The post about Rudolf Steiner that I wrote a couple of days ago has provoked a rather long and (to me) valuable comment discussion - a good comment from Edwin Faust, and many from the pseudonymous 'Moonsphere' - both of whom contribute good material to William Wildblood's blog.
Anyway, if someone among the readership would like to contribute to this important subject - especially if they regard Steiner as both a valuable, and yet flawed, thinker and writer - then do please chip-in... either on that comment thread, or here.
If I may offer some advice to anyone who is struggling with this matter; and this advice is something I have learned from Bruce Charlton's critique of the mainstream media and from Terry Boardman's warning about scientism. That is; don't feel you have to justify your interest in Steiner to the levels of destructive scrutiny that academia and the mainstream media sets. If there is something that gives your thinking wings, don't subject it to the neon death-glare of Sauron's eye. For it will perish.
@Brief - I'd endorse that 100%.
I used to be a flatmate of one of his grandchildren. Naturally my lips are sealed on anything I learnt by that route.
Edwin wrote in a comment on the other thread:
But, in the end, he is too complicated, too confusing, too distracting to be a significant positive influence for those trying to follow Christ's basic commandment: that we love one another as He loves us.
Bruce, you once linked a website that housed many of Steiner's lectures that were read and stored as audio files. I listened to many of these, particularly the ones regarding the Gospels and John's Revelation. They left me with the same feeling that trips to the planetarium gave me as a kid: that of being small, alone, in an enormous impersonal universe. Steiner's lectures, to me, made a close and personal and loving God seem distant and unknowable and withdrawn. I definitely apprehended some truth in his outline of the evolution/transformation of Creation along a pattern of sevens, but seemingly at the cost of pushing God further away rather than pulling Him closer. So I had to set Steiner aside ultimately.
@d - I suppose that must have been a step grandchild from his first marriage - at least, the public evidence is that Steiner had no natural children and was probably life-long celibate.
@Andrew - I know what you mean. My understanding is that Steiner personally experienced what was at times a direct participative knowledge of the divine; but that when he presented that experience he embedded in his vast and complex System - such that the whole things became so abstracted and vague (and mysterious, in a bad way) as to cease to feel real. And, of course, such a conceptual-deity has, in practice, near zero power for influence or benefit; as seen from the great majority of Steiner's uniformly-Leftist followers.
@BC: Lordy, I took the claim at face value. I hope your speculation is true because otherwise I was taken for a mug. Hey ho.
@d - Well Steiner was legally married to a widow Anna Eunicke, who already had four daughters - they were later divorced, and Steiner remarried but then having no children. Your flatmate may have been the child of one of Frau Eunicke's daughters?
@BC: I've just googled the chap whom she claimed to be her father. Distinguished fellow, but no mention at all of any relationship to your Great Man. I think we must have been taken in by a fantasist. Blow me down!
I think I've written here before that I find Steiner to be basically uncompelling, and that his most valuable ideas are all expressed better by other thinkers. His eccentric interpretation of Christianity is less persuasive than Goethe's virtual paganism, and he gets all of the first matters (monism, reincarnation, incorporealism, etc) wrong. Like most philosophers of the 20th he perpetuates the errors of traditional theology while at the same time burying many of his innovations in idiosyncrasies that ultimately served no purpose.
- Carter Craft
@Carter - Speaking to your situation: if Mormon theology is taken as the basic structure of reality; then one of Steiner's positive contributions are his insights on Ahrimanic evil.
This is exactly the type of materialistic, obedient, bureaucratic, systematised, passive evil to which active CJCLDS members are likely to be most prone, and least aware of. (the fact that Mormons have been so successful in the CIA, Harvard Business school, Politics and Law is evidence of this.)
Another lesson for Mormons may come if/ when the General Authorities were to be significantly subverted and coopted to Leftism - at present, Mormons look on the church as primary, as with Steiner's Intellectual Soul (eg medieval) phase of culture; but a time may come when the individual takes over primacy of authority (Barfield's Final Participation - Barfield being regarded as Steiner's spiritual successor).
In sum, there are important things in Steiner, relevant for almost anyone. However, most of these can be got from Barfield; and that would be the recommended first port of call.
However, Barfield refused to discuss certain matters, and instead simply pointed at Steiner's work - so, sooner or later, a serious Barfieldian is compelled to engage with Steiner.
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