Jeremy Paxman and Rudolf Steiner on French language and culture

Jeremy Paxman, the BBC broadcaster who hosts University Challenge and was formerly the anchorman on the Newsnight programme, has upset French speakers by attacking their language as “useless” and saying that the French nation’s achievements are “long past”. According to Mr Paxman, learning French instead of English, especially in Francophone countries such as Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, sets people back in the modern world. Paxman went on to say:

“No one is going to deny that, historically, France has enhanced civilisation. European culture would be a thin thing without Montaigne, Descartes, Debussy and Cézanne, to say nothing of the dictator’s dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The problem is that it is all long past and the new world is anglophone. In the centuries-long struggle between English and French there is one victor, and to pretend otherwise is like suggesting that Johnny Hallyday is the future of pop.

The outcome of the struggle is clear: English is the language of science, technology, travel, entertainment and sport. To be a citizen of the world it is the one language that you must have.”

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman – photo via The Guardian


Needless to say, Paxman’s attack has riled a great many people, not all of them French. It also reminded me of something I had read in the Conferenzen (the record of Steiner’s meetings with the teachers at the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart) so I went to look it up. Sure enough, in the meeting which took place on Wednesday 14th February 1923, one of the participants, Dr Karutz, brought a proposal to replace the teaching of French with another language such as Russian. Rudolf Steiner responded at some length to this proposal. What he had to say would have been music to the ears of Jeremy Paxman:

“…The fact is that what France is doing today is like the last throes or the last frantic outburst of a declining nation, a nation that is fading out of earth evolution, only in history these last throes last a long time. A spiritual view of European history shows this aspect very clearly, of course. The French character is the first vanguard of decadent Rome, the declining Romanic nations of Europe…

Now this whole phenomenon of decadence in French national culture is not least visible in their language. The French language is one of those languages one can learn in Europe at present which, if I may put it like this, drives man’s soul to the very surface of his being. It would be the one in which, to put it paradoxically, it is easiest to tell lies honestly. It lends itself most easily to telling lies candidly and honestly, because it is no longer connected with man’s inner nature. It is spoken entirely on the human being’s surface.

This determines the soul attitude of both the French language and the French character. The soul bearing is such that the French language takes command of the soul. Whilst with a German person the inner configuration of the language puts the soul under the domination of the will element, the moment you speak French it has a numbing effect and takes over command. It is a language that violates the soul and therefore makes it hollow, and thus under the influence of the language, French culture hollows one out. Anyone who has a feeling for these things can always sense that in fact no soul is forthcoming in the French character, only a culture which has grown formal and rigid. The difference is this, that in French you are dependent on the language taking command over you. In French you have not got that endless freedom that you have in German, and which we ought to make use of, the freedom to put the subject in any position we like, all according to its inner significance.

It is not for pedagogical reasons that French is included in children’s education….The aim was to give French the status which Latin had had at the grammar school. They pretended that French had the same educational value as Latin. But this is not true. Latin always contains an inner logic. If you learn Latin you imbibe logic instinctively. This is not the case with French. The French language is no longer based on logic but has become mere phraseology… – and French no doubt does have a fundamentally alienating effect on the children, so that we would certainly like to see the teaching of it gradually disappearing for reasons of its innate quality. It is also quite obvious that in the future it will go.”

One can imagine Jeremy Paxman nodding his head vigorously in agreement, were he ever to read these things. To me, however, these passages show Steiner in a pretty poor light. One has to enter a caveat here about the Conferenzen transcripts, relying as they do on shorthand records, which may have been of a fragmentary nature. But whenever there was an extensive address by Steiner, as in this case, the transcripts can usually be considered as reasonably authentic. So it seems likely that these were indeed Steiner’s views on the French language and culture.

Here we encounter a difficulty which modern-day readers will come across from time to time, where they will need to decide which Steiner they are meeting. By this I mean:

Is it Steiner the great initiate?

Is it Steiner the man of his time and nation?

Is it Steiner the fallible human being who can make mistakes?

In the passages above, we are not seeing anything of Steiner the initiate, but rather Steiner as a man of his time and nation. We should remember that he was speaking less than five years after the end of the First World War, a war which Germany had lost decisively. Could it be that behind his remarks there lies a kind of anger that the Central European culture of which he himself was such an ornament, had been so overthrown and shattered; whereas the French, on the coat-tails of the British and Americans, had found themselves on the winning side. This is surely Steiner speaking from the “normal” level of consciousness rather than the sublime; it could also be Steiner the man, who sees clearly the same shortcomings in French language and culture that have been identified by Jeremy Paxman, but is expressing himself with a chauvinistic bias that undermines any objectivity that might otherwise be there.

Steiner goes on to express his view that the school will have to teach French for the time being because it is necessary for the pupils to reach examination levels in languages in a sound pedagogical way by the time they are eighteen. He says: “Taking it for granted that it is justified that our pupils have this opportunity of attaining certain educational levels, it is necessary that we plan our language lessons the way we have to. We must swallow the pill until something different arises”.

Steiner, Marie Steiner, Wegman

Rudolf Steiner, flanked on his right by Ita Wegman and Marie Steiner on his left.


Steiner then returns to what I can only describe as his prejudiced views:

“As a language French is deader than Latin was in the Middle Ages when it was already a dead language. In the case of Latin there was more spirit alive in it when it was ecclesiastical and dog Latin than there is in French today. It is the French temperament, their blood, that keeps their language going. The language is actually dead, and the spoken language is a corpse. This appears most strongly of all in the French poetry of the nineteenth century. No doubt about it, the soul becomes corrupted through using the French language. It gives one nothing except the possibility of a certain phraseology. And people who speak French with enthusiasm proceed to transfer this to other languages. It is also possible at the present time that the French will even ruin their own blood, the very element which has kept their language going as a corpse. That is a terrible thing the French people are doing to other people, the frightful cultural brutality of transplanting black people to Europe. It affects France itself worst of all. This has an incredibly strong effect on the blood, the race. This will substantially add to French decadence. The French nation will be weakened as a race”.

This is quite shocking stuff from Steiner and of course it is nonsense. Steiner was clearly speaking here as an Austrian of his times and as a fallible human being who makes mistakes. To describe French poetry of the nineteenth century as a corpse, which presumably includes the poetry of Baudelaire, Verlaine and Mallarme, is simply to be absurd; one suspects that Steiner’s real problem was with the sensual and sexual elements of these poems. He would no doubt have regarded Baudelaire and Verlaine as decadent and depraved, which is rather to miss the point made by St Julian of Norwich that “sin is behovely” (useful or necessary) in our development as human beings, and that ultimately “all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well” – while in the meantime, the work of these French poets is part of the patrimony of human culture in the West.

The comment on black people is grossly offensive and typical of the prejudices of his times. The man who was speaking here was not the same Steiner who could speak the following out of his higher self: “What must never be forgotten is that the proclamations to the Shepherds and to the Kings contained a message for all mankind – for the earth is common to all. In that the revelation to the shepherds was from the earth, it was a revelation that may not be differentiated according to nationality. And in that the Magi received the proclamation of the sun and heavens, this too was a revelation destined for all mankind. For when the sun has shone upon the territory of one people, it shines upon the territory of another. The heavens are common to all; the earth is common to all. The impulse of the ‘human universal’ is in very truth quickened by Christianity.”

To return to the teacher-meeting: after all this, a teacher says that French has been abolished in Bavarian state schools and Steiner comments: “If it suggests itself here (i.e. were the Bavarian decision to be repeated in Wurttemburg), we shall shed no tears over the French language. Perhaps the French teachers will say something?” One can imagine the poor French language teachers who had had to listen to this demolition of their subject and who must have felt as though they had been absolutely flattened, both in terms of self-worth and in the eyes of their colleagues, just recovering themselves sufficiently to stammer out a feeble response: “We could not do it just on the spur of the moment”.

What do French teachers in today’s Steiner Waldorf schools make of all this, I wonder? In the meantime, I note that one of the new publicly funded schools, the Steiner Academy Frome, does not teach French, nor even German, but only Spanish and Mandarin. Jeremy Paxman would no doubt approve.


Filed under Anthroposophy, France, French language and culture, Rudolf Steiner

80 responses to “Jeremy Paxman and Rudolf Steiner on French language and culture

  1. Dear Jeremy Smith,
    After reading you post above, I’m left with various impressions. Firstly the strong comment by Jeremy Paxman that comes entirely from himself as a man living in this century. One can understand partly how this might be coming from him.
    And then we read about Dr. Rudolf Steiner’ statement at a meeting with the teachers. What he say there seems to resonate with Mr. Paxman’s statements as you so justly observed.
    Well, there is an enigma for us if ever there was one. I am a native French Canadian speaker living in England for over 25 years now. I am also of mixed race origins, black and white. I believe that this issue is something I can relate to in a special way.
    I understand very well how such statements coming from both individualities are bound to provoke the same strong reactions from the public at large and within the anthroposophic society.
    I have an observation to make here, a personal observation if I may. When I first read on Anthroposophy from Steiner’s books as a teenager, it was in French. The dead nature of the language did not paralyse my soul. The opposite is true. Again, on a personal note: the meditations I worked with were in French and the results I experienced because of them did change my life. Nothing dead here. I spoke a little English and no German at the time either.

    Another thing I like to remind myself when I read this very interesting post here is that if we are pitting Jeremy Paxman with Rudolf Steiner I have to remember something very important. Jeremy Paxman is an interesting character in our century, full of contradictions and personal ambitions. And this is absolutely fine. And I look at Rudolf Steiner’ life. To belittle what he says at this meeting as “human, all too human” (my quotes) is one way to excuse him but It’s not the way I see it. Who was Rudolf Steiner in 1923?

    A man who had been initiated at the highest level in the mysteries if we are to believe what we are told in the “Story of My Life” by him. Such a man does not speak in such a way because of a weakness. Such a man such as He does this for other reasons, especially when he is involved is forming with others, such a pedagogical movements that is part of his mission.

    He has often warned about when two people say something similar it does not always mean the same thing. We should be able to distinguish this in everyday life and we should exercise this faculty in this case even more. That is what I tell myself. His speech would be particularly apt at crushing me in my very being and yet they do not. I should be angry, yet I am not. I do not believe he spoke as a man of his time who has lost the war and is angry about it. He does not, it seems to me, criticise the human being who happen to be incarnated in the French Nation, nor does he become racist because he speaks of the black nations in a certain way. This blog does not permit me to elaborate too much on these but this is my experience and my personal view. We can have different views and so it should be. He also characterized the Russian people, the Chinese people, the Indian people etc. Was he racist then?or is it that because we don’t feel so strongly connected with those people we let it pass us by without being attacked in some way in our all too political correctness modern days?

    Thank you for posting this on here. I always enjoy reading these posts as it gives me food for thought on many levels. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Pierre,

      You write from the heart, and I sense that you see entirely where Steiner is coming from, and going at, with this lecture. He is not angry with the French culture, but only seeing how the word, which from cosmic origins, gets degraded over time as it becomes more the suite of logic. Thus, over time, language suffers the incredible assault of losing its original underpinnings with the Cosmic Word. As such, the language of the French, and its literature, is exactly as Steiner has denoted in the lecture to the teachers at Stuttgart, c. 14 February, 1923.

      Of course, the same can be said for English, which Jerry Paxman thinks should be the universal language of the world. French and English are both very superficial in their expressions. What Steiner notes in this lecture is the technical supremacy of the German language in expressing all manner of precision as the “language par excellence”.

      And that is why Spiritual Science was first formed and expressed in the language of the Germans. Everything else is translation. You have noted well that it has not been lost in translation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gemma

        [Off topic response; Point of order].

        It is – or should be better known at least – that Anthroposophy was not Rudolf Steiner’s true task. That lay elsewhere, and was one reason why he was so reticent on giving the Agriculture Course near Breslau in 1924.

        There was an Englishman whose task it was, and several people had met him, I believe that Rudolf Steiner himself was one of them. In any case, he had no interest in the spiritual worlds, and so the task fell to Rudolf Steiner.

        Imagine the power of Anthroposophy broadcast in the most widely used language on the planet.


  2. Tom H Shea

    I very much appreciate your stance here, Jeremy. I do believe that when Steiner said these sort of things he was not speaking as an initiate but simply as a man of his time and rather insensitively on this occasion. I am glad you drew attention to the plight of the french teachers listening to this offensive diatribe. Did any of those early teachers ever dare to challenge anything that Rudolf Steiner said on any issue? Can you imagine any of them saying, “What absolute rubbish, Herr Doctor Steiner!”
    I doubt it.
    But I appreciate that in your post you show that at his best he valued all human beings equally. I would say that Steiner was not profoundly racist, at his best he was the opposite, but in his lower self he was like the rest of us humans and could harbour thoughts and feelings we now see to be racist and unworthy.


    • Hello Tom Shea,

      First, I’d like to ask: how do you know when Rudolf Steiner is speaking as an Initiate and when he is not? Can you specify the distinguishing criteria you would use?

      Secondly, how can you be so certain that Rudolf Steiner is NOT speaking as an Initiate here? Are you totally closed to the possibility that Steiner MIGHT be speaking out of his new clairvoyance as an Initiate, especially when he speaks about the racial “blood-mixing” of the French, something outside the purview of the political situation there and then in Europe?

      My sense is that both you and Jeremy are so intimidated by the charges of Steiner racism levied by the modern critics of Steiner, the Dugans and the Staudenmaiers, etc., that you succumb totally to their demands of Political Correctness, which means acknowledging and then renouncing all of Steiner’s racist statements as repugnant and reprehensible. (Indeed I have coined a term specifically for Steiner followers, calling it APC = Anthro-Political Correctness.)

      Now I would like to issue a challenge to both you and Jeremy. I am going to quote from a lecture that Steiner gave just 17 days after he noted the above French “black horror on the Rhine.”

      I want you to tell me if Rudolf Steiner is speaking here as an Initiate or not. I quote from a lecture that Steiner gave in Dornach to the workers at the Goetheanum ruins on March 3, 1923, just 2 months after the fire. The lecture is called “Color and the Human Races” GA 349.

      (This is the lecture that I once termed the FCL=”Forbidden Colored Lecture” because it was entirely bowdlerized from the English edition of GA 349. Fortuitously enough, an old typescript version, translated around 1940 by Mabel Cotterell, was recently put online at the RS Archive.)

      You know, of course, that over the face of the earth are people showing skins differing in color. The Europeans to whom we belong are called the “White Race.” Well, we know indeed that a man in Europe is not quite healthy when he is cheese(y)-white. He is healthy when he shows his natural, fresh color, created by himself inwardly, through the white.

      But now besides this European coloring we have four other principal colors of the skin. We will consider this a little today because one actually understands the whole of history and the whole social life, even modern social life, only if one can turn to the race-characteristics of humanity [see drawings at end of lecture]. Only then can one rightly understand the spiritual element if one first studies how the spirit works in man precisely through the skin-color.

      [ …. ]

      On the one hand we have the black race, which is most of all earthly. When they go westwards, they die out. We have the yellow race, which is between earth and cosmos. When they go to the East they become brown, connect too much with the cosmos, die out.

      The white race is the future one, is the race creating in the Spirit. When they moved over to India they developed the inward, poetical and spiritual Indian culture.

      When they now go to the West they will develop a spirituality which does not so much grasp man’s inner being, but turns to the spirituality of the outer world.

      And so in the future, purely out of the racial characterization those things will emerge which one must know in life so that one takes the right stand.


      • Tom H Shea

        Dear Tom Mellet, You say, ” how do you know when Rudolf Steiner is speaking as an Initiate and when he is not?” The simple answer is that I use my normal human moral sense. Sometimes he said things that are morally repugnant. I do not believe that anything morally repugnant can come out of an initiated consciousness.
        My moral sense tells me that it is is morally repugnant to demean other people on the basis of their race, nation, culture, gender, social class, education, etc. etc. Perhaps you do not feel it to be so, but I do. Somehow the thought that EVERY human being is a manifestation of the divine has entered my soul. The mother tongue of any human being is usually dear to that person, felt to be an integral part of their soul, and I would never presume to say to a french person the things that Steiner says here about their language.
        You mention political correctness in a pejorative way. I am never sure what people mean when they use ‘political correctness’ in a pejorative way, however if you mean that it is OK to refer to mature women as girls, to comment offensively on women’s appearance, to refer to all non-european peoples as coloured, to refer to people with learning disabilities as mongols, retards, etc., etc., – to speak using offensive names and stereotypes – then I am guilty of ‘political correctness’ as I do NOT think it is Ok to use language in a way that undermines, demeans and slanders other people.
        But I do not judge Steiner’s comments on anything said by another person I just use my common sense and normal moral sense.


      • Daniel Perez

        Tom Shea,

        I find your response to be reasonable. You are using your own inner moral compass to determine what is right and wrong. It is in the spirit of the consciousness soul, where you meet each person as an individual and do not group them according to stereotypes.

        For myself, I do not read this in Steiner’s words. He never claimed that any individual was defined by their race or culture. In fact, when the progressive Archai swept through the world, according to Steiner, they started in the Middle East and first went across North Africa.

        I do see political correctness in the pejorative. Being kind, thoughtful, accurate, compassionate is not political correctness. Political correctness is when you can’t accept that the world changes and not every individual is the same as the next. We have vast diversity in the world and this is good. But you may love the diversity as well as see what is unique in each culture at the same time. Political correctness does not want to see what is unique, but only what is the same. This is the negative in political correctness.

        There are just as many examples of horrible political correctness as there are examples of prejudice and bigotry. The impact is just as damaging, if not more so. I will refrain from giving examples, because if you believe only in the “good” of political correctness, then you will probably never see the dark side.

        It is difficult to even start a discussion on this topic because what one person sees as the blind eye of objectivity the other sees as the blind eye of ignorance.


      • Hello Thomas J.

        As to whether I made this up or not, you can judge for yourself. I give you the sentence with your phrase in bold in German from the lecture of March 3, 1923, GA 349, followed by 4 different English versions, noting each translator.

        „ . . . weil man eigentlich die ganze Geschichte und das ganze soziale Leben, auch das heutige soziale Leben nur versteht, wenn man auf die Rasseneigentumlichkeiten der Menschen eingehen kann.“

        TOM (literal)
        “ . . . because, in truth, one will only understand all of history and the entire social life, also the contemporary social life, if one goes into the racial characteristics of the human being.”

        TOM (improved)
        “ . . because, in reality, we may only understand all of history and the entire [past] social life, as well as today’s social life if we can delve into the racial characteristics of human beings.

        “ . . . because really humanity’s whole history and social life, even today’s social life, can be understood only if we consider people’s skin color.

        “. . . because one actually understands the whole of history and the whole social life, even modern social life, only if one can turn to the race-characteristics of humanity.”

        It is quite clear that, according to Rudolf Steiner’s own words here, he teaches that human racial characteristics explain past and present social life, not the other way around, as the prevailing PC consensus is today — that believes race is only a “social construct.”

        Indeed if you study Steiner’s elaboration of the angelic hierarchies, you will find that the Planetary Racial Spirits (Level 5) are loftier than even the Exousiai (Level 6) which are responsible for human ego consciousness and far loftier than the Archangels (Level 8) responsible for nationalities and languages.

        Thus racial characteristics (skin color, racial attitudes and social behaviors) are not only deeper than ethnic characteristics, they are even deeper than ego or individual characteristics. And, as Rudolf Steiner also taught, such spiritual realities will be eventually confirmed by modern science and that is what is happening today with the advances in evolutionary biology based on deciphering the human genome in 2003 — that racial characteristics are biological in origin and not merely social constructs.


    • Beware all,

      Tom Mellett has been snipping these particular remarks out of the so-called “forbidden color lecture” for years now. They give a decidedly, and intentionally, false representation of what actually is a finely drawn description of the races and their characteristics. Tom is well aware of the full scope of this lecture, as we have been encouraging its study recently, but refuses to do so out of an abject hatred of the ‘GA-Torah’, as he calls it when serious study is warranted.

      It is a sorry state indeed when this type of propaganda is so easily appropriated in the effort to brand Rudolf Steiner as making racist remarks. Anyone reading this lecture in its entirety will find out what it contains, and then wonder why the critics/opponents of Steiner do what they do.,

      I have an even better translation than the M. Cotterell version which is online at the RS-Archive, ref. GA349, lecture of March 3, 1923. Paradoxically, it was translated by the extreme critic of Steiner, Roger Rawlings, but is much better. Anyone wishing to have a copy sent can contact my e-mail and I will gladly forward it. I would love to see this lecture get the attention that it properly deserves. It proves that Steiner was not racist in his thinking, but strictly exercising his spiritual-scientific research on the matter of the various races.



      • Thomas J.

        I just want to know if it is true that Steiner said

        “even modern social life”

        or was this made up by Tom Mellot? It seems that the students of Steiner who know the most always make it very clear that Steiner taught that only in the past was a person’s skin color shaping his or her social and cultural ways of being, that now, in our modern times, cultural differences are only due to people growing up in those circumstances but not caused by a person’s skin color.

        If Steiner believed that a person’s skin color, in our time, was making a significant difference in his or her human experience or tendencies, I do believe that Steiner would have said it more than in just those four words above. I believe that Tom probably made those words up in order to create the appearence of a Rudolf Steiner who believed race was still a significant shaping cause of culture and individual forms.

        I believe the man who started this conversation is wrong also. To say that Steiner was not being an Initiate when he observed the terrible damage that the French language does to a human soul is to not understand the precision of Steiner as a seer and a speaker. Rudolf Steiner would never ever say such things unless he observed it in an objective experiment over many, many years. He never spoke off the cuff in matters of teaching about his spiritual perception on a matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas J.

        Mr. Mellott,

        You are being tricky. Steiner did not say that a person’s skin is playing a role. He is saying that because a long, long, long time ago skin color did play a role, we still live in the effects of this.

        But please tell me, sir, if you really believe that a black person’s skin is having a different effect on him than is a white persons, what is this effect?



    • Randall McClain

      In Lecture 7 of the series called The Karma of Untruthfulness, dated December 18,1917, Steiner goes into the subject of different languages in more detail. If you read this I think you will find that far from speaking as he did out of personal anger with the French, that Steiner was clearly speaking about these differences in languages based on his perceptions as a Seer.


      • Thank you for your comment, Randall. I have just checked what Steiner said about the French language in that lecture of 1916, and it’s not very extensive: “The French people have the tendency to push the thought right down to the word: thus, when they speak, the thought is pushed right into what they are saying. That is why, especially in this field, there is so easily an intoxication with words, with phrases – and I mean phrases in the best sense.”

        This is very different from the comments noted in the Stuttgart teachers’ meeting of 1923 (a time when the French had stationed black soldiers from Senegal in the Ruhr, an action which many Germans regarded as having been done to humiliate them further after their defeat in the war), which display real animosity towards the French and their language. Just read again Steiner’s comments in the post above – it is clear (at least to me) that it is not Steiner the seer who is speaking in these comments.

        Best wishes,



  3. Hello Jeremy,

    Many thanks for this posting. I appreciate the fact that you do not shy away from the strong “cognitive dissonance” that Rudolf Steiner sets up for his devoted followers with so many of his statements about races and ethnicity. I also know you appreciate the historical scholarship of Peter Staudenmaier who has written extensively about this issue known as the “Black Horror on the Rhine.”

    Here I excerpt a summary from one of Peter’s postings about the stationing of black troops in the Rhineland

    The “Black Horror on the Rhine.” Sept 10, 2014

    Steiner’s comments about the unfortunate consequences of black people in Europe represent one among several strands in his racial commentary from the 1920s. In order to understand his statements along these lines, it is important to take their historical context into account. A crucial factor was the widespread hysteria in Germany when French and Belgian forces stationed a small number of African troops on German soil during the occupation of the Rhineland after WWI. This background played an especially important role in shaping Steiner’s remarks about race from 1921 to 1923, the height of the racist campaign against the “black horror on the Rhine.”
    [ . . . ]
    While outrage against the presence of non-white troops on German soil was an important contextual element in Steiner’s racial statements after WWI, other factors played a role as well. Steiner’s general racial pronouncements tended to take a more pessimistic turn after the German defeat in World War One and the concomitant loss of Germany’s colonies as well as considerable territory in Europe. These circumstances help account for his irritation at the increased role of black people in Europe and his emphasis on non-white races dying out and so forth. This strand is accompanied by several invocations of the future role of the white race, which offset the otherwise bleak assessment of current racial realities as Steiner perceived them.


    Jeremy, in the light of Peter’s last sentence, which do you find more offensive: Steiner’s anti-black statements? Or his pro-white ones?



    • Jeremy,

      It will prove important to look at Tom Mellett’s remarks above in relation to what you and others find offensive from the lecture on the French language. Steiner said: “It is also possible at the present time that the French will even ruin their own blood, the very element which has kept their language going as a corpse. That is a terrible thing the French people are doing to other people, the frightful cultural brutality of transplanting black people to Europe. It affects France itself worst of all. This has an incredibly strong effect on the blood, the race. This will substantially add to French decadence. The French nation will be weakened as a race”.

      This statement does not prove that Steiner is referring to the so-called “black horror on the Rhine”, which Professor Staudenmaier is so convinced of by inference. In reality, the occupation of the Rhine by French colonial soldiers began in 1919. In early 1923, another predicament caused a further occupation to extend into the Ruhr district. This was based on German’s failure to make its reparation payments, totaling some nearly 33 billion dollars. The reason for default is that the German nation was bankrupt from the war, and the Weimar Republic was doing all it could to effect reconstruction with no support from the victors, i.e., the United States, which had imposed the additional punishment of the 33 billion dollars on top of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.

      What Steiner means when he says, “That is a terrible thing the French people are doing to other people, the frightful cultural brutality of transplanting black people to Europe”, it refers to what colonization can do in making the indigenous peoples, i.e., Asians and Africans, the pawns of the Western European countries. It is cultural brutality to force Africans to do the will of the western empires. Was it ever fair to transplant black people from their homes in order to be the slave-labor of western Europe and America? Is it right to have a British colonial India, and a French colonial Africa? It makes for further servile duty in war time.



  4. Daniel Perez

    Jeremy, it is good that you are taking on responsibility for your own perspectives with regard to the French language and culture. If all languages and cultures have their time and purpose, then does it matter when a language dies a natural death? We don’t want to bemoan their transition from the peak of their purpose. It is like crying that the buggy whip has gone away now that the automobile is being manufactured.

    My grandmother was from southern France, Toulon, near Marseille. I will never forget her singing to me in French. I love the language and always will. I am able to appreciate the language but also recognize that French has seen its peak time (depending on how Africa develops in the future). You may argue with Steiner and psycho-analyse his inner motivations for taking such a stance, but what he was saying was the reality of our time. Here is the current list of languages in order of use: Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, English, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, German … several others, then French.

    Yes, German is near the bottom (although some statistics put it above Japanese), so the expressiveness Steiner saw in the language is perhaps also on the way out, but slowly. I am not so sure Steiner was sentimental about language, but viewed it as a means to express ideas. Cultures also change over time. It is not hard to appreciate the diversity of cultures as well as see their value in the larger evolution of the earth at the same time. In this regard I believe you are tilting at windmills.

    It is believed by linguists that within 100 years we will only have about 600 active languages, from the more than 6000 today. It looks like English, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Hindi and Arabic will be around for awhile longer as that consolidation continues. Still, it is interesting to consider how long before the 600 drops to 60 and so on? Is there something that will be discovered, or rediscovered in multi-linguistics that will preserve a certain set? Perhaps, and maybe it will be based on what can be expressed within a language, by virtue of its innate capacities and expressiveness.

    At least I am comforted to think that my French grandmother is living after death in a spiritual dimension that is not reliant on any earthy language. The human spirit lives on beyond any of our earthly conventions. It is hard for me to get worked up about Nationalistic or Culture-centric groupings. Language as a tool will evolve as needed by humanity.


    • Thomas J.

      Yes indeed. Steiner spoke of necessity, as Daniel in the previous post states at the end.

      We do not need the French language anymore. This does not make us bigots. To see that something is old and is working against the necessity of evolution is not prejudice. It is discernment.

      Steiner was just as clear about racial culture. It was not racist for him to teach such discernment. He speaks not against the incarnated individual but against degenerated cultural practices and instincts.

      I repeat so as not to be misunderstood: When Steiner speaks of the way a culture or group as “backwards” or “retrograde” impulses (as he does with the French language), he is NOT speaking of individuality.

      We can see that these are very much alive in the retrograde impulses that surround cultures that are still influenced by the tendencies Steiner details.

      It is not racist by to observe the way in which this shapes my culture (in United States). I can only help create a true culture by knowing what works against it. A “true” culture is a culture that must be built by all races. All the people of color in my country have the freedom of will to recognize what they are doing and to change their behavior. All of us.

      Of course all races are producing their own inherently different cultures. All of them. This is not limited to any group exclusively. If the darker skin cultures are more degraded this is not racist because it has nothing to do with inherent characteristics. Steiner speaks to this. It is not racist to apply spiritual science to the reasons that black CULTURE has resulted in so much violent crime. White culture has resulted in terrible elite economic tyranny. Again, this is a question of CULTURE, not genetics. Race is a cultural phenomena as well as genetic.

      Only spiritual science can help us understand the black American’s (as a CULTURE, we can not generalize to individuals, of course!) tendency for violence, statistically speaking.

      Steiner’s racial studies are essential if we wish to help the black man overcome his this aspect of his culture, as well as helping white culture’s tendency towards the kind of mechanized thinking that can support violent economic practices. We can not do it alone. Many have not read Steiner’s research about race and cultural development.

      But the truth can not wait for overly sensitive responses to these matters. There are contexts in which such sensitivity is very important, but not when it comes to the true work of building a culture for the future of humanity, that includes the work of all races.

      Read a Steiner lecture and see he does not blame individuals, He frees them to see what they must do. Is white culture perfect? Of course not. Is it the culture best suited to initiate the next necessary steps. Yes it is. Steiner explains this without resorting to vile racism.

      Anthroposophy must grow much larger for true change to take place. It must be studied by those unafraid of political correctness. All races, all sexual-orientations, all nations are required to promote true anthroposophy. Nobody is expendable. It might not always be comfortable to read Steiner’s words or to argue about his meaning, but the conversations are very important to have.



      • Thomas, I’ve let this through although I find your generalisation that “darker skin cultures are more degraded” is just as offensive as Steiner’s comments about the French. But let us see what others have to say.


        • Thomas J.

          Fair enough, Jeremy.

          I believe that others will be able to back me up that the incarceration rate of black Americans can not simply be chalked up to a social construction of reality. The numbers speak for themselves, in my opinion. Again, I believe this is not inherent to them due to their skin, which is the vile view held by Tom M.



  5. Dear Jeremy,

    This is another very compelling essay of interest. I am very glad that you thought immediately about Steiner’s lecture to the Waldorf teachers on February 14, 1923. Yet, I believe that Paxman’s denunciation of the French is entirely different than Steiner’s. While Steiner sees the degradation in the French language, the same can be said for the English language. Yet, Paxman sees English as needing to become the normative voice in the world. Of course, he is wrong. But, that doesn’t make Steiner wrong.

    No, what Steiner is addressing is a concern brought up by Dr. Richard Karutz, an ear doctor, who had children in the school. He felt that the teaching of French should be replaced by Russian. Steiner went into great detail about how the French language had degraded over time, and how superior the German language was for knowing with internal security, and yet, the teaching of French should remain for the present time. This was Steiner’s well-considered assessment, and it would do well for everyone to read that lecture in its entirety, for it has certain superlative qualities. At no time can it be adjudged that Steiner was responding to the French occupation of the Rhine/Ruhr with acrimony.

    For those that think that Steiner was lashing out at the French with this lecture, let the facts be told. The Treaty of Versailles allowed for a 15 year occupation of the area around the Rhineland. This was extended to the Ruhr region in 1923 because Germany had fallen behind on its reparations to the United States for causing the war. The amount, some 33 billion dollars, couldn’t be paid, and so the occupancy was extended into the Ruhr district, which had the effect of creating extreme agitation, and loss of life. Thus, in early 1923, Steiner had been dealing with the enormity of the situation for some four years.

    Here is a brief background article, followed by three links for further inquiry into what stood behind Rudolf Steiner’s always positive and loving mind.

    “In the bitter struggles that attended the early enforcement of the Treaty of Versailles in western Europe, perhaps the most surprising and certainly the most treacherous weapon which France and Germany mobilized against each other was that of race. To be sure, many weapons (economic, political, educational ,etc.) were available to the antagonists and many were employed, but of the latter none was as destructive as the attempt by each nation to exploit its opponents’ fears and prejudices regarding French colonial soldiers in the Rhineland. Originally, the French had begun the process by assigning “Africans” to the occupation at least in part in order to demonstrate to the enemy the extent of his defeat. Before long, the Germans had retaliated with a concerted propaganda effort, attempting to utilize the “black horror on the Rhine” to discredit France and the occupation in the eyes of the “civilized” world. For almost three years, until the Ruhr crisis had radically altered the international situation, both sides clung doggedly to policies which could only result in increasing recrimination and widespread ill will.

    It is true, of course, that colonial troops had constituted a sizable portion of the Allied military establishment for some years previously. During the war, both Britain and France had supplemented and strengthened their armies with vast amounts of African and Asian manpower. India alone had provided 800,000 soldiers and 400,000 laborers, while the French colonies had supplied more than half a million combatants and 200,000 workers.”

    Ref. The “Black Horror on the Rhine”: Race as a Factor in Post World War I Diplomacy, Keith L. Nelson, University oif California, Irvine, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 42, No. 4 , Dec. 1970


  6. Edward Darcy

    Thank you for the article and interesting comments. I think it hints at the wider problem with Anthro movement – the complete failure to acknowledge RS was capable of normal human frailties and was actually not correct about everything he held forth on.

    Pierre gets to the heart of the matter when he says of RS “A man who had been initiated at the highest level in the mysteries if we are to believe what we are told in the “Story of My Life” by him.” If you believe such things then you are not capable of rational or critical analysis of RS as you elevate him to an infallible prophet so always find excuses for whenever he was just plain wrong.


  7. Gemma

    If you will forgive me for breaking my self-imposed silence, I feel it necessary to make one or two statements.

    In my life, one thing has become starkly clear to me: when I speak of the truth to someone, they usually find it offensive. So be warned: if you find something that Rudolf Steiner said that you find offensive, look to yourself and examine why his statement offends you.

    Because the first and the most essential of steps one must take on Rudolf Steiner called the ‘Path Outwards’ is to examine one’s own sympathies and antipathies. Without this harrowing test, one can be led to all manner of illusions – the dispellation of which becomes the more painful the longer they have been harboured. This is a process of hardening, which can eventually lead to the death of consciousness (also known as dementia).

    The French language if Rudolf Steiner says that it is dead, then dead it is.

    I want to add one thing: that does not mean it cannot be brought to life by those willing and able to accept the challenge. It only means that bringing it to life is much harder than it would be English, which has retained a degree of liveliness, for all the standardization that has been foist upon it in the last century.

    I want to add that the Academie Française was established with one thing in mind: the standardization of the language. In the early part of the last century this was extended to the promulgation of official French as the language to be spoken – overruling local dialects in preference for a language that was mutually intelligible.

    Such an imposition from above is what kills languages stone dead: it leads to their being fixed in the way software languages are dead. This is because it leads away from diversity and the kind of character that brings life to human expression. As I say, it makes it harder to bring to life, but not impossible. It did have an effect on local dialects, but their innate strength overcame the suffocating standardization imposed on them from above.

    I want to add that a German would have been aghast had he been told to consciously impose such privations on the population. Please remember that until the founding of the Second Reich, it was illegal to speak of oneself as being German (one would have to speak of oneself as being Bavarian, Westphalian, someone from Cologne or whatever – but not as German).

    The Black Peoples. Much of what I said about the French language is true for the black person. I will add that if you think Rudolf Steiner was wrong, you had better examine the reasons for your thinking this. Rudolf Steiner gave clear reasons why they hold the place they do, which would be beyond argument to any initiate.

    I want to repeat what I said about the French language here: just because it is dead – past its time or whatever – does not make it impossible to bring to life. All it means is that the challenges are harder.

    Here it must be added that the way of life in Northern Europe promotes awareness. Imagine having to live in a small farmhouse with only a kitchen stove to keep you warm and no electricity. The entire summer will be one long preparation for surviving the winter!

    In Africa, this is simply not necessary. It is a place where your lunch will literally fall into your open hands, in many places, all year round. My point is that the level of awareness needed to survive is far less. However, in countries that have populations way in excess of those of 150 years ago, such awareness is much needed if people are not to starve. Southern Rhodesia was known as the ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ – yet today people go hungry because of the indolent and the rich who leave farms to be overwhelmed by the bush.

    It is a less conscious form of the evil described in Steinbecks ‘Grapes of Wrath’ where entire valleys had been bought for speculation and their value would be reduced were they farmed. That is how the Anglo-Saxon race kill things.

    Again, the point is that it is easy to live in Africa, which is the very challenge facing an African! If one is to wake up, one must challenge the very things that make your life easy, question the very things one is sympathetic to.


  8. Jeremy,

    I would now like to approach Rudolf Steiner’s answer about the French issue from a well-known aspect of anthroposophy.

    We know that all the so-called “daughter movements” of anthroposophy had their origins in someone asking a single “seed question” of Rudolf Steiner. For example, in 1919, Emil Molt asks Steiner about education for the children of his factory workers. Answer: Waldorf schools.

    In 1912, Clara Smits, the mother of Lori, asks Steiner about a possible new form of dance movement for her daughter. Answer: Eurythmy

    In 1924 . . . well, you know more than I about the “seed question” with the answer: Bio-Dynamics

    Now let us look at the “seed question” asked by Dr. Richard Karutz in 1923 which resulted in the answer which is the entire substance of this blog posting.

    (Now here’s an immediate observation which may or may not be relevant, but I bring it anyway. I notice that the 3 questions resulting in the 3 daughter movements of Waldorf, eurythmy and Biodynamics were all positive questions. But the question coming from Dr. Karutz is negative.
    He seeks to abolish the French language class and substitute Russian.)

    So let’s look at the entire “seed question.”

    Vols. 1 & 2 of “Faculty Meetings” is online here. I copy from the top of page 552

    Click to access faculty_meetings_1_2.pdf

    Dr. Steiner: We have received a request from Dr. Karutz regarding the next parent evening; it requires a thorough discussion in the faculty before any public discussion of it. We need to discuss this proposal and, at least within the faculty, we need to arrive at a common perspective. For that reason, I have asked Dr. Karutz to spend the first hour of our meeting with us, so he can give us more information on what he wrote in his letter, and so that we can clearly understand his request. (The letter is read aloud.)

    Now that we have all heard the letter, we can see this is a question we must discuss in regard to basic principles. It would certainly be difficult to carry on a considered and objective discussion during the parent evening, and, since I cannot attend, I would like to discuss the question here. I would like to ask you [Dr. Karutz] to say what you would like to say first.

    Dr. Karutz says his proposal has a cultural, not a political, intention. His objective is that the parents make a unanimous decision that the French language should no longer be required. He proposes Russian as a replacement.

    So just who is Dr. Karutz? And why is he so concerned about this question that has nothing to do with his profession of medicine? And why does his proposal carry such weight with Rudolf Steiner?

    While it is true that Dr. Richard Karutz was a medical doctor by profession, an ear specialist; nonetheless, his self-appointed mission as an anthroposophist was in the field of ethnology, which is the comparative study of peoples according to their races, their nationalities, ethnicities and so forth. It turns out that Richard Karutz became the finest advocate and explicator of Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophical racial ethnology from 1929 until his death in 1945.

    Please read this extensive biographical sketch of Richard Karutz as posted by Peter Staudenmaier on February 19, 2012.
    I quote his opening paragraph.

    The foremost anthroposophical race theorist in Germany after Steiner’s death was Richard Karutz (1867-1945), a prominent Waldorf spokesman and supporter of Nazism. He participated in a seminar at the Goetheanum in 1920, moved from Lübeck to Stuttgart in 1921 to be closer to the center of anthroposophical activity in Germany, and moved again to Dresden in 1938 so that his children could continue attending Waldorf school. Karutz was an ethnologist and contributed more than any other author to elaborating anthroposophy’s racial teachings. He was also the most outspoken proponent of spiritual racism among German anthroposophists both before and during the Nazi era.

    So Jeremy, let me leave you with a thought that might help explain your visceral reaction of revulsion at Rudolf Steiner’s answer to Dr. Karutz.

    If Emil Molt, Clara Smits and the Koberwitz farmers brought out the best in Steiner with their positive seed questions, then Richard Karutz brought out the worst in Steiner, indeed, might I say that Karutz seemed to activate and unleash Rudolf Steiner’s own “Inner Nazi” — a full decade before Hitler came to power in that fatefully prophetic year of the Etheric Christ’s return, 1933.


    • Tom wrote:

      “If Emil Molt, Clara Smits and the Koberwitz farmers brought out the best in Steiner with their positive seed questions, then Richard Karutz brought out the worst in Steiner, indeed, might I say that Karutz seemed to activate and unleash Rudolf Steiner’s own “Inner Nazi” — a full decade before Hitler came to power in that fatefully prophetic year of the Etheric Christ’s return, 1933.’

      Just because Richard Karutz, who asked that question about language in 1923, and went on to espouse the aims of the German National Socialism until his death in 1945, does not impute Steiner in any way to being an “Inner Nazi” just because of a relevant question about the demise of the French language. Rather, I would suggest that this is simply more of the hyperbole that warrants the “beware all” of Tom, who has also included his professor friend, Peter Staudenmaier,, who has written about Richard Karutz in the aftermath of Rudolf Steiner’s death, c. March 30, 1925.

      By any reasonable account, there is a big difference between affairs of state in 1925 and 1945, some twenty years later. How much does the spirit of Rudolf Steiner have to be responsible for in this interim? We know that any number of Steiner’s followers felt that the aims of NSDAP was the way to go. Who wouldn’t seek to find freedom from American imperialism in the name of Hitler, when the demise of the German republic had been so costly, and such a defeat in 1930, when the Weimar Republic dissolved, and made way for the eventual dictatorship of Hitler. I would have stood for Dr. Karutz to the end if it meant freedom. I think he was an honest person, upholding Steiner to the end, even as those today would make him into a Nazi supporter.



      • Thomas J.

        Rudolf Steiner never said one word that implied races had different tendencies. Any student of Rudolf Steiner who believes that, let us say, a black man’s skin changes his experience of the world in a manner differently from a white man’s skin is projecting their own racist notions into Rudolf Steiner.

        Rudolf Steiner was very clear: All men and women of this time are working from a clean racial state; no race has a special purpose at this time. If it was true that white people had an advantage at this time in our history, Rudolf Steiner would not have been afraid to very carefully explain how and why white people have a special task. He never did such explanation because having white skin has no spiritual difference at this time as any other skin. This must be understood by those who actually study the works.



      • Steve,

        I notice that once again you endeavor to shift responsibility away from the responsible person. In your opening sentence you admit that RK is a Nazi but then at the end you shift to blaming Peter Staudenmaier, who is merely the messenger here, when you say: I think he was an honest person, upholding Steiner to the end, even as those today would make him into a Nazi supporter.

        Excuse me, Steve, but may I inform you that it was not Peter Staudenmaier who made Richard Karutz into a Nazi supporter. Richard did all that by himself and did so on the basis of his complete devotion to and espousal of the specific “occult ethnology” of his teacher, Rudolf Steiner.

        Now the question becomes: how much is the teacher responsible for what the student does? Obviously in, let us say, 99% of the student’s actions, none. But there is that 1% area. Notice that PS is not in a student-teacher relationship with RS. But RK was in such a relationship, at least between 1920 and 1923, so there is a narrow realm (say, 1%) where RS must bear some responsibility for what his own student, RK, went out to teach during the Nazi time. Why do you seek to deny Steiner’s responsibility here?

        And that brings me right back to the subject of this blog post. So shall we get back on topic? This blog post is all about Jeremy’s outrage and disgust over Steiner’s offensive and repugnant statements about the French language and then the black race vis a vis the white race.

        So let me quote from Jeremy and from Tom Hart Shea who also expresses his revulsion at what RS said here.

        Jeremy wrote:
        This is quite shocking stuff from Steiner and of course it is nonsense. Steiner was clearly speaking here as an Austrian of his times and as a fallible human being who makes mistakes. [. . . ] The comment on black people is grossly offensive and typical of the prejudices of his times. The man who was speaking here was not the same Steiner who could speak the following out of his higher self: . . . “

        Tom Shea wrote:
        I do believe that when Steiner said these sort of things he was not speaking as an initiate but simply as a man of his time and rather insensitively on this occasion. I am glad you drew attention to the plight of the french teachers listening to this offensive diatribe.


        Now Steve, you tried to misdirect Jeremy and the readers here by only focusing on the POLITICAL aspect of Steiner’s statement, which is the stationing of the black troops on the border with France. However, what I believe offended Jeremy and Tom Shea was the cultural-racial aspect.

        Let me take out the political part of Steiner’s statement and quote the blood-racial part that I believe offends Jeremy and Tom S

        RUDOLF STEINER: It is also possible at the present time that the French will even ruin their own blood, the very element which has kept their language going as a corpse. [. . . ] This has an incredibly strong effect on the blood, the race. This will substantially add to French decadence. The French nation will be weakened as a race”.

        After all, Richard Karutz himself told Rudolf Steiner that “his proposal has a cultural, not a political, intention.”

        And therefore Rudolf Steiner is duly answering his question in a cultural-racial way, with only a passing reference to the political situation.

        So what is it you are so afraid of, Steve? Why do you continually seek to invalidate Jeremy’s and Tom Shea’s understandably outraged and disgusted reactions to these utterly repugnant statements of Rudolf Steiner?


  9. Daniel Perez

    Hi Gemma,
    I agree with you that all this talk about Steiner being “right” or “wrong” is kind of childish. If you think Steiner is wrong, then work on your own ideas about the world. Examine your sympathies and antipathies in what you react to in Steiner’s work. Why do you care what Steiner thought if you disagree? Form your own models of how the world work, and then watch as they are proven wrong, over and over! – Yes, I agree with you. People need to do their own inner work instead of complaining about how it is not all being handed out on a silver platter.
    And actually, programming languages are evolving rapidly, much faster than spoken languages, but I suppose your intention has to do with the fixed nature of produced programs, although a written book is also fixed, so it is hard to follow the exact meaning here. My area of expertise is programing and I’m fascinated by what is going on in programming language.


    • Thomas J.

      Yes. There is not a need for the Anthroposophical movement to “weed out” the “wrong” by Steiner for one simple fact. There was no “wrong” in his teaching. Or, to be more specific, there was no “wrong” in his teaching that was significant enough to waste time upon. Sure, small tiny errors that reflect insignificant information. But if Rudolf Steiner had made any significant errors, we would see this reflected in the movement of his students and all the good they do. It is clear that the Anthroposophical movement is not suffering from attitudes that can be traced back to Rudolf Steiner. Perhaps people are simply jealous of the great success of Steiner and his movement. That is what is at the root of those who pretend to be concerned about his right or wrong comments. Such people would do better to stay far away from the spiritual treasure-chest of Anthroposophy. I have studied Rudolf Steiner for long enough time to say with confidence that he never made one significant error in his spiritual observation of the cosmos. He test everything for over a decade before speaking it to another soul.



  10. Tom Mellett wrote:

    “So what is it you are so afraid of, Steve? Why do you continually seek to invalidate Jeremy’s and Tom Shea’s understandably outraged and disgusted reactions to these utterly repugnant statements of Rudolf Steiner?”

    I’m not trying to invalidate anyone’s responses, but only giving my perspectives on what seems to be the relevant concerns on language and the cultural brutality that is part of colonial rule. When Steiner’s remarks are given this further perspective, then possibly a certain latitude is warranted in the original reactions. On the other hand, maybe not. The point was to take a stand and say that there is more going on here than meets the eye at first glance.

    As for Richard Karutz, who went on to make a major study of racial ethnography in the light of anthroposophy, I flatly don’t agree with it, and Steiner would be seriously disappointed with its false assertions. But, as I said, how much responsibility falls on Steiner when his followers try to proceed with their good intentions. Karutz, as well as several other race commentators made errors based on their own assumptions and beliefs. Steiner’s viewpoint is clearly given with the lecture from March 3, 1923, which also proves that these others, like Richard Karutz, were playing their own race card in support of the aims of National Socialism.

    To link Steiner with this, as an “inner Nazi”, is flat wrong, and I would suspect that Jeremy and Thom Shea would find that to be outrageous and disgusting.



    • Thomas J.

      I would ask somebody to give me one reason that a student of Steiner’s would feel any justification whatsoever in claiming that a person of color is dealing with a different inner experience because of his skin. Show me one quote that suggests the black people of today are more childish. You can’t. It was millions of years ago that black people were childish.

      Tom makes it sounds as if the white people have a special purpose that can only be accomplished by them alone. Steiner was clear this is not the case. Any true student knows this.

      One can almost sense Tom’s innate racist views and how hungry they are to find a friend in Steiner.



      • Edward Darcy

        Thomas J, in trying to defend RS you are calling Tom a racist! He said nothing racist at all, unlike RS. if you cannot defend your guru with a proper argument best not to bother.

        As for your statement “it was millions of years ago that black people were childish” , amazing – please present some evidence for such a nonsense statement.


        • Thomas J.

          Let me be clear, Edward; That black people are indisputably engaged in more child-like behaviors than white people, I will agree. However, to conclude that this discrepancy is due to the skin color of today is wrong. A culture of childishness is not the same thing as a gene for it. Get that straight.

          I think if you were to compare a black musical hero like Drake with a white one like Paul Simon, you will start to get a feel for the differences.

          By the way, let us not forget that Rudolf Steiner looked very carefully at even the brightest of the black people in his time and was able to see the difference between them and white people. However, he understood that this was a cultural difference that was caused by the inertia of the past, not the skin of the present. Any black person can overcome black culture in order to fight for the future of humanity, just as any French person can learn to speak a less decrepit language in order to save his soul.

          Only a person deeply committed to political correctness would dare say that I am saying such things are inherent to a person or group. I find that Rudolf Steiner’s work protects us from just weak and womanly political correctness.

          Let us drop such pettiness and begin to create real culture by being willing to join hands with any type of person reaching up to us. It’s the only way forward.


        • Thomas J.

          Please do not waste time. Give examples.


      • Well, Thomas J, What can I say? I agree with just about everything you write and especially the part about me being a racist, so let’s start with that since it really gets to the heart of the matter.

        About ten years ago, at the Highland Hall Waldorf School where I had taught for 2 years, I met with a man named James Knight who has a PhD from UCLA in computer science and was once on the Board of Trustees of the school. His wife is a class teacher at the school where 3 of their children have attended.

        James was speaking to me quite strongly and knowledgeably about the racism he found in Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. Why? James, by race, is a black man. I actually tried to push back, saying things like well, Steiner was a man of his times, he said race was didn’t matter anymore because he advocated for the Universal human, etc., you know, the usual platitudes trotted out to deny Steiner was racist.

        But then James stopped me with a single sentence, one that turned out to be my “Saul to Paul conversion” moment regarding the whole Steiner racism issue.

        He said to me. “Tom, I consider you — just like Rudolf Steiner — to be racist but not bigoted.”

        Bingo! A cloud lifted! Duh, of course! What he meant was that I was racist in my thinking, but not in my will. Same with Steiner.

        To James, being bigoted meant that the racist ideas permeate the will and become actions. In his experience, being a highly educated black man in America, he encountered vast numbers of white people who were racist in their thinking, but were not racist in their willing. He is friends with many of them

        Of course he met many people who were both racist and bigoted. He is not friends with any of them.

        He said to me: “Believe me, Tom, if I ever sensed that you were bigoted, I wouldn’t be here talking with you.”

        As an anthroposophist of 30 years at that time in 2006, I immediately saw the situation as the important separation of the 3 brains: Thinking-Brain, Feeling-Brain and Willing-Brain described in KoHW, where the separation means, e.g., that you can have a thought which does not automatically or reflexively become a will impulse.

        When I read this blog posting, I was delighted to see that Jeremy is expressing that same differentiation, as is Tom Hart Shea. Both acknowledge Steiner’s racism in thinking, as expressed in the passage about the possible degeneration of the French blood through racial mixing with blacks. But Jeremy and Tom Shea also acknowledge that whatever racism exists in Steiner’s thinking does not permeate his willing where it would become bigotry, discrimination, or let us call it “actionable racism” for lack of proper words and concepts to express this phenomenon.

        And here I make a shout out to Daniel Perez. Daniel, a few months back, I baffled you with my statement that “Steiner was both racist and non-racist simultaneously.” I hope now that I can resolve the contradiction for you by saying that “Steiner was both racist in his thinking and non-racist in his willing, simultaneously.”

        And finally, to Thomas J, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to acknowledge my racist nature. But I will push back on your characterization of my racial view here:

        Again, I believe this is not inherent to them due to their skin, which is the vile view held by Tom M.

        I think it more accurate to say: . . . which is the wily view held by Tom M.

        More to come later!


        • Thomas J.

          Thank you for the story, Tom. But you avoided the only point that matters. Do you believe that Steiner ever indicated that a modern person with white skin has an advantage over a person who does not have white skin? By advantage I mean that because of the skin the white person has a direct and causal advantage over a black person. Do you believe that Steiner ever said anything even resembling that? And, please also answer whether or not you believe that to be the case.

          My cards are on the table. I believe that white culture has many advantages but not due to any inherent superiority. It is simply a temporary effect of having less of the programmed tendencies from the past that USED TO BE hard wired spiritually into the skin. Please answer the above questions without resorting to distraction techniques.

          Thomas J


      • OK, Thomas J, the answers to your questions are yes and yes, but before I explain why, please allow me to apprise everyone here of a parallel blog discussion going on about Rudolf Steiner’s infallibility and his racial ideology, specifically about his statements concerning Neanderthal Man and the migrations from Atlantis.

        Now the blog is normally conducted in the German language, but in this particular posting, it is my English translation of the earlier German posting and therefore, most all the commentary is in English and English commenters are welcome.

        The blog is called Egoisten (which means The Egoists”). It is written by Michael Eggert, a longtime German anthroposophist who lives in Düsseldorf. Michael is expressing the same repugnance at Steiner’s racist teaching as Jeremy has expressed here.

        This particular posting is entitled:
        Atlantisches Phantasialand mit rassistischer Note
        Atlantean Fantasyland with Racist Aftertaste

        I see that Caryn Louise has just commented there this morning and Daniel Perez commented there a few days ago, so this is an invitation to all readers here to comment there or at least read and lurk.

        And Jeremy, I will soon be inviting all of the Egoisten tribe to “cross the channel,” as it were, and visit the Anthropopper blog in the UK.

        This was a Public Service Announcement
        for the Steiner Channel on the Internet.

        Next comment will answer your questions, Thomas J.


    • Steve, I trust that Jeremy and Tom Shea are more than competent enough to see through the disingenuous way you altered my meaning about Steiner and his Inner Nazi.

      Here’s what I actually wrote:

      If Emil Molt, Clara Smits and the Koberwitz farmers brought out the best in Steiner with their positive seed questions, then Richard Karutz brought out the worst in Steiner, indeed, might I say that Karutz seemed to activate and unleash Rudolf Steiner’s own “Inner Nazi”

      Here’s what you wrote

      To link Steiner with this, as an “inner Nazi”, is flat wrong, and I would suspect that Jeremy and Thom Shea would find that to be outrageous and disgusting.

      You are accusing me of identifying Rudolf Steiner in the entirety of his being as an Inner Nazi. But what I wrote was that Steiner’s Inner Nazi was an aspect of his being, in fact, the all-too human aspect. Others might call it Steiner’s “lower self,” or his unredeemed Doppelgaenger, his unacknowledged “Shadow,” if you like CG Jung. Certainly I meant it in the sense that each and every one of us has an “Inner Nazi” to contend with: I have one, you have one, Jeremy and Tom Shea have theirs and of course so does Rudolf Steiner, which is what what this blog posting is all about, namely, the fallible imperfect aspects of Rudolf Steiner.

      Apparently you believe that Rudolf Steiner was not a real human being subject to mistakes, faults and moral/ethical failings. You actually seem to attribute not just infallibility to him but also moral perfection. Fortuitously, there is a nice German word that expresses your own childish characterization of Steiner as a perfectly dead icon, much like the statues of the Virgin Mary and the saints that appear in Catholic Churches. Only yours are intellectual statues — what Sir Francis Bacon would call the “idols of the mind.”

      That word is Versteinerung which means means “ossification, fossil, fossilization, petrifaction.” It is also a delightfully appropriate pun, since it contains the name “steiner” right in the middle of it!

      Stone Cold Steiner! That could be the name of the inner ahrimanic Steiner idol that you worship, Steve. I find such egotistical idolatry on your part to be outrageous and disgusting. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

      Here’s looking forward to the day you can smash that idol, Steve, and then allow Rudolf Steiner and yourself to be at home with your common fallible and imperfect humanity.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeremy,

        I was wondering about the photo that you have here in the midst of your discourse, i.e.,

        It would appear to be from the very time-frame in which Rudolf Steiner was discussing issues with the first Waldorf school at Stuttgart in early 1923. He is flanked by both Ita Wegman and Marie Steiner. Marie was very vocal in the conference notes of February 14, 1923, while Ita Wegman was her usual shy self. Steiner himself was already showing signs of his withering etheric body, as the photo clearly depicts.

        So, it can be discerned that Steiner already felt himself to be within the kind of death throes that he sees in the French language. He also implies his disgust with the futility of war and how its barbarity extends even to the forced conscription of other nations to do the servile duty of the western powers. This is what he terms, “cultural brutality”.

        Now, Tom M. has weighed-in again with his notions of a veritable “versteinert” of old and very ossified/petrified Steiner notions about the world and its future. According to Tom, Steiner’s considerations represent the putrefaction of old and moldy well-worn considerations, which in today’s post-modern worldview simply need to be got rid of.

        You might want to respond to this, as it seems pertinent, and I cannot stand alone, except to make myself more the fool that I already am.



        • Dear Steve,
          So many interesting points have come up that I will be basing my next posting on them. Please forgive me if I don’t respond immediately to your request but I will be writing an extended piece around these issues as soon as possible.
          Best wishes,


      • There you go again, Steve Hale, deliberately and maliciously misrepresenting what I said.

        Actually, though, I only need make one small substitution in your misleading quote to express my meaning.

        According to Tom, STEVEN HALE’S considerations represent the putrefaction of old and moldy well-worn considerations, which in today’s post-modern worldview simply need to be got rid of.

        You see, Steve, I actually honor and revere Rudolf Steiner enough to call out your self-serving solipsistic idolatry of him. That is what I mean by Versteinerung. And you will not get away with it anymore as long as I am on the Steiner Internet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas J.

        Steve, I support your comments fully. You are not alone. I can not get this reply to be under your comment, but I wanted to state it clearly. Tom’s racist views must be shown for the Anti-Steiner propaganda they are.


      • Tom M. and I have been tussling over this belief of his that Steiner’s doctrines have turned into fossilized remains and outmoded thought-patterns since Steiner’s death 91 years ago. He sees no growth in anthroposophy since 1925. I disagree for the simple reason that Spiritual Science exists largely for the future. And the beginning of that future goes back to 1900 when a New Age of Light replaced the end of the dark Kali Yuga that ended in 1899.

        Exactly one year ago today, I wrote this in support of Anthroposophy’s living presence and vital importance for the world, in spite of its opponents, and those who still do not yet even know of its existence:

        “The truth is that only ossified, mineralized minds, in hardened brains that think only thoughts about physical things in a lifeless, corpselike state, could agree that this is the present condition of anthroposophy. This, of course, goes back to the 19th century, when the era of abstract thinking began, and which compelled the previous instinctive knowledge that informed the Renaissance and Enlightenment, right up to the eighteenth
        century, to be re-evaluated entirely, and along the lines that gave birth to the materialistic view of the world. This physicality of thinking persists today, largely through conventional education programs that draw down the external world, and then call it reality.

        Anthroposophy exists to redeem what once existed as an intimate knowledge of nature, but lost due to the education of the child in the realm of the mechanistic and materialistic alone. “Lest ye become as little children ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven”, literally means the taking up of anthroposophy on a serious basis.

        The little mind of the Intellectual Soul, and the little ego that loves its individualism, will only suffice in order to remain stationary in a dying, crumbling world, where the extinction of the faculty of thinking itself is already evident. That is why we call the Consciousness Soul also the Spiritual Soul.

        Yet, if you [Tom] have a better solution for an improvement in the condition of anthroposophy, let’s hear of it. Does it require throwing out some, most, or all of the presently extant 360 volumes of Anthroposophical Spiritual Science according to Rudolf Steiner? What then follows?”



        • Steve is correct. We are only beginning to begin to understand Rudolf Steiner. Only a very small percentage of those who even take up the task have begun to develop the seeing capacities. This helps explain why there is so much confusion about issues like the connection between race and culture.

          Tom would have us believe that Steiner believed that the skin itself was still playing a role in shaping the individual experience. This view plays into the hands of Steiner’s enemies. They then can claim that Steiner believed that the African American high crime rate is CAUSED by their skin rather than by their culture. No. Steiner was clear: the races of our time are no longer “programmed” by their skin. They are free. Yes, the lower forms of evolution still have force, but that is FROM THE PAST. The proclivity towards violence that we see in African Americans {please don’t censure this comment, as it is an opinion and can be reasonably argued via all the statistics of violent crime in America} is a function of the past. They are living within the wake of tendencies that used to be inherent in black skin per Steiner’s many lectures. Somebody like Tom may wish to make us believe that Steiner would argue such lower instincts are grounded in the blood and skin, but I assure you that these are cultural affairs.

          Yes, Anthroposophy was born within a white culture and is growing stronger and stronger within one. This will change as more and more individuals of ALL races use Steiner’s teachings to overcome the CULTURAL inertia that they must fight against. When this is done, we will see that Anthroposophy has always been multicultural in spirit.

          Steve understands such things clearly. I wish some here would take pause and really read Steve’s comments before overreacting. Finally, I promise you that no strong argument can be made which tries to claim that Steiner believed that white skin is presently in a superior relationship to the needs of our time. It is a confusion to say so. White culture is of course at the leading edge. But that is only temporary. All will join up once the word and teachings of spiritual science are taken up by more and more people.



  11. Tom H Shea

    Thomas J, not only uses the words ‘political correctness’ pejoratively but also ‘womanly’! He says, ‘I find that Rudolf Steiner’s work protects us from just weak and womanly political correctness.’
    I find this very sad. Here is a man who apparently thinks that if something is ‘womanly’ it is somehow lesser, weaker, corrupted in some way.
    Rudolf Steiner did not agree with such sentiments. He was a vocal champion of the equality of women and their rights. He surrounded himself with strong women who worked closely with him. He would never have used the word ‘womanly’ in a pejorative sense.
    In this dialogue I appear as a champion of ‘political correctness’, however it is not ‘political correctness’ as such (whatever that is!) that I espouse.
    Daniel Perez has understood me very well when he says, ‘I find your response to be reasonable. You are using your own inner moral compass to determine what is right and wrong. It is in the spirit of the consciousness soul, where you meet each person as an individual and do not group them according to stereotypes.’


  12. Steve you wrote:

    As for Richard Karutz, who went on to make a major study of racial ethnography in the light of anthroposophy, I flatly don’t agree with it, and Steiner would be seriously disappointed with its false assertions.

    But, as I said, how much responsibility falls on Steiner when his followers try to proceed with their good intentions. Karutz, as well as several other race commentators made errors based on their own assumptions and beliefs.

    Steiner’s viewpoint is clearly given with the lecture from March 3, 1923, which also proves that these others, like Richard Karutz, were playing their own race card in support of the aims of National Socialism.


    Here is the great teacher, Rudolf Steiner, in 1923, playing his own race card in answering the question of his devoted student, Richard Karutz, about abolishing the French language study from the Waldorf curriculum.

    RUDOLF STEINER: It is also possible at the present time that the French will even ruin their own blood, the very element which has kept their language going as a corpse. That is a terrible thing the French people are doing to other people, the frightful cultural brutality of transplanting black people to Europe. It affects France itself worst of all. This has an incredibly strong effect on the blood, the race. This will substantially add to French decadence. The French nation will be weakened as a race”.

    So, Steve, could you point out the errors made by Richard Karutz in his assumptions and beliefs here? I don’t think Steiner would be disappointed at all in how well his student promulgated the teachings of anthroposophy about race and culture as we see here.

    Excerpting from the biographical sketch of Richard Karutz by Peter Staudenmaier

    Calling his approach “ethno-anthroposophy” and citing Steiner throughout, Karutz declared that “today’s ethnology must once again acknowledge the idea of degeneration.”
    (Karutz, Vorlesungen über moralische Völkerkunde 5, “Vom Werden und vom Wege der Völkerkunde” (1930), 22)

    Emphasizing the profound spiritual and racial differences between Europeans and “lower peoples,” he explained that the fate of many non-European peoples was extinction rather than evolution. (ibid., 3)

    Karutz recapitulated Steiner’s narrative of racial evolution, centered on the migrations of various racial groups out of Atlantis and the contrast between Aryan and non-Aryan populations.

    In the seventh installment of his “lectures on moral ethnology” in 1930, Karutz referred to indigenous peoples as “crippled branches” on the “genealogical tree” of human evolution, “who after a brief existence have stopped developing further.”

    Today the “colored peoples” are spiritually and culturally “stagnant and degenerated, because the soul of the colored peoples has not received the I impulse and has therefore failed to take part in the transformation of the human soul.”

    This, he explains, is why colored peoples are colored in the first place: their external physical appearance reflects their internal spiritual backwardness.



    • Steve Hale

      Tom Mellett wrote:

      “So, Steve, could you point out the errors made by Richard Karutz in his assumptions and beliefs here? I don’t think Steiner would be disappointed at all in how well his student promulgated the teachings of anthroposophy about race and culture as we see here.”

      Tom, you really need to learn about the biography of Richard Karutz. He never heard of anthroposophy until 1920, and by that time had gained recognition as a foremost ethnographer, having studied world cultures for many years by actually exploring the world and its people. For 25 years, he was the leader of the Ethnographic Museum in Lubeck, c. 1896-1921. Then, he moved his family to Stuttgart in order to place his children in the Waldorf school there.

      Richard Karutz went on to write moral ethnological studies from an anthroposophical perspective, which were largely completed in 1930, which was three years before Hitler came to power in 1933. These studies were rejected by the Nazi’s as being of no use; no value. The reason is that they expressed spiritual-racial qualities, which the Nazi’s disdained. As a result, they were banned and pulped, which is why little of the work of Richard Karutz remains today. When the Nazi’s banned the Waldorf school in 1938, he moved to Dresden, and now completely disillusioned by the aims of National Socialism. He died in the midst of the bombing of Dresden in early 1945.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Caryn Louise

    “Today in our time, the group-soulness of people is still not yet overcome, and whoever believes that it is completely overcome does not keep in mind certain finer phenomena of life. Whoever keeps it in mind will very quickly see that certain human beings not only appear alike in their physiognomy, but that also the soul-qualities are similar in groups of human beings: that one can, as it were, divide human beings into categories.

    Each person can still today be reckoned into a certain category; with reference to this or the other quality, he will belong perhaps to different categories, but a certain group-soulness is not only valid because the races exist, but also in other connections. The boundaries drawn between the single nations fall away more and more; but other groupings are still perceptible. Certain basic characteristics stand so connected in some people, that he who will only look, can still today perceive the last relics of the group-soulness of man.

    Now we, in our present age, are living in the most eminent sense, in a transition. All group-soulness has gradually to be stripped off. Just as the gaps between single nations gradually disappear, as the single parts of different nations understand each other better, so also will other group-soul qualities be shed, and the individual nature of each single person come to the foreground more and more.

    We have therewith characterised something quite essential in evolution. If we want to grasp it from another side, we can say: That idea whereby the group-soulness chiefly expresses itself loses meaning ever more and more in the evolution of mankind, i.e., the idea of race.”

    The Ego, Lecture One (GA0117)

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a good sharing. It will take thousands of years for this shedding, according to Rudolf Steiner, but we can already see it happening. As more and more people recognize the degenerative aspects of ALL cultures, they are then more equipped to fight against those lower tendencies.

      Just because it will be quite a while before people of color take up Anthroposophy in significant numbers, we must not conclude this is because they are inferior due to skin/gene. Indeed no! They are up against much harder challenges than the white race. The people of color are up against their own cultures which have been shaped by hardened and obsolete tendencies due to their races in the past. This is not the same thing as blaming race as the cause. Race will become less and less a cause in the next thousand years IF we do our jobs and help spread the truth of spiritual science to all races and nations.


    • Visitor

      Nice quote, Carin!


  14. Tom Mellett asserts that Steiner was racist in his Thinking. Yet, Steiner was not racist in his Willing. Then, Tom confidently states that he is a racist in his thinking, but not in his willing. So, Tom, why are you a racist? Is it because of your cultural heritage living in the multi-cultural domain of New York? Were you an inner-city child, possibly abandoned, and brought up by the teachings of bigoted elders? You see, these are factors of culture, in which education plays an important part. Racial stereotyping, labeling, and profiling remain a consistent problem today, and why we see the outrage and violence, which only echoes the “cultural brutality” that Steiner spoke about in the lecture from February 14, 1923.

    When you say that you are a racist in your thinking, but do not act upon it, you are wrong. Why? Because, as you stated, James Knight, an African-American, detected by your very words that you were a racist. Now, in order for James Knight to know that you were a racist, you would have had to express words that indicated that fact. That makes your words an action out of the will. Otherwise, your racist thinking would have remained within your own domain, and unexpressed.

    So, by all reasonable accounts, Tom is a racist in thought and deed. He treats perceived inferior cultures/races as beneath him, and yet stays silent in his bigotry and prejudice. Yet, he also tells us about it, as if he is clean in his perception.

    Now, what Steiner did was tell us about evolutionary race formation and progression. With the eye of spiritual science, he told of how the several races formed on the continent of Atlantis, and how they suffered various deficient conditions because they constituted embryonic stages in these early formations. But this was all resolved with the flood, and the subsequent migrations, which led to cultural amalgamation of the several races, and making them strong and robust by way of blood-mixing, which is a fact of life today.

    Thus, Steiner in his thinking was never a racist, and therefore, never one in his willing, which is correct. Tom, on the other hand, needs to reconsider his own position, which is obvious to anyone with an eye to the truth. Tom is known for calling blacks, “niggers”, Jews, “kikes, and Muslims any number of oily names. You tell us, Tom.



    • Steve, you wrote:

      . . . as you stated, James Knight, an African-American, detected by your very words that you were a racist. Now, in order for James Knight to know that you were a racist, you would have had to express words that indicated that fact.

      Yes, Steve, you are 100% correct here and the very words that I expressed to demonstrate to James Knight that I was indeed a racist were all the words I speaking to him then either by or about Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. Thus the reason that James Knight was able to detect my racism is because he recognized in my words the very same racism he had already detected in Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy and Waldorf Education for many years before our conversation. He thus quite easily saw right through my feeble attempts to rationalize away Steiner’s racism.

      Said in a more scientific way, James was pointing out to me that my racism was in “sympathetic resonance” with Steiner’s racism. But you see, that wasn’t enough to convince me. It was only when James went on to say that both Rudolf Steiner and I were racist but NOT bigoted, did the scales fall from my eyes. I was like a fish suddenly becoming conscious of the water it swims in.

      By “not bigoted” James meant that Rudolf Steiner and myself did not allow our racist ideas to permeate our wills and become bigotry, which James defines as “actionable racism” i.e. discrimination, racial hatred, abuse, murder, genocide based on race” etc.

      Maybe I can make clear the distinction with this vivid analogy.

      Rudolf Steiner was racist but NOT bigoted
      Adolf Hitler was BOTH racist AND bigoted.

      Right now I would like for you to read the words of James Marshall Knight himself which he wrote on the old Waldorf Critics forum in 2002. (Recall that between 2000 and 2007, Dan Dugan’s forum was on the Topica platform; he moved WC over to Yahoo in mid-2007)

      James Marshall Knight writing November 2, 2002


      The racist topic comes up quite often on this list. There is a lack of communication about how racism is transmitted in Waldorf schools. Moreover, there is apparent confusion about racism vs. bigotry. One can be a racist without being a bigot.

      When I review my son’s stay at a Waldorf school, I begin anew beating myself up. It was not until I read Cosmic Memory, (He was in the eighth grade then.) that I comprehended the racism inherent in Waldorf stemming from Anthroposophy. In CM Steiner lays out the folk soul stuff that many Waldorf teachers apparently believe and practice. I know this because I attempted to talk to “lead’ teachers who were steeped in Anthroposophy about what I had read. Their responses were something like: “Steiner could see into the akashic records and that is what he saw.”

      The folk soul stuff and the manner in which “ancient history” is taught are key to Waldorf’s racism. There is no getting around it. Their continued teaching of the Nordic myths, filled with Nordic heroes and avoiding as much as they can teaching about heroes and heroines in other cultures should tell you something. When Ancient India, Ancient Persia, Ancient Egypt, etc. are taught the slant is on the thread of the Aryans that brought forward the “spiritual truths” from Atlantis. One of the books that is used as background thinking for this “history” is Edouard Shure’s book “THE GREAT INITIATES.” (If you have not already done so I suggest strongly that you do so.)   

      Racism is taught in this history by idolizing one race and depreciating — giving less time to — others. Here in America, Native American history is often taught with a bias toward the White man’s plight. Just as you learned about racism through osmosis without anyone actually telling you. This is how children who attend Waldorf are learning it. They are not necessarily learning how to hate, they are learning superiority of one race over another just as the Anthroposophists see it and Steiner wrote about it. This superiority mindset could be negated easily if only they would teach children how to observe and think for themselves and not through the Steiner/Waldorf lens.

      If you look closely at the Waldorf class room, especially in the fourth and fifth grades, and ask questions about the roots of the history and why it is taught as it is you may come away with a totally different attitude about racism in Waldorf. Racism IMHO is perpetuated through so called “holy” books and here I include all of Steiner’s books. (His followers treat them as such.) People who are steeped in the religion of a holy book usually will not question what the book says about anything let alone the superiority of their race over others.   It is sad but I think Waldorf students learn in effect how to observe and relate to the races according to the way Steiner has laid out his race theory.

      I think many Anthroposophists on this list get their ire up because they associate racism with bigotry. This is not to be overlooked. There are many racial bigots and I think Steiner’s race theory bodes well with these people. There are people who, I believe, have their children in Waldorf just because they perceive the racism in it. I personally do not care what another person’s racial attitudes are. I do care if those attitudes interfere with others, especially my children. . . . “


      • So, why did James Knight have his children in the Waldorf school there? If he wrote his little polemical screed in November of 2002, and you didn’t show up until 2004 in order for him to listen to your racist thinking sans bigotry, why is he even sitting and listening to you at all?

        Is it because his children were already enrolled and liked it, and he didn’t want to change schools at that time? Well, that sounds pretty routine. It also puts a whole other slant on why parents will tolerate what they personally oppose while their children get the unbiased education they need. As a teacher yourself, Tom, did you ever detect such prejudice? Even you have defended Merrily Lovell and her science class against charges of teaching that the blood of Europeans is superior to other cultures. So, what is Mr. Knight ranting about as he sits and listens to you?



  15. Hello Jeremy,

    I am excited to report to you that Michael Eggert has recently featured your blogpost on his Facebook page and the focus of attention has become your photograph of poor beleaguered Rudi hopelessly trapped between the two major ladies in his life, Ita and Marie. Right now, Michael and the famed Dornach pianist, Wolfgang von Dechend, are bantering back and forth in German about the relationship issues involved this Cosmic-Karmic Triangle, as it were, which Michael had previously satirized in cartoon form and which I translated for him. (I’ll post it another time.)

    However, I am inspired by Michael’s and Wolfie’s antics to acknowledge your so far neglected third “j’accuse” of indignation leveled at Rudolf Steiner. In the commentary so far, we have covered your “First Outrage” over Steiner’s offensive political chauvinism and ultra-nationalistic loathing of the French language, and then have been deeply immersed in discussing your “Second Outrage” over the virulent racism Steiner spewed against the prospect of the black race threatening to degenerate the French — not only as a nation, but even worse — as a white race that happens to speak French.

    But now I wish to acknowledge your “Third Outrage”, namely the quite inhibited, even stultified, nature of Rudolf Steiner’s own sexuality.

    JEREMY wrote:
    To describe French poetry of the nineteenth century as a corpse, which presumably includes the poetry of Baudelaire, Verlaine and Mallarme, is simply to be absurd; one suspects that Steiner’s real problem was with the sensual and sexual elements of these poems. He would no doubt have regarded Baudelaire and Verlaine as decadent and depraved, . . .

    To launch the discussion of your Third Outrage, I wish to quote from the following book:

    Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness
    by William Irwin Thompson,
    published by St. Martin’s Press, N.Y., 1996.

    The book is a series of 12 essays and essay number 4 is titled:

    “Weird Myths about Human Origins as Expressive of the Evolution ofConsciousness from the Territorial Nation-State to Global Noetic Politics: The Strange Cases of Zecharia Sitchin and Rudolf Steiner.”

    from pp. 80-81
    Steiner never discusses his marriages and sexual experiences, and he seems not to have thought very highly of the temptations of the flesh. Some historians such as Richard Tarnas, feel that Steiner might not have been so much asexual as a repressed homosexual who had mothers instead of lovers for wives.

    Living in a time when homosexuality would have invalidated his whole religious movement and mission as nothing but ideological camouflage for perversion and heresy, he simply clamped down hard on sexuality.

    The jealousy and competition for the ownership of Steiner by the women around him, however, was evidently pretty intense. Frau Doktor Steiner, Marie von Sievers, was the leader of the movement’s traveling eurythmy dance company, but Frau Steiner did not like Steiner’s collaboration with Ita Wegman, the leader of the anthroposophical medical movement.

    All of which is to say that Steiner was human, all too human, and very much the product of his time.”


  16. Hello Jeremy,

    Now I am even MORE EXCITED to report to you that Michael Eggert has devoted the second half of his short new blog post on Egoisten to you and your outrage over Steiner’s detestable treatment of the French language culture and the black race.

    The first half was inspired by my quoting to Michael the excerpt from William Irwin Thompson’s book about Steiner’s “clamping down” on sexuality in his life.

    The title of the new blog post is War Rudolf Steiner schwul?
    which means: Was Rudolf Steiner Gay?

    (If you like, I can translate Michael’s narrative about you and post it later as a comment.)



    • Hello Tom,

      I think you and Michael Eggert should try to be a little less excited because in that state you become rather silly. Steiner gay, indeed- what absolute nonsense! It’s a pity that you go to these over-boisterous excesses because it spoils what could have become a useful discussion on Steiner the man and Steiner the initiate. There are no known facts at all (as far as I’m aware) about whether Steiner had a sex life, at any stage of his life; and speculation about it is, to my mind, both pointless and trivial. Such prurience also demeans those who engage in it. Grow up, Tom!




      • Well, Tom certainly has a nose for sniffing out the pointless and trivial, and for using it to provoke fascinating reactions. Because, of course, the interesting thing here is not Tom’s behaviour (or whether he needs to grow up — that may be so, but is rather beside the point) but the reactions he causes. Again and again.

        Because although speculation about Steiner’s sex life is indeed pointless and trivial, it just appears as though it does matter quite a bit — Steiner gay! must be nonsense! maybe, but the reaction, the absolute rejection, is more interesting than Steiner’s orientation… isn’t it? Say that he were. Would it matter? It seems so! And this strange attachment among anthroposophists to the notion that Steiner had no sex life. Again, it is possibly true that he didn’t (I shall not offer you my own pointless and trivial speculation on the matter!). But perhaps that in itself is not the fascinating aspect of this — rather, it’s the least fascinating… What is fascinating is how fond anthroposophists are of the idea! Why is it even mentioned — and it is often mentioned? Because it isn’t truly pointless and trivial! I think anthroposophists — for some reason — prefer Steiner without a sex life. (Not rarely do you see anthroposophists — rather proudly it often seems — announce that Steiner spoke about everything but not sex. Now, that of course is not the whole truth — but the notion gets stuck and remembered, though it is false, simply because it appeals!)

        I wish you both a lovely Saturday evening!


        Liked by 1 person

      • Jeremy wrote:

        “It’s a pity that you [Tom] go to these over-boisterous excesses because it spoils what could have become a useful discussion on Steiner the man and Steiner the initiate.”

        We had that discussion, and it was indeed useful and insightful. Hopefully, we can carry it on in some way. This blog post received an astounding response, with many well-considered offerings in support of Steiner as an initiate, and a man. The indication of what spoils only means it is time to move on. The spoilers have an agenda based on their own initiative.



  17. To pull things back to the original point. There is no reason to doubt Steiner’s clairvoyance when it comes to his pointed comments regarding the French langauge nor his comments about race.

    He did not merely say that French is corrupt; he proved it. Try to listen to somebody speaking in French without feeling the edge of your soul being eaten away by a little red devil. I’m not kidding.

    Similarly, go onto Youtube and watch random images of African-Americans speaking about any subject. Realize that Steiner only characterized cultures. He did not believe that our skin any longer had power to give us characteristics. But culture has great power.

    If it hurts your feelings that there are cultures on the decline, then maybe Steiner isn’t for you. It is a simple fact that can be observed that cultures rise and fall in a natural manner.

    It is very politically correct these days to say that the Native Americans were mistreated by the early colonists. Maybe. But the colonists were on the rise. Steiner goes into great details explaining the wonderful reasons that America had to help speed up the inevitable end of the Native Americans.

    Is this heartless? Not at all. Good and bad people live in all groups. Just because a group is in decline does not mean it is composed of bad people. White culture has only begun to bring the sweet, blessed and majestic seeds of the future to humanity, but that doesn’t mean white culture is composed of only great folks.

    I hope that more people can begin to see white culture for what it is, not for their own perverted projections of it. I hope that people can read Steiner without substituting his picture of culture with their racist notions of genes and such nonsense.

    Steiner said more than once that the future of humanity needs what white culture has to offer. Until this can be seen as a literal truth, we will have people like Tom trying to claim that Steiner felt it was the white “race” that contained the seeds for the future. Tom is misleading us in this. I hope that anybody who comes to this website and reads his nonesense will read enough of the wisdom of Steve and Jeremy and Daniel to know that Steiner did not believe in race as a causal factor in today’s world. Steiner knew that only via white CULTURE could the world eventually eliminate such awful thinking habits. I believe that Steiner’s prediction was that it would probably take white culture another 1000 years to do it’s job. And it is not a guarantee that white culture will be able to rise to the occasion. I believe that there is no hope for success if Steiner’s teachings on this subject are not grasped correctly. As a white man I hope take my responsibility very seriously and I know that if we do our job there will come a day when we too will be in decline, afforded a hopefully much needed rest after a hard fraught and won struggle to eliminate race as a world-shaping factor. All the other cultures are relying on us to meet our potential. As Steiner taught, only we can do this. We must.


    (coda: Please read my words very carefully. It is not appropriate to misread my words and take offense by statements and sentiments that are not there. I have not claimed that African American’s have skin or genes that make them less intelligent or more childish. Like Steiner, I merely claim that these traits in African Americans (and in ALL the various traits of all “races”) are a product of CULTURE. You may not agree with me. Disagreement is fine. But do not distort my words here. I believe that many CULTURES are in decline and, therefore, they infect society with negative aspects. This is not the fault of members of a culture. Is a five year old boy responsible for his burst of uncontrollable energy? Of course not. And the other side of this is that I beg you not to claim that I am saying that a white individual is superior to any other kind of individual. White skin provides nothing. The culture that is on the rise is so not because of genes, but because of the forces of evolution. As I said above, just because the early white settlers absolutely needed to take over North America (as Steiner also teaches), that doesn’t mean that every behavior they did to the Native Americans was a moral act. You may not agree with all my points, but there is no reason to attribute meaning to my statements that is not there.)


  18. Edward Darcy

    The new North American settlers wanted to make a better life for themselves, that was their primary motivation. Morality did not enter the picture, the Native Americans just happened to be in the way. In today’s world view we would probably come to the conclusion that the settlers committed genocide, that doesn’t strike me as very moral act.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Edward,

      You are right to say that morality did not enter the picture when the Jupiter-Race white-skinned settlers helped the Saturn-Race copper-red-skinned Native Americans along to their inevitable karmic demise as a decadent or degenerate colored race. After all, those settlers had a “Manifest Destiny” that Rudolf Steiner clearly indicated.

      We know from studying Philosophy of Freedom, that morality can only be applied to the individual. You cannot speak in anthroposophy of a collective morality — unless you invoke the hierarchies of the angels as folk souls and race spirits, but that is a realm that transcends human morality.

      Therefore the idea of calling what the settlers did as “genocide” is, as you say, something we living in our time retroactively project on to those settlers — all of which leads me to amplify a common judgment made about Rudolf Steiner.

      If indeed Rudolf Steiner was only a “product of his times,” then we living today are only “products of our times.”


    • The question is not how deeply immoral we treated the Native Americans. The question is which culture was on the rise and which was in decline. If a culture in decline is treated in those ways, it is really just a function of evolution and all will be alright in the long run.

      If a culture in decline, however, mistreats a culture on the rise, then we must look very carefully at the immoral nature of the act, but even so, we mustn’t lose sight of that the fact that it is a fading culture and, therefore, it will most likely not be able to stop the cultural progress.

      Children in Waldorf School are taught history in such a way that they absorb this lesson into their bones and therefore their moral sensitivity allows them to help create from the new and most evolutionary relevant culture. If enough children are shaped in this way, we will eventually see all races/cultures embracing the true evolutionary spirit of our times.



      • wooffles

        I’m passing over here what you have to say about the specifics of specific cultures, but only focusing on your statement above about Steiner:

        “I have not claimed that African American’s have skin or genes that make them less intelligent or more childish. Like Steiner, I merely claim that these traits in African Americans (and in ALL the various traits of all “races”) are a product of CULTURE.”

        It might be helpful if you realized that this claim is wrong. But don’t take it from me, take it from people who argue most vigorously that Steiner was not racist. For example, Robert Rose, director of an MA in Waldorf education at Canterbury Christchurch University, says this about one of Steiner’s best known lectures on race in his much lauded “Transforming Criticisms of Anthroposophy” p.111 (available on the internet).

        “Even when Steiner‘s presentation is connected with the present races it is only concerned with the way physical processes affect people with different skin colours. He describes the way different skin colours absorb the light and heat of the Sun and what he thinks the consequent physiological effects are. Steiner states that, for black people, they absorb more heat and light which affects their hindbrain; for yellow people, they absorb less, which works into their midbrain; for white people, it is even less which works into their forebrain.”

        “This leads him on to say that the Negro has a lively body and metabolism. He has, as people say, a strong instinctive life; and that for the yellows: This works namely in the respiratory system and blood circulation; and for the whites: has to work out through his brain. (Steiner 1923).”

        “The question then is: is this an example of racism?”

        Rose manages to persuade himself that it isn’t, largely because Steiner goes on to say things about Europeans that are unflattering, although in a very different way. But he doesn’t dispute that Steiner is making a connection between alleged racial physiological traits and the way a group of people behave.

        Or this from Anthroposophie in Geschicte und Gegenwart, which is a very thick semi-official anthroposophical response to the work of the historian Helmut Zander. In it Utwe Werner, former archivist at the Goetheanum, handles the issue of Steiner and race. In his discussion of Steiner’s lecture to the Goetheanum workers about the advantages of blond hair and blue eyes, he says “Doubtless, here is a spiritual quality bound together with a bodily characteristic [Fraglos wird hier eine seelische Qualitaet am ein koerperliches Merkmal gebunden].” (p. 726) Werner goes on to say that it would be reductionist and misleading to take it out of the context of Steiner’s dynamic conception of evolution and the emancipation of the individual. But he doesn’t disagree that what is going on here is something other than culture.

        One can debate about the degree to which racialist physiology played a role in Steiner’s thinking. Opinions differ widely about that, to put it mildly. But that it played no role at all isn’t correct. It isn’t all about culture.

        Best wishes


      • I would like to encompass the thoughts of Thomas J., Edward Darcy, and H. Tomfortas, in this reply concerning the native Americans, colonization of the new world, and the so-called ‘manifest destiny’. The incentive for colonization of America by the Anglo-Saxons has nothing to do with Steiner, but rather, with the keen insights of Francis Bacon, who saw his “New Atlantis” project as being capable of realization in a completely new wilderness. As well, Bacon knew that the very last pure descendants of Atlantis existed on the American continent. Thus, Bacon saw the need to extend his ‘Novum Organum’ to the plays of Shakespeare, and which created the necessary revolution against the despotism of Henry VIII, and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth. Out of this came the astral incentive to explore and settle a new land, and whereby the ideals of democratic- republican government was to be established through the Founding Fathers.

        So, we indeed have the meeting of a culture on the rise with a culture on the decline, and that has to do with the veritable isolation of these last pure descendants of Atlantis existing on the American continent for some twelve thousand years since the flood. As such, these last who went west instead of east, remained isolated from other cultural contact, and eventually began to branch out and divide and sub-divide their original unity as the Toltec descendants of the third sub-race of the Atlanteans.

        By the time of the first settlement, c. 1607, the original natives had sub-divided into several hundred individual tribes, and had established territorial boundaries amongst each other which also included enemy lines.
        Thus, they were already on the path of their own extinction when the first settlers to the ‘New World’ arrived.

        Steiner gave two important lectures, separated by some fifteen years, in which he describes the situation. The first contains the oft-repeated line that “cultures on the rise have to overtake those on the decline”, but the second lecture reveals the consequence of such a thing.

        The second lecture rather quaintly informs that those native Americans who were exterminated by the anglo’s had a rather short period in the life after death, and then reincarnated as the present-day Europeans; western, middle, and eastern.

        As well, the present-day Americans were Asians in their former lives, and imbued with the Aryan-Indian spiritual ideology of Vedanta, Samkhya, and Yoga, which is owing to Krishna, who would incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth at the midpoint of earth evolution. So, we Americans today, after a rather long period in the life between death and rebirth, have reincarnated in order to experience what it means to incarnate in hardened bodies of physical-mineral, and yet see the spiritual working behind every materialistic realization over time. And this is the real “manifest destiny”, and why America excels over the rest of the world. The Consciousness Soul has to come all the way into the physical-mineral element, and then realize its purpose, which is expressed by Michael wielding the triple-edged sword of meteoric iron.

        A previous topic/thread discussed how present-day technology is owing to the Etheric Christ, and how America is spearheading that development. Whether this is a proof of what is being stated here will likely only present itself in the future when we can look back on these days. I only wanted to address the concerns of Thomas, Edward, and Tomfortas today.



      • Wooffles,,

        My daughter was just telling me this afternoon that any attempt to describe race characteristics in today’s age would be considered racist stereotyping. Thus, of course, the Rose discourse only serves to make it appear a racist screed based on Steiner’s own racist evolutionary doctrine.

        So, there is no really viable way to resolve this issue with the present sensitivity to the race matter, whether taken on a cultural or political level.
        Yet, in reality, and with sensitivity to Thomas J, who would have it seen that cultural amalgamation is solving the problem, wouldn’t it be better to say that race is resolving itself into the overall characteristics of the Universal Human, which is a being of various mixed-blood relations?

        I remember that you once scoffed at the idea that Christ chose Galilee to be His home-base for the simple reason that mixed-blood mongrels lived there, and that this represented the first occurring of the future. Yet, haven’t we seen this fact occur over the course of the last two thousand years? My district has 60% mixed-blood demographics. What is it in Sweden?

        What is your problem in disputing a well considered assessment of Steiner’s evolutionary-race formation doctrine in the work of Robert Rose? Is it because Stockholm remains largely a white populace? Well, the same can be said for Boise, Idaho, or Viroqua, Wisconsin. The rest of the world is ‘tanning the blonde’ 😉



      • Wooffles,

        The universal human awaits the work of white culture. This is not to say it will all come out okay. It requires free will. That it requires white culture and that it will take at least 1000 years before the universal human can be enjoyed by non-white culture is not a racist opinion, but an observation that is free from the notion of genes/race.

        My friends in the anthroposophical movement who believe that we are already living in the time of the slowly coming-into-being of the universal human are sadly mistaken. This error of judgement is having negative effects. A man like Steve clearly has a firm grasp on much of Steiner’s work, but it seems he does not recognize the distinct role that white culture must play before we can even begin to absorb those cultures that are more weighted down by the deep effects of the past.

        I appreciate your comments regarding hair color, but I don’t feel they are very relevant in this context; here we are examining the unique potential of white culture, divorced from physical determinations.

        I worry about the anthroposophical movements future if this confusion continues. So much wasted energy in that case.



  19. Tom H Shea

    Steve says, ‘My daughter was just telling me this afternoon that any attempt to describe race characteristics in today’s age would be considered racist stereotyping.’
    I agree with her. The same is true of gender characteristics/stereotyping which, it can be argued, probably affect more than half the world’s population.


  20. Thomas J.

    To me it is not clear why Steve- who has done his homework- would be able to hold the false view that maintains we are currently in the phase in which the universal human is being created. Steve,you are a serious Anthroposophist and well acquainted with the specifics of this subject. Am I correct in thinking that you believe the universal human is not necessitated upon the long-term future work of white culture? If so, how can you justify it within both the clear statements of Rudolf Steiner and what we see happening around us? I ask this with full respect for your knowledge on the subject.



    • wooffles

      I don’t remember ever saying anything one way or the other about Christ choosing Galilee, etc. As for your second question, I’m afraid I can’t figure out what you are asking me. Sorry.

      Did you ever read that paper by Anderson that Jeremy is recommending again? Why don’t you in your own mind put Anderson in dialog with Rose and see what you come up with?

      Best wishes


      • Steve Hale

        Yes, I have read both Anderson and Rose works. What gets mixed up in these various interpretations of race, and I would include the works of Steiner followers, Richard Karutz, Sigismund von Gleich, and Ernst Uehli, is they seem not to be entirely clear about the difference between early sub-racial deficiencies/degenerative conditions, which can be likened to embryological stages of a macrocosmic nature, and the resolving power of cultural migration, and civilizing conditions of amalgamation over time.

        Thus, we have no culturally or racially deficient peoples on earth any more. As anthropological science has accurately researched, primitive tribes who remain isolated and alone by shunning all outside contact and influence simply die out. They self-exterminate because of the refusal to receive the forces of progress into their habitats, and become extinct. One positive aspect of colonization is that it has forced these one-sided tribal cultures into the stream of progression.

        What has been my focus on this topic is the “cultural brutality” of using Africans to fight the western wars of Europe and other servile duty. This is the larger issue of what Steiner was talking about. Consider that an African-German population comprising some 18,000 children born out of wedlock was due to this occupation of the Rhine using African soldiers of the French colonies. Would an African-French population not be far away, especially with the extension of occupation entering the Ruhr in early 1923? This is what Steiner was referring to in the lecture to the Waldorf people on February 14, 1923.


  21. Ton Majoor

    Hello Jeremy,

    I’d like to comment on the second part of your article.
    Steiner also referred to the forced recruitment of African soldiers by the French in the notorious lecture in GA 349 (“… it is naturally only mischievous that it now plays so great a role in Europe”). He suggested there (cited above), that the spirit is independent of the body and of the skin color, and works through the blood into the skin (peach blossom color): “Only then can one rightly understand the spiritual element if one first studies how the spirit works in man precisely through the skin-color.”.

    According to Steiner, an archaic white skinned ‘Jupiter’-group (which included North Africans) received its fresh color from admixture with an advanced postglacial ‘Sun’-group of Old Celtic colonists. I think, this alleged neolithic admixture is the main reason, why Steiner stated an ‘advantage’ (GA 121) and ‘future’ (GA 349) for these ‘refreshed’ Europeans and for his stereotyped ‘white culture’.


    • Greetings Ton Majoor! How wonderful that you would post here on the very same day when I was about to post on the Egoisten blog and recruit you to post here.

      I can say that Ton Majoor of the Netherlands, who is also fluent in German and English, is the finest explicator of Rudolf Steiner’s indications about the evolutionary development of humanity, with an ability not only to quote the GA, but more importantly to see how Steiner’s evolutionary teachings are informing modern evolutionary biology today, especially with the re=emergence of the Lamarckism inherent in Steiner’s evolutionary scheme.

      I would urge everyone here to visit the Egoisten blog, specifically on this page which is my English translation of Michael Eggert’s original German posting which I render as: “Atlantean Fantasyland with Racist Aftertaste.”

      The commentary is almost all in English and I urge you to track Ton Majoor’s contributions because they are all gems like the one he just posted here.



    • Ton Majoor

      Just footnotes, Tom.
      Again and again, Steiner described the American Indians as an archaic (atlantean) population with a memory culture confronting the modern (postatlantean) intellectual Europeans (GA 54, 95, 100, 121). He then always paraphrases the celebrated Brother-speech by Choctaw leader Samuel Cobb (1843, google YbMRAAAAYAAJ, Niles Weekly, p. 131-2). Cf. Satz in: Wells, After Removal, The Choctaw in Mississippi (2004), p.11 f., google Yok85a3E1SsC). These modern Europeans were a supposed mix of archaic Europeans with an old Irish intellectual population (GA 13, 105, 121).


  22. Hi Folk,
    Thanks Tom for the invitation and thanks everyone for a worthwhile discussion on so many significant subjects. In wordpress I use my second name that is Elena.

    I confess I cannot read everything but here are my two cents.

    Racism – Is it really surprising to us to see such contradictory statements from Steiner? Why? Is it because we expect him to always be in his highest self and not an evolving being, like the rest of us? I tend to agree with Jeremy Smith that there are two Steiners: a higher being and a personality still strongly connected to his place and time.

    Does it matter? Of course it matters because racism is as alive today as it was then, in anthroposophy, as much as everywhere else. Waning but alive!

    Have you seen it in your self? Racism, classism, nationalism, academicism and any other characteristic that might place your false personality above other people? It was great to remember exactly how these things had crept into my personality as a child. The women that looked after me for years were systematically sent away and I was not supposed to suffer about it! I understood at around five that they were not supposed to be loved because they belonged to a lower class! Haven’t things like that happened to us all in different contexts? Class, nationality, race contexts? Academic contexts? Everyday situations?

    Wasn’t it “normal” for Steiner’s personality to uphold his own race? Stand up for it best as he could? Why not? Aren’t we each willing to do so? Is that a crime? Is Steiner a criminal for understanding that the impulses present in his own root race are magnificent? Is it at all surprising that he did not fully encompass the beauty of other root races with the same enthusiasm? Can you encompass them today… Tom? For you do matter more than Steiner here, don’t you? You and us here?

    It does not bother me to understand that Steiner’s personality was not fully free of his higher understanding from the beginning of his life. What bothers me is to understand that racism, classism, nationalism, academicism and other equally pervasive isms are still alive and strong in anthroposophy and people everywhere. Worst of all, I doubt I am fully free of them, I still find so many other people that much more talented and beautiful than our selves or my self but when I remember, I realise that they too are aspects of our common beingness… that is so uncommon!

    I would appreciate it if you allow me to extend a little further while knowing length matters. It seems clear that Steiner connected such acts of superiority in no matter what context to sexual energy and conceived it from both its instinctive aspect as its “higher spiritual energy” characteristic. In Ancient Myth’s, first and second chapters, we can see him connecting sexual energy to chauvinism and nationalism. Question: Would it be accurate to say that in the lower self an individual is more strongly connected to the instincts and therefore more prone to competition and acts of brute force, “clan” or herd mentality and behaviour that make “personality” more prone to racism, nationalism and any other form of “belittling no matter who”, to “stand above” anyone and everyone? (I haven’t heard Steiner talking about the concept “Personality” as I’m doing here but everything else he conveys seems to fit the mould. He does talk about a lower and higher self.)

    If this is so, can we not trace all conflicts between people and nations to this fact? That we are both spiritual and instinctive beings and that in our instinctive consciousness we tend to reject each other? Steiner clearly states these things but they are rarely formulated thus. We instinctively organise our selves in clans and reject the odd one out. Superior or inferior. In fact, we’d tend to be less afraid and rejecting of another if they were clearly inferior because anyone’s superiority puts one’s own false ego below and the false ego survives putting everything else beneath itself.

    How does that relate to consciousness? the Higher Self? Humaneness? Oneness? Wholesomeness? In short, Anthroposophy?


  23. Correction: It does not bother me to understand that Steiner’s personality was not fully free of his higher understanding from the beginning of his life.

    It does not bother me to understand that Steiner’s personality was not fully free as his higher understanding, from the beginning of his life.


  24. To Jeremy and Tom Hart Shea:

    You have both expressed your repugnance here at Rudolf Steiner’s racist remarks from 1923 about the French people and the blacks threatening to corrupt the blood of the French.

    I wonder what level or revulsion you might feel at Rudolf Steiner’s racist remarks from 1906 where he justifies the genocide going on at that time in Germany’s colony of SW Africa?

    To introduce the topic, which sets the historical context for Steiner’s lecture, I link to an article by Edwin Black and then follow it with the Steiner quotes from that lecture.

    In Germany’s extermination program for black Africans, a template for the Holocaust

    Decades before the Nazis turned to the Jews, German colonialists in Southwest Africa – now Namibia – dehumanized, built death camps for, and slaughtered tens of thousands of tribespeople in a systematic genocide. Here, Edwin Black reveals the full horrors of an eerie and odious precursor of the Shoah, and its legacy in the US

    “Scholars commonly say the Armenian genocide of 1914-1915, perpetrated by the Turks, was the first genocide of the 20th century. That is wrong. History records the first deliberate effort to systematically exterminate an entire group was by the Germans in Southwest Africa, 1904-1908.

    Yet the systematic slaughter of the Hereros and related African groups was hardly a secret genocide. The sanctioned extermination was long debated in the Reichstag —was too much or too little force applied?
    [ . . . ]
    The entire campaign was justified and elevated along numerous social and military planes. Published memoirs, artworks, and geopolitical promulgations enshrined the supposed gallantry of the extermination of the Hereros.”


    TOM: I quote from Edwin Black above to show that Rudolf Steiner could not have been ignorant of the genocide going on at the time he gave this lecture

    Occult Significance of Blood — An Esoteric Study
    Berlin, October 25, 1906, GA 55

    This problem is that of colonisation, which crops up wherever civilised races come into contact with the uncivilised: namely — To what extent are uncivilised peoples capable of becoming civilised? How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised? And in what way ought we to deal with them?

    And here we have to consider not only the feelings due to a vague morality, but we are also confronted by great, serious, and vital problems of existence itself. Those who are not aware of the conditions governing a people — whether it be on the up- or down-grade of its evolution, and whether the one or the other is a matter conditioned by its blood — such people as these will, indeed, be unlikely to hit on the right mode of introducing civilisation to an alien race. These are all matters which arise as soon as the Blood Question is touched upon.”
    When two groups of people come into contact, as is in the case of colonization, then those who are acquainted with the conditions of evolution are able to foretell whether or not an alien form of civilization can be assimilated by the others. Take, for example, a people that is the product of its environment, into whose blood this environment has built itself, and try to graft upon such a people a new form of civilization. The thing is impossible. This is why certain aboriginal peoples had to go under, as soon as colonists came to their particular parts of the world.


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