The UK’s Brexit and anti-globalisation general election

Apart from his efforts to bring about the Threefold Social Order after the First World War, Rudolf Steiner stayed away from involvement with politics. Indeed, he went so far as to say: “The Anthroposophical Society is averse to any kind of sectarian tendency. Politics it does not consider to be among its tasks.”  This is a line that many anthroposophists also take, for understandable reasons.

Despite this, I am going to write here about politics, because the forthcoming “snap” British general election, called by the British prime minister Theresa May to be held on June 8th 2017, is of such a momentous nature, with implications not just for the UK but also for many other countries around the world, that it surely deserves a wider anthroposophical perspective.

We have also just had the result of the presidential election in France, which was won decisively by Emmanuel Macron, leader of a new political party, En Marche! (On the Move!), whose name by a strange coincidence bears the same initials as his own. His defeated opponent, Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National party, had one of the most devastating lines in their televised debate, when she said: “France is going to be led by a woman, either me or Frau Merkel” but her aggressive, hectoring style led most observers to conclude that she had lost the arguments.

(As an interesting aside, a respected clairvoyant suggested to me that Emmanuel Macron is an aspect of Napoleon Bonaparte, who has reincarnated to do what he can to compensate for all the death and destruction he caused during his life as Emperor of France. A fanciful notion, perhaps, but put pictures of Macron and Bonaparte side by side and there is a distinct resemblance. I shall watch with great interest how Macron approaches his task of seeking to unite a very divided nation.)

Macron Bonaparte

Macron Bonaparte (image via the blog Conseil dans l’Espérance du Roi)

The Eurozone economic crisis, combined with the cultural and social impact of its open borders policy, has led to the rise of far-right parties not just in France but in many EU nations: the very thing which defenders of the EU say it exists to counter. But discontent with the EU is only one factor; another important one, which applies much more widely than just within Europe, is that the bankers and money-men collectively bankrupted us a decade ago – and got away with it. The resulting surge of rage across the Western world unleashed the Brexit vote in the UK; it smashed the established French party system, so that neither of the main parties there was any longer even in contention for the presidency; and in the USA it carried Donald Trump all the way to the White House. The tide in favour of national self-determination and anti-globalisation appears to be running high in many countries right now.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I voted to leave the European Union during the referendum held on June 23rd 2016, and I gave my reasons here and here. Most anthroposophists I know took a different line, and voted to remain. There has been a lively discussion about all of this in recent issues of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain’s Newsletter. I don’t intend to repeat the arguments I made last year, but will add here a few further observations.

First of all, a glance back at the history of Britain and the European project, together with a question: why was it that Conservative and Labour statesmen such as Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin, as well as the great European Charles de Gaulle, were all against the idea of Britain joining what was to become the European Union? Was it because they all understood what the European project was about and realised that Britain was not a natural part of it?

Churchill de Gaulle

Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle

The case made by those in favour of joining the European Economic Community (such as Harold Macmillan, prime minister from 1957 to 1963) was that Britain’s relative economic and actual geopolitical decline after the Second World War left joining the rest of Europe as the only viable alternative. However, after the war and in the early 1950s, most British politicians were unable to see just how difficult Britain’s position had become; or perhaps some of them could see it, but weren’t prepared to tell the British people that our imperial pretensions could no longer be sustained. It was the Suez War of 1956 that revealed just how far Britain’s economy had weakened, and how dependent it had become on the USA.

Britain after the Second World War and into the 1950s resisted the idea of joining in any moves towards European integration. True, Churchill had publicly supported the idea of a United States of Europe, notably when he made the keynote speech at the Hague Congress that created the Council of Europe in 1948; though whether he ever envisaged Britain being part of any such union is very doubtful. Certainly, he was far less sympathetic to the idea of union by the time he had returned to power in 1951. Nor was the post-war Labour government in favour of any moves towards union that might cede sovereignty in any form. In May 1950 foreign secretary Bevin said that because of links with the USA and the Commonwealth, Britain was “different in character from other European nations and fundamentally incapable of wholehearted integration with them.” In any case, measures towards political union of any kind aroused him to vigorous rejection. ‘I don’t like it. I don’t like it,’ he famously said of the idea of the Council of Europe: ‘When you open that Pandora’s Box you’ll find it’s full of Trojan horses.’

Bevin and Attlee

Ernest Bevin and Clement Attlee

Most Conservative politicians agreed with him. So Britain failed to engage in the creation of the EEC in the Treaty of Rome of 1957, and then later tried but failed to remedy what had come to be seen as a mistake. For Charles de Gaulle had never forgotten that Churchill had once told him that “if we had to choose between France and the US, Britain would always choose the latter.” So when Britain finally tried to join the EEC, first in 1963 and then again in 1967, de Gaulle vetoed our applications. Giving his reasons in 1963 for saying “Non”, he commented: “England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.”

De Gaulle also believed that Britain would represent American interests: it would be the US’s Trojan horse in the EEC. He had concluded that Britain was not committed to the goals of the EEC because, having withdrawn in 1955 from the original talks that led to the creation of the EEC, Britain had then proceeded to establish its own rival customs union (EFTA – the European Free Trade Association). In addition, he found the British both arrogant and self-important. Was de Gaulle wrong about any of this? I don’t think so.

This is all ancient and unfortunate history, some might say. Eventually, in 1973, Britain managed to join the EEC – but only after de Gaulle had left office. Nearly half a century later, we’re all Europeans and global citizens now, drinking our fairtrade coffee while we wait for our flight to some agreeable holiday destination. We like the idea of being able to move to any EU country for work, and in any case, without all those helpful Eastern Europeans coming to the UK, who will look after the elderly in our care homes or serve us our skinny latte?

Despite such compelling arguments, I voted to leave on June 23rd 2016, and thus opened myself up to accusations of racism, fascism, betraying young people etc from furious Remainers. Even so, I was somewhat bemused to find myself characterised by Michael Eggert, a German blogger, as someone who was siding with “neo-nationalist reactionaries” and “reflecting the internal arguments of the UKIP supporters.” He tells his readers that if they go to the anthropopper blog they will know what to expect if they are “familiar with today’s neo-right and open-fascist conspiracy theories. The ingredients for anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are the same, albeit with the pseudo-occult bluff arguments which so many believing Steiner supporters derive from his statements of 100 years ago.”

Actually, Michael, if I were pushed to define my political position, I would say that I lean towards anarcho-syndicalism with a deep green tinge. I thought I had taken great care in my Brexit essay to set out quite a distinct and principled position from a progressive standpoint – but perhaps the argument was too nuanced to pierce the hard shell of your cultural infallibility.

Leaving the uncomprehending Egoisten aside, I still remain baffled by the poor reasoning exhibited by so many Remainers; why is it, for example, that pro-EU people on the left or Green sides of the argument are so in favour of the European Union? What are they doing, these radicals who like to think of themselves as being in the forefront of the fight against globalisation, by fighting instead for an undemocratic, unaccountable trading bloc which is backed by the world’s banks, multinational corporations, financiers, and heads of governments? To listen to these Remainers, it’s clear that the decision to leave is being treated not as an opportunity to engage more fully with the wider world, nor a throwing-off of economic handcuffs or even simply as a change that must be accommodated after due democratic process, but rather as some kind of a national disaster.

Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s only MP and one half of the party leadership

And what is the Green Party thinking of, when it supports the EU? The EU cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as green. Has Caroline Lucas forgotten the continent-wide destruction created by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy – the wiping out of hedgerows, forests and wildlife, landscape features, small and family farms, and the promotion of industrial farming and agricultural free trade – which has arguably done more damage to the rural landscapes of Europe in 50 years than any other single instrument in the previous 500? This of course is now being extended to Romania, Poland, Hungary and the other newer members of the EU, where we will once again see the destruction of the peasantry, wildlife and diverse landscapes and the introduction of monocultures and the triumph of agri-business.

As for the Labour Party, I confess I don’t know what their attitude to the EU is today, nor do I understand what their position is on Brexit. What I do know is that they have failed to provide any kind of leadership, or to show that they have any clue about what caused the vote to leave. It seems that they have already given up on any prospect of winning this general election and are now manoeuvring behind the scenes for the leadership election that seems likely to follow a heavy general election defeat for their party.

The weakness of the left and the Greens means that this general election campaign will be more or less entirely about Brexit – and if I am right about most people’s motivations for voting to leave the EU, then in some ways it is also a manifestation of anti-globalisation, as we have seen elsewhere around the world.

The ruthlessness and will to power of the Conservatives have been much in evidence ever since the country voted to leave. We saw this first of all in the leadership contest to succeed David Cameron and then in everything Theresa May has done since becoming prime minister, especially in the way she has called this general election after denying on at least six occasions that there would be any election before 2020. The chances are that we are in for an extended period of Conservative rule. This has huge consequences, most obviously for Brexit and the UK’s future relations with Europe, but also for the futures of Labour’s leadership, public services, and the constitutional outlook for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

may juncker

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker (photo via the Daily Telegraph)

Mrs May has of course been fortunate in her enemies; nothing is better calculated to bring voters over to her side than leaked vindictive accounts from the aides of Jean-Claude Juncker of private dinners at Downing Street, or the threat of charging British taxpayers £100 billion because we were foolish enough to want to resign from the club. This is perhaps one reason why the Liberal Democrats were not able to make any kind of a breakthrough in the British local elections held on 4th May – as the one British political party which is unequivocally for Remain, they are now seen as supporting the vindictive and venal elite of the European project.

For the European Union has always been an elite project. Since it took shape in 1992, its architects have always been reticent about putting their project to the people. Referenda were rare, and if people voted the wrong way, as they did in Ireland or in Portugal, they were told to vote again until they gave the ‘right’ answer. The unspoken but clear aim has been to diminish, if not abolish, the democratic sovereignty of European nations, and to ‘pool’ that sovereignty in the interests of creating a giant, borderless free-trade zone. Of course, it was dressed up with talk of peace, equality and brotherhood, but it was primarily an economic project, as well as an attempt to keep Germany from becoming too dominant. (I wonder what happened to that?) People were not asked to vote on any of this, for a simple reason: it was clear they would say no. People remain stubbornly attached to their national identities, as we have seen in Britain, and as we see across the continent. This has been the EU’s fatal and quite deliberate flaw: it has never carried the people with it.

Were Rudolf Steiner alive today, he would not be giving his backing to the European Union as it has evolved. Why so many anthroposophists are unable to see this escapes me, because Steiner was quite clear about what should happen. He hoped for a threefold association of European nations that would themselves be threefold societies in which the cultural, legal-political and economic spheres would be clearly separated yet inter-related, his diagnosis being that Europe’s ills were caused by the interference of the three spheres with one another: business seeking to dominate the political state and the state seeking to dominate the cultural life (e.g. education). For the European level, Steiner looked forward to a common European economic life (which the EEC had started to provide), a common supranational European cultural life (which over the last fifty years has started to emerge in many ways) but to the maintenance of national values and traditions in the sphere of rights and law. It is this last point that the European Union, in its inept attempts to become a superstate, has completely failed to understand, and this is why Brexit became a necessity.

If Macron and others could begin to help the EU to reform itself along the lines indicated by Steiner, I would not hesitate to seek to rejoin such a community – and I think this would apply to many other people as well, not just in Britain but throughout Europe.

70 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Brexit, European Union, Rudolf Steiner

70 responses to “The UK’s Brexit and anti-globalisation general election

  1. Well argued, Jeremy. Your point of view is very clearly expressed.

    I remain a remainer. I might not like the EU but I would not wish to be the cause of its collapse. I suspect that the financial instability caused by moves to break up the EU, rather than evolve it, will lead to real poverty and suffering in the UK for several generations.
    There is no point engaging with people like Michael Eggert when they are in mocking mode. Your own quest for knowledge is the important thing. I feel it in your blog with its warmth and interest in the well-being of the world.

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    • Thank you very much, Tom. What momentous times we are living in! You and I take different positions on the best way to deal with these issues, and only time will tell what the outcome will be. But I don’t think there is any reason for the EU to collapse, and I certainly hope it can evolve to an organisation that not only provides all the common economic and cultural benefits of the union but also meets the national aspirations of its peoples and respects their values and traditions.

      Like

  2. wooffles

    Jeremy,
    You acknowledge that the UK (if it stays the UK) is in for a long spell of Tory rule; what is it about the Tories that makes you think that the money men and bankers won’t still be in charge, and this time without such restraints as the EU put on them? I’m thinking air pollution, consumer protections; employment rights, etc. The beaches are a lot safer for swimming than they used to be thanks to the EU; otters are increasing in the rivers, thanks in part to EU targets on river health, etc. This is off the top of my head. I know some people who told me how they were able to stop a particularly pointless development scheme thanks to EU enviromental law.

    I can see a lot of these accomplishments quickly eroding under the Tories, who haven’t really shown themselves to be wise stewards of anything. Do you have any reason to think that the Tories will be anything but enthusiastic promoters of industrial agriculture?

    That was one thing that I completely didn’t understand about all those people with their “Give us our country back” slogans. What on earth made them think that post-Brexit, they would be any more likely to get their country back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wooffles,

      To answer your question, there is nothing about the the Tories that makes me think that the money men and bankers won’t still be in charge after Brexit; and I agree with you that there will be a push to dilute or remove entirely some of the present beneficial EU legislation on environmental standards. The proposed Great Repeal Bill will carry over all existing EU legislation into UK law and Parliament will then, over a period of years, examine each law and decide which ones it wishes to keep and which to amend or abolish. There is our chance to influence and improve the present situation. It is just one of many reasons why the UK needs a proper opposition at this time, but also an engaged citizenry who will press their MPs to respond to the wishes of their constituents. One thing is for sure: although our chances of getting real improvements from the current government may be vanishingly small, at least there is a chance; whereas with the EU, there is absolutely no chance because of the need for unanimity amongst all 28 members before treaty changes can be agreed.

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      • Jeremy, let’s look at the reality of the situation. This call for a general election vote was unexpected, to say the least. Theresa May had no more cause to call for a general election as did David Cameron to call for a referendum vote concerning remaining within the EU or opting out. This he did under his own volition, and it caused his own resignation soon after the vote. So, why did he do it? All he had to do was remain PM until 2020.

        So, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Conservative party member, becomes the next PM. You know, the so-called “greasy pole-climber”, according to your own admission.

        As you have said, she intended not to have a general election until 2020, but has acceded “reluctantly” to do so. So, why would this be? Well maybe it has to do with the meeting with Donald Trump in January 2017. I wrote about it before, but maybe it now has some relevance: On January 24, 2017, I wrote this:
        “Theresa May is set to meet Trump on Friday. I knew he would put her first, and not on the low end. I see his putting off Angela Merkel because she supports immigration of the eastern Europeans seeking peaceful domicile as a true Christian. Trump has issues with immigration of the unfortunates, being a capitalist first and foremost. But, it is a start. I think he sees the future of Brexit”.
        http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/22/europe/may-trump-uk-us-visit/

        Now, some three months later, we have the decision to cast a vote for British solidarity. Well, I don’t see it. Why would May “reluctantly” agree to another vote that could ostensibly cause her to lose the election as PM? Maybe it has to do with the US-UK Trade Agreement sworn with Trump in January, when she was the first of the European officials to meet with the new POTUS. What an honor.

        http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2017/04/17/a_us-uk_trade_agreement_and_the_trump_re-election_campaign_112297.html

        If the Conservative party fails to win in the election of June 8th, it is likely due to Theresa May’s willingness to agree totally with the American plan for a US-UK trade agreement worked out in January. Of course, this would have to be made known now in order for the Brits to nominate someone else, like Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party.

        Would this not be the best bet, considering that Trump is not to be trusted?

        Steve

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      • Steve, I don’t think there is the slightest likelihood that the Conservative party will fail to win the election on June 8th. As I said in the post, Theresa May has been fortunate in her enemies and has chosen a moment for the election when both Brussels and the leaders of the Opposition parties are feared or despised by voters. The most likely outcome is that the Conservatives will be re-elected with a much-increased majority.

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      • Jeremy, if as you say: “The most likely outcome is that the Conservatives will be re-elected with a much-increased majority”, and you had previously stated:

        “The ruthlessness and will to power of the Conservatives have been much in evidence ever since the country voted to leave. We saw this first of all in the leadership contest to succeed David Cameron and then in everything Theresa May has done since becoming prime minister, especially in the way she has called this general election after denying on at least six occasions that there would be any election before 2020. The chances are that we are in for an extended period of Conservative rule. This has huge consequences, most obviously for Brexit and the UK’s future relations with Europe, but also for the futures of Labour’s leadership, public services, and the constitutional outlook for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar”

        then in my opinion and likely many UK voters, the referendum vote to remain or exit the European Union should be recast. The original vote was a close majority of 52% for exit, and 48% for remain, and a very bad weather day. As well, a year’s time has indicated that people definitely might vote differently today.

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  3. Russia as a member of the human rights ‘Council of Europe’ and as the influential eastern part of Europe can’t be left out in a Brexit analysis. I think of Farage’s Russian ties and interests.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/23/when-nigel-farage-met-julian-assange

    Like

    • A very interesting link, Ton – thank you. Do you draw any conclusions from it?

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    • Jeremy, the gist of the Farage article is expressed by Golumbia: “There is this worldwide, right wing, nationalistic movement that is counter to the EU, and this is present in the US and Europe and Russia, and we are just starting to understand how they do all seem to be in communication and co-ordination with each other.” (But co-leader Caroline Lucas of the UK Green Party has turned away from the Stop the War Coalition in 2015 and now condemns the Russian bombings.)

      In a post-truth world order the Russian state is not any more an economic, but still an intellectual power. The intelligence analyst Schindler describes Russia’s ongoing subversive political warfare (including political murders) in Europe, with the help of cunning disinformation techniques:
      “Putin has declared war on the West. Not kinetic warfare, but political warfare. Its aims are identical to the objectives of actual warfare. Too weak militarily and economically to challenge NATO on the field of battle with any hope of victory, the Kremlin has opted for more cunning techniques. Yet Russia’s objective—to install pro-Putin governments in Western capitals—is no different than if Moscow ordered the 1st Guards Tank Army to march westward.”
      (http://observer.com/2017/05/vladimir-putin-kremlin-wikileaks-france-germany-election-interference/)

      As a Russian example of ‘suggestion on a grand scale’ Steiner (1916) specifically mentioned the so-called Testament of Peter the Great, and a few years later (1924) the intellectual Bolshevism:
      “… by using suitable means, suggestions can be made to whole groups of people, especially when one knows what actually binds these these groups together.” (Karma of Untruthfulness Vol.1, p.37, google BSq5byop0rwC)

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  4. Jeremy Dent

    Is this General Election even democratic (in several senses)? The advent of digital campaigning and big data, psyops organisations like AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica mean that our political process is managed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, indeed – and isn’t it interesting that Theresa May hardly ever mentions the Conservatives and only talks about Brexit? This is a deliberate strategy (presumably put in place by Sir Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ election guru), and it seems to be working very well for them as they are on course for a landslide victory.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sophia Smith

    Thank you for this lengthy historical commentary and overview of current issues, worrying as they are. But your last two paragraphs gave me some hope…

    Like

  6. Hello Jeremy,

    I feel honored to become your favorite agent provocateur! Therefore, I should tell you my motivation for such “inciteful” behavior. In the long run, you see, I have found such provocation to be the best and most efficient way to establish equilibrium between two opposing views, as a necessary but of course not yet sufficient condition for reconciliation, equanimity and mutual understanding of the “other.”

    Therefore I present you with the latest effort in my ongoing mission of anthroposophical “shuttle diplomacy” between you and Michael Eggert. I must comment on the remarkable geographical karma of it all, because, due to the ahrimanic miracle of the Internet, I am able to sit in sunny Los Angeles ~6,000 miles away to “provoker” and then broker a peace deal between you in Forest Row, UK and Michael in Dusseldorf, Deutschland — you two being separated by a mere 300 miles across the Channel and indeed both of you at very close to the same latitude of 51º North!

    Last night I received this message by email from Michael seeking to reconcile with you over his previous harsh judgments of you and your political and anthro-political stances. Right now, early Monday morning in LA, I see that Michael has just made a new posting on Egoisten this morning, revisiting his harsh posting of a year ago — and which includes his message to me reaching out to you.

    https://egoistenblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/anthroposophische-rattenfanger.html

    I copy his message below and provide my translation:

    Hollywood Tom

    =================

    Lieber Tom, ich wäre Dir verbunden, wenn Du Jeremy Smith mitteilen könntest:

    Dear Tom, I would be very much obliged if you could convey this message to Jeremy:

    Ich bedauere, mich im tagespolitischen Geschäft sehr explizit und scharf über Jeremy geäußert zu haben. Das geschah aus der Situation heraus, die bestimmte Kommentatoren in seinem Blog einschloss, eine sehr schwierige Situation in Europa, ein internationales Aufflackern nationaler Egoismen und schließlich eine bodenlose UKIP Kampagne.

    I regret having expressed myself so very explicitly and sharply about Jeremy in the realm of day to day politics. It came about from the situation that included certain commentators on his blog, as well as a very difficult situation in Europe, an international flare-up of national egotisms, and finally an abysmal UKIP campaign.

    Zumindest der Druck auf den Zusammenhalt der Staatenverbünde lockert sich mit den Niederländern und den Franzosen. Damals, vor einem dreiviertel Jahr, sah die Situation deutlich gefährlicher aus. Die EU, aber auch viele Staatschefs, formieren sich neu, den Rechten, den russischen Manipulationen, aber auch den Webfehlern der EU – Struktur entgegen zu wirken.

    At the very least the stresses on the solidarity of the EU member states are minimal with the Dutch and the French. At that time, three years ago, the situation looked much more dangerous. The EU, as well as many heads of state, are redefining themselves to counteract the far right extremists, the manipulations of Russia, not to mention the innate flaws in the coherence of the EU structure itself.

    Vom jetzigen Zeitpunkt aus ist es nicht mehr nur die Opferung eines friedlichen Staatenverbunds zugunsten nationalistischer, kurzfristiger Effekte. Dies und andere Probleme – der Verlust der historischen Mittelachse Frankreich, Großbritannien, Deutschland, einem austarierten Gebilde, sagen wir mit Bedauern Ade.

    From today’s point of view, it no longer involves just the sacrifice of a peaceful alliance in favor of nationalist, short-term effects. This and other problems — the loss of the historical central axis of France, Great Britain, Germany — to that once finely balanced construct, we say with regret: Bye-bye!

    Es ist immer ganz gut, den Deutschen auf die Finger zu schauen, vor allem seit der Wiedervereinigung. Also Verzeihung für meine heftige Reaktion — den Kontext habe darzulegen versucht.
    Gruß Michael

    It is always good to keep a close eye on the Germans, especially since the re-unification. So please forgive me for my heavy-handed reaction — I was trying to illustrate the context.

    Greetings,
    Michael
    ============

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    • Dear Tom,

      Well, how very encouraging! I am grateful to Michael for his kind message, which is much appreciated by me. I do hope that this is emblematic of a similar reconciliation to come between Britain and a reformed European Union!

      Thank you both,

      Jeremy

      Like

      • Jeremy,

        I posted your reply above on Egoisten and Michael just commented there.

        Tom M
        ——–

        Dank an Tom für großartige internationale und (was viel schwerer ist) intra- anthroposophische Diplomatie. Und natürlich Jeremy für sein Verständnis.

        “Thanks to Tom for his awesome international and (something far more difficult) intra-anthroposophical diplomacy. And of course thanks to Jeremy for his understanding.”

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      • Jeremy,

        Michael Eggert responded to you on Egoisten this morning (scroll down to the very bottom of the Comments section):
        https://egoistenblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/anthroposophische-rattenfanger.html

        Jeremy, sowohl Brüssel wie London werden wohl Federn lassen müssen. Aber die enge Verflechtung bleibt bestehen — nach einigem Getöse wird man sich schon zusammen raufen. Für die internen Widersprüche Großbritanniens fällt der Sündenbock Brüssel dann weg- vielleicht ändert das auf lange Sicht auch wieder Großbritanniens Sicht auf die EU. Aber das sind Prozesse, die wohl eher in 10- Jahres- Rhythmen verlaufen. 
        ————–
        Jeremy,
        Both Brussels and London will not escape unscathed. But the close entanglement still remains — after a few rounds of outrage, people invariably scramble to get back together again. Then, for the internal contradictions of Great Britain, the scapegoat Brussels then ceases to exist — perhaps this will also change Britain’s view of the EU in the long run. But these are processes that are more likely to run their course in 10-year rhythms.

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      • Thank you for your shuttle diplomacy, Tom. I just hope that Hermann Finkelsteen is not too upset by this continuing outbreak of harmony and good feeling. 🙂

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      • You might also like to read the exchange between the Dutchman Michel and the German Michael here about the EU:

        MICHEL GASTKEMPER:
        Aha. Tom ist also ein Manichaean.
        Was mich weiter auffällt, ist, dass es jetzt die Niederländer und die Franzosen sind die für und nicht gegen die EU gewählt haben. Das war vor Zwölf Jahre ganz anders. Gerade die Niederlande und Frankreich waren beim Referendum in 2005 gegen einen neuen EU-Grundgesetz.

        MICHEL GASTKEMPER:
        Aha! Tom outs himself as a Manichaean!
        What strikes me further is that the Dutch and the French have now voted for and not against the EU. That is a total flip-flop from 12 years ago. Both the Netherlands and France were particularly opposed to a new EU Constitution during the 2005 referendum.

        MICHAEL EGGERT:
        Ja, glücklicherweise haben gerade die Franzosen und Niederländer hoffentlich eine Wende in Bezug auf die europäische Integration eingeleitet — an einem Zeitpunkt, als sich hinter Europa das Nichts auftat, und eine Auslieferung an russische, auch amerikanische Interessen. Es wäre für die Großmächte sonst leicht gewesen, die separierten europäischen Staaten gegeneinander auszuspielen. Aber die Erneuerung des europäischen Impulses steht noch aus, der Euro nützt Deutschland und schadet dem Süden, und die nationalen Egoismen blockieren die Entwicklung.

        MICHAEL EGGERT:
        Yes, fortunately, the French and Dutch have hopefully initiated a turnabout regarding European integration, at a time when the abyss of nothingness opens up behind Europe, and Europe is at the mercy of both Russian and American interests. Otherwise it would have been easy for the great powers to play the separate European states against each other. But the renewal of the European impulse is still pending — the Euro is benefiting Germany and harming the South — and nationalistic egotism is blocking its development.

        ======

        NOTE: Michel Gastkemper is the intrepid Dutch Anthroposophist who conducted an extensive and exclusive interview with Judith von Halle in 2014. Frank Thomas Smith has now translated it into English on his Southern Cross Review:
        http://southerncrossreview.org/112/jvh-interview.html

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      • Jeremy, it will always prove interesting as to why Eggert wrote his original blast against the British anthro’s back in July 2016. Now, he has amended himself with an apologetic, duly warranted. Back then, he had a particular displeasure with a former member of your consort, who he termed “a soul sucker”. Well, I guess that got dealt with, but it remains a mystery to me about this fellow called Hermann Finkelsteen, who continually berates anglo-saxon anthro’s for simply quoting Steiner dogma. He has done this for years, and apparently the anthro-saxon in charge must love the attention. So, if we take your quote:

        “I just hope that Hermann Finkelsteen is not too upset by this continuing outbreak of harmony and good feeling”,

        it is good to make such a derisive comment to someone who proclaims a kind of “Uribistani Idealism”, and yet fails to produce in any kind of world significance. On the other hand the anonymous party getting all the guff from HF is one of our very own. Yet, did Eggert ever attempt to tell him to “shut the bleep up?”

        No, of course not. Now maybe he should look at these comments that accord very well with us anglo-saxons.

        Steve

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  7. Paul Breslaw

    I haven’t followed many of the discussions on this blog; but I’m interested in relation to the Brexit/Remain question whether anyone has talked about the sin of treating labour (ie human beings) as a commodity. The free movement of capital and of people is the mechanism by which whole communities are enslaved or emiserated by the lie of “cheapness”. A perfect EU example of this mechanism in action, nicely written, can be found here:-

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n08/james-meek/somerdale-to-skarbimierz

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Paul – the article you link to is both sobering and angry-making (and very lengthy!). The latter-day manifestations of multinational corporate capitalism can indeed be grim and inhumane. I have written more on this topic here: https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/it-is-easier-to-imagine-the-end-of-the-world-than-the-end-of-capitalism/

      Like

      • Paul Breslaw

        And thank you Jeremy. I’ve just read the article you mentioned, but feel it doesn’t really address the issue. For example, the moment one reads phrases like “the cost of labour” or “where labour is cheapest”, I know that it’s begging the original question. To have already assigned a price to a person’s (potential) activity, is to wrench that person out of the eternal world of human individuality, and dump her or him into the transient world of values. Putting a price on labour is as meaningless as putting a price on the air we breathe or on all the land on the planet.

        So what I’m looking for are thoughts about how we might, albeit gradually, get from where we (unfortunately) all are now, to a place where there is a real separation of what we each contribute to the economic life, from our means of existence.

        By the way, this is no fantasy-land idealism. The past century of automation is going to look like a mere blip in comparison to what is going to come in the next decades via so-called “intelligent” machines. Basic citizens’ incomes are current thoughts – prototypes even – that might alleviate the problem of rapidly increasing automated productivity with fewer and fewer people with jobs and hence any money to buy all that stuff. But one can already sense the political and rights straitjackets that citizens’ incomes and the like would entail – “keep yer nose clean Sunshine or we stop yer dosh” – if you see what I mean.

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    • Dear Paul,

      I was encouraged by your post to pull a lecture of RS out of the hat, and I think it will influence you and others. It starts with our present situation in terms of world population, which has grown exponentially since 1918, when this lecture was given. Current statistical measures of world population since 1950, when it was deemed important to track by the United Nations is given here:

      http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/

      Now, Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture on 20 December 1918, in which he wanted to proclaim a kind of “new revelation of the spirit”, likely very similar to when he announced the imminent second coming of Christ for the second third of the 20th century just after his father died in late January 1910, ref. GA118.

      In this lecture, and please allow a key portion to be cited, Steiner says that in 1918 fifteen hundred million people lived on earth. This translates into 1.5 billion world population. This accords well with the original estimate by the U.N. above. But, and here is where nobody knows unless they more than acquaint themselves with the content of spiritual science, Steiner talks about another measure which is still outside the scope of modern-day social, political, natural, and historical science. It concerns the additional 500 million man-machine figure, which is owing to the advent of technological materialism, and allows certain “spirits of darkness” to invade human consciousness in a manner designed to create “the human machine”.

      Let me quote for your consideration the following:

      “If in our time we ask, how many men are there on Earth? — the answer generally is: Approximately fifteen hundred millions. The logical consequence would be that only so much work is done by these fifteen hundred millions. But that is not the case. On the contrary, since the beginning of the fifth Post-Atlantean age a new possibility has arisen; for today, beside the fifteen hundred millions of men on Earth of which we generally speak, there are five hundred millions more, reckoned in terms of labor-power.

      Through the machines it is so. And if all the machine labor of today were done by men, there would have to be five hundred million men to do it.

      You see therefore that human labor on Earth has found, so to speak, a substitute. Something is here that works like human beings and yet does not consist of human beings in flesh and blood. This fact is extremely important for the evolution of mankind, and it is connected with other facts in the evolution of the present time. The five hundred million men who are really not there as men of flesh and blood — all the work that is done by the machines just as though men were doing it — all this machine work gives opportunity for the Spirits of Darkness to realize themselves within our human evolution. And these very Spirits of Darkness are the opponents of the Spirits of Personality who bring with them the new revelations of the heavens breaking in upon us with a new clairvoyance, while on the other hand, arising out of the sub-earthly realms, we have the embodiment provided for the adversaries. For these very adversaries are demonic Spirits, Spirits of Darkness, who can now actualize themselves — albeit not through human beings of flesh and blood; they live and move among us none the less, inasmuch as human forces are being replaced by mechanisms, by machines.”
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA186/English/C52/19181220p01.html

      So, how many more man-machine days and hours have accumulated since this estimate given in 1918? Probably lots more. I used to work in manufacturing for the Boeing Company for some seventeen years, and saw it on a daily basis as an analyst working on the shop floor trying to improve things amongst all the noise and blank faces.

      Like

  8. Ottmar

    A phenomenological view on nationalism in Europe

    Let s have a phenomenological view (not a political one) on the mood, atmosphere in Europe and the US (which translates into public opinion and in the end in votes in general elections).

    It is most interesting to see that in the west and in the east of Europe, there are extreme nationalistic moods and also interesting the differences between the nationalism in the west and in the east and the differences between countries there. In the centre of Europe the extreme nationalism is much weaker, the political parties, that answer these nationalistic feelings, lost in the Netherlands and France, or at least they had higher expectations. (And I guess the new nationalistic party in Germany, AfD, had hopes of 20+ per cent in the general election later this year, but they might end up with only the half of it.)

    In the west the extreme nationalism (from now on it is ONLY AMERICA FIRST; AMERICA FIRST; AMERICA FIRST) was and is fed mainly by finacial aspects, Trump wants a better deal.
    In the UK the extreme nationalism was mainly fed by the wish to remain as it has been or to keep century s old ways, only economic modernization, social modernization no („I want my country back“ and “The trouble with Michael is that he had to buy all his furniture”) The UK has hardened, like the English language. (Further to the west, in Iceland, the language hasnt changed since viking times.)

    In the east there is completely different background for extreme nationalism. In Poland it is moral conservatism, religion and blood or ethnicity, as it is called today.
    In Hungary it is ethnicity and dreams of the past: greater Great-Hungary that finally disappeared with Trianon 1920, the Huns, Scyths, even the old Sumerers. And against the greatest of all sins: the modern liberal ways.
    For the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia check yourself.

    For anthroposophists it is an interesting question: How/why did the change in the mood or atmosphere in Europe (or in all countries, see Turkey, China, Japan and and) come about in the last 1 or 2 decades? And at the same time in all contries!? How do the different „colours“ of the extreme nationalism come about?
    Ottmar

    Like

    • Otmar wrote:

      “For anthroposophists it is an interesting question: How/why did the change in the mood or atmosphere in Europe (or in all countries, see Turkey, China, Japan and and) come about in the last 1 or 2 decades? And at the same time in all countries!? How do the different “colours“ of the extreme nationalism come about?

      Good question. Rudolf Steiner was always against the nationalist fervor, and likely especially the extreme version that exists today. Here is a collection of comments from the various lectures.
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/search=mode?query=nationalism&mode=context

      It makes one wonder why simply being a British anthroposophist garners the accusation of being a member of UKIP. This, of course, comes from the very same German side that is so concerned about its own far-right extremists. Ask any of those about it and they’ll honestly deny that they even know of Rudolf Steiner. Why? Well, he wrote and spoke over 100 years ago, and has been dead for the last 92 years.

      Steve

      Like

      • Well, I’ve been surprised by how easy it is for people to misunderstand my position on Brexit, although I recognise that the case I make for Brexit is not the one made by most Leavers. I do not have the slightest interest in Brexit for nationalistic reasons. My view is that the EU has made a fundamental mistake in not only trying to establish a superstate but also in trying to do this without the consent of the peoples. As an anthroposophist, I’ve tried to work out what Rudolf Steiner would have been aiming for, and I’ve set this out in the penultimate paragraph of the post. My advocacy of Brexit is both a recognition of the impossibility of the EU holding together as it is presently constituted, and also a faint hope that the shock caused by Britain leaving the EU will encourage some far-seeing European leaders to reform the EU along the lines set out in that paragraph – and if that happens, as mentioned, I will be a fervent advocate for Britain to re-join the union.

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      • To have a nation leave the EU and find a better way by incorporating threefolding principles from top to bottom would be wonderful. It has to start somewhere, and what better place than a country-nation-kingdom that had D.N. Dunlop, who died all too soon.

        Like

  9. Ottmar

    On Macron:
    -Does his posture look like Napoleon? EM with his family, singing the Marseillaise

    -He stylized himself as a lone hero, walking the Court Napoleon on Mai 7.
    -He quoted Napoleon: „L impossible n est pas francais.“ Impossible is not French or a French word.
    -It was the Great Rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, who first said: Macron is Bonaparte.
    -E.M. came, like Bonaparte, when great heads fell, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppe, Manuel Valls, Froncois Hollande.
    -Napoleon or not, Macron stylizes himself as Napoleon.
    -Macron is describes as: -as an a-sexual Don Juan; his wife said that if Laetitia Casta would undress in front of him, he wouldnt react at all -as highly charismatic -as highly difficult to grasp, „to get him“
    -Interesting: Steiner said, that Napoleon remained a youth, all his life. Macron already as a boy always wanted to be close to older men and women. Even in music he likes chonsons from the 40s, 50s and 60s.
    -„A part of Napoleon“: I fully agree that Napoleon wasnt an „ordinary“ human, but a rather complex one.
    -Rudolf Steiner spoke about Napoleon in CW 162!, 145, 185!, 180

    Like

  10. Demetrios Peroulas

    Dear Friend,
    Accept my respect for daring to tell the simple truth: “The King (EU) is nude”!…
    I am an anthroposopher (not anthroposophist; please, think of the difference between a philosopher and a sophist) from Greece and I’d like to tell to the friends of your website this: if only one could study the Greek Case without any prejudice and to the point, he/she at once would understand with her/his heart that you are telling the truth.
    Thank you for illuminating my mind and warming my soul and reminding us of the real aspirations of Rudolf Steiner.
    BRAVO!

    Like

    • Dear Demetrios,

      Thank you for your kind message! I’ve recently read reports of Yanis Varoufakis’ new book, Adults in the Room, which makes it very clear just how badly the EU has behaved towards Greece. Not only was Greece bankrupt in 2010 when the EU bailed it out, but the bailout was designed to save the French and German banks, and both Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy knew this; and they knew it would be a disaster. Greece remains burdened by billions of euros of debt it cannot pay. Because of the actions taken in 2010-11 – saving private banks by saddling north European states with massive debts – it is French and German taxpayers who will pay the price when the Greek debt is inevitably written off. Now it is true that rich Greeks should have paid their fair share of taxes, and it is also true that Goldman Sachs shouldn’t have cobbled together a report which made it seem as though Greece was in a reasonable position to join the EU in the first place, but even so… the ruthlessness with which the EU has behaved towards the Greek people should give the most ardent Remainer pause for thought.

      Like

      • Demetrios Peroulas

        Dear Jeremy,
        You are absolutely right. But, the fundamental question still remains: How can we cross the abyss and find our way on the other side?… “Our” elites and governments (either liberal, nationalist or left, like Varoufakis & Tsipras) are not in a position to give the proper answer, as all of them are materialists. I think that the answer must be sought in the realm of the Holy Spirit. So, my friend(s), what a hard but glorious work we all have to do inside us and among us!…

        Like

  11. wooffles

    To the extent that I understand the EU’s treatment of Greece, it seems both ruthless and self-defeating. That said, Varoufakis opposed Brexit and thinks that May is heading for a disaster.

    Like

  12. Visitor

    It´s not that EU has problems, EU is the problem. And certainly the problem with EU is not nationalism or many different kinds of it etc.
    To see the things in the right light one has to pass through many layers of meaning, usually we are stuck in one or the other layer. How can anyone dream that Macron could reform anything, least EU, when his only “purpose” is to ensure status quo.
    Pointing to the “Greek tragedy” from 2 years ago is very much in the right direction. So, secondly, how can anyone feel “safe to stay” in EU after witnessing what they did to Greece under Varoufakis and Siriza?
    So far the only sane move is really ppl´s instict for Brexit.
    While people of Germany, France and NL are heavilly damaging tehmselves by not being able to grasp the essence of the main direction and intentions under EU.
    Third clue is, for instancce, why Varoufakis endorses Macron and staying in EU despite his perfectly objective observations of its horrors and clear non-democratic essence?
    We cannot see anything clearly without making certain distinctions between mostly confusing notions of left, right, far right (allegedly), liberal and progressive. We have to recognize how we are led to accept a certain design of political landscape. We should not take notions and designations and labels easily and for granted as they are presented. That´s quite essential for any meaningfull discourse. Without acknowledging the fact that, for instance, Mr. Michael who see in the author of this blog a hard nationalist jsut because he is pro-brexit shoudll gives us many a clue. People see things under hipnosis, so also hard nationalists can be seen in sane citizens. We have to understand what constitutes peoples minds, what is their filter and who put it there.
    That would be a good begining.

    Like

    • “So far the only sane move is really ppl´s instinct for Brexit.”

      But people are not fully behind Brexit, and even less so since the vote of 6/23/16. See here this recent comment:
      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/the-uks-brexit-and-anti-globalisation-general-election/#comment-3170

      The EU’s treatment of Greece is a scandal and should be reviewed for its own decrepit condition as ruler out of Brussels. Yet, did the Conservative Party of Britain in 2010 under Cameron do anything? Cameron wins election again in 2015, and then calls for this referendum vote for ‘in or out’ in 2016. Yes, the people spoke, but only by a slim majority. In my opinion, a referendum such as this one should require a two-thirds majority of the people; not a simple majority.

      The election of Emmanuel Macron is a vote for EU solidarity. He is a lot like Donald Trump, also recently elected as U.S. President. Both are capitalists with no elected political experience. As well, prior to the Brexit vote, both Cameron and May were typical staunch members of the Conservative Party, and against any kind of leaving the EU.

      But the people spoke when given the opportunity. Would they still uphold such a decision if the Conservative Party won the upcoming election? Would the Party still feel the need to uphold the people in a quest that they feel innately opposed to?

      That is why I feel that the referendum vote needs to be recast as soon as possible. Personally, if held, I would be encouraged to see its vote to leave much higher than before. That would be meaningful.

      Steve

      Like

  13. According to Varoufakis (2017, books.google plqrDAAAQBAJ) under his influence Tsipras shifted from dependence on Putin to Merkel (Merkel’s spell), i.e. from a conservative-nationalistic to a liberal-European stance. In a threefold world order, Russia’s ‘orthodox’ politics can’t be overlooked.

    Like

  14. Visitor

    Well, why I mentioned Varoufakis in context of political landscape and France, i had in mind this:

    So, the question is how we interpret what is “progressive”, what means right or far right, and how it plays into whole economic and sphere of rights. Is there a real danger of fascism in some form and does it come from right, left, or maybe progressive? I would opt for a view that progressive are in principle mutation of original left who are now dedicated in certain sense to a “grand design” of something. And that something is very well visible in certain tendencies that are gently, or less so, pushed under the banner of EU, political correctness, negation on any borders in name of “tolerance”, diversity and such. So, here Varoufakis presents most painful and very significant inner divide, manifest on many levels, namely, that his “economic self” is extremely opposed to what Macron represents, but at the same time he is even more opposed to what (he believes) Le Pen or anyone similar present.
    So, we would learn a lot if we could understand what´s going on with Varouffakis, ´cause, he truly saw what brutal sorts of negation of democracy, or even common sense, resides in Brussels, he felt it on his own skin – and how we call lack of any regard of democracy, isn´t the scary (and overused) “f” word close enough?
    And yet, his liberal left or progressive “better” self brings hallucinations that lead him to throw all that aside.
    Regarding Brexit and narrow majority, indeed, it shows all confusion of ordinary folk, but the point is, the Elites are not confused at all, and they ride on the confusion and divide of the people who are only had a glimpse of awareness which can dissipate quite easily under pressure of media propaganda, fear and such. All in all, folk is quite helpless in relation to what the true architects manage with their means, and perhaps the Master Architect that is, as we assume, about to land anytime soon in the West.

    Like

  15. Liliana

    Visitor: I think we are on the same page – here are my comments:
    A few questions re the EU:
    1) Did the peoples in the countries involved ever get a chance to vote on whether they wanted to become members of the Union? Nein!
    2) Is the EU parliament a democratic institution? Nein!
    The members of the EU parliament cannot propose new bills. Only the EU Commission has that privilege – a bunch of persons that come from where? and are put there by who? and whose members dictate to the parliament what the members can vote on.
    3) Do the numerous EU regulations require any consultation with the people before getting enacted? Nein! So, for instance: EU farmers have to follow strict rules in their cultivations – which is very good! But the EU countries must let food imports flow in from all over the world without charging import duty. Result: rice from Asia is much cheaper because produced without all the restricting regulations and with incomparably cheaper labour, and this is putting European rice producers out of business. Citrus fruit from North African countries and from as far afield as Argentina are arriving in Europe duty-free and for the same reasons are causing European producers to destroy their fruit orchards because they can’t make ends meet.
    Examples like these are innumerable. Is the EU trying to remove food self-sufficiency from the EU countries.
    4) Has the EU benefited the people of these countries?
    In the Euro countries in particular: wages have gone down, worker benefits have all but disappeared, job security is practically non-existent any more, pensions have been lowered, unemployment has risen sky high, particularly among the young, etc, etc.
    ————–
    Jeremy, you say: If Macron and others could begin to help the EU to reform itself along the lines indicated by Steiner,…
    What do we know about Macron? That he was a Rothschild banker, then over the last 3 years he became the Economy minister under Hollande and was responsible for enacting the new labour law which set workers back years in working conditions.
    He appeared on the scene and declared he was starting his new movement and all the media went Hurrah! and from then on had him on every cover of every publication. His is the only party where membership is free – which begs the question: who then financed his campaign? One can only speculate, but it certainly was not the people. And why were all the official media full of Macron, Macron, Macron? Who owns the French media?
    How can someone with such powerful ‘occult’ backers even think of reforming the EU? Why would he want to, since he is a beneficiary of the status quo? Any reform proposals he might present would only aim at even greater control by the EU Commission and the Central Bank. And does anyone who listens to him speak really think he is an independent thinker? Like Matteo Renzi in Italy, he has the gift of the gab.
    —————
    One more thing: I continue to be at a loss in trying to understand in what way Russia has interfered in the US elections and how it is interfering in EU countries. The US political talking heads blame Russia for everything but whenever someone asks for evidence they just repeat that Russia is to blame…??? Can anyone help my understanding by providing concrete examples of this interference?

    Like

    • wooffles

      Liliana, the hacking of the Clinton campaign is accepted by just about everyone in the United States except Trump and the alt-right as Russian interference. The huge document dump of Macron documents at the end of the French election had Russian fingerprints on it. Maybe you have a different definition of what interference means or your own ideas of what constitutes evidence or reliable sources, but it simply is not true that ” US political talking heads blame Russia for everything but whenever someone asks for evidence they just repeat that Russia is to blame.”

      Like

      • Liliana

        Woffles, Everyone once accepted that the earth was flat – that did not make it a reality. Fingerprints constitute evidence when found on physical objects, not in people’s conjectures – no matter the number of those who share them.
        About the way that the US mainstream media reports on Russia: have you ever listened to CNN? In fact, what this channel reports is parroted on the Canadian CBC and the British BBC – although without the volume of words expended on the subject on US TV channels. I also listen to France5 and Berlusconi’s Media-Set and, they too, – undoubtedly so as not to ruffle feathers across the puddle – when they have to report on Russia talk as if it is sous-entendu that they are not pro-Russia – although they make their comments as brief as possible because they realize that they might put their country’s exports to Russia in jeopardy – because these countries do continue to export there, in spite of the sanctions.
        As far as the ‘dumping’ of documents both with regard to Hillary and Macron, a question occurred to me with the first Wikileaks ‘dump’: if the information ‘dumped’ reflects the truth about candidates up for election, is that not a good thing for the voters? Does it not make them more knowledgeable about the person who wants to lead them, regardless of the origin of the leaks?
        Moreover, instead of discussing the content of the leaks, the MSM turned everyone’s attention toward the ‘undisputed’ source of the leak, which seems an attempt at cover-up. And it also served as another coveted occasion to demonize Russia, in spite of the fact that – I repeat, sorry – no evidence has been produced to validate the claim.
        In fact, following Trump’s firing of the FBI director the other day, the MSM was screaming that he – Trump – just wanted to cut short the investigation on his possible ties to the Russian ‘dumping’. By this the MSM is admitting that the investigation has as yet not come up with the wished-for evidence – or is there another way to interpret their reaction?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Demetrios Peroulas

        If this is true (I mean the hacking and all the other terrible things that “evil” Russia and especially the “enemy” of western “democracy” Vladimir Putin have done), then, thank you Russia and Vladimir for opening our eyes (for one more time…).
        Keep on doing it!
        Save us from our western “saviors”…

        Like

      • wooffles

        “if the information ‘dumped’ reflects the truth about candidates up for election, is that not a good thing for the voters? Does it not make them more knowledgeable about the person who wants to lead them, regardless of the origin of the leaks?”

        If both candidates were getting equally hacked and leaked in the same way from the same sources, that might be true. When it is only one candidate, that is the opposite of true.

        “Moreover, instead of discussing the content of the leaks, the MSM turned everyone’s attention toward the ‘undisputed’ source of the leak, which seems an attempt at cover-up.”

        The contents of the leaks were always discussed. You can’t have spent much time reading American newspapers. The leaks usually were not very interesting in themselves.

        “no evidence has been produced to validate the claim…In fact, following Trump’s firing of the FBI director the other day, the MSM was screaming that he – Trump – just wanted to cut short the investigation on his possible ties to the Russian ‘dumping’. By this the MSM is admitting that the investigation has as yet not come up with the wished-for evidence”

        Evidence of Russian hacking and conclusions about who, if anyone, in the Trump campaign might have been in the know about it and how are not the same thing. That’s what investigations are for.

        Questions about Trump’s relationship with Russian financing for his businesses are a lot broader than the question of Russian hacking, and the murkiness here is connected in part with his unprecedented refusal to release his income tax forms. How much do you know about what is on public record about how Trump has conducted his businesses? It isn’t a pretty picture.

        This is the declassified early January intelligence report on Russian activities in the US election. http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/the-intelligence-community-report-on-russian-activities-in-the-2016-election/2153/

        Here is an article on it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/intelligence-chiefs-expected-in-new-york-to-brief-trump-on-russian-hacking/2017/01/06/5f591416-d41a-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html?utm_term=.1601d581a734

        Newspaper reporters were making connections like this on their own during the election, as a bit of googling about the info in that document will tell you. You can rummage around in the Guardian, if you don’t want to use America newspapers.

        Like

      • Liliana

        WOOFLES, you said:
        “If both candidates were getting equally hacked and leaked in the same way from the same sources, that might be true. When it is only one candidate, that is the opposite of true.”
        Again, currently we only have allegations as to who these sources are – but that in itself does not make what is revealed about only one candidate untrue. If something is true, it does not become the opposite of true by the way it is revealed.
        However, it’s not clear to me who were the forces behind the Trump campaign that wanted him elected – if it was Russia then Putin must be very disappointed by the way he’s been toeing another line since he took office: missiles in Syria, the armada sailing to N. Korea… Look at how politicians and talking-heads declared that he had finally become a ‘real president’ after the launch of 59 missiles against Syria. So, if during the campaign it sounded like his plans were different from Hillary’s, he now proves that he’s on the same team – and it didn’t take him long to join the club. For the forces behind American government either candidate was acceptable – maybe with Trump they may have worried that he would not come to heel.
        The only negative ‘revelation’ on Trump was the one manufactured in the UK about the purported ‘golden showers’ during his trip to Moscow – pretty disgusting, but the American public has become immune to sex scandals so I doubt that this bit of trash had any effect. I’m not defending Trump – it’s extremely sad that the American people had to choose between bad and worse.

        “The contents of the leaks were always discussed. You can’t have spent much time reading American newspapers..”
        American newspapers are part of the MainStreamMedia – they do not contradict what is broadcast on television; in fact, they generally initiate what is then reported on TV. All the US media is owned by 6 corporations and ultimately they all have the same interest – to control government.

        “The leaks usually were not very interesting in themselves.”
        If the media had delved into the details of the leaks they may not have been so boring. But if they were so boring why would they have had such an impact on people’s mind about Hillary – after all, the mass of people don’t generally pay much attention to boring news. The reason Hillary lost the election, I think, rests with the person herself – people simply don’t like her and the Washington establishment she represented.

        “Evidence of Russian hacking and conclusions about who, if anyone, in the Trump campaign might have been in the know about it and how are not the same thing. That’s what investigations are for.”
        Agreed, conclusions are no substitute for evidence, but conclusions is all that the Russia phobia propaganda has been based on up to now.

        “Questions about Trump’s relationship with Russian financing for his businesses are a lot broader than the question of Russian hacking, and the murkiness here is connected in part with his unprecedented refusal to release his income tax forms. How much do you know about what is on public record about how Trump has conducted his businesses? It isn’t a pretty picture.”
        I have no doubt that it’s not a pretty picture. But then it’s a picture that billionaires all over the world engage in, and how many of those residing in the US would have wanted such shenanigans discussed in public? Trump is not the only US billionaire to do Business in Russia. Dangerous waters to tread.

        Like

      • Also, the Russian state seems to be a kleptocracy or mafia state within Eastern Europe, sucking its own population, poisoning and killing its own critical journalists and politicians:

        Galeotti: http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_security_concerns_russian_mafia_back_on_agenda7083
        Navalny (with English subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrwlk7_GF9g&t=0s
        Hurst: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/05/02/dozens-russian-deaths-cast-suspicion-vladimir-putin/100480734/

        Like

      • wooffles

        Liliana,
        Voters can’t make an informed decision when one candidate is massively hacked and the other isn’t touched. If you don’t see that as a serious problem, then we can’t really go any further on this.

        Although the golden shower rumor was out there the MSM didn’t touch it during the campaign (you can do a google search with dates and see that for yourself). There were no shortage of other well sourced negative revelations about Trump available, including from his own mouth.

        I tell you that the contents of the leaks were available and to the extent that I understand your answer, you seem to be saying that this is not possible, since all the US media is owned by 6 corporations. Did you look for the leaks and not find them, or are you just assuming this? Some of the leaks were sensationalized to a far greater extent than they warranted. What leaks do you think did not get the attention they deserved?

        “conclusions is all that the Russia phobia propaganda has been based on up to now.”

        You keep repeating this. Evidence isn’t the same thing as proof, and I agree that there isn’t proof. That’s one purpose of an investigation. As far as Trump goes, we need to know more about the doings of people like Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn. We know that there is a lot of murk around the business relationships of the president of the United States and various counties, including Russia. In the absence of his income taxes or an investigation, we can’t go any further with that either.

        Like

      • Liliana

        No offence intended, but I feel like we’re running around in circles on this topic – so I beg out. Hasta luego.

        Like

      • Liliana

        Before I quit and to clarify what I’ve been trying to say here is an article that Paul Craig Roberts just highlighted concerning the Russia mania:
        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47034.htm

        Like

      • wooffles

        Liliana,

        You said that there was no point in continuing the discussion, but then you continued it, so here’s my reaction to the link you provided.

        The author believes that there is no legitimate reason why there could be an investigation into the nature of contacts between Russia and people who worked in the Trump campaign, either by the FBI or newspapers. The author appears to believe that the only way any investigation either by newspapers or the government could be legitimate would be if “actual government verified evidence” was released by the government in the course of these investigations. The standard of evidence in the link under that quote is “clear and unequivocal” evidence, which is not the same thing. The link bases its claim on the argument that since the” intelligence community” was “unanimous “that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, there is no reason to believe it now. That argument is not true either, and it’s link goes to Colin Powell trying to save his reputation by making this false claim.

        Because there cannot be any legitimate reason for investigating Russian connections, according to the author, the only explanation for why the Washington Post and New York Times keep reporting on the issue and the people connected with it, now and then, is that that the two newspapers are trying to engineer a “soft coup” to get Trump out of power. For that purpose, they are using “the gauzy allegation that Trump and/or his advisers somehow colluded with Russian intelligence officials to rig the 2016 election” to have him impeached. The issue, btw, is “influence,” not “rig,” but the author uses purple prose throughout. I doubt that anyone who knows anything about how the impeachment process works seriously expects that anything the investigation might pull up would lead to a successful impeachment against Trump.

        The author is not quite as adamant as you are that the Russians had nothing to do with the Wikileaks releases. The timing of the releases was done very effectively, almost as if someone was working with an American political expert, and we know that Kremlin allies relied on Trump’s campaign manager Manafort for expertise in political campaigning in the past. More news came out yesterday about Manafort’s sketchy real estate activities that look like the kind of thing you would do if you were engaged in large scale money laundering (New York is investigating, as well as the federal government).

        That proves absolutely nothing, of course. But if it turns out there was a connection with him, it would not be all that surprising, either. The long time Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone is also under investigation about the campaign, but the author does not mention him.

        I have no idea if there was a connection between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, but I don’t think that all the heavy breathing that this article engages in because of newspaper and government investigations is warranted, either.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Ottmar

    Citing Varoufakis as chief witness of EU s dealings with Greece is ridiculous and I m very much surprised that there are not more balanced views on this on the blog.

    I would start the other way round:
    -Greece forged the balance sheet (with the help of Goldman Sachs) to enter the Euro zone.
    -For many years, after this, they forged the economic statistics (and the guy who told about it got prosecuted) and even until last year the statistics had to follow the wishes of the politicians and not the laws of mathematics.
    -Greece was released from 50 percent of its debts in 2011, 100 000 000 000 Euros, the biggest forgiving of debts in history. Is that a bad treatment of Greece? And compare that to what happened in Argentina after forgiving debts.
    -Only cutting pensions and raising taxes is not the way. Set up a functioning system to collect the taxes, tax the millionairs before they leave the country etc. that would help the ordinary people. But it was Varoufakis own party Syriza, that turned back the small advances for control on tax fraud.

    -There is another fundamental problem in the EU: there are countless laws, treaties, pacts, agreements but many coutries, not only Greece often do not follow or fulfill them. Sometimes after less than a year Renzi and Co say, that is dictatorship by Berlin, we must be flexible (that means: not follow it), adjust it (that means: scrap it) and alike. And most often these compromises were found after long discussions, giving credit to Italy, France, Greece in money and in trust, giving them time, giving them a transfer of stability from the stable economies to these countries. They got what they wanted but dont deliver.
    France has not fulfilled the 3 percent deficit rule since 2007 and the comission hasnt taken action. When Juncker was asked why not, his answer was: Because it is France!

    -The Euro was a huge mistake as we know today. Before the Euro, France had a devaluation of 3 percent against the Mark anually and Italy of 5 percent. They wanted a hard, stable currency; they got it but they lived above their means like before. Before, they could live with it by devaluating their currency, this way is blocked now.
    But Mario Draghi (mind his name!), before working for Goldman Sachs! and Banca d Italia! of course doesnt let down his southern countries, they can go on with their huge deficits when there is zero interest on it and the ECB buys all the state papers.

    For me as a German austerity is not a deadly disease like the plague but simply another word for: you cant go on living above your means. Macron wants Eurobonds which mean: my debts are your debts, too. Bail out was forbidden, but it is already reality.
    No! Finish the Euro and let Greece devaluate by 50%, making it competitive again, let Italy have its Lira again and pay 10+ percent interest on its state debts and restart yearly devaluation against Germanys, Hollands, Austrias and Finlands hard currency or create a weak southern Euro and a hard northern Euro.
    Unfortunately Germany has taken liability for the Euro , ESM and and … of up to 10 times the yearly budget of the Federal Republic. The Euro was and still is an expensive experiment for Germany. And then I m tired of hearing that Germany profits most from the Euro and EU, this tale is even told in Berlin, because nobody dares to tell the facts, numbers. I wait for the final bill or as they say in France at the end of the meal in a restaurant: l addition svp.

    A last word about Greece: Read what the Spanish economy professor Pablo Triana has recently found out about Greece and its debts!! When you take into account all numbers and conditions, linked to Greece s debts, Greece earns! money by its debts, a 0,28 percent profit on it. All in all, CC or B rated Greece s gets loans cheaper than AAA Germany, thanks to the EU.

    I know all this is not politically correct or fits into usual anti-EU, usual leftist stories. First time that I write a more political comment. I wonder what I ll reap for it.
    Ottmar

    Liked by 2 people

    • wooffles

      Ottmar,
      Rather than looking back and arguing about the rights and wrongs of the Greece case, which would probably shed a lot more heat than light, I suspect that everyone on this site would agree with you that the Euro, as it was designed and implemented, has been a huge mistake. Is it a mistake that Europe is stuck with, or is there a way to unravel it? And is there a will to do that in Germany?

      Like

      • For me, all of these current comments speak so well to the resolve of Britain, and most of the UK to leave the EU. That is what seems the important initiative. I appreciate very much the remarks by Liliana, and Ottmar. I like it when people call “a spade a spade”. Yet, these comments also represent a force to be reckoned with. Reading them in the early-morning hours makes it worthwhile for me to stay up late. We need this type of astuteness, and Ottmar especially appears to be even a kind of political economist based on seeing the situation in Europe as it is. Very important. So, please do not feel any dread of reproach. You might have offered these insights even before now, and getting a “thumbs up” from Gemma is also a good sign.

        On my part, I often take Rudolf Steiner’s findings and try to elaborate them here. I cannot read various newspapers and collate their dry and abstract facts. So, when I report seemingly outrageous nonsense from Steiner about how present-day Europe is comprised of the rather quick reincarnation of the original native-americans, i.e, non-europeans, who were progressively decimated by the early colonialists from England beginning in the early 17th century, it seems justified even more when I read these things from Ottmar’s analysis. Why? Because Europe should be united in every way, but is not; and far from it.

        This was the condition on the American continent when the first colonists came across the pond, beginning in 1607. What they found was a native race that had begun to divide and sub-divide, and precisely because of thousands of years of being isolated without any other racial-cultural influence. Remember, the other six sub-races had migrated eastwards from Atlantis, in order to populate the areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Only this one strain went westward from Atlantis into the areas that constitute America.

        So, they died out due to the European onslaught, and reincarnated rather quickly in some four hundred years time as the present-day Western, Central, and even Eastern Europeans. And here is the tell-tale sign: they still want to remain isolated, individual, and alone within their various countries and districts. This is because of the regressive trend in evolution of the original native population of America, and then meeting the Europeans one day from another place.

        Rudolf Steiner would eventually come to call it “the European Karma”, built up after some four hundred years, and destined to play out in the twentieth century with two brutal world wars. Now, in the 21st century, these nations are still apart within the ‘eurozone’, and need to seek freedom with mutual recognition of each other. The present EU construction was built without consensus, as said, but would have to yield to a “United Europe of Nation-States.” This is what happened when the native-americans were brutally exterminated, and left to their present karma to learn about.

        And this stands for what England is doing, and hopefully will encourage the other countries to stand up for themselves in doing. The election of Emmanuel Macron (economics) in France is a no-brainer. Marine Le Pen had a legitimate chance to win only three weeks ago. This was the real chance.

        Steve

        Like

  17. Visitor

    Regarding Germany and Greece, why would Varoufakis not be a good, or even the best, representative of that whole story? By all means he was at the very epicenter of it all. Besides, unlike his main counterpart in the talks (Mr. Scheuble), he is one of the best thinkers of our times in economic sphere and by that it is meant not part of neo-liberal or how some say junk-economics school of thought.
    Even without all that, how his observation of lack of any regard for democratic or even humanly fair process of negotiations (e.g. trivial things like holding minutes of meetings of talks with various heads and boards) is not relevant? Total disregard of the mandate he had from the vote etc. etc., – even that is sufficient to freeze blood of any sane person.
    So what we hear through mouth and minds of millions of prudent Germans is really a pride and self-righteousness and indeed Mr Scheuble is voice of millions of minds led into such belief of superiority over Greeks.
    But that pride and self-righteous putting down of the whole nations, is it really justified? Although there is of course much to be proud of, when it comes to feeling of superiority over those nations who “live beyond their means” this pride is based on hypocrisy and misjudgment.
    Primarily, having idea that current system of EU and economy in general is sufficiently “objective” and fair that it´s outcomes show any sort of objective relations of values and state of affairs in general is beyond dreams, it is pure fantasy. But at least anthroposists should know better, taking into account what Steiner tried to give through his work and lectures on matters social and economic. Also, even mundane logic could makes us wonder, if Germany is so prudent in economic sphere, how very Deutche Bank is performing, and how is that possible in such perfect world.
    So, that is misjudgment part.
    Hypocrisy is of course belief that we are somehow at pinnacle of the tolerance, humanism, diversity and what not while judging eg. terrorist and other incidents as single events that have nothing to do with group identities, while at the same time believing that whole nations are directly guilty of the sin of not living within their means.
    It seems that underneath that is basically belief that only economy matters and that only economic sins there are, all else is “cultural enrichment” and as such doesn´t really matter.
    So, all this demonstrates there is a lot that require hones questioning and sincere inner examination about beliefs held by some western Europeans.

    Like

  18. Demetrios Peroulas

    1. ABOUT THE GREEK CASE:
    For those who wish to know about the character of the Greek People, so not to fall victims to the (ahrimanic) deception and untruthfulness, I recommend the following books (in pdf):
    a.https://yannarasbooks.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/schism-in-philosophy1.pdf
    b.https://yannarasbooks.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/orthodoxy-west.pdf

    2. ABOUT HOLY SPIRIT’S PIVOTAL ROLE in finding the way out of today’s abyss, please, see (among others) the following lecture of Rudolf Steiner:
    a.http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA318/English/AP1987/19240918a01.html

    THANK YOU.

    Like

    • Liliana

      Efharisto poly, Demetrios. judging by the table of contents, the two books look very interesting . As for Steiner’s lecture, I have read some in the Pastoral Medicine series but not this one, so thanks for highlighting it.

      Like

      • Demetrios Peroulas

        Parakalo, Liliana. I admire your passion for truth, your critical thinking and your heartfelt common sense.
        Liliana, I always wanted to introduce Christos Yannaras’ books to fellow anthroposophers abroad, as, in my opinion, his work is complementary to AnthropoSophia. So, with the kind permission of Jeremy (I hope), here is the link to many more of his books: https://yannarasbooks.wordpress.com/
        As for Steiner’s lecture, please, pay attention to the diagram 6. We studied this lecture in our anthroposophical group lately, as we live in the period between Golgotha and Ascension/Pentecost. We think that this lecture may give a clue of what Christ’s Teaching to His disciples was about during that period, as there is not a (sixth?) Gospel telling us specifically about that period. We also think in our group that there is another very helpful book on this topic: http://templelodge.com/pages/viewbook.php?isbn_in=9781912230013
        Warm Greetings (from Athens, Greece) to you Liliana and all the anthroposophical Friends (whether we agree with each other or not).

        Like

      • Liliana

        Demetrios, again many thanks for introducing Christos Yannaras – with his academic background and over 50 books to his credit (short bio on Wikipedia), he is certainly a well-kept secret in the west, or at least he has been for me. Some of the titles listed are really compelling.
        I read the 20 lectures given by Steiner in the Temple Legend series some years ago, but I had not heard of T.H. Meyer’s book in this connection. I really admire Meyer’s work so I will add that to my reading list too – I wonder if I’ll get half-way through my ever-lengthening list before I shuffle off my mortal coil. Luckily I’m now retired so I can get my fill of other people’s wisdom – of which there is so much out there.
        Best wishes for your Athens group – it sounds like you are doing some great in-depth work.

        Like

      • We are living in very volatile times these days; even as we speak. What strikes me as particularly important is the approach to Whitsunday, which occurs on June 4th. Rudolf Steiner in this lecture clearly sees a time in which World Pentecost will descend upon humankind. We do, indeed, need the in-streaming of the Holy Spirit in our so-called “post-truth” time-frame:

        http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19230517p01.html

        Pentecost is an event which presents itself every year as the festival of human potential realized. And yet, it never actually occurs. Exactly seven weeks after Easter, it becomes possible to hear what the original disciples of Christ heard, and yet we do not hear it. Why do we not hear it? It certainly can’t be for lack of objective knowledge, which is why RS considers Anthroposophy to be the herald of an eventual world Pentecostal event.

        So, it is reasonable to suspect that somebody is working very actively to sabotage what can be achieved by human effort. And this “somebody” is a very powerful and influential person/being. It is certainly noted in just about every post on this blog, in which the tendency to reaction is clearly evident. Human nature is a very well-researched subject, and it is so easy to get the typical responses as seen here. But, why talk about spiritual science then?

        Maybe because it is the only true catalyst for change. Maybe we really do want to change, and even think we can experience it in this lifetime. If so, then we are on to something. Yet, it is very esoteric; even more so than anthroposophical spiritual science, which is largely about the past.

        You see, Pentecost is about the present, or now. And that requires accumulating all the knowledge that exists for now, and will create the future.

        Thus, the real future is also in our sight. It has to be.

        Steve

        Like

  19. Midnight Rambler

    It is very appropriate that Mr Hale raises the “World Pentecost” that now has the possibility to happen at a broader scale than first time round back in AD 33 and why it can be difficult to hear.

    It would be interesting to hear examples of where people reading this blog experience this event happening.

    The attached article by Robert Powell in which he provides his research on the cosmological background to RS indications about the World Pentecost is, in my view, worth a look

    http://southerncrossreview.org/85/powell-2012.htm

    Like

    • What if it can be shown that Pentecost is as close to us as is Easter and Christmas? And yet, the difference is that it has to be striven for. Easter and Christmas are yearly events on the calendar. They are significant days, indeed, but one can take them in the same way as “marking days”, so to speak. Regardless of being movable or fixed, these dates have the same effect, which is ceremonial in compliance, or not.

      Pentecost is different, much in the same vein as Michaelmas. Neither event is generally recognized today, and yet they are both very movable and dynamic. This requires active participation, and with Pentecost we are looking at an engagement that is still hardly known today, and why I said it was even more esoteric than anthroposophical spiritual science itself. Here are six prime lectures in which RS spoke about what Pentecost means for the striving soul:

      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/AscenPent/AscPen_index.html

      You know, I like what Robert Powell says in the article submitted, and yet it is really nothing but a chronology, and therefore achieves nothing in terms of giving the incentive for actual striving. Pentecost is a yearly event that we can actually meet. But, we never do. Lack of recognition is the first consideration for this failure.

      So, Easter leads to the event of Ascension and then Pentecost, but we remain easily within the herald of Easter. Thus, we lose it; we lose the opportunity to take hold of the resurrection and find it in ourselves. We don’t even know about it.

      And that is the sad reason why we miss Pentecost year after year in our life, wherein we cycle rather than achieve the Holy Spirit, Who is simply trying to descend upon the Prodigal Son.

      We ascend to that which is coming to us, enthusiastically!

      Like

  20. Ottmar

    So we have finally left the lowlands of politics and arrived at something more anthroposophical, more esoteric.

    Pentecost is a highly complex matter and I appreciate what I ve read so far.
    There is an individual or microcosmic side and a cosmic side to it. (Like in the poem by Angelus Silesius: An was HE born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not inside of you, you would still be lost.)
    But Pentecost is not primarily or specifically for one individual, but for a group of individuals, which is prepared to receive the Holy Spirit.

    The shame or embarrasement and pain, that I/We cant grasp the kairos and/or forces that go along with Pentecost makes our souls more mature to live up to what is asked of us.
    The cosmic side, the 50th day of the Easter periode, also happens annually on earth and for the earth. I know some anthroposophists, who try to perceive/observe the special „atmosphere“ at the different times of the year by various means.

    Like

    • Dear Ottmar,

      I appreciate your kind and well-considered words as we approach Pentecost 2017. And yet, these words will prove just how much the reception of the Holy Spirit was received by each disciple of Christ in order to make their own individual mission as Apostles of the early church.

      “Imagine that a number of human beings on the earth have come to recognise that they are all becoming more and more individual. Is there not a real danger that they will split away from each other ever more completely? Already nowadays men are no longer held together by spiritual ties. Each one has his own opinion, his own religion; indeed, many see it as an ideal state of affairs that each should have his own opinion. But that is all wrong. If men make their opinions more inward, then they come to a common opinion. It is a matter of inner experience, for example, that 3 times 3 makes 9, or that the three angles of a triangle make up 180 degrees. That is inner knowledge, and matters of inner knowledge need not be argued about. Of such a kind also are all spiritual truths. What is taught by Spiritual Science is discovered by man through his inner powers; along the inward path man will be led to absolute agreement and unity. There cannot be two opinions about a fact without one of them being wrong. The ideal lies in the greatest possible inwardness of knowledge; that leads to peace and to unity.” GA098, 7 June 1908.

      Peace and Unity is something that I believe the world today wishes, hopes and prays for. In that respect, it is a Pentecostal wish. It can even be a force that compels these lower forces that rule today to relent, and see the error of their ways.

      All it takes is a few. Yet, this blog can’t even gather that! Well, maybe we need to wait until June 8th for the general election. Maybe that will make the difference. I’m willing to wait then, but will not hold my breath. Trump’s already on his first missionary journey, and raising the stakes as we speak.

      Steve

      Like

  21. Steve quotes Steiner, “Each one has his own opinion, his own religion; indeed, many see it as an ideal state of affairs that each should have his own opinion. But that is all wrong.”
    It has been my experience that people do not often disagree about facts. Unless we are talking about Spiritual Science there is usually some objective way to establish what is a fact and what isn’t. What people disagree about is values, the use made of facts, the significance or interpretation of factual knowledge. Trump’s cronies do not deny that the north polar ice sheet is diminishing, rather they deny that this is a sign of global warming. In countering the germ theory of disease Steiner did not deny that when someone was ill certain microbes could be found in their blood. What he denied was that these microbes were the cause of the illness.
    What does Steiner mean when he says dogmatically, ‘But that is all wrong.’
    It sounds like he is simply expressing his own opinion and like other human beings he sometimes doesn’t want other people to be allowed to have their opinions.
    I will be interested if anyone can show me why my interpretation is wrong.
    I am all for peace but deeply suspicious of unity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steiner isn’t being dogmatic at all. The present differential of opinions are all based on the relativity of consciousness, i..e, consciousness only on the surface of things. We express opinions that have no depth. It is merely the individuality speaking freely, but with little to no real content, or substance. And “that is all wrong”. You left out the important part of the quote, which resolves the issue:

      “If men make their opinions more inward, then they come to a common opinion. It is a matter of inner experience, for example, that 3 times 3 makes 9, or that the three angles of a triangle make up 180 degrees. That is inner knowledge, and matters of inner knowledge need not be argued about. Of such a kind also are all spiritual truths. What is taught by Spiritual Science is discovered by man through his inner powers; along the inward path man will be led to absolute agreement and unity. There cannot be two opinions about a fact without one of them being wrong. The ideal lies in the greatest possible inwardness of knowledge; that leads to peace and to unity.”
      GA098, 7 June 1908.

      Like

    • Veg Clav

      Dear tomhartshea:

      A hasty reply to your question will always be somewhat dangerous, because of the subjective and tremendously mental burden I see in these kinds of questions. A mental response to a mental interrogation leaves no useful way out. His way of formulating the question is representative of today’s mental dualism. The most valuable spiritual truths remain victims of this approach. The discussion expands, opinions flood the heads, but the life contained in a truth passes without leaving us any trace. I agree with Steiner on this: that a solid truth can withstand any question. I add that a truth can withstand any question, as long as it is a real question. The main problem with the interrogatories about an assertion that seem to indicate “mere personal opinions” of the Masters, lies in our attitude. We just are not ready. And of course, we have done almost nothing to learn to collect “spiritual seeds” with all the forces that constitute something we still do not own: good sense. This is one of our biggest problems. Our attitude as a human group ceased to be adequate for a long time. Almost all our attitudes to understanding intimately elevated Beings are plagued with purely mental interests. So the answer to these kinds of questions will not always be found in our ability to detect contradictory statements in someone whom we consider to be an individual free of contradictions. Our main problem is in us. Precisely at the end of your comment you expressed with sincerity the crudeness of a confrontation that usually goes unnoticed and is happening inwardly in many people: that the mind attacks our heart and visceversa. Remember that in the mind are hosted many great ideas but do not cooperate with reality. And in the heart arise false feelings used by some fools to manipulate and damage the human being. They assume that they are helping.

      By the way, Tom, you can read again a chapter of The Philosophy of Liberty about a special mental dualism affecting all kinds of modern assumptions. This dualism has arisen, as Steiner writes, of the need of thinkers to distance themselves from the influence of Kant’s philosophy. The intention was good, but the result has nevertheless had a terrible contrary effect. Let me summarize in my own way what I read in Steiner’s work with these words: “Interest in a knowledge free of restrictions can harbor the dangerous belief that freedom can only be known if we divorce from life.” That is, an opinion about freedom does not invite the experience of freedom. What is the motivation of this impossibility? This. Opinion works with mere assumption. How much we would gain if we had this everyday truth in mind! True, life is natural and spiritual. The opinion? Opinion ends up being, in practice, nothing. But people insist, people continue to believe that the sages of history have only opined. This is the justification for the opinion now occupy the place reserved for true reflection. The great philosophers would say that they prefer to declare that “they have said nothing” if today’s higher intelligences claim that their philosophy of life is an opinion that is read in books. From this point of view, it is well-known that with his words AN IDEAL STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT EACH SHOULD HAVE HIS OWN OPINION you have illustrated the underlying intent of certain powers to convert the personal beliefs of a few into the basis for the liberty of many . Pure Socialism! Almost everyone is getting carried away by him. I think here lies the error pointed out by Steiner. He remains unique in helping us identify terrible mistakes born of wrong attitudes.

      In any case, it is still true that freedom of opinion is a sacred right inherent to every human being. Anyway, I see Steiner’s interest in not allowing even our best opinions to hinder our conscious step through life.

      VegClav
      Ecuador

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Demetrios Peroulas

    Dear Friends,
    Let me propose a lecture that sheds light on our present (and future) situation:
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/PreSix_index.html
    We live in hard times of transition and the main question is: how our “I” can become one with Christ? How are we going to live in order Logos (Word) may speak through each one of us and at the same time through all of us? So that, although we are different, we can live in peace (mir) and unity (sobornost)? How can we realize on Earth Steiner’s Word (from the above mentioned lecture): “Christ in us, Community above us”? What does it mean for our everyday life that we are born from Father, we die in Christ (the Son), we are reborn through the Holy Spirit?…
    Love,
    Demetrios

    Like

  23. Steve says, ‘We express opinions that have no depth’.
    This is a an all embracing judgement made by Steve.
    From my own observation of myself, I feel it doesn’t always apply to me…..
    Not always.
    Sometimes my opinions have real depth.
    I wont tell you which ones, though.

    Steve quotes Steiner again.
    I find it very interesting that Steiner very often resorts to maths when he wants to claim that some assertion is incontestable, that there will be ‘inner agreement’ from everybody.
    There has been a debate going on in the philosophy of Maths for years about whether we learn from experience that 3 x 3 = 9, or whether it is, as Steiner claims, ‘inner knowledge’.
    I agree that once one understands what 3 x 3 = 9 means then it would be totally illogical to deny it. Also one cannot claim that 3 x 3 = 9 is supported by any evidence. I say it is not supported by evidence because nothing could conceivably count against it. For something to work as evidence for a particular case one needs to understand what would work as evidence against it.
    Young children cannot be said to KNOW that 3 x 3 = 9 until they have acquired quite a sophisticated mathematical vocabulary and understanding, but do they actually LEARN that 3 x 3 = 9 from experience?
    Steiner’s second example depends upon an extremely serviceable, wholly public, convention, namely that for practical purposes we divide a circle into 360 degrees.
    All of Euclid’s theorems would still be valid if we counted 720 degrees in a circle. In Euclidean geometry, the triangle postulate states that the sum of the angles of a triangle is two right angles. Euclid called this convention a ‘postulate’, a position from which to begin working. In my
    imaginary Euclidean geometry a right angle would be 180 degrees and the internal angles of any triangle would add up to 360 degrees. What matters for the geometry to be useful to us is that the same way of measuring/counting is employed consistently and logically.

    Why am I going on about Maths?
    Because I feel uncomfortable with people never questioning Steiner’s statements.

    In order to support his claim why didn’t Steiner pick on something that appears to be more open to debate than one of the truths of Maths?
    How about one of his statements about the nature of light – “. in reality it is the planets that radiate light to the sun and the sun is the reflector….” (GA 208)?
    Many people would be puzzled by this revelation of Spiritual Science. It would not be obvious to them that it is true, I do not know how many people would immediately assent to such a statement out of ‘inner agreement’.
    I personally can only understand this assertion in terms of the work of the angelic hierarchies. When i think of it in terms of the work that goes on between the Second and Third hierarchies, then I can assent to it.
    But I can live peacefully with the people who would disagree with me.
    Our ideas do not have to conform on this matter, only on the sincere wish to live at peace with each other.

    Thank You for your reply Veg Clav.
    I am interested in Steiner as a useful guide to how to live a better life on this earth. I also feel that his teaching is worthy of reverence.
    I do not think it helps Steiner for me to simply take in what he said without working on it with my own thinking.
    You mention socialism. I am a socialist in my heart and a secularist in my head! A secularist who meditates. A round peg in a square hole.

    Please forgive me for such a long post not directly ‘on topic’, Jeremy.

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    • Demetrios Peroulas

      Dear Tom,
      You are absolutely right when you say that you must find out by yourself. But Who is our Self?
      In the ancient Greek temple at Delfi it was written “Man, Know you Yourself”, which in the Apostolic language means “Not I but Christ in me”.
      Dear friend, in order Socialism to be attained, it has to be Christian. In Greek the word “socialism” means that at the center is not any more the individual but the Society of the Persons, the Community of the Saints (of those who have received the Holy Spirit) {in Steiner’s words “Christ in us, Community above us”}. This has been and still is the self-sacrificial and unbearable painful STRUGGLE of the Greek Orthodox Christian Fathers and Mothers and of the Russian [and Slavic] Mystical Intellectuals. To this End, Rudolf Steiner sacrificed his life giving us the Way Out, the answer to all the prayers and fatigues of the common people and the intellectual mystics of the past and present: AnthropoSophia (Spiritual Science) and Social Threefolding (Threefold Social Order)!
      Yours sincerely,
      Demetrios

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    • Tom, you only prove by your remarks what Steiner is saying, which is to go inward in order to verify the truth. In my experience, Steiner is opposed on many statements/assertions by those who do not investigate. To investigate, one has to ultimately go inward in order to deduce the facts in the quiet of the “divine silence.” Inner agreement among individuals can only occur this way.
      Yet, few do it. We learn our facts from the outer-external dimension of nominal education, in which math and geometry are verifiably accurate, and much else is fable convenue.

      Yet, the findings of spiritual science are not so easily made one’s own unless and until we engage the inner work. A real in-depth opinion is your own assertion of the workings of the angelic hierarchies, wherein the Second and Third Hierarchies cooperate and gain your assent. Many people would disagree and call this a “crackpot opinion” simply because it cannot be proven. Yet, it is provable to oneself, and even objectively when others convey having achieved the same truth. To see the Sun’s light as reflective, and entirely dedicated to the Earth is an exceedingly important finding, much as is the fact that we humans are a direct source of light since the Mystery of Golgotha. We emit light through a process called, “electrocellular light phosphorylation”, and this creates the apparent ‘sun globe’, which reflects light back down to us. Steiner describes this in GA202, 20 December 1920, and it was brought to attention here in a previous posting. To be a Source of Light itself is deeply meaningful to a human being; right up there with Universal Humanity.

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    • Compare the platonic view on mathematics with the aristotelian view (cf. GA 18: “Aristotle, who has the idea exist in the thing, as the opposite view is natural to Plato, who conceives of the idea as hovering over the thing”):

      “Let us think about the “circle”; we do not think of any special material circle which perhaps has been drawn on paper, but we think of any and every circle which may be represented or met with in Nature. So it is in the case of all mathematical pictures. They relate to the sense-perceptible, but they are not exhaustively contained in it. They hover over innumerable, manifold sense-perceptible forms. Etc.” (Mathematics and Occultism, 1904)

      “Suppose you want to form the concept of the circle. One can do this, for example, by going out to the sea to the point where one sees only water in all directions. Then one has formed the image of a circle through perception. But there is another way to arrive at the concept of the circle, and that is by saying to oneself without any appeal to the senses: I construct for myself mentally all the places that are equidistant from a given point. Etc.” (Philosophy and Anthroposophy, 1908)

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  24. Thank you, Steve and Demetrios for your thoughtful and kind responses.
    I wish to add only one more comment here which is that I was not opposing Steiner’s assertion about the nature of the sun.
    I was questioning – 1. whether his chosen examples from maths, do actually support his assertion about inner agreement, and 2. whether ‘inner agreement’ IS necessary for people to live in peace, which is what he appears to be saying.
    I was suggesting Steiner’s assertion about the nature of the sun as a possible alternative example for ‘inner agreement’, and pointing to the fact that many people in our time would be puzzled by it. I was not questioning its truth as an insight nor suggesting it was a ‘crackpot opinion’.

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