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Friday, December 19, 2003
roll up for the mystery tour...
waldorf schools
the bizarre tale of rudolf "stardust" steiner & the spiders from mars

"making love with his ego
Ziggy sucked up into his mind
like a leper messiah...
Ziggy played guitar"

david bowie / ziggy stardust
In case you can't read the print on the book cover below, it says Spiritualism, Madame Blavatsky, and Theosophy: An Eyewitness View of Occult History by Rudolf Steiner. The reason the author is important to our purposes in today's outing is that Steiner (pictured at the right) was also the founder of a little number called Anthroposophy, referred to in the right-panel (stage down-a-tad) text, which is taken from the official site of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, of which there are currently 800 internationally, with 150 in North America, and seven within a 30-mile radius of where I sit tonight typing this as a public service to an unsuspecting world. The question is (aside from an unnatural fondness for run-on sentences): Why? Well, because Rudolf Steiner -- whose notions about education, and much else, are revered and applauded here in Boulder, CO, Land of the Free -- was, in point of fact, a seriously deluded head case. Don't believe me? Read on...
"I'm happy. Hope you're happy too..." -D. Bowie "The inspiration for Waldorf Education arises from a worldview or philosophy called Anthroposophy. This broad body of research, knowledge, and experience holds a spiritual view of human nature and development. It sees the human being as more than a culturally conditioned, genetically determined, biological organism. Instead, Anthroposophy maintains that each individual human being has a spiritual core, or "I," and that this I is in a continuous process of becoming, of evolving in freedom through spiritual activity toward ever greater self-knowledge. With the gradual awakening of the I, a corresponding awareness of the spiritual wisdom within the created universe arises in the soul. The anthroposophical worldview understands the historical evolution of consciousness in many cultures as the background for each individual's path of self-discovery."
There's a lot going on here, so try to keep up. First of all, the article quoted above is titled Is Waldorf Education Christian?. Gee, I wonder why anyone would wonder if Waldorf schools, founded by Rudolf Steiner, were Christian? I mean, sure, compared to Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism and Tinfoilhatism, Christianity is embarrassingly passé. But come on. Some people are so paranoid! Second, what's all this about "Theosophy"? Well, it turns out that Rudy was a Theosophist until 1913 or thereabouts, when he got cheesed off at Annie Bessant, who had taken over for The Madame after she prematurely discorporated a decade short of fin-de-siècle (and several bricks shy of a load), and had, with the help of some other dude who was very likely gay as a pagan maypole, dug up this East Indian pretty-boy whom we would later come to know (those of us who did) as Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti was supposed to be the new messiah. They raised him to believe he was, anyway, and packed his head with some of the weirdest shit you can imagine (some taste of which I'm attempting to convey here). However, possibly third, when it came time for Krishnamurti to take over as Messiah, he threw the match, telling people, basically, don't follow leaders / watch your parking meters, and more basically, that he wasn't any messiah, didn't believe in em, and more basically still, that he wasn't having any. This tasteless display of independent thought cast Theosophy into quite the little dither, as you can imagine. The cheek! Third or fourth, depending, why was it called Theosophy? Aha! Here's where my research (funded, yes, by your generous donations cough) has borne yet more interesting fruit (no reflection on the method of Krishnamurti's conscription). Could it possibly be because a certain 16th century manuscript titled The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians was penned by one Henricus Madanathus Theosophus? Hmmm? Makes you wonder, doesn't it? In fact, that's Henricus up there on the book cover, tokin on that big ol spliff. But the point of all this -- one of them at any rate; so many conclusions beg to be drawn -- is that Rudy was, that's right, get this...

Initiatic? Alright then. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, as the site alerts us, was "architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak." I visited it as a kid when I was in grade school in pre-silicon Silicon Valley. I must've been around ten, and even then I would have said it was inspired by one too many late-nite Boris Karloff flicks. Somehow (don't ask) it reminds me of Otto's airhead girlfriend in Repo Man: Leila, who "works" at the United Fruitcake Outlet (UFO), which to my mind always bore a more than passing resemblance to the Rosicrucian Museum. Look, I'm sorry, but I'm just going to have to do this. You may think the following is a gratuitous distraction, but try to maintain your state of highly focused-but-relaxed awareness, whereby you will grasp that this apparent intermission is in fact critical to the overall plot. But before we get to Leila, there's this pivotal scene...

Miller: A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp, out of the blue no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.
Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?
Miller: I'll give you another instance. You know the way everybody's into weirdness right now? Books in all the supermarkets about Bermuda triangles, UFOs, how the Mayans invented television. That kind of thing?
Otto: I don't read them books.
Miller: Well the way I see it, it's exactly the same. There ain't no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America for example. In South America thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just like disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there was no people. Right?
Otto: Yeah. I guess.
Miller: Well where did all these people come from? hmmm? I'll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? hmmm?
Otto: The past?
Miller: That's right and how did they get there?
Otto: How the fuck do I know?
Miller: Flying saucers. Which are really... Yeah you got it. Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That's how come I don't drive, see?
Otto: You don't even know how to drive.
Miller: I don't want to know how. I don't want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

tick-tock tick-tock. time passes... Leila shows up.

Otto: I'm a repo man.
Leila: What's that?
Otto: It's a repossesser. I take back cars from dildos who don't pay their bills. Cool huh?
Hombre Secreto plays on car radio.
Leila: No.
Leila hides as a car with two men pulls up next to them
Otto: What are you doing?
Leila: Those men in the car next to us, don't look at them. Don't look at them! If they see me they'll kill me.
Otto: Really? Why? Ow! What the hell are you doing? What's going on?
Leila: Take a look at this.
Leila shows Otto a picture. As she does, we notice she is wearing a yellow happy face watch.
Otto: What's this? It looks like sausage.
Leila: It isn't sausage Otto. That's a picture of four dead aliens.
Leila: Laugh away fuckface, that picture is going to be on the cover of ever major newspaper in two days time.
Otto: How do you know that?
Leila: I'm part of a secret network. A scientist who is also in our secret sect smuggled the corpses off of this air force base. Now he's got them in the trunk of his car. It's a Chevy Malibu. We've got to find him.
Otto: What are you going to do with them, put them on Johnny Carson?
Leila: Yes! We're going to have a press conference and tell the world.
Radio: Ehw. What's that? I don't know dear. But it's alive. It seems friendly though. Aw look, it's curled up. How cute. Maybe we can take it home it doesn't seem to have any. Oh yes let's. But no! No matter how appealing do not let strange creatures into your house. We all know strange creatures are on the increase. Many of them do seem furry and adorable, but beware we don't know from whence they came... [continues in background]
They pull up in front of a building
Otto: United Fruitcake Outlet?
Leila: My door doesn't open.
Otto lets Leila out
Leila: Thanks for the ride.
As Leila stands there, we notice she has a yellow happy face pin on her dress.
Otto: Sure. Ummm, I don't know. what do you think? Ah, want to go out with me again sometime?
Leila: I don't know. I'm going to be kind of busy with work, the Malibu and everything.
Otto: Hey great. Terrific. Here's your shit.
Leila: What's your problem? I mean girls might like you if you lightened up a little bit.
Otto: Fuck you! Girls pay to go out with me. All right?
Leila: You wanna get back in the car?
Otto: What, here?
Leila: Yeah.
Squeals are heard from the back seat...

So, to get back to whatever it was we were talking about: listen, we can all relax. True, Waldorf Education isn't exactly "Christian" as most people would understand that term. Oh no. It's more like, how should I put this...? Esoteric? Eclectic? Yeah, that's it, eclectic. You wanna see just how eclectic? Try this out...

[editor's note: yes, that Mars!]

"As we enter upon this study, the true and original mission of the Buddha becomes clear to us. We find by occult investigation that the beings on Mars who correspond to men on Earth -- they are of course of quite a different nature, but for the moment let us call them "Mars men" -- at a certain time in their evolution were in a similar condition of need as were the Earth men in the Fourth Post-Atlantean period when the Christ had to come to them. And as Christ became a Saviour and an Awakener to Life, as that was a mission for the Christ in regard to Earth humanity, so is it a further mission for that Bodhisattva after he became the Buddha, to be a Saviour and Redeemer of Mars men. He has to accomplish on Mars an event similar to the event that the Christ had to bring to fulfillment on Earth.

When therefore we study the life of the Buddha, we find it falls into two parts. There is first the time when Buddha worked for the Earth men and brought them all that they were due to receive from him, including what he had already brought them during the time when he was a Bodhisattva. Then there is the later part of Buddha's life when he worked outside and beyond the Earth, when he rose to a higher power and strength for which his course on Earth was but a necessary preparation. For Buddha grew upwards into the power of one who is a Saviour and Redeemer. If it were possible for us to compare the influence of Buddha on Mars with the -- not same, but similar -- influence of Christ Jesus on Earth and with the Mystery of Golgotha, then we would be bound to find a difference, because of the difference between Earth men and Mars men. If possible, I will tell you more another time about the feelings and response called forth in the Mars men by the working of Buddha."

And why give M. Scott Peckerwood all the credit for a "scientific method" of dealing with demonic possession? Steiner was there way before him! He alternately called Anthroposophy "spiritual science." Here's a terrific example...


"We know that in earlier times human beings possessed the faculty of primitive clairvoyance. This clairvoyance became progressively feebler, almost to the point of extinction. The fact is that hitherto the human being had been conscious mainly in the astral body and less in the "I." The crisis came about because of the darkening of the ancient clairvoyance. Man's vision extended only into the lowest regions of the spiritual world. The "I" lived still in the astral world; but the beings and powers which the "I" was able to behold, deteriorated into greater and greater impurity. Man no longer had any vision of the good powers, but as he looked into the astral world he saw only these evil beings. The only means of salvation was the cultivation and development of the "I." The beginning of this was the enactment of the baptism given by John in the Jordan. What was the experience of one thus baptized? He was first subjected to the physical process of immersion in the water which caused the separation of the astral and etheric bodies from the physical body. This enabled him to perceive that a crisis was at hand in the world of the demons. And those who had been baptized knew: We must change our hearts! The time is at hand when the Spirit is to stream directly into the "I." Such a man felt that these terrible astral beings were within him, always penetrating into him.

A power transcending the astral was about to come into operation -- the power of the "I." Through the "I" it will be possible for communities of human beings to gather together in freedom of soul, communities no longer determined by ties of blood. And now picture to yourselves a man possessed by demons of the most evil kind who know that they are facing a crisis. Picture to yourselves again that to such a man there comes One Whose mission it is to oppose the demons. What must the demons feel under such circumstances? Ill at ease in the very highest degree! And so indeed it was: in the presence of Christ Jesus the demons were ill at ease. Rosicrucianism has within it the impulse by which the demons must be countered. Through this impulse the "I" is to be made supreme..."

The "I" in the foregoing (my emphasis, obviously), returns us to our first quote (to the right of that old bat, Blavatsky, stage up). Except in the book I'm holding in my hands right now, the one on Esoteric Christianity, everywhere it says "the I" above, in my version it says "the ego." As in:
"Something had to come that transcends the astral,
and this is the ego."
And again:
"Through this impulse, the ego is to become supreme..."
So now we can "translate" that first quote about Waldorf Education. Here's what it's really trying to say:
Anthroposophy maintains that each individual human being
has a spiritual core, or ego, and that this ego is in a
continuous process of becoming, of evolving in freedom through
spiritual activity toward ever greater narcissism.
It is my contention, demonstrated fairly well here I think, that the New Age, of which Steiner is a shining pillar, is not merely fucked in part -- say, due to some of the more weirdball practices it's so easy to make fun of -- but that it is fucked in toto (and your little dog, too!), from the ground up and the sky down. As above so below. And it is my contention, moreover, that narcissism is not merely an unfortunate error on the part of those Seekers a bit too zealous in their lofty pursuit of "self-knowledge," but that it is the very goal and grail of all this self-important self-referential self-absorbedly numinous Gnostic Nosferatu-lookalike New Age horse shit.

There are other contributory streams, of course. Blavatsky and Steiner represent but one. For instance, there's an odd echo between the following quotes. Or perhaps it's not odd at all.

"...what lives at the core of sexuality is of course saturated by spiritual love. But humanity can fall from this spiritualization of love. And it is most likely to fall in the age of intellectualism. When the intellect takes the form I described [in a previous lecture], then what is spiritual in love is forgotten, and only its external form is considered.

It is in the power of human beings to deny their own being. They deny it when they sink down from the genius of love to the demon of sexuality..."

Rudolf Steiner
What is Anthroposophy?:
Three Spiritual Perspectives on Self-Knowledge

"The demon of sexuality comes to our soul like a serpent. It is half a human soul and is called thought-desire.

The demon of spirituality descends into our soul like a white bird. It is half a human soul and is called desire-thought.

The serpent is an earthly soul, half demonic, a spirit, and related to the spirits of the dead. Like the spirits of the dead, the serpent also enters various terrestrial objects. The serpent also induces fear of itself in the hearts of men, and enkindles desire in the same. The serpent is of a generally feminine character and seeks forever the company of the dead. It is associated with the dead who are earthbound, who have not found the way by which to cross over to the state of solitude. The serpent is a whore and she consorts with the devil and with evil spirits; she is a tyrant and a tormenting spirit, always tempting people to keep the worst kind of company."

Carl Jung
Seven Sermons to the Dead:
The Sixth Sermon

A la Nixon: let me just say this about that...

I'll soon have more to say about Jung, in actual words. A lot more. And don't worry, I haven't forgotten my promise to tell you the heart-warming bedtime story about Uncle Abe Maslow. Stay tuned...

"I'm happy. Hope you're happy too..."

8:27 AM | link |

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"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

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Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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