Friday 18 November 2022

The essence of Rudolf Steiner - according to Christopher Bamford (1943-2022)

The late Christopher Bamford was the editor-in-chief of Rudolf Steiner Books; and provided many excellent introductions to variously-themed collections of Steiner's lectures. 

Here Banford was interviewed for a documentary about Steiner; and from about 6-28 minutes, he provides a really excellent insight into what is best, deepest and most important about the work of Rudolf Steiner. It is a distillation of many years of reading, thinking and editorial work. 

For anyone with even the slightest interest in Steiner this deserves careful and focused listening. 

TW - Although Bamford was born in Wales, and lived his adult life in the USA, the trace of accent is Hungarian, deriving from childhood and youth.  

In case the video goes down, I will provide my own paraphrased summary of what Bamford says, derived from notes I took while watching. 

Where I amplify upon Bamford, I will put my own notions into [squared brackets]. 


The essence of Steiner's message is that we are already, here and now, living in a spiritual world. This is true despite our habits of reductionist-positivistic thinking - which actually materializes the world; nonetheless we live in a spiritual world: here and now. 

Everything is consciousness

...And all consciousness is of a Being which is conscious. 

We inhabit a world of Beings in relationships

So, reality consists of relationships in consciousness. 

These relationships continue after that transformation which is death - indeed our relationships with the so-called-dead are highly significant. 

The so-called-dead are not just active on this life on earth, that is their major focus and interest; they desire (sometimes need) to be involved in our lives. 

This reality was reflected in religions where ancestors were with the living, and participating in everyday life. 

After 'death' we will be with those we had relationships with during this life. And in this life we should continue to stay connected with those we love who have 'died'. 

Such two-way relationships continually strive to operate via the spiritual (not material) world; [which is why it is vital to acknowledge that this is primarily a spiritual world].  

Steiner's teaching is about The Earth - which is the centre of concern for the universe. This concern includes the Earth, and Men, through the long history of its developmental-evolution. 

The purpose of the Earth and Men - what this world is essentially for - is the creation of relationships. And this is vital because only on Earth and among Men can Beings learn to love

Steiner's most fundamental teaching is that the most important thing in reality is the cultivation of Love; and the development of consciousness of Love.

Therefore, consciousness [i.e. personal awareness, by a Being, of that which is] has a positive transformative capability.

Also both love and freedom are needed and inseparable - you cannot have one without the other. 

[Steiner's concept of freedom is related to the development of consciousness; we become free by first becoming conscious and then by choosing; and this applies to love.] 

The most important activity of the universe takes place on earth, and the rest of reality participates in the development of Love between beings on Earth. 

[This is creation. Our life on Earth is spiritual; this spiritual life is about love; and this love is creation. Creation is made-of love; and the aim of evolution is to develop this love and consciousness of love.]

Earth is the centre of reality. And Love is what makes creation possible - what makes creation happen.  

The gods [i.e. divine Beings, and God the primary creator] are focused on the Earth. Humanity is therefore "the religion of the gods". 

The incarnation of Jesus Christ turned the universe inside-out. God was beyond and 'there', but God is now right here. 

Jesus's instruction to love one another meant that Men could become his friends. Indeed, we must love among our 'brothers and sisters' or else we cannot love God. 

[Love among Men is not sufficient, but it is essential. The first commandment to love God, and the second commandment to love fellow Men are no longer, since Christ, possible to separate. Both are necessary for each other.]

Steiner realized the centrality of Christ by a personal and initiatory experience of consciousness; which reality became a central and guiding light of his whole life and teaching.  

Christianity began as a religion but became more than a religion. The reality of Christ is now global, and in all Men and all religions, everywhere.   

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