in general.
     
    All these unreal thoughts people are thinking will be endowed with being. As it is covered with layers of air today, or occasionally with swarms of locusts, the earth will be covered with hideous mineral-plant-like spiders that intertwine with one another most cleverly but in a frighteningly evil manner. To the extent that human beings have not enlivened their shadowy, intellectual concepts, they will have to unite their being, not with the entities who are seeking to descend since the last third of the nineteenth century, but instead with these ghastly mineral-plant-like spidery creatures. They will have to dwell together with these spiders; they will have to seek their further progress in cosmic evolution in the evolutionary stream that this spider brood will then assume.
     
    You see, this is something that is very much a reality of earth humanity’s evolution. It is known today by a large number of those human beings who hold mankind back from receiving spiritual scientific knowledge. For there are those who are actually conscious allies of this spidery entangling of human earth existence. Today, we must no longer recoil from descriptions such as these. For descriptions of this kind are behind what is said to this day by many people who, based on ancient traditions, still have some awareness of things like these, and who would like to surround these ancient traditions with a certain veil of secrecy. The evolution of earthly humanity is not such that it can be veiled in secrecy any longer. However great the resistance in hostile quarters, these things must be said; for, as I have stated again and again, the acceptance or rejection of spiritual scientific knowledge is a serious matter facing mankind. It is not something that can be decided on the basis of more or less indifferent sympathies or antipathies; we are dealing with something that definitely affects the whole configuration of the cosmos.
     
    We are dealing with the question of whether humanity at the present time will resolve to grow gradually into what benevolent spirits, wishing to ally themselves with human beings, bring down from the universe, or whether mankind will seek its continued cosmic existence in the gradual entanglement, in the spider-brood of its own, merely shadowy thoughts. It does not suffice today to set down in abstract formulas the need for spiritual scientific knowledge. It is necessary to show how thoughts become realities. This is what is so dreadful about all abstract theosophists who appear on the scene and place abstractions before people, for example: Thoughts will become realities in the future. But it does not occur to them to present the full and actual implications of these matters. For the concrete implication is that the intellectual, shadow-like thoughts, spun inwardly by human beings today, will one day cover the earth like a spider’s web. Human beings will become entangled in it if they are not willing to rise above these shadowy thoughts.”

    Like

  15. David Clark

    Hi Jeremy,
    Reflecting on my reading, I reckon the resonance of Dr. Staudenmaier’s oeuvre for a general reader is affected by its emergence from discourses of the historical academy and lack of transdisciplinary content.
    All the Best,
    David

    Like

  16. Daniel Perez

    Jeremy,
    Well written and highly entertaining! There are in-the-main two interesting ideas, however, that I’ve gleaned from the comments following your post. First, that if statements are “polemic” or targeting a “broad audience” or are for “lay people” in perhaps a “non scholarly journal” that they are then to be excused from the truth! Second, that the “lay people” do not understand the difference. When I watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart I do not mistake him for a news anchor. But Jon Stewart, by the same token, does not take himself to be anything other than a satirist. In the case of Staudi he believes he is an academic in real life (meaning academic contexts) while discounting his poor scholarship in his “polemic” as some sort of intentional roadshow.

    Philip Bromberg writes about the psychology of individuals that can’t differentiate between these two states when he quotes a verse from “The King and I”:
    “Make believe you’re brave
    And the trick will take you far
    You may be as brave
    As you make believe you are”

    Or for Staudi:
    Make believe you’re truthful
    And the trick will take you far
    You may be as truthful
    As you make believe you are

    Philip goes on to mention Gladwell (2005) and the subtitle of his book, “Blink”, “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” because of the phenomena of dissociative self-state shifts. This is where an individual is not quite sure if they are relating a true experience or only pretending.

    There is an obvious difference between reporting and satire. There also is an obvious difference between true and false statements. It doesn’t matter if afterward you cloak them in some absurd attempt at a “do over”.

    I can see how Screwtape is the puppet-master here!

    Like

    • Dear Daniel,
      I love your version of the verse from The King & I, which is a perfect anthem for an apprentice demon!
      Your point about Staudi’s concept of “polemic”, which seems to equate with “lies and distortion”, is well made; and I have a strong suspicion that either Screwtape or the anthropopper will have more to say about this in due course.
      Many thanks for your comment,
      Jeremy

      Like

      • Yes, Daniel is well aware of the Staudenmaier phenomenon on the WC forum, wherein he was laid prostrate and skinned for the simple fact that he had attended the Waldorf school that unfortunately had also housed instructors like John Alexander and Eugene Schwartz.

        Daniel’s experience in Waldorf education is an important contribution to those that uphold the Steiner system, as he demonstrated by his own example what a quality education format they maintain. His continued success is owing to that system, and was upheld by this writer during the time in which he was being vilified by the forces of the acolyte demon that we are exposing today; even as we speak.

        I could say that I am bemused by his response here in this format, but I am actually very glad he posted, for all of the obvious reasons. Hopefully, he sees the same effort attempted on my part in the WC venue for the same obvious reasons.

        Regards,

        Steve

        Like

    • wooffles

      A lot of this boils down to the difference between rhetorical excess (which I’m not condoning!)—anthroposophy as a ‘pseudo-religion’ and Steiner anticipating important elements of Nazi racial doctrine and the like—and the substantive interpretations Staudenmaier was making in ‘Ecofacism’ (a distinction which is not always clear in Jeremy’s post). In the morass of the back and forth between Staudenmaier and Hindes and his supporters it seemed to me that that they could only explain how Staudenmaier made his substantive points in the first place and then insisted on holding on to them in the face of their objections in terms of
      duplicity. I didn’t always agree with Staudenmaier’s interpretations (I was interested enough in the exchange, and was learning enough from it, to check sources in the original German where possible), but I didn’t see anything dishonest in the way that Staudemaier was constructing those interpretations from his sources.

      If you are satisfied that Hindes’ essay was definitive, then I certainly don’t expect you to agree with me. But it might be sensible to leave open the possibility that you might be wrong, or at least, not entirely right. That, if nothing else, would explain the seeming paradox of someone as ‘absurd’ as Staudenmaier having something useful to say to Jeremy and others about anthroposophical history that anthroposophists failed to provide.

      Cheers

      Like

      • Dear Wooffles,
        I’m really grateful for your comments and the even-handed approach you take, though I sense that your general inclination is towards Staudi’s camp. As I mentioned in my reply to Daniel Perez, I’m going to write something later this month to address the very interesting points that have come out in these exchanges.
        Best wishes,
        Jeremy

        Like

      • David Clark

        Hi Jeremy,

        Many thanks for providing this opportunity for discussion.

        Reading the comment by Woofles citing views of anthroposophy as a “pseudo-religion”. I have studied anthroposophical spiritual science as an integral part of my continuing professional education over many years.

        As a result, I conclude that such descriptors may sensibly be understood as extending beyond rhetorical excess. Indeed, by commenting freely in this way, the author isolated himself, moving well beyond the established knowledge community of serious students who would not themselves claim to be part of a “pseudo-religion”.

        Like

      • wooffles

        David,
        When someone calls something a “pseudo-religion’ without any further explanation, all that is being communicated to me is that they dislike it. But since I don’t know what they consider the characteristics of a real religion to be, it isn’t any sort of opening to further discussion, and in that sense it is simply polemical. I have no idea what Staudenmaier thinks the characteristics of a genuine religion are, and I have no idea if his ideas have changed since he wrote the article. I also have no way of knowing how much thought went into that claim in the first place. It also isn’t clear to me why it would follow that because of statements like this there is nothing of value in the article. Again, we are back to the issue of the validity of Hindes’ critique in its totality.

        In any case, it would make sense for anthroposophists, rather than discussing a fifteen year old article by someone whose interest in anthroposophy is narrowly circumscribed, to be discussing something like the much more recent work of Ansgar Martins, which builds on Staudenmaier and is published by a German anthroposophical press. Maybe someone should pass that on to the English language publishers (the one approach of this sort I made did not seem to be met with any enthusiasm).

        Hope that helps

        Like

  17. David Clark

    Woofles,
    Clearly we differ on the virtues of historical scholarship. In this context, I have to come clean and admit my keener interest in more mundane aspects of everyday life that seem untouched by scholars.

    Like

    • Hi David,

      In response to your comment on historical scholarship, and with reference to Wooffle’s very good idea to leave the fifteen year old article alone and deal with more current issues in the anthroposophical milieu, it can be shown that this was attempted quite directly back in early September of 2014 with the Professor and his critical support group. It was highly encouraged to read the well- considered essay from the RoSE journal on the “New Paradigm in Dealing with Anthroposophy”, herein:

      http://www.rosejourn.com/index.php/rose/article/view/193/204

      The gist of this essay is that scholars are refusing to listen to anything coming from the side of those that have expertise in anthroposophical subjects, and especially the history and symptomological indications of a spiritual evolution that had reached a crisis-point by the entry into the 20th century. The expected resistance allowed for one of the better defenses and explanations of WWI coming from the side of the European karma in which destructive spiritual forces were working.

      In the centennial year of the advent of World War I, this began a quite lively debate in real-time, and amongst real people. It was well worth the effort in defending anthroposophical findings and the scholarship of keen intellectual discernment that somehow escapes the ‘critics’, who maintain that anthroposophy is “anti-intellectual”.

      It was proven otherwise, but still rejected.

      Regards,

      Steve

      Like

      • wooffles

        Steve,
        That article is directly relevant to this thread; thanks for pointing it out. But I’m not seeing in it what you are finding. The author notes that in Germany Helmut Zander is being asked for his opinions on anthroposophy in areas far removed from his expertise as an academic historian of anthroposophy (p. 146). The author goes on to say that one reason this critic of anthroposophy has gotten that role is because anthroposophists themselves have failed to develop a ‘culture of critical research’:

        ‘Anthroposophists’ fondness, in relation to Steiner’s presentations, for putting experience before understanding, openness to inspiration and the testimony of sleep before debate and intellectual effort . . . has meant that the public image of anthroposophy has so far been one of academic professionality and seriousness only to a very limited extent. . . A trained elite which sets critical standards has never really taken shape . . . Zander’s influence on the public debate owes its effectiveness to just this discursive vacuum and the lack of a culture of critical research in relation to Steiner’s works among those attempting to render them accessible’ (pp. 147-8).

        The author has high respect for Zander within his field of expertise and discriminating appreciation for what he can offer anthroposophists (example on pages 146, 147 and 148). I think that is the right perspective to take on Staudenmaier, who I doubt has said anything harsher about Steiner than Zander.

        Cheers

        Like

      • David Clark

        Many thanks Steve,

        Working with these questions in my own work, I have discovered that the roots of modern academic discourses in the Humboldtian research university rest in the endeavours initiated in the University of Berlin during the 19th Century. In the field of economics for example, this Prussian tradition was transmitted to the USA by economists who had pursued doctoral research in Germany. At that time Germany was considered a global centre of intellectual excellence. On their return to the USA, these scholars then disseminated their hard won experiences into their work with students as best practice. You may be familiar with the ways in which this research tradition rooted in the Prussian state helped to reinforce Germany’s economic development before and during World War 1.

        Before the reception of these research requirements in the English speaking world, it was very rare for such scholars to pursue doctoral study. A further review of these matters shows how elements of doctoral study include the dialectical approach to doctoral defence that was again imported from the Philosophical faculty in German Universities. If you are interested in these aspects, you may wish to carry out a Google search for yourself. With current developments in the UK, these elements are entering the political and public debate, especially concerning student employability, research relevance and the quality of teaching.

        For these and other reasons, I remain wary of academic discourses when these may be taken “on the rocks” as we say in the UK or for other readers, when they are offered to readers in an undiluted form. At the boundaries of disciplines, it can be especially difficult to raise new concerns. For example, working at Master’s level in International Relations and International Crisis Management, I am struggling to explore empirical evidence about the “conventional wisdom” of crisis and war that is being delivered almost continually through various forms of media. Paradoxically, this context seems almost irrelevant in the academy. Instead, the primary focus is on the relevance and significance of established scholars in the field. Especially in these subjects that are new to me, I find that such standards of judgement are puzzling if not overtly hegemonic.

        Like

      • Wooffles,

        I certainly concur with all of this observation from the author of “A New Paradigm in Dealing With Anthroposophy”. But here is what I found to be his overall thesis with this essay.

        For me, what the author says is that critical analysis of anthroposophy is coming from the side of historical scholarship, and Catholic theology, as he refers to the work and credentials of Helmut Zander. In other words, Zander’s qualifications allow him to remain on the outside of anthroposophical content as an authority of the external phenomenon of anthroposophy from the perspective of history and theology.

        What critics need to realize, according to this essay from Marcelo da Veiga, is that until they allow experts of anthroposophy and its content knowledge to be heard without bias, and with clear objectivity in mind, the critics will merely be a one-sided opinion on the matter of anthroposophy.

        Why? Because they exclude expert knowledge from their realm of inquiry, and make themselves the sole authority. Da Veiga seeks for a proper balance between the outsiders and the insiders by proposing greater tolerance for the latter. A fair appraisal can only come from such a standpoint.

        Anthroposophy consists of a knowledge-level content that is resistant to academic acceptance. In other words, anthroposophy does not concern itself with academic standards at all, except to invite the academics to actually study anthroposophy in an unprejudiced manner. The place to start is for academics to educate themselves in the principles and doctrines of spiritual science, and for anthroposophists to be ready to assist in this understanding.

        If the GAS had sponsored real growth of anthroposophical knowledge in the 90 years since Steiner’s death as a primary initiative, the imbalance seen today between external scholars, and anthroposophists with equal abilities, would not exist. There would be mutual respect, but the GAS has chosen to remain fixed and rather static around Steiner’s sole accomplishment. Scholars of anthroposophy have had to make it on their own with little to no support from a movement that has remained on hold since 1925. Steiner called for 21 more years of development, but he died prematurely, and stasis and conservatism became the norm.

        Regards,

        Steve

        Like

  18. David Clark

    Woofles,

    Many thanks for responding. I’m grateful for the way in which you highlight the highly speculative character of comments concerning anthroposophy in current practice that emerge from the academy. While I agree that academics may be approached for their views on anthroposophy, I reckon this situation may be understood as relating more to the general esteem accorded to universities and their profile in the public square. In passing I recall a recent comment in the UK media concerning the general laziness of journalists who look for short cuts in striving to meet tight deadlines.

    “The testimony of sleep”. I love the idea of insomniac academics! Your comments seek to problematise what scholars may call the research culture currently cultivated among anthroposophists. This conventional argument is a (daydream?) distraction from the essential point that anthroposophists do not seek to apply discursive standards of judgement in pursuit of academic self-reference.

    From your observations, I reckon you may be unfamiliar with highly contested developments in UK doctoral education. Among other matters, these include questions of evidence, methodology and theoretical development.

    Like

    • David and Wooffles,

      With kind regards to both of you for keen observations in the realm of academic standards and expectations, and especially, the iconic worship of past masters in the Humboldt program, let me say that Rudolf Steiner was consistently referring to these past masters, and that is why his curriculum of instruction was a veritable “who’s who” of relevant input in the findings of humanistic scholarship over historical time.

      The paradox is that present-day scholars, e.g., Zander, Staudenmaier, and to a lesser degree, Clement, fail to even remotely attempt to mine this rich resource of primary anthroposophical scholarship. Steiner was literally encyclopedic in his knowledge. And he communicated it very well as a master of instruction, or more exactly, as a conveyor of facts.

      For my part in this rigor of intellectual scholarship involving anthroposophy and its rather shallow, superficial, and judgmental reception by Staudenmaier and his group of critical pragmatists, it was to show what the facts actually revealed in the many critical assertions involving Rudolf Steiner and the developments of anthroposophy.

      Thus, from September 7, 2014, wherein the “new paradigm” was offered for discussion, until July 27, 2015, a veritable flood-tide of activity occurred in the domain where the so-called “apprentice demon” of the ‘New Screwtape’ makes his home. I offer this only as an “inkling” of what took place within that period of time. A tacit appraisal is appreciated.

      https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/search/messages?advance=true&am=CONTAINS&at=email:sardisian01@&dm=IS_ANY&fs=false&count=10

      Regards,

      Steve

      Like

      • wooffles

        Steve,
        You say that “according to this essay from Marcelo da Veiga,. . . that until they allow experts of anthroposophy and its content knowledge to be heard without bias, and with clear objectivity in mind, the critics will merely be a one-sided opinion on the matter of anthroposophy.”
        I can’t find anything in the essay that sounds remotely like that. Could you produce a quote?
        Thanks

        Like

      • David Clark

        Hello Steve and Woofles,

        At the outset, I was intrigued to find that the link led me to a “critics” site. Being myself a short-term resident of the academy as a postgraduate student, I would probably keep my temporary access to this material quiet among colleagues on the grounds of its being a “grey” source. But let that pass.

        Once immediate workload priorities have been completed in a day or so, I will take a longer and deeper look. My first impression was one of surprise at finding a question and answer session concerning agricultural and land policies being brought forward under what some historians now call the Third and Fourth German Empires. As a newcomer to the site, I considered this theme to be a part of current debates among historians in the public square.

        For me, portrayal of this theme is especially interesting and poignant as a former planner with specialist knowledge of economics and geography. It is a deeply regrettable fact that functionaries with these backgrounds were actively engaged in implementation of these policies. Having read such material before, I have felt deeply concerned and prompted to know more. As an observer of events under globalisation, for example my sense of injustice is aroused and I wonder whether similar circumstances are being created today.

        In passing, I would be interested to learn about the engagement of historians in providing narrative comfort and support during German Imperial times. Some hope.

        Further inspection of the site revealed an inconclusive chat about conclusions that may legitimately be drawn for the present time from historical scholarship. For me, these questions relate to the proper boundaries of discourses in the historical field. As a non-historian, I cannot see how conclusions from such discourses may be applied directly to current conditions. While values may be enlisted to support activism, I don’t understand how such a mixture can promote scholarship.

        So there it is. I’ll return after a deeper and fuller look at the link.

        Thanks,

        David

        Like

      • Wooffles,

        Yes, I can produce the quote, and it comes from the very last section of the essay, where da Veiga appeals for exactly what I have been trying to do in achieving balance between the ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’.

        Courage to participate in discourse and research

        “Steiner’s ideas are helpful in my opinion, and capable of contributing much to specialist discourse in this field, although not of replacing it entirely. Authentic critical discourse comes less from outside than from within a particular discipline, and should be a part of any well-founded field of knowledge. In the case of anthroposophy this does not mean sliding into a quotation trade-off, critics vying with each other for the position of Steiner’s true interpreter, the first to have understood him correctly (the anthroposophical movement has seen enough of this already). Rather, following Steiner’s example, the thing is simply to try, however modestly, to render spiritual reality accessible, and to offer the fruits of these attempts for discussion. This is as straightforward as it is exacting. We must find a new way of working with anthroposophy. One that takes Steiner more seriously in a methodological sense and is, at the same time, more authentic. If this doesn’t happen, then we can be certain that the Spirit will completely change course, withdrawing from those who think they have it in their grasp, to range according to its own being wherever and however it will. ”

        Hope this helps, as it inspired me to trudge on in the quest.

        Regards,

        Steve

        Like

      • David,

        When you get the chance to look more closely at the link in question, i.e., the Waldorf-Critics forum, where the so-called “apprentice demon” is known more colloquially as ‘der staudi’, it would be reasonable to start at this point, rather than wade-in with the most recent comments I offered.

        https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/27979

        Starting from September 7, 2014 will easily afford the progression in which scholarly research on the part of the aforesaid was measured with anthroposophical knowledge. My apologies for the less sophisticated moments in these exchanges, but when the sole anthroposophist defending the realm (cause) is subject to such abuse without support, well, …. what can I say?

        I hope you get the chance to follow-through with what will prove to be an education and an edification.

        Regards,

        Steve

        Like

  19. Hello,
    needless to say, perhaps, I find the blog post quite silly. I do not understand why even eloquent and apparently intelligent anthroposophists can’t seem to handle the existence of Peter Staudenmaier a bit more cleverly. I don’t know why. I really don’t.

    And if anyone is to be accused of diminishing Steiner, the main culprits have always been and will always be anthroposophists themselves, curiously enough.

    Anyway, I only really wanted to thank Wooffles for some very good comments on this thread.

    Best,
    -alicia

    Like

    • Hi Alicia,

      Well here, in this case, it was to try to keep David keen on following through with a consistent archival study from a specific point-in-time, so that he might discern the threads which he seems now to consider incomprehensible. As you might entail, I have continued to encourage David on the upper thread.

      As for not taking PS more cleverly, or anthro’s diminishing Steiner themselves, I am at a loss to comment. Who could be the culprits in such a scheme?

      Wooffles I see as an admirable neutralist, which can certainly appeal to the critics of Steiner. Yet, has Wooffles even remotely demonstrated anthroposophical knowledge in order to make a truly informed viewpoint?
      I have yet to see it, but maybe it doesn’t matter in a world where logical opinion on anything seems to hold sway.

      Regards,

      Steve

      Like

  20. Daniel Perez

    woofles,

    Apparently no one challenged this statement by you:
    “In any case, it would make sense for anthroposophists, rather than discussing a fifteen year old article by someone whose interest in anthroposophy is narrowly circumscribed…”

    The author of the “fifteen year old article” is a critic of someone who’s writings are 100 years old, so I fail to see why fifteen years is too old to worry about? I agree that Staudi’s interest is “narrowly circumscribed” but as we are discussing the validity of his research, items taken from his entire body of work are a valid point of focus. Do you disagree?

    It is also interesting to see the various “academics” on this blog confuse polemics with truth. There is no reason a polemic can not be true. Instead, there is a great deal of covering for the lack of truth in Peter Staudenmaier’s “polemic” on the basis that polemic’s are, “strong verbal attacks”. If the “verbal attack” were true and demonstrably valid, we would be having a different conversation.

    Being, on the other hand that Staudi himself walked back statements from this piece, it would suggest that no one defends its veracity. Given this it would be more appropriate to say, “rather than discussing a fifteen year old article that has already been discredited, along with the author…”

    Like

    • wooffles

      Daniel,
      Sorry to be slow in responding. In answer to what I understand to be your question, I would put more weight on how he or anyone discusses a topic after they have gotten a lot of feedback and criticism and have had time for more study and reflection than before. You seem to be arguing that “Ecofacism” has rendered everything he has written since then self-evidently worthless. Jeremy’s response to him is more nuanced.
      Best wishes,

      Like

  21. Alicia has indicated that she refuses any exchanges with me on this blog. I apologize for the embarrassment, which is entirely mine. She has taken this position because I write in defense of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy, which is intolerant to her. I thought, as an adult, to say hello, and then give my thoughts here, while she resorts to her childish and puerile belief that I have nothing to say to her.

    Well, please, this is the blog of Jeremy Smith, which is different than the WC snake pit, wherein anthro’s are routinely skewered for even thinking they know something.

    Best to everyone here, but wondering why 😉

    Steve

    Like

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