I’ve been asked to write a short introduction for newcomers on the theme of “What is anthroposophy?” for a website for the Anthroposophical Society in Sussex. Having set myself a limit of no more than 250 words, I came up with the following 224 words:
What is anthroposophy?
Anthroposophy (meaning “wisdom of the human being” or “consciousness of one’s humanity”) was defined by its founder, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) as “a path of knowledge, to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe.”
Steiner considered anthroposophy to be a science of the spirit, and a necessary complement to natural science. It deals with many large questions, such as: the purpose of life, the physical and non-physical aspects of the human constitution, the nature of divinity and the cosmos, and the understanding of those universal laws which govern life. Anthroposophy is a philosophy, not a religion, and people of all religions and none have found it useful in expanding their sense of what it means to be a human being.
Anthroposophy has been applied in many practical ways to great effect for the benefit of individuals and the community, including in agriculture (biodynamics), education (Steiner Waldorf schools), medicine and curative education, pharmacy, sociology, economics and diverse branches of the arts.
Freedom is at its core and Steiner was always insistent that anthroposophy must never force its existence upon people. It is instead something to be discovered by those individuals “who feel certain questions on the nature of human beings and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.”
Writing a brief introduction to a subject as complex as anthroposophy wasn’t an easy exercise, by any means – so I’d be grateful for any comments, advice or alternative versions (preferably from people who are well disposed towards anthroposophy!).