Brexit, new wine and old bottles – what is really going on?

Since 23rd June, when a majority of the British people voted to leave the European Union, it has seemed as though the entire country is in a kind of prolonged post-referendum stew. Many of those who voted Remain are feeling angry – angry towards those who voted Leave, angry towards David Cameron for making such a thorough miscalculation of such an important issue for grubby short-term political ends, angry that a continent united peacefully after the Second World War now looks set to unravel, and angry about the possibility that the United Kingdom may cease to exist if the Scottish people (who voted to Remain) now vote for independence. London has been in a state of shock – how dare a few million provincials in a “foreign” country called England do this to them? There have been calls for a second referendum, with millions signing a petition to that effect, in a vain bid to persuade parliament somehow to overrule the referendum result.

As an anthroposophist, I know that being on the losing side can be painful. After all, as Hermann Poppelbaum once said, “If one is to pursue a life spent in the promotion of anthroposophy, it is necessary to develop an entirely new relationship to failure.” But even so, the reaction of those who were unhappy with the result of the British referendum has been extraordinary: there have been splits in settled communities and dissension between old and young, rich and poor, metropolitan types and country dwellers, and even within families. A friend spoke about a married couple she knows: the husband voted Leave, the wife voted Remain. After the result, they didn’t speak to one another for three days and things are still decidedly frosty between them.

My own family has not been immune from this. My French in-laws emailed to say in Asterix-speak: “Ils sonts fous, ces Anglais”, and made it politely but decidedly clear that in their view I was naïve, idealistic and quite mistaken in my reasons for voting Leave. My son expressed the same view, but in angrier, more indignant language and accused my generation of having betrayed younger people. Why it is seen as unworldly to have ideals while trying to take a view beyond the immediate, I’m not quite sure; but I try to reassure myself about these idealistic tendencies of mine with the following quotation from Rudolf Steiner’s Renewal of the Social Organism:

“It is too easy to dismiss as impractical idealism any attempt to proceed from bread-and-butter issues to ideas. People do not see how impractical their accustomed way of life is, how it is based on unviable thoughts. Such thoughts are deeply rooted within present-day social life. If we try to get at the root of the ‘social question’, we are bound to see that at present even the most material demands of life can be mastered only by proceeding to the thoughts that underlie the co-operation of people in a community.”

For it is clear from the referendum result that co-operation between the people in the various British communities is breaking down. To quote from an article by Brendan O’Neill in The Spectator:

 “The most striking thing about Britain’s break with the EU is this: it’s the poor wot done it. Council-estate dwellers, Sun readers, people who didn’t get good GCSE results (which is primarily an indicator of class, not stupidity): they rose up, they tramped to the polling station, and they said no to the EU.

It was like a second peasants’ revolt, though no pitchforks this time. The statistics are extraordinary. The well-to-do voted Remain, the down-at-heel demanded to Leave. The Brexiteer/Remainer divide splits almost perfectly, and beautifully, along class lines. Of local authorities that have a high number of manufacturing jobs, a whopping 86 per cent voted Leave. Of those bits of Britain with low manufacturing, only 42 per cent did so. Of local authorities with average house prices of less than £282,000, 79 per cent voted Leave; where house prices are above that figure, just 28 per cent did so. Of the 240 local authorities that have low education levels — i.e. more than a quarter of adults do not have five A to Cs at GCSE — 83 per cent voted Leave. Then there’s pay, the basic gauge of one’s place in the pecking order: 77 per cent of local authorities in which lots of people earn a low wage (of less than £23,000) voted Leave, compared with only 35 per cent of areas with decent pay packets.

It’s this stark: if you do physical labour, live in a modest home and have never darkened the door of a university, you’re far more likely to have said ‘screw you’ to the EU than the bloke in the leafier neighbouring borough who has a nicer existence. Of course there are discrepancies. The 16 local authorities in Scotland that have high manufacturing levels voted Remain rather than Leave. But for the most part, class was the deciding factor in the vote. This, for me, is the most breathtaking fact: of the 50 areas of Britain that have the highest number of people in social classes D and E — semi-skilled and unskilled workers and unemployed people — only three voted Remain. Three. That means 47 very poor areas, in unison, said no to the thing the establishment insisted they should say yes to.”

As for the mainstream political parties, they seem to have gone through a collective nervous breakdown. The Tories have demonstrated yet again their capacity for ruthlessness and backstabbing amongst colleagues; while Theresa May has outgamed them all and clawed and fought her way to the top of the greasy pole. One Tory MP was quoted as saying: “The thing about Theresa is that she knifes you in the front”. It seems this was meant as a compliment. The Labour Party is currently in meltdown, with the Parliamentary Labour Party divorced from its voters, its members and from its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is facing a leadership challenge from two former members of his shadow cabinet. The referendum has revealed just how incompatible the various sections of the Labour electorate have become and it is not inconceivable that the Labour Party will split into two or more new parties.

Many young people are upset about the result, despite the fact that according to Sky Data only 36 per cent of 18-24 year olds bothered to vote in the referendum, compared with 75 per cent of 45 year olds and 83 per cent of people over 65. This first became obvious when a young woman went viral on YouTube describing her bewilderment that her vote had actually had a real grown-up effect on the life of the nation. “I didn’t realise,” she kept saying, and, “I thought I might get another chance to vote again.” She is of course a product of the re-sit generation, which grew up facing only exams which could be re-taken until a favourable result was gained. So the attitude that a democratic vote can be taken again if you don’t like the result is not perhaps surprising; indeed, we saw the EU adopt that approach with the Nice Treaty and then again with the Lisbon Treaty when voters in Ireland did not vote in the approved way.

What most of these young people don’t seem to have realised is that reports of the enormity of the change that emerged on June 24th are misplaced. It may not be as seismic as people have assumed. The truth is that the world is controlled by the corporate sector, especially the banking sector, and will continue to be so whether the UK is part of the EU or not. It’s a strange paradox that all these radical young people who voted Remain were on the same side as the major neoliberal institutions – from the Bank of England, the Conservative government and the Corporation of London to the EBRD, OECD, World Bank and the US government.

It’s also worth noting that in this age of social media we are increasingly living in what has been called a “filter bubble”, in which our information sources are becoming ever more filtered and self-socialised, because we are only associating with people who live and think like us. Here’s what internet guru Tom Steinberg said about this on his Facebook page just after the result:

“I am actively searching through Facebook for people celebrating the Brexit leave victory, but the filter bubble is SO strong, and extends SO far into things like Facebook’s custom search that I can’t find anyone who is happy despite the fact that over half the country is clearly jubilant today and despite the fact that I’m *actively* looking to hear what they are saying.

This echo-chamber problem is now SO severe and SO chronic that I can only only beg any friends I have who actually work for Facebook and other major social media and technology to urgently tell their leaders that to not act on this problem now is tantamount to actively supporting and funding the tearing apart of the fabric of our societies. Just because they aren’t like anarchists or terrorists – they’re not doing the tearing apart on purpose – is no excuse – the effect is the same, we’re getting countries where one half just doesn’t know anything at all about the other.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I thought it was foolish of the EU to treat David Cameron’s call for meaningful reform with such contempt and to send him back to the UK with barely a fig leaf to cover his embarrassment. The EU is now reaping the consequences, and it is surely time, as Angela Merkel seems to have realised, to get shot of Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission. Interestingly, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has come up with some useful suggestions for reform of the EU. He’d like to introduce some new rules: the EU would only act in areas where other member states could not. It would agree that any of its directives could be vetoed if a third of national parliaments rejected them. Such changes could have provided a blueprint for precisely the kind of far-reaching reform that Cameron was seeking and had promised to the British people. If he had got a deal like that, I might even have voted Remain myself, despite all my other concerns about the EU. Rutte’s overall point is that sovereignty – and democracy – matters. But this was not to be, and Cameron had to fall on his sword.

If, as the referendum result seems to show, a social and political cleavage is deepening in our country, what can be done? What is really going on? We are in truly turbulent times. Since the Brexit vote, we have had the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War, the conclusions of which will surely mean that Tony Blair spends the remainder of his life fighting lawsuits from bereaved families as well as moves to impeach him from people such as Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party. Nor are these convulsions confined to the UK; in recent days, we have had the murder of more than eighty people in Nice by what is assumed to be an Islamist terrorist, an event which seems certain to strengthen the appeal to French voters of Marine Le Pen and her Front National party, who are also arguing for a Frexit referendum; we have had an attempted military coup in Turkey; and we have the prospect of Donald Trump in the USA presidency from November.

To turn from the ridiculous to the sublime, I have found this passage from a lecture that Steiner gave in November 1919 to be meaningful:

 “…Now we live in the age of the Michael Revelation. It exists like the other revelations. But it does not force itself upon the human being because man has entered his evolution of freedom. We must go out to meet the revelation of Michael, we must prepare ourselves so that he sends into us the strongest forces and we become conscious of the super-sensible in the immediate surroundings of the earth. Do not fail to recognise what this Michael revelation would signify for men of the present and the future if men were to approach it in freedom. Do not fail to recognise that men of today strive for a solution of the social question out of the remnants of ancient states of consciousness.

All the problems that could be solved out of the ancient states of human consciousness have been solved. The earth is on the descending stage of its evolution. The demands which arise today cannot be solved with the thinking of the past. They can only be solved by a mankind with a new soul constitution. It is our task so to direct our activity that it may assist the rise of this new soul constitution in mankind.”

What did Steiner mean by the Michael revelation? He was referring to the Archangel Michael, the Time Spirit for our age, and Steiner saw the Michael Impulse as the theme needed to transform modern human consciousness. Stated very simply, this Michael impulse is to help us all to receive the inflow of the spiritual world into our material, physical world.

I daresay that quite a few people will be scornful of moving from a sober discussion of the political and social realities around Brexit to mention of the non-material influences on these matters; but to my mind, at a time when all our established systems are breaking down, when our leaders are discredited and clearly at a loss as how to proceed, and all the hidden dark secrets of our society are coming to the light of day, it is impossible to understand what is going on without a larger view of human consciousness than is provided by the materialist outlook. Right now we are surely seeing some of the effects of the Michaelic impulse on our “ancient states of human consciousness”. As always, the poets and artists get there before us, and W B Yeats described what is now happening, in a poem written in 1919, the same year in which Steiner delivered the lecture quoted here.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.


The darkness drops again but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Steiner ended the lecture quoted above with this warning:

“Externally, humankind approaches today serious battles. In regard to these serious battles which are only at their beginning … and which will lead the old impulses of Earth evolution ad absurdum, there are no political, economical, or spiritual remedies to be taken from the pharmacy of past historical evolution. For from these past times come the elements of fermentation which first, have brought Europe to the brink of the abyss, which will array Asia and America against each other, and which are preparing a battle over the whole earth. This leading ad absurdum of human evolution can be counteracted alone by that which leads men on the path toward the spiritual: the Michael path which finds its continuation in the Christ Path.”

Jesus Christ put it this way: “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.”

In the UK, Europe and America we are seeing that the politicians are unable to keep the old machinery working. They pull the old levers, more and more frantically, but the effect is less and less. We see the old social orders are breaking down, and new cultures are rising up. For some reason, the politicians and the media people are usually the last to realise what is going on, while everywhere around them people are starting to resist the old certainties and a tendency to disorder begins to emerge. Our western civilisation is changing in the age of the consciousness soul and under the influence of the Michael impulse; and a certain amount of chaos is inevitable as we move to a different kind of order. The new wine needs new bottles.



Filed under Anthroposophy, Brexit, European Union, Jesus Christ, Rudolf Steiner

112 responses to “Brexit, new wine and old bottles – what is really going on?

  1. Liliana

    A very clear analysis, Jeremy. The doomsday forecasters are almost comical in their frantic fear-mongering, sponsored as they are (consciously or unconsciously) by the propaganda of the elites that you mention, who, in their turn, fear anything that could slow the flow of wealth into their troughs – or worse still, that people should get it into their heads that they can actually bring about change!.
    The saddest aspect of all in these events, is the lack of imagination and idealism demonstrated by the younger generation – young people who are afraid of change! where is the fire and enthusiasm of youth! all sucked up into their smart phones? – so unlike the atmosphere of the 60s and 70s. Only hard experience can change that, I suppose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What matters now is what happens now, and with a revolutionary referendum like the recent vote it shows only what we would have available in our younger years. We had the so-called, “system”, which means living according to the dictates of the machine, and whereby, we gain our pension after 40 years of due prosecution. In the aftermath, the younger generation has also evolved with the advancing technology, which means that us ‘old relics’ can’t help make sense to them of those that make the vote today as good consumers and lookers toward the future.

      Yet, circumstances keep them away from spiritual science, doesn’t it? The world needs what it still lacks, although it exists for the few that feel compelled to express it. One day, it will be an impulse for all; compulsory and mandatory. And we will have sponsored it in the name of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner saw the difficulties in the progress from east to west, and why he took special pains to come to Britain several times, and especially from 1922 to 1924.

      He only spoke to the Russians twice, in 1912/1913, which means he took his message to the west if they’d hear it. Whether they did is still a matter for contemplation. Good words to consider in the present situation involving our young voters, who don’t know “shit from shinola”, as if that means anything 😉


  2. Melanie Reinhart

    Dear Jeremy,

    OMG! You write soooooooooo well! I loved this piece. Especially the bit where you remind people that the corporate and banking sectors are in control, whether the UK does ‘Brexit’ or ‘Bremain’. And the bit about media censorship. And your wry comments about the (apparent) ‘generational’ issues involved. And your material on the Michael impulse …. brought a blast of energy through my entire body.

    A little ‘Bali story’ …

    Here in Bali, receiving the news about the Nice tragedy … I thought about what Bastille Day actually means. Whatever the historical process, of course, it was a very violent event. I thought about how many hundreds of times, faithfully each year, this has been celebrated. And what effect this might have on the subtle levels. I think about the Balinese, always celebrating something. They use three different calendars, and observe pretty much all of the festivals on all of them, as far as I can see! Thinking of England and the major ‘festivals’, I became aware that I’d never heard of a festival in Bali celebrating or focusing on wars, victories, massacres, natural disasters and such. In conversation with Made (Mah-day, the beautiful Balinese woman who looks after the house here) I spoke about Nice and explained what Bastille Day was. I asked her if in Bali they would celebrate this every year for hundreds of years. Made is a very even-tempered person, not given to reactivity or outbursts of emotion. But she r-e-a–l-l-y reacted, and waved her hands to and fro saying ‘No, no, no … *you make it happen again*. Better you make ceremonies that make the gods happy, then they are good to you.’

    Please do visit sometime … It is good for the soul to be in a ‘Brexit-free-zone!’

    Much love,


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Michael Williams

    The majority of the British People ,as you claim in your blog, did not vote to leave ! There are 60 odd Million British People ,around 17 million plus voted to leave . In my mind that is not the majority I make that just over a quarter ,around 25% ,don’t you ? Around half of the British People didn’t ,or were not eligible to vote . And what about Europeans like myself who have lived in the UK for more than 30 (!) years . I didn’t get to vote either !
    It just goes to show that anyone who thinks that voting has anything to do with Democracy has to think again .
    More than three quarters of the residents in my road in
    Uckfield ,so I believe , voted for our road to remain closed,
    Yet is has remained open !
    In my view a different question needs to be asked :
    Which are the forces that determined the election date to fall on midsummer Eve ,a day when the world is out there with the fairies ?
    Why would ANYONE want to confuse the ‘British People ‘ ,as you called them ? Why would anyone set friend against friend ,neighbour against neighbour ,fellow man against fellow woman ,not to speak of the children who were not even eligible to vote ?
    WHY ?
    In whose interest is it ,do you think ?
    Who sets these agendas ?
    Who benefits from the general chaos in people’s minds ?
    Who prepared this outcome carefully well in advance ?


  4. Dear Jeremy,

    Your ability as an essayist is only growing, and I’m sure your father would be proud of this. You bring the issues into a kind of tactile format in which present-day anthroposophy holds the solution with the analogy of how new wine must be put into new wine bottles. The old leaks at the seams.

    You mentioned something that goes back to a book written in 2008, in the last year of GWB as president. I wrote about this on a previous thread. You wrote:

    “Since the Brexit vote, we have had the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War, the conclusions of which will surely mean that Tony Blair spends the remainder of his life fighting lawsuits from bereaved families as well as moves to impeach him from people such as Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party. Nor are these convulsions confined to the UK..”

    Of course, we can expect everything to get worse by the day here in 2016. Bush-Blair in 2003 was the spawn of everything we now see clearly as the advent of radical-islam. Thus, the prosecution of GWB for murder is also the prosecution of TB for murder in the same vein.

    Yet, it was the father, GHWB, who put the plan into effect. Remember, he was the one who caused the first “Gulf War” in 1991, after having brought down the USSR in likely the greatest coup in history, i.e., the dismantling of the Soviet Union with the help of its own Premier, Michael Gorbachev.

    “Gorby” would defect to the west in the aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR, and help make the once balance of power between east and west into a stricty western rulership. This is what has allowed the radical muslim element to make its mark in world events today. If the true and proper balance of powers between east and west had been allowed to continue, i.e., America and Russia, we would not be looking into this travesty wherein the Muslim world gains a kind of foothold in world events.

    By dismantling the USSR, the Soviet Union, the United States of Russia, George Herbert Walker Bush, the father of his own successor in 2001, would make for what the imbalance of power, east and west, really means. The son only has to uphold the father, and his close diplomatic ally, Tony Blair, only has to agree.

    Assurances from the Queen, I’m sure 😉



  5. Ton Majoor

    Isn’t there a danger of ‘sociological stereotyping’ here? E.g., young people are also enthusiastic about what is called The Purpose Economy (Hurst).
    The apocalyptic War of All against All (see: GA 104_03) will be waged within nations, institutions and families, but is aimed at the individual consciousness (the new vessels).


    • Caryn Louise

      Ton, thanks for pointing out Purpose Economy. In the below video Aaron Hurst explains he has noticed there seems to be a move into what he calls the “fourth age of economy”. The first been the hunter-gatherer age, the second was the industrial age, the third is the information age which we are in now. He sees this third age been relatively short compared to the first two ages and in his research is finding a move from the information economy to what he terms – Purpose economy which is centered on community living moving away from consumption to creative experience.

      This approach resonates with the Threefold Society where the creative life is the foundation first and foremost to the economic life and thus, instead of the economic life ruling the human being the human being creates a worthy economic life as part of his or her community.

      Aaron Hurst on the Purpose Economy

      The Threefold Social Order: Chapter II: Meeting Social Needs

      The personal abilities of the individual includes everything from the loftiest achievements of the mind to the products of bodily activity. A healthy social organism must necessarily take up and assimilate what it gets from this source differently than what comes to it from the life of the state or all that is expressed in the interchange of commodities.

      The only healthy way this element can be absorbed into social life is by depending upon the receptivity of people, and on the impulses that go with personal ability. If the deeds resulting from such human faculties are subjected to the artificial influence of the economic sphere and rights system they will lose their true foundation. The foundation for this kind of activity lies in that force in man that develops through the human performance itself. A free, spontaneous receptivity on the part of the public is the only sound and wholesome channel for the reception of such creative work. If its acceptance depends on the economic life or on the state, there is a check on such independent public reaction.

      There is only one possible line of healthy evolution for the spiritual-cultural life of the body social. What it does must come out of its own impulses, and those served by it must be connected with it by close ties of sympathy and understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Caryn,

        I also applaud this kind of “purposeful economic” initiative, as it smacks of what was said before about Bookchins’s idea of “libertarian municipalism”, which was a communitarian-style of self-creative living, in which mutual cooperation was the ideal. He lived in America and had this notion, which still resonates here and there.

        In Britain, with the referendum vote to ‘out’ or ‘in’ with the EU, PM Cameron was playing his hand, and taking a definite political risk with the outcome. My opinion is that he should not resign for the simple reason that he has been PM for several years now, and knows how a “brexit” plan of accomplishment should proceed. At least, it is a challenge that any standing leader would want to face, it seems to me.

        I wonder if the leader of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain has weighed in on this matter because it does seem that a renewal of the Threefold Initiative of Rudolf Steiner is definitely in order here. I mentioned recently that a kind of “seize the day” mentality needs to arise if possible in the British spirit for liberation from the constraints of the EU, which people hold to be a construction of the United States. But the U.S. also offers a kind of safety and security with its adroit allurements that help make policy all across Europe. That is why America is the domicile of Ahriman in the same way that Eastern Europe once was the domicile of Lucifer. With the deconstruction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) in 1992, America gained the upper hand in world control, and began to domineer with the odious veneer of so-called “global democracy”.

        So, what ‘Brexit’ entails with its simple majority victory, i.e, 52/48 %, is a call for revolution. But, since these kinds of referendums come without a lot of forewarning and planning, because they are politically-motivated moves, they have no actual “plan of action” if the victors have to take their vote seriously for the future, which requires an administrative body to carry out. That is why Cameron should have the courage and commitment to stay on as PM because he is one that called for the vote.

        If not, than his successor needs to commit to a plan of revolution in achieving what the people truly want. But, since this vote was so close between the participants, how could a revolution even begin?

        In other words, it is just another political move designed to get some attention and traction within the world theatre, and means nothing because “same old same old” is the order of the day, no matter where we live. Yet, if Threefolding really existed, as it does in a few minds, it could make the difference we need without all of the charade of the politicos today, steeped in their ignorance, like David Cameron.

        He doesn’t even see the opportunity, does he?



    • Ton, here is the situation that we face today. In the 5th cultural epoch, we as a world society, have actually descended below the real and proper line of demarcation, which is the horizontal line of subject-object distinctions. It is not without significance that the prophet, Isaiah, arose at the same time as the entry into the 4th cultural epoch, c. 747 BC. He is known throughout the several Gospel accounts for announcing:: “I send my messenger before thy face to prepare thy way before thee. Make straight the way of the Lord; make His planes level.” Ref. Isaiah, ch. 40.

      Thus, the Greek epoch was the signature of this effort. And The Christ incarnated 777 years into this 4th cultural epoch, when Jesus of Nazareth was 30 years of age. But the passage of the last 2000 years has also had to experience a progressive descent into materialism, even as we are also on the ascent.

      “We are now living in the fifth age, when culture has descended even below the level of man. We are living in an age when man is actually the slave of outer conditions., In Greece the mind was employed to spiritualize matter; we see spiritualized matter in the form of an Apollo or a figure of Zeus, in the dramas of a Sophocles, etc.; there man has emerged as far as to the physical plane but has not yet descended below the level of man. Even in Rome this was still the case. The deep descent below the sphere of the human has only just come about. In our age the mind has become the slave of matter. An enormous amount of mental energy has been used in our age to penetrate the natural forces in the outer world for the purpose of making this outer world as comfortable a place as possible for man.”

      [ ]

      “What an enormous amount of spiritual energy has been expended to invent and build the steam engine, to think out the railway, the telegraph, telephone, etc.! An enormous force of intellect had to be used to invent and construct these purely material conveniences of civilization — and to what end are they used? Does it make any essential difference to the spiritual life, where in an ancient civilization a man crushed his grain between two stones, for which naturally very little mental power was needed, or whether to-day we are able to telegraph to America and obtain thence great quantities of grain and to grind it into flour by means of ingeniously constructed machinery? The whole apparatus is set into motion simply for the stomach.”

      Apocalypse of St. John, GA104, 20 June 1908

      Liked by 1 person

      • Caryn Louise

        Truthfully I have never seen Britain as being part of the EU. Britain has always been Britain and the various European countries that have come together to make up the EU have always been European. So, in my mind, culturally nothing has changed and surely nor should it be expected to change. Then it seems the fuss is over the entanglement of the economy and politics. A few comments here in SA have remarked regarding Cameron stepping down it is so different from our politics where a president who has been found guilty of money laundering stays in office without accountability.

        Britain and the EU seems so far away from here where 2km away from me there are people who are sleeping on the pavements while the president spent millions of tax payers money on his private residence.

        The despair when I look around me at how politics uses economics for its own advantage is acute. During apartheid the national government used economics in politics for its own advantage now post-apartheid the government is no different. The fundamental change of all is equal has come about but has it really? The government has used its advantage to pass the black economic empowerment law that sidelines not only white people in the economy but favours nepotism through tender contracts. And now people are in dire poverty sleeping on the pavements because they are so-called free.

        Recently I saw a documentary called “walking in my shoes”. It addresses how school children in rural areas walk miles and miles to school and back. It follows a young boy and a young girl, who looks after her two young siblings because their parents died of hiv/aids. She walks miles and miles to school, as does the young boy, with the hope that in obtaining a matric she will be able to get a job and provide for her siblings. The end result of the documentary raised funds to purchase a school bus so now instead of walking to school they catch a bus.

        When I watched the documentary I could not help but feel dismay at the false hope of it all. The young ones walk miles (well now few catch a bus) to sit for hours in a dismal classroom staring at a blackboard with writing on which means absolutely nothing to them and walk miles back home hoping to scrap food together. In this world (and country) where monopolies rule the day the charade of walking all those miles for an ‘education’ to eventually move to the city only to end up sleeping on the pavement because there is no employment and if there is it is exploited for a pittance.

        This is a grass roots example of how dysfunctional today’s society is and further can be said about this as I am not saying education is fruitless but a different and more sustainable approach can be achieved.

        There is a feeling that the world needs to get back to the basics of what has meaning in life. It is understood that each nation is the face of an Archangel and the Archangels concentrate on their particular countenance.


    • Ton Majoor

      Discerning: this enormous force of intellect and accompanying materialism and group thinking still belongs to the intellectual soul (kinêtikon, Aristotle). The consciousness soul of the early modern epoch is further individualized and isolated, and can sink into the abyss of electromagnetism and silicon valley. Or, ascend individually.

      Thought-force permeates the sentient soul in a similar way to that in which the formative-life-force permeates the physical body. GA009_c01_4 (1904)

      Only consider how all social connections have gradually been spun into an extremely fine intellectual web. GA104_07 (1908)


      • “Only consider how all social connections have gradually been spun into an extremely fine intellectual web. GA104_07 (1908)”

        Yes, exactly. That is why the opening of the first four seals depicts the symbol of the horse as “intellectus coming into being”. White, red, black, and gray (pale), signify the fact that in the first four post-atlantean cultural epochs, until the advent of the Christ, that the faculty of thinking will replace the old atavistic clairvoyance. And that is why with the entry into the 5th cultural epoch, no symbol of the horse is to be found, but rather the faculty of the Intellectual Soul itself. As such, all of the “extremely fine intellectual web” is seen right at hand, without any necessary symbol. It is a fact of life today.

        Yet, what else is said with the opening of the fifth seal? It predicts the taking on of a white garment, which signifies the evolutionary Christ now experienced in the etheric body. Thus, it was the apocalyptist who first saw the reappearance of Christ, some nearly 2000 years before Rudolf Steiner would herald that fact in January 1910. Some of us having actually experienced the so-called “Second Coming of Christ” in the etheric body. Mine took place in May of 1980, as I approached 30 years of age. The dynamic involved was the encroaching eruption of Mount St. Helen, here in Washington, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

        Steiner informed in a lecure from October 1, 1911, on the etherization of the blood, how the experience of Christ in the etheric body would be experienced, and he said it could take the form of consoling/comforting words that the listener needed to hear in the depths of soul. This was my experience, and it launched the present quest for truth and knowledge, which is now 36 years in the making.

        Also, it is important to consider that we are in the fifth cultural epoch, and this relates to the fifth letter to the community (church) in Sardis. With the opening of the fifth seal, according to the Apocalypse, we see how important it is that the Intellectual Soul meets the aims of Spiritual Science for an experience of the Christ. This is what Rudolf Steiner had in mind when he brought forth the Michael Impulse in the first quarter of the 20th century.

        What intervenes of significance here and now is the anti-christ, which the Apocalytizer terms, “the two-horned beast”, much more to fear than the “seven-headed beast with ten horns”. The reason is that this ‘beast’ takes the form of outer seeming, and displays all manner of clever, cunning, and ingenious audacity for the future of earth and man. Thus, beginning in 666 AD, and advancing in increments of same, i.e., 1332 and 1998, we have this very adroit character working for progress, but actually working to destroy the earth and mankind.

        Just consider what a so-called “war on terror” actually means today, when in 1998, the greazy skids were laid for it by Clinton, and then his successor, George Bush. But never forget the father, who launched the first “gulf war”, after bringing down the USSR with the help of its now hated Premier, Mickey G. He’s a gangster, as far as the Russian people think, and has a price on his head.

        And all of it was worked out by the U.S.A., which is home to this migratory beast from east to west, just like Christ resides in reality for the world that believes in truth, knowlege, faith, and justice. Amen.



      • Ton Majoor

        Great. Here is another characteristic of the difference between public and individual opinion (intellectual and consciousness soul) by Steiner (1911):
        “If we think about what we want to do, we live in the intellectual soul. When we look at what is around us, we directly stretch out the antennae of the consciousness soul through the senses …” (GA127_03, not translated lecture).

        Possibly, the Russian state plays a more active role in our time also … (called Russianism in GA 173)


      • “If we think about what we want to do, we live in the intellectual soul. When we look at what is around us, we directly stretch out the antennae of the consciousness soul through the senses …” (GA127_03, not translated lecture). Possibly, the Russian state plays a more active role in our time also … (called Russianism in GA 173)”

        It seems of interest to consider that the fourth cultural epoch,
        standing as it does in the middle, is the only epoch not
        recapitulated in the scheme of the seven post-atlantean epochs that
        comprise our fifth main epoch. Our present fifth recapitulates the
        third, with the sixth recapping the second, and the seventh the
        first. And this of course can be seen with the extraordinary
        interest in the mysteries of the old Egyptian epoch.

        Yet, it is also a fact that the fourth cultural epoch, even though
        little regarded today, in favor of the ever-increasing interest in
        the mysteries that surrounded the third, was actually recapitulated
        in the first five hundred years of our fifth cultural epoch in its
        entirety; but in reverse. And this was done in order that the
        fruits of the fourth cultural epoch could be taken up by mankind in
        general, as the bestowal of the intellectual, or mind soul. Thus,
        the logical empiricism of Bacon, and his followers:
        Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Descartes, served to recap the Latin/Arabist period of the fourth cultural epoch, while German idealism recapped the Platonic-Aristotelic period of the Greeks.

        So, the Consciousness Soul era is founded upon the Intellectual Soul
        bestowed over the course of the first five hundred years of that era
        that began in 1413 AD, with the Renaissance. And then a most
        remarkable thing took place: a body of knowledge came into existence
        in the span of twenty-five years completely in advance of the forms
        of reasoning necessary for its comprehension. This, of course, is
        Anthroposophy, which exists to challenge the intellectual soul to
        further extend itself; to strive for more.

        Thus, we can chart both a lesser and a greater aspect to our present
        era of the Consciousness Soul. The lesser aspect served to bestow
        what the initiates of the fourth epoch were working on, and the
        greater aspect is a matter of our own doing, resting on the
        foundation given with anthroposophical spiritual science.

        — Recapitulation As A Necessity of Spiritual Evolution

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bernard Thomson

    I must concur with the opening reply by Michael Williams that the majority of British people did not vote to leave the EU. On my calculations 37.5% of eligible voters opted to leave. A fair amount of analysis has indeed been done into the reasons for the unexpected result which no doubt has multiple aspects leaving aside the propaganda by many of the tabloids. An interesting perspective is provided by Alex Burton in the BBC News magazine where he suggests that rather than class, age or income being key determinants for people’s votes, a closer correlation can be made with people favouring capital punishment (see
    I agree that much fortune telling regarding benefits or calamities which follow a UK exit from the EU is speculative at best and what actually happens will be the result of what people actually do. And as stated above the forces operating in our financial and political affairs have not changed. What has changed or shifted is the social climate towards greater mistrust and disillusionment. While this may be a necessary experience towards greater awakening it also harbours increased risk by destabilising existing relationships and creating conditions for extremism, an increase in destructive and antisocial behaviour. The spreading confusion is Ahriman’s greatest ally.


    • Dear Bernard,

      The arguments from you and Michael Williams on voter turnout don’t hold up, I’m afraid. Let us look, for example, at the voter turnout figures for UK general elections between 2001 and 2015. They have varied between 59.4% in 2001 and 66.1% in 2015.

      Turning to UK referenda, there have been only three involving the whole UK since the first one in 1975. The turnout figures are as follows:

      1975 (Membership of the EEC) – 64.50%
      2011 (AV referendum) – 42.20%
      2016 (EU referendum) – 72.21%

      So it is clear that the turnout for the recent EU referendum was higher than for any general election in the past 16 years, and higher than either of the other two UK-wide referenda. Now you and I may deplore that more people don’t come out to vote (though a non-vote may also be said to express a point of view) but you cannot argue that the result is undemocratic. The result in this case was absolutely clear, unambiguous and legitimate – unless of course you are arguing that no election or referendum held in the UK in recent years has ever had legitimacy.

      Best wishes,



  7. Bernard Thomson

    My point concerned the term “majority”, not how the turnout compared with previous ones. The numbers may be unambiguous in terms of the democratic process applied, but that does not equate to the ‘will of the people’ was unambiguous. Making significant decisions, such as changing the rules in a constitution often require majorities of 67% or 75% as well as a quorum. This is to ensure that the significance of the change is matched by a proportionate expression of intent. Such considerations appear to have been omitted in this latest referendum. Professor A.C. Grayling makes some additional and important points in his letter to MPs (



  8. Bernard Thomson

    I do believe that David Cameron demonstrated a lack of leadership in committing to this referendum and the way it was construed, in order to settle internal party political issues. And I believe that a lack of responsible leadership would be equally displayed in committing to a new relationship where the terms are quite unknown.
    Where I see the problem is that while “leave” or “remain” sound like a simple choice, the ramifications of leave and undoing or rewriting masses of legislative arrangements are far from simple. Even the experts are wholly divided on what this might mean. “Leave” or “Remain” are not quite symmetrical opposites in that one means status quo, the other means change and it is certainly easier to vote for change when current conditions are far from satisfactory. The question yet unanswered is change to what?
    Was the referendum about immigration? Unemployment attributed to EU migrants? Bureaucratic regulations? Net cost to the UK? Just being fed up with an anonymous unaccountable oligarchy?
    What discredits this referendum in my view is the downright dishonest methods and populist sloganeering employed in some instances to manipulate the voters on an issue of such import and complexity.
    I agree that it is right for the public attitude to be canvassed on such an important issue, but can we really say what we voted for when the consequences are still so unknown? Is it really responsible for a country to determine its future where there is an absence of in-depth research into the consequences of the alternatives placed before it? I understand that we may have also become fed up with so called experts, but where was the due diligence?
    My fear is that it will be those currently disaffected who will continue to suffer, and maybe in increased measure, as neo-liberal economic policy is ramped up to deal with the fall-out.
    Whatever the dysfunction of the EU and its regulatory overreach, in my view, little is achieved in our interconnected world by pulling out. However I accept that that will also depend on how other countries in the EU respond to the new situation. To date the signs are not promising.
    Thanks for the blog and this thought provoking topic.



    • So, in your opinion, Cameron should stay in and not resign. I agree. Why would a very successful PM for some six years now suddenly want to resign, just because a simple referendum went against what he wanted and thought was best for Britain, i.e., remaining within the EU? It makes no sense why DC would be so quick to announce resignation, even before the November election for POTUS. Does he still not know that HC, i.e., Hillary Clinton, is assured of victory in that election? She stands to be a one-term President, just like GHWB, and Jimmy Carter, when their hollow voices needed to be heard.

      Cameron needs to stay the course and play it out, no matter what he thought was an important vote for the country. His ability will steer the future for Britain, and especially in relations with this next POTUS, who will NOT be Donald Trump; guaranteed not now or ever will this man be elected, which leaves it to a woman to appeal to the concerns of Britain in today’s world. If Cameron has any sense for the immediate future, all he has to do is remain in and not resign.

      Then, watch the next four years unfold. He already has it with Obama, and so with Hillary it will be all that Britain wants and needs. Cameron should remain as PM in order to experience just what this means. His legacy is one that needs to stand this last test, and let’s see if he will take it.



      • Cameron has already gone, Steve, the furniture removal vans have carted all his goods and chattels away from 10 Downing Street and he is now a backbench MP. Theresa May has “kissed hands” with the Queen and is now the prime minister.


      • “Cameron has already gone, Steve, the furniture removal vans have carted all his goods and chattels away from 10 Downing Street and he is now a backbench MP. Theresa May has “kissed hands” with the Queen and is now the prime minister.”

        What can I say. Cameron did not have to resign the day after the vote of 6/23, but he did. So, let’s see how this PM works with our next POTUS, soon to be also a woman 😉


  9. “What can I say. Cameron did not have to resign the day after the vote of 6/23, but he did. So, let’s see how this PM works with our next POTUS, soon to be also a woman.”

    Jeremy, I have to say that I am astounded at your announcement of the new Prime Minister of the UK. Here in the U.S. of America, this news is just now leaking in, and considering that Theresa May is just only the second woman PM in UK history, after Margaret Thatcher, I find it extraordinary that you would announce it with these words:

    “As for the mainstream political parties, they seem to have gone through a collective nervous breakdown. The Tories have demonstrated yet again their capacity for ruthlessness and backstabbing amongst colleagues; while Theresa May has outgamed them all and clawed and fought her way to the top of the greasy pole. One Tory MP was quoted as saying: “The thing about Theresa is that she knifes you in the front”. It seems this was meant as a compliment.”

    Obviously, you are not impressed with the aftermath of the quick resignation of David Cameron, who failed to see his opportunity, either way, with the referendum vote. He could have made the most of both sides in the issue, and possibly seen the true future of Britain by the statecraft of empathizing with each side toward a dynamic engagement designed to bring out the best solution for all. I know about this kind of rationale, as I was trained in it as a so-called “agent of beneficial change”. Sadly, this training has somehow not evolved into the political arena.

    When you say:

    “As an anthroposophist, I know that being on the losing side can be painful. After all, as Hermann Poppelbaum once said, “If one is to pursue a life spent in the promotion of anthroposophy, it is necessary to develop an entirely new relationship to failure.”

    Yes. And since anthroposophy is entirely for the “here and now”, and also for the future, wherein many more will strive to understand why this science of the spirit exists in the first place, it only proves that all present-day failures in this realm are “Maya”, and are the building stones for success; yes, the inevitable success of every true anthroposophical word and initiative that has ever come forth can be found today. It rests with us here.

    My daughter is quite “up on the news”, and when I mentioned if she knew that the new PM was a woman, she said that she did not know it! Here in the U.S. of America, we have elections by the people who count, which I explained to her, but in Britain, when they want to name a new leader, it becomes a very partisan contest, which leaves the public entirely out of account. Likely, that is why UK/Britian/England politics is so unsatisfactory for so many of its publicans. They only get to vote on nifty referendums, like the EU vote.

    So, now you have a new PM, and it is worse than ever. That is why Cameron should have stayed on in order to see out his very own referendum, and how it could have meant something



  10. Caryn Louise

    It is not for the earth to move into the sixth or seventh age and neither the Jupiter condition as an empty torso. Staring into an abyss does not belong to the virtue of human beings.

    The human soul is the combined action of the –

    Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul

    In the Egypto-Chaldean culture the sentient soul was developed, the intellectual soul in the Greco-Latin culture (the age when the Mystery of Golgotha occurred) and the consciousness soul is in the initial stage of development now in our Germanic age.

    In the evolution of mankind these three members of the human being cannot be regarded as the finished product. The ego actively works on them and in turn they develop progressively through successive epochs of time. Everything must be linked, the earlier must always be carried over into the later, and in the same way the later must be foreshadowed in the earlier and through this the ego rises to a higher stage of being.

    Thus, the intellectual soul moves into the fifth age as does the sentient soul and the spiritual soul will do in the sixth age.

    The functions of the three soul organs are:

    Through the Sentient Soul impressions of the physical and life world are sensed. This organ draws from the ether body what it in turn causes to gleam forth as sensation. Connected with the soul nature of sensations are feelings of desire and aversion, impulses, instincts, passions. All these bear the same character of individual life as do the sensations, and are, like them, dependent on the bodily nature. The sentient soul enters into mutual action and reaction with the body, and also with thinking. Thinking serves the sentient soul. Man forms thoughts about his sensations and thus enlightens himself regarding the outside world. The sentient soul, therefore, brings thinking into its service. This soul that is served by thought will is the intellectual soul.

    The Intellectual Soul permeates the sentient soul. It is characteristic both of the sentient and of the intellectual soul that they work with what is received through the impressions of sense-perceived objects and with what memory retains of these impressions. By thinking, the human being is led above and beyond his own personal life. He acquires something that extends beyond his soul. He searches in his soul for truth and through this truth it is not only the soul that speaks but also the things of the world. What is recognized as truth by means of thought has an independent significance that refers to the things of the world, and not merely to one’s own soul. By grasping the truth, the soul connects itself with something that carries its value in itself. This value does not vanish with the feeling in the soul any more than it arose with it. What is really truth neither arises nor passes away. It has a significance that cannot be destroyed. By causing the self-existent true and good to come to life in his inner being, man raises himself above the mere sentient soul.

    An imperishable light is kindled in it. In so far as the soul lives in this light, it is a participant in the eternal and unites its existence with it. What the soul carries within itself of the true and the good is immortal and shines forth in the soul as eternal is called the consciousness soul or spiritual soul

    In the Spiritual Soul the real nature of the I first becomes revealed. For while in the sentient and intellectual soul activity the soul is given up to other things, the spiritual soul seizes hold of its own being. The mental images and representations of external objects are formed as these objects come and go; in the intellect they go on working by their own impetus. But if the I is to perceive itself, it can no longer devote itself to other things. To become conscious of its own essence and being, it must first call it forth—by dint of inner activity—out of depths of its own nature. With self-contemplation, out of the depths of its own nature—an inner activity of the I itself begins.

    In the Threefold Society it can be seen how –
    The Sentient Soul pertains to the economic life
    The Intellectual Soul to the legal-rights realm
    The Spiritual Soul to the spiritual-cultural sphere

    (The Gospel of Mark and the Theosophy of the Rosicrucian)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you Jeremy, for a brilliant essay!

    I am noticing everywhere what Steiner warned we might face at the end of the 20th century, a War of All against All. Blacks against whites, Christians against gays, Islam against the West, rich vs poor, on and on.
    As a ‘Leaver’, I was taken aback by the venomous reaction from the Remainers, my own daughter was snarling at me, and there was remarkable online hostility to those who, quote, ‘voted the wrong way’!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. By the way, I have a question. I know that nuances get lost over the internet, so it may sound as if I’m being sarcastic; I’m not.
    (I saw a quote online recently which made me smile: “In the past, children used to play ‘telephone’, or Chinese Whispers. In the future they’ll play Text Message, where you can see the words, but you get the tone wrong.”) 🙂
    No, this is a genuine question, in fact I’d be interested in having a discussion about it.
    You ask that those who post from their direct spiritual knowledge, supply supporting evidence for their assertions.
    How? Seriously, how does one do that? What would be acceptable supporting evidence, in your view? I hope you don’t mind my asking, and that I’m not off-topic, but I would like to know what people think about this. We do have modern seers, and we can’t just toss them out because ‘They’re not Steiner.’ (And I actually think it’s unfair to use Steiner as a yardstick: *anyone* is going to fall short, then; he wasn’t just an initiate, he was a Great initiate. An analogy would be, demanding that anyone who says they’re a cook must be able to produce the same dishes as a chef at the Ritz. Maybe they can’t reach those heights, but they did go to catering college, and they do work as cooks).


    • That particular clause in the Comments and Moderation Policy was born out of a certain frustration with the way some people were commenting in a kind of ex cathedra way but without giving the rest of us any evidence of their credentials for doing so – but you’re right, it’s unreasonable, so I’m going to take it out.
      Best wishes,


    • The issue here was made clear by the writer: namely that they will not accept any statement unless it is from a person who they personally respect.

      Everybody else is therefore open to suspicion and if they are to be respected, must offer evidence of the required kind – in this case, they want material proof of the spiritual worlds.

      In short: sympathies and antipathies that lie beneath the level of consciousness.

      I must explain that this kind of thinking comes out of the Intellectual Soul, which lacks the self-confidence to determine things for themselves. Whilst this is not hard to do, nor dangerous, the inner fears of such a person can seem overwhelming. I assure you – as one who has dealt with their inner fears – that they are anything but. Indeed, when seen from the correct perspective, they are a gift.

      Furthermore, in the development of the Consciousness Soul (for which tackling ones fears is a prerequisite) one will come to realize that the material evidence for the spiritual worlds is actually all around us! The problem for the person who has not developed this faculty, that is to say, those who remain in the realm of the Intellectual Soul, they lack the ability to write it down on paper. Or, for that matter, to be able to read it on paper – furthermore, if a Consciousness Soul alludes to such things, the Intellectual Soul will usually complain that such a person is speaking out of their own authority. “A kind of ex-cathedra” was the latest description of this unwillingness to see the truth that lies beyond the comprehension of the Intellectual Soul.

      The assuredness of the Consciousness Soul comes with the knowledge that the material evidence for the spiritual worlds lies all around us, and like Goethe’s “Holy Open Secrets,” are visible to all – but incomprihensible to most.

      It is this incomprehensibility that makes it difficult for the Intellectual Soul to grasp the nature of, and thus such people find it confrontational. This would not be so, had the Intellectual Soul done the exercises given by Rudolf Steiner for the express purpose of developing the Consciousness Soul (amongst other things).


      • Dear Gemma,

        Your assumption of papal-style infallibility in these matters, combined with your unfailing talent for drawing the wrong conclusion, demonstrates perfectly the the point I was making about such ex cathedra pronouncements.

        Best wishes,



        • Liliana

          I have resisted commenting when things get off-topic and then become personal because I feel that, as students of anthroposophy, our contributions should be aimed at helping each other achieve a more multi-faceted perspective on the main topic, leaving all one-upmanship aside. Feeling too confident of our own ‘level of enlightenment’ can lead to many pitfalls – self-flattery followed by arrogance is an evident danger.


      • Gemma

        So, I have an unfailing talent to misunderstand you.

        The intellectual soul satisfies itself with perceiving what it wants to perceive – which was fine in the Fourth Epoch, where society and humanity were at a stage where such things were appropriate. In our Fifth Epoch, it is no longer so.

        In short: you cannot assume that by writing something you have communicated the exact concept you intended. Those who also work within their Intellectual souls will content themselves to understand what they think you wrote… but that is the kind of mutual misunderstanding that characterizes the Intellectual Soul. In that nobody working out of the intellectual soul questions any statements, and they do not expect their statements to be questioned – leave alone misinterpreted. Only with the dawning of the finer perceptions that lead to the unfolding of the consciousness soul do the problems arise, and it should come as no surprise to you that these will be (by definition) in the realm of the antipathy.

        Thus my “unfailing talent” is as much my trying to understand you, but without being given the full description of what you were trying to convey. All this shows is that I have an unfailing talent to unveil your own antipathies.

        Remember this: those who you feel antipathies for are in truth, those who have the most to offer you in terms of your own self-development. I cannot do this for you, for they are your antipathies, not mine. Just by chance, I happen to know how to do this. But when a person isn’t in the market for a guru, I know they have rather more work to do before they can learn something from every person they ever meet.

        Because that is the work of the true master.


        • You’re quite wrong, as usual, Gemma – I have no antipathy towards you and rather enjoy our exchanges. Another of your characteristics is that you cannot allow anyone else to have the last word – unless of course you wish to prove me wrong by not replying?


        • That is interesting, as I was just about to post when I saw Gemma’s reply. What I was going to say was: No, we don’t have to take anyone on blind faith as infallible; Rudolf Steiner said, when talking about his reporting from the Akashic records, that he was not infallible, and that no one is, be he ever so advanced.
          But if I read a statement by someone, and I don’t agree with it, then I question them. I ask questions; I ask them to elaborate, give examples, phrase it a different way, perhaps. I wouldn’t roll my eyes and ignore it, I would ask them questions, start a dialogue. I would genuinely *try* to see their meaning; and if I still disagreed with their assertions, I would point out my reasons why.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Gemma

        So: if you have no antipathy to me, why do you say “you’re quite wrong” – why not say it out loud, be specific and to the point, describe it in detail. Call a spade a spade, state the things that were written or done without consciousness – and thereby incur the possibility that the other’s antipathy is raised…

        That is what a person would do if they had clarified their thinking – and their antipathies – in order to strive for their consciousness soul.

        Just because you enjoy an exchange does not mean there aren’t any antipathies lurking where you can’t see them… that in itself is the paradox of the subconscious. Just because you know they exist does not mean you know your own, or that you know them in detail.


      • Gemma


        When you say, “I would genuinely *try* to see their meaning; and if I still disagreed with their assertions, I would point out my reasons why.”

        You can imagine that this kind of striving – a conversation in this instance – has a quintessentially different quality from one where people are unwilling to engage. It is a conversation where both can learn.

        That is all that is needed in order to develop the consciousness soul.

        If someone cannot engage in this way, the only honest way to deal with this is to tell them so. Usually such people prefer others to tell them the things that both of them would prefer to believe because it makes both feel safe and secure.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “Remember this: those who you feel antipathies for are in truth, those who have the most to offer you in terms of your own self-development.”

    Let’s apply this to, say, Isis, shall we? Short of chopping my head off, what could they offer me in terms of self-development, I wonder. I predict the answer and I understand the point, of course: even when faced with evil, we struggle and we learn. I’m not making any comparisons otherwise of course, my only point is taking Gemma’s statement at her word and bring it to the extreme.

    Because it is so typical. Not being able to live with contrary viewpoints — or whatever it is that’s somehow displeasing to one’s sensitivities — thus necessitating explaining them away as something else, often with some kind of reference to the inferiority of the other person — be it spiritual inferiority, moral or of some other kind. “You don’t agree with what I say or do, which indicates I’m right and you in need of self-development, otherwise you wouldn’t resist the truth.” There’s no way to win that argument, is there!

    Of course, we usually think that our own viewpoint is superior (otherwise we’d abandon it). But this monotone “argument” from spiritual superiority, without any real backup, that goes on and on gets rather tedious, because it really is more ludicrous than it is convincing.

    Sensing — or, probably, in some cases, imagining — others’ antipathies to our own viewpoint isn’t always a sign that we’re somehow on to the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sigh.
    I have been looking around the internet to see if there are any blogs by Anthroposophists who’ve ploughed through Steiner’s exercises ….. who do them really diligently, not just giving up because they’re difficult.

    What I notice is that instead of responding to Gemma’s very interesting points on the difference between coming from the Intellectual Soul and the Consciousness Soul – and, if you disagree with her, stating why, in detail – the focus is on Gemma: is she wrong, flattering herself, arrogant, claiming papal infallibility, etc etc. But you aren’t thinking about what she said!

    Those who annoy you do you a great service, if you only knew it; they make your hidden antipathies visible. So you can say, ‘Why does this person bring out frustration and anger in me?’, and investigate what’s going on in you. (Or you can deny it, of course: ‘Who, me, angry? Do I look bothered?’)

    You can observe evil in the world, atrocities, savage brutality – ISIS, say – without having a knee-jerk emotional reaction to it. You can see what is going on, and work for good, to counteract the evil. You can do that much more effectively when unclouded by emotion. A surgeon is compassionate, when he cuts out a diseased part; would you say he’s driven by antipathies?


    • Gemma


      if you’ve been looking around the net for blogs by anthros who have done the exercises, you are unlikely to find them. Now, if you haven’t already realized this, it’s more than likely that such people do not mention anthroposophy – I do wish I could spell that word! – at all. Because anthroposophy springs from humankind itself.

      What I will say by way of commiseration is that since anthroposophy springs from humankind itself, those who are open to it will be employing it to good use, irrespective of their knowing about Rudolf Steiner. That they are unaware of the impulses they are employing is irrelevant: if they are a true seeker, they are going to ask the kind of questions you yourself would ask, and thereby announce to you that they understand. Furthermore, even if they never meet you again, will take your ideas and put them to good use. That in itself is sufficient to begin the process of developing a relationship with the guardian beings across the threshold. With that, you can be assured that they will be brought to those with whom they can learn more.

      I’ll put it simply: you aren’t alone.

      From what you say, you have done the exercises. My first question is this: do you understand Goethe’s Farbenlehre? By way of elucidation, my latest post speaks of this directly – which is rare for me on my public blog, because the people who truly understand anthroposophy are those who can see the imagery that lies behind the veil of what I write. Those who ask the right questions are those who would not misuse that which is written privately.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. “You can observe evil in the world, atrocities, savage brutality – ISIS, say – without having a knee-jerk emotional reaction to it.”

    Oh, absolutely, for sure. But who says antipathy, when it exists, is a knee-jerk reaction? It doesn’t have to be, it can be much deeper than that. It’s no more a knee-jerk reaction, by definition, than sitting up upon one’s high spiritual horses — or inferring mental states in others — appear to be for some.

    Of course, I’m not inside Jeremy’s mind and can’t confirm or dismiss Gemma’s allegation of antipathy. What does strike me though is that her inferring this — be it a knee-jerk reaction on her part or not! — is irrelevant to discussion, and it is certainly not an argument in favor of her position — although she regularly seems to make similar “arguments”. Coming against contrary views, it’s simply not adequate to assert spiritual superiority or point to how others, in your eyes, thus subjectively, have not reached the same stage of spiritual development. That’s not a valid argument in a discussion — at least not here on earth. (I don’t personally discuss with people who constantly assert their spiritual superiority or emphasize my inferiority at the least bit of resistance — it’s dreadfully boring.)

    Let’s remember, too, that Steiner advocates suspending judgment and, sort of, shutting off the critical faculties in certain situations — this is part of meditative practice. He actually doesn’t suggest that we should remain in this frame of mind at all times, in all settings (he certainly does not practice that himself!). Knee-jerk reactions aside, there’s little to suggest that we should rest at the stage of observation and not ever proceed to the stage of making judgment. Luckily, I guess, because anthroposophists judge all the time — and, by the way, often long before sufficient time has passed to make proper observations… Of course, to be somewhat rough, they find it easier to come to hasty (negative) judgment of supposed “materialists” (and other lowlifes) than of proper evil. I know there are anthroposophists who understandably find this a bit frustrating, saying there’s really not much need to suspend judgment with regard to actions like chopping people’s heads off. And even a knee-jerk reaction has something valuable to tell us, as humans. Now, this is only a blog, not a major source of atrocities. But, honestly, it’s not possible to run such a facility without, to some extent, making judgment. Especially when discussion — or rather the mode of discussion, regardless of content — runs in the same, more or less improductive tracks over and over again.

    But I guess this is far off the original topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All I meant was that, yes, I agree with Gemma that those who bring out antipathy do us a favour. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a news piece, your noisy neighbour, or someone posting a statement on the internet: if you feel negative, you can now examine why. If you were surrounded only by people who agreed with you, and whose words and actions made you feel good, you would never grow.

      As to ‘judging’; well, you can tell when someone’s antagonistic, can’t you? It’s not their words, it’s the energy behind them.
      I have seen people on internet forums, for instance, pretend to be ‘nice’, and put ‘LOL’, or ‘Blessings’, but you can FEEL the anger coming off the page! 🙂
      As someone once said: ‘What you are shouts so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.’ Lucifer and Christ can say the same words; it’s not about the words. Nor is it about judgement, ‘Sympathy good, antipathy bad.’ You can say: ‘There is irritation here’, it’s an observation of a fact – not a value judgement.
      We are all broadcasting our thoughts and feelings, all the time, whether aware of it or not.

      I apologise, Jeremy, for taking this off-topic, it’s your blog, not a public forum, but I’ve learned a lot from the discussion.


      • “If you were surrounded only by people who agreed with you, and whose words and actions made you feel good, you would never grow.”

        What you say is true. But this is neither here nor there when someone “argues” by asserting spiritual superiority or authority when met with contrary viewpoints — this, by the way, is the recourse of someone who, actually, prefers to be surrounded only by people who agree.

        And it is also true that our antipathies can teach us things. But as far as public discussion goes, inferring things about other people is generally not constructive (I know, I’ve done these things!) and neither is coming into discussion with such atitude of superiority that a contrary viewpoint or other difference is reinterpreted as inferiority on the part of the other — who needs to learn from you, who are infinitely wiser. It isn’t necessarily the case that because someone contradicts you, it must be because this person is inferior to you or not as developed or the spawn of ahriman or harbouring antipathies and so on.

        And, yes, you can indeed get an impression from the tone or “energy” — I certainly do that from some posters and posts on this thread! But feeling, or hunch, this isn’t a counter-argument to what the say — it’s nothing more than, possibly, a hint to stay away from engaging with it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gemma


        when you say “But this is neither here nor there when someone “argues” by asserting spiritual superiority or authority when met with contrary viewpoints — this, by the way, is the recourse of someone who, actually, prefers to be surrounded only by people who agree.” You are quite correct; however the person you are describing is someone whose abilities to think still lie in the intellectual soul. If anybody anybody mentions the words ‘authority’ or ‘superiority’, that means the speaker is bounded by the limits of their intellectual soul.

        For the Consciousness Soul knows better. That doesn’t mean they are an authority, nor does it mean they are superior: it does mean that they know something that the Intellect – the Intellectual Soul – cannot conceive of.

        Which is why the Consciousness Soul can infer “things about other people” which for the intellect “is generally not constructive” but does not make their statement any the less true. All it means is that the intellect will dismiss this – and will usually do so by the use of an excuse, or by denigrating in saying something like “you’re deluding yourself”.

        The issue for the Intellectual Soul is the nature of their challenges. Challenges that they themselves had wrought for themselves in previous lives – and when left unmet, will become the more challenging in their next. The problem with such challenges is that they come from other people, and it is all too easy to form an excuse, or to dismiss the other because the Intellectual Soul knows it is superior to the other. It is the best defence known to humankind.

        For the Consciousness Soul would never dream of saying “Ahriman’s Spawn” – for the Consciousness Soul can learn from everyone they meet, irrespective of who or what they are or their position in society. Furthermore, in having transformed their own antipathies, they know that there is not a soul alive who cannot deal with their challenges! Only a person living in the realm of the Intellectual Soul would even think to assume an authority over others with such a thought!

        It is interesting that you should state the following: “But feeling, or hunch, this isn’t a counter-argument to what the say — it’s nothing more than, possibly, a hint to stay away from engaging with it.”

        May I ask why?

        After all, you might just learn something from a counter-argument. It might undermine your authority, but you will learn something. Engagement is the key to every human problem. That is the motto of the Consciousness Soul.


  16. Alicia says, ‘Let’s remember, too, that Steiner advocates suspending judgment and, sort of, shutting off the critical faculties in certain situations — this is part of meditative practice. He actually doesn’t suggest that we should remain in this frame of mind at all times, in all settings (he certainly does not practice that himself!)’. I feel this is an important reminder. If the wisdom of anthroposophy is to make any headway in the world, indeed if it is to survive at all, then anthroposophists need to develop and use their critical faculties alongside their intuition and inspiration. Many of the anthroposophical initiatives in England have failed or are in serious trouble because their leadership groups failed to discriminate between what is essential in anthroposophy and what is a matter of style or tradition.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ton Majoor

      As a matter of fact, Steiner (1920) described the suspending of judgement (excluding of thinking) as a second step in his phenomenology, only after intensifying pure thinking:

      “I have spoken to you about the conception underlying my book, Philosophy of Freedom. This book is actually a modest attempt to win through to pure thinking, the pure thinking in which the ego can live and maintain a firm footing. Then, when pure thinking has been grasped in this way, one can strive for something else. This thinking, left in the power of an ego that now feels itself to be liberated within free spirituality, can then be excluded from the process of perception. ….
      Sense perception, together with its content, passes down into the organism, and the ego with its pure thought content remains, so to speak, hovering above. We exclude thinking inasmuch as we take into and fill ourselves with the whole content of the perception, instead of weakening it with concepts, as we usually do.” GA322_07

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Many of the anthroposophical initiatives in England have failed or are in serious trouble because their leadership groups failed to discriminate between what is essential in anthroposophy and what is a matter of style or tradition.”

      That’s a very good point, I’ve seen this with my own eyes!
      It seems to happen when people approach anthroposophy from the ‘outside’ without really starting from an inner understanding of it. But I was like that myself years ago, and had to sort of throw out all the ‘rules’ and start again from my own intuition (which always did accord with Steiner’s indications). Hard to describe in words, but when you’ve been through it, you ‘get’ it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gemma

        “Many of the anthroposophical initiatives in England have failed or are in serious trouble because their leadership groups failed to discriminate between what is essential in anthroposophy and what is a matter of style or tradition.”

        In other words, they failed to do as Rudolf Steiner asked of them.


  17. “It is interesting that you should state the following: “But feeling, or hunch, this isn’t a counter-argument to what the say — it’s nothing more than, possibly, a hint to stay away from engaging with it.”

    May I ask why?”

    Because it is utterly pointless as long as the exercise rests upon the other party’s conviction — be this unfounded or not — that s/he is superior or more evolved simply because there’s a difference of minds, and when this is where it all begins and ends. That is, as I’ve said, not a valid argument, it is not an argument at all, it does not prove that you are right, and has no reasonable place in a discussion. Such assertions of superiority contribute absolutely nothing — and have nothing to teach anyone. I personally, and this is a matter of taste of course, don’t participate in discussions like these to be taught, to be lectured to, to be the student of some self-appointed teacher. We all have different strenghts and so on, of course, but we are here as equals — not student and teacher.

    May I suggest that people would get further in the discussion if they simply focused on the matters at hand rather than the other participants various deficits and curbed the flaunting of their vanity with regard to spiritual achievements. I think — as a non-anthroposophist, obviously — that anthroposophy itself would benefit from a more relaxed and less grandiose approach. But that is another matter.


    • Gemma

      “Because it is utterly pointless as long as the exercise rests upon the other party’s conviction — be this unfounded or not — that s/he is superior or more evolved simply because there’s a difference of minds”

      Indeed it is pointless: so why do you keep banging on about it? I spoke against superiority, and your speaking of it only means that you don’t have to do anything about your own challenges!

      Not being an anthroposophist means nothing: anthroposophy springs from the reality of humanity. You are human, ergo, you have human challenges that you set out for yourself in your last life to this one.

      If you are unwilling to meet them, that is not my problem as such, for I can still learn from you, albeit a great deal less than if you had accepted such challenges, and can avoid them by suggesting “that people would get further in the discussion if they simply focused on the matters at hand”

      That is an excuse. Those problems would not have arisen had people dealt with their challenges. The problems are easy enough to solve, the real problem is getting people to accept their challenges when they always respond by saying “that people would get further in the discussion if they simply focused on the matters at hand”.

      Believe me, they would not.

      As to flaunting of vanity, that is an utterance spoken by someone who has not the remotest conception of what such spiritual achievements actually are. Do the exercises, and you will discover a very different world, a world filled with lame excuses and denigrating put-downs.


      • There you go again. It is a little bit interesting, this pattern, but mostly tedious. Maybe we ought to turn this around to you, and your perceptions. It’s not always about the other person and his or her deficits or lack of achievements, his or her unwillingness to tackle whatever, his or her excuses, and so on, you know. All those things seem to me to be your excuses, if anything.

        As a general rule, I wouldn’t expect someone who has a conception of spiritual achievement — and who claims to have achieved — to have a need to constantly tell others that they have not achieved and so on. But, of course, what do I know!


      • Gemma

        Okay, Alicia, what do you know?

        All you have said so far is that you aren’t an anthroposophist, and would prefer to deal only with the abstractions in life.

        I can understand your wish to reverse my thoughts onto myself – but that is precisely what I have done in order to take a few steps forward. Now: since you ask it of me, that which I have already done, is it not then appropriate for me to share what I know works and gives definite results*?

        (*Please note that these results are of the spiritual kind, if you want evidence, I suggest you return to discussing the abstract things of the material world, because you will learn all you need to learn about the material world).


      • “All you have said so far is that you aren’t an anthroposophist, and would prefer to deal only with the abstractions in life.”

        You see, I didn’t say anything remotely close to the second part of that sentence. You made that up yourself, for whatever reason — which is up to you to figure out, because that is about you, not me. It could perhaps yield clues, though, to recurring failures of conversation. (Not with me, obviously, since I haven’t involved myself in this before, just watched it from the sidelines. As I will continue to do now!)


      • Gemma

        It’s your life, you may do that which gives you most pleasure.


      • I’ve seen Alicia Hamberg’s mocking articles elsewhere on the internet, and am reminded of what Steiner said about the enemies of spiritual science (*newsflash* – they aren’t always truthful. They may even deny that they’re against it. I know, shocking!):

        “It is quite wrong to think as is so often done that we should come to an understanding with such people as those of whom I have
        spoken. It is foolish to believe we can come to an understanding with such people for they do not desire it. The point is to make clear to the rest of humanity what sort of people these are.
        We must speak out about such people. All that is possible has been done so that they can come to an understanding with us. They only need to read without prejudice what is there, to give it their serious attention.
        We must strictly discriminate between those persons who do harm to the progress of human evolution and other people to whom we must go and tell how such harm is brought about.
        The attempt to come to an understanding with the former has absolutely no sense and no meaning; for these men would outwardly incline to an agreement if they no longer had followers to support them. Then they would be ready of themselves to come to an understanding. The urgent need before us is exactly this, to open people’s eyes. Only, unfortunately, too often within our own circle, the endeavour is made to come to a compromise in this respect, and the courage needed for unconditional acknowledgment of the truth is lacking. We must not ever be under the illusion that we can come to an understanding with this one or that one, who does not wish in any way to come to an understanding with us. What is required of us is courageously to stand up for the truth as far as we are able.”


      • Gemma

        Teleile, I am ashamed of you! Speaking of truth in such a manner.

        Do you not know that the truth is printed in dictionaries that are open for all to read?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anybody can find my articles by clicking on my name or on the profile. I regret to say, though, that I’m not half as talented at mocking silly anthroposophists as Teleile’s advertisement may make it seem.


    • Liliana

      Alicia, you are expressing my thoughts much better than I could. I do wish we could get back to discussing the subject of Jeremy’s article.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m puzzled Alicia… as a non-anthroposophist why are you so concerned with it? And how do you arrive at “anthroposophy itself would benefit from a more relaxed and less grandiose approach?”
      I’m tired of its understated manner, almost apologising for itself. It needs people who are clear, articulate and courageous to bite back at the increasing attacks against it. The last thing it can be is ‘relaxed’ and with its achievements in agriculture,medicine and the arts in the last 90 years an air of ‘grandiosity’ is deserved and can do no harm…. people, even if unwittingly, will grow to respect it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gemma

        Isn’t this the point, though? The understated nature of anthroposophy today is a reflection of its being old thinking in old bottles. It is tired and you can’t read the label any more for the dust. When you draw the cork, it tastes stale and flat because the wine was not of the quality that can age.

        However, most people want cheap plonk because they can get drunk for less money. They have no interest in fine, aged vintages because they’d only get as drunk as quickly from the wine, but it would cost them a great deal more to do so.

        That is our material world, the objective nature of which several commenters are so keen to discuss. They are keen to discuss such things because it means they don’t have to consider the individual qualities of a well aged wine – the pleasures of which are entirely subjective. In short, when someone wants to discuss the topic at hand, it usually means they don’t want to discuss their own opinion of it…


      • Gemma

        One other point is that the planet we live on is becoming harder. Anybody who has worked with the soil will be able to see this happening – poor germination of seeds is as much to do with the poor soil the parent plant was grown on as the poor quality of soil it is planted in.

        In our day and age, we need new species of wheat every year because if you sowed last year’s variety – even if it were fresh seed – it would not grow.

        Rudolf Steiner gave us the keys to this problem in 1924, and it is up to us, we humans, to do something about this situation.

        Instead, most people prefer to sit around and discuss the problem over coffee and cake.

        Mind you, it is the very fact that people sit around and discuss everything else, that has led to the problems in the first place: if you aren’t there getting your wellies dirty in the muddy farmlands of Europe, you aren’t going to know about the problem, are you?

        All of which means that it’s much nicer to talk about the problems of the world over coffee and cake. Because nobody is aware of the problems they face! How can they be if they only discuss issues that have little or no bearing on the truth that confronts us all…

        Mind you, coffee and cake is far nicer than struggling with the exercises…


      • Gary, I think this would be quite off-topic, but since Jeremy allowed your question, I’ll answer it, and the answer is simply that it interests me, it fascinates me, and it enriches my life — I’ve understood, through the years, that quite a few anthroposophists find this utterly strange, but I’ve never really understood why (unless the underlying assumption is that we can only get somewhere in life by surrounding ourselves with views that we agree with — but that would obviously be ludicrous). I’ve also spent 9 very unhappy years in a waldorf school, which originally inspired my interest. I wanted to learn more. Also puzzling to some anthroposophists, who seem to think that someone who doesn’t agree should simply want to go away. I’m not that kind of person, though.

        For what it’s worth, I don’t think anthroposophy should apologize for itself; that’s certainly not what I meant. I think quite the opposite, actually; that it should stand up for itself, openly and honestly, to a higher degree than it does. But there’s a tiresome, grandiose attitude that is quite unappealing. Anthroposophists aren’t the saviours of mankind, and the rest of us aren’t here to be saved. I apologize for the religious langauge, but there’s a kind of religious zeal behind this attitude. And to “mirror” the discussion here, when people disagree with anthroposophists it doesn’t have to be because they’re inferior, which is sometimes the best “argument” that anthroposophists can come up with. It can be perceived as a little bit arrogant. Of course, anthroposophist happily dismiss each other in the same way (as evidenced by this thread and previous discussions on this blog — and of course all over the place), so, I mean, there’s hardly any reason for us “outsiders” to be particularly offended by it. But it is quite silly and hardly conducive to impressing people. Needless to say, there are anthroposophists who aren’t at all like that. Tom, who commented above, is a shining example of a different kind of anthroposophist, who, without ever showing the least bit of arrogance — even when I was probably myself quite arrogant! — made me slowly revise my opinions and made me see another kind of anthroposophy than the one I initially saw and was repulsed by (I’m grateful for his contributions towards that!).

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Crikey… some new wine in an old bottle would go down nicely after reading this lot!


    • Gemma

      Okay: so let’s have a few suggestions, shall we?

      Because you’ll be up against people prefer old wine, old bottles and old thinking – and will go to great lengths to keep it this way.

      It’s all they know…


  19. Don’t worry Alicia!… all points of view are valid.
    Jeremy writes great posts but the comments section occasionally grows into something that is akin to a hornet’s nest… and with Queen Bee Gemma it’s easy to get stung 🙂


    • Gemma

      All points of view are valid as an expression of that person’s ability to perceive.

      However, not all points of view point to the truth.


  20. Dear Jeremy, for my part, apologies for going off topic with a silly joke and unintentionally upsetting a fellow blogger. I do wish I had abstained (as I did in the referendum) from commenting and will brexit right now. Please write another blog asap!!


  21. I very much appreciate Alicia’s kind comment about me. I want to add that it is her openness, integrity and search for truth which in the beginning made me want to engage in dialogue with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tom,

      With all due respect, what Alicia likes about you is that you are like so many other rather moderate and luke-warm spirits who accord with positivity and goodwill, and yet fail to see and engage the rigor and audacity of spiritual science, which pulls no punches and makes no compromises. For a non-anthroposophist to be so appealing to you speaks maybe a volume or two!

      As such, anthroposophy is the new paradigm today, and can speak for itself. All else is weakness and excuses., Liliana asked to get the topic back on track. Okay, so what do “youse folks” think about the new PM, and her support of the vote to ‘out’ from the EU? According to Jeremy, she is just another link in the evolutionary chain of the “greasy pole”, whatever that means. But, being conservative is likely the death-knell of whatever could have taken place, and why the continuing presence of Cameron could have made a difference. Steiner never advocated anybody to take his place in good times or bad, and Cameron abdicated when he should have stayed. He knew what the close margin of the referendum meant, and could have spawned it both ways. Steiner would have seen the advantage and made the most of it, as he often did.



  22. Ton Majoor

    Scientific truth can be seen as different standpoints corresponding with reality or as a coherent system penetrated by individuals.
    As Steiner (1907) has put it:
    “One must not plead that there may be different standpoints, one must first experience that truth is single and indivisible. It does not depend on popular vote it is true in itself. Or would you put it to the vote as to whether the three angles of a triangle are equal to 180 degrees? Whether millions of people admit that, or not a single one, when you have recognised it, it is true for you. There is no democracy about truth. And those who are not yet in harmony have not penetrated far enough into the truth — thence originates all quarreling over truth.” GA099_13


    • “The character of Spiritual Science is such that the truths and data of knowledge contained in it increase in difficulty the farther we descend from universal principles to concrete details. You may already have noticed this when attempts have been made in different groups to speak about historical details, for example about the reincarnations of the great leader of the ancient Persian religion, Zarathustra, or about his connection with Moses, with Hermes, and also with Jesus of Nazareth. On other occasions too, concrete questions of history have been touched upon. As soon as we descend from the great truths concerning the universe as pervaded and woven through by Spirit, from the great cosmic laws to the spiritual nature of a particular individuality, a particular personality, we pass from matters where the human heart will still accept, comparatively easily, this or that questionable point, into realms teeming with improbabilities. And, as a rule, those who are insufficiently prepared become incredulous when they confront this abyss between universal and specific truths.” GA126_01

      Thus, we are dealing today with both incredulity and credulity, or the polarity of 180 degrees. Those deemed credulous are the sort who find relevance to the above excerpt from the first lecture of the course on “Occult History”. They are found to be gullible believers in nonsense by certain critical and sceptical groups of existentialist intellectuals, but in a truly democratic society we need this kind of tension of oppositional force to the truth. In future, it will mark those today who are fired with enthusiasm for truth and knowledge vs. those who already show the symptoms of the lukewarm spirit of the 7th cultural epoch.

      In between is the so-called “Manas culture”, which Spiritual Science exists to cultivate today for the impending 6th cultural epoch, in which the “new wine”, or knowledge of soul and spirit, meets the “new wineskin”, or container, which perceives and cognizes the veracity of same. Thus, one day we will all behold the fruits of our present struggle. The exercises serve to bring others along, but the key element is the life between death and rebirth. Gnosis of having lived the anthroposophical life is instrumental here. Why? Because the present Dead know this language and meet us when we cross the threshold as awake human spiritual beings.


    • Ton, notice that Steiner chose an example from maths.

      Once the axioms of Euclidian geometry are understood, and the convention of dividing a circle into 360 degrees is accepted, then it literally makes no sense to deny that the internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. If Steiner had picked an example from the biological sciences, such as the causes of Crohn’s disease, which at present are unknown, his example would not work well, as different scientists will, and do, hold different views as to the cause. And they tend to believe that their own view is the right one – the truth. Fortunately most sensible scientists do not hang on to their beliefs as if they were incontestable dogmas. They understand that future research may prove their own preferred explanation to be wrong.

      In an earlier posting I said that I had an inkling that the truths of spiritual science were more like the truths of mathematics than the truths of natural science. I think that Steiner’s choice of geometry as an example, supports my inkling.

      And now for a non-sequiteur.
      New wine exploding the old bottles. I feel the Corbyn phenomena is an example of this. When Jeremy Corbyn speaks, he does not pander to the great beast – Plato’s image for trying to please and control the blind desires and urges at work in society. Corbyn speaks out of compassion and a higher morality. Neither his own party nor their opponents know what to do with him. A similar fate befell Petra Kelly in the 1980’s. She was an inspiring and creative new light in politics, she enlivened and gave focus to the Green movement in Germany. One of her ideals was a genuinely democratic ‘anti-party party’, one that did not play the old party-politics game. A rift appeared in the membership between the ‘realos’ (old bottles) and the ‘fundies’ (new wine). The ‘realos’ won, Joschka Fischer ended up as foreign secretary and Vice-Chancellor. Petra Kelly was denied any leading role in die Grunen thereafter.
      In Corbyn’s case, the ‘realos’ continually talk about electability, rather than the changes which need to happen in our society.
      I guess he will be pushed out in the end, but a significant number of people will remember the hope he seemed to embody as they do Petra Kelly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Caryn Louise

        The Fundamental Social Demand of Our Times, (GA 186) Lecture 3: The Metamorphosis of Intelligence

        The thing that is rumbling especially in proletarian minds and that constitutes a motive force in them is this: the ancient slavery has been replaced by the modern enslavement of labour, inasmuch as in the present social structure, labour is a commodity from the labour power. Indeed the threefold social structure of which I have told you already contains the impulse to free the commodity from human labour.

        The Threefold Social Order, Chapter Two: Meeting Social Needs

        In the present social organism as developed in the course of historical evolution, economic life occupies an unduly large place. It sets upon the whole social movement the peculiar stamp it has acquired from the machine age and modern capitalism. It has come to include more than it should include in any healthy society. In present-day economic trading, where only commodities should be dealt in, we find also human labour and human rights. At present one can trade, within the economic sphere that rests on the division of labor, not only commodities for commodities but commodities for human labour — and for human rights as well.

        So long as there is simply an interchange of commodities for commodities in economic life, the value of these is determined independently of relations-of-right. As soon as commodities are interchanged for rights, the rights relation is itself affected.

        The exchange in itself is not the question here. Such an exchange is inevitable in the modern social organism, which rests on division of labour. The point is that through this interchange of rights and commodities rights themselves are turned into a commodity when the source of right lies within the economic life. The only way of preventing this is by having two sets of institutions in the body social. The sole object of the one is to conduct commodities most efficiently along its circuit. The other regulates those rights involved in commodity exchange — rights that arise between individuals engaged in producing, trading and consuming. These are not distinct in their nature from any other rights, because they deal with the relationship from man to man. They fall in the same category as any other injury or benefit caused by some action or negligence in which the exchange of commodities is not involved.

        In the life of the individual the effects of the rights establishment merge with those of purely economic activity. In the healthy social organism they must come from two different directions. What matters in the economic sphere is the proper education and training of the leading personalities, as well as their competence and experience. In the rights organization laws and administration will give expression to the general sense of what is right in men’s dealings with each other.

        The economic organization will assist the formation of Associations among people who, from their occupation or as consumers, have the same interests or similar requirements. This network of Associations, working together, will build up the whole fabric of the industrial economy. The economic organization will grow up on an associative basis and out of the links between the Associations. Their work will be purely economic in character, and will be carried out on the basis of rights provided by the rights organization.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Liliana

      Establishing scientific truths such as the example quoted by Ton is not the same as attempting to establish what is true and what is untrue in our relationships or in the political discourse, where ‘scientific’ has no meaning because we are dealing with individual and group interests and the truth is usually disguised and manipulated to suit the aims of the parties involved – be it desire for power, esteem, wealth, etc.

      As to the Brexit, I fail to see what catastrophes this can bring about. The UK has its own currency, so Brexit should not affect the Euro. The UK trades with countries the world over and will continue doing so, with or without the EU label. If UK subjects and EU citizens will not be able to engage as freely in each other’s territories, this will be nothing new and, in any case, financial/economic interests always win out.

      The one thing that may be affected by Brexit is the TTIP. The UK, as it’s major supporter, will (hopefully) not be able to put as much pressure on other EU countries from the outside – and the resistance by the people in those countries is growing – to the consternation of the trans-national corporations. But apart from this (positive) aspect, I fail to see much changing, let alone a doomsday scenario. I would really like to know what you all think.


      • “I would really like to know what you all think.”

        Thank you, Liliana. As an inept westerner from America, I have written my views for this cause of the referendum,which has now resulted in both the resignation of the incumbent PM, and the quick assignation of the new one, which is Theresa May of the Conservative Party. So, is this a kind of interim vocation until October? My understanding is that Cameron, who resigned the next day, i.e., 6/24, could have stayed on until October, and then a general election would have taken place. Is that still true?

        In our country, when a POTUS either resigns or is assassinated, then his Vice President assumes command, ref. Richard Nixon in 1973, and John Kennedy in 1963. They fulfill the full term of the former.

        So, I guess what I’m saying is that a vote to ‘out’ from the EU is going to have a hard go with the likes of TM, who Jeremy characterizes as achieving the top of the “greasy pole”. I asked what that meant, and maybe you can answer what Jeremy avoids answering. If it is the conservatives vs. the liberals, then I get it. The future is far beyond what the mere conservatives can think. In voting, we have this other guy that Tom Shea talks about, Jeremy Corbyn, and yet he talks about him as if he is already dead.

        Is he already dead, and cannot be a candidate and be voted in as PM? Please tell us about the Parliamentary system in the UK. Of course, in America it is all about how much money and prestige you have. Otherwise, the ‘Social Network’ itself could have named our very own next POTUS, and it would have been someone other than Trump or Clinton.

        They failed to do this, and that is why the anthroposophical world conception still falls on deaf ears, even amongst those who should know better. But it is with Britain today that these thoughts extend. America is another matter for another day, soon to be coming.



        • Hello Steve,
          I’m not avoiding answering, it’s just lack of time! The British political system is not easy to understand but, if you’re interested, there’s a good guide here on Roger Darlington’s blog:

          Theresa May does not intend to call a general election until 2020 (there is a recent law which brought in fixed term parliaments, which means that general elections are now held at five yearly intervals – the last general election was in 2015, and so the government elected then does not need to “go to the country” until 2020 – even though the composition of that government has changed significantly following the Brexit vote.

          The reference to the “greasy pole” was an allusion to a famous quotation by the Victorian prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli: “I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole”. In Victorian times, at fairs and markets, there were often all sorts of entertainments no longer seen to day. These included a competition for young men, who would try to impress their sweethearts by climbing up to the top of a pole liberally smeared with grease to grasp a prize at the top of the pole.

          Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party. You can read more about him here:




      • For anyone who would like to have a really insightful look at the reasons for Brexit, here is a link to an article by Robert Tombs, the professor of French history at the University of Oxford:

        Best wishes,



      • Gemma

        Jeremy, that is typical academe. It’s all a discussion of what took place… and not a breath of what the current problems are and how they might be dealt with in the coming months – if not years.

        Nor was there a hint of TTIP, leave alone CETA… both of which Britain can sign immediately it signs Clause 50. It really is a case of “out of the frying-pan and into the fire”.

        (And just a note, I know Oxford’s the older university, and there are those in my family who think it is the better one. But a Cambridge professor might not look so kindly at being described as an Oxonian).


      • Dear Jeremy,

        I know that you are busy, and I appreciate the answer. So, is it correct to say that David Cameron, being of the Conservative Party, and re-elected in 2015 for another five-year term, suddenly resigns on June 24th 2016, over the “Brexit vote”. Thus, his own constituent party gets to nominate and approve his successor? That makes sense if Theresa May, of the Conservatives, and now Prime Minister of Britain, intends not to hold a general election until 2020.

        This helps in understanding why Jeremy Corbyn, of the Labour Party, likely must wait now for some 4-1/2 years in order to make his case. Thus is why I inferred to Tom Shea that he is a dead-man.

        In our USA, it falls to the Vice President to succeed when a POTUS either dies or resigns during an active term of election. So, little is different in this regard.

        What makes the difference here is that Cameron was not utterly disgraced, like Richard Nixon in 1973, although he likely failed to see the opportunity to work effectively with the parties and his own nation in hearing the voice of the people. This was the dynamic that he lost with his resignation.

        All Theresa May has to do is continue “business as usual” for the next four years. By then, ‘Brexit’ will be an urban-legend story of those that thought they could make a change for the better, without the over-arching European Union. Thus, nothing will change. Gemma said several weeks ago that nothing would change in the aftermath of the vote, and she likely knew that it was because the next in line of the “greasy pole” would arise.

        I like the fact that Liliana sees the possibilty that Brits will see their own way out, regardless of party affiliation, because it is in their own best interests. If so, and I didn’t know that Tony Blair still held an MP district in this day and age, it likely means a revolutionary movement coming soon, and demanding a new election.

        Wouldn’t that be nice?



    • Ton Majoor

      Tom, is there really a difference between mathematical, natural and spiritual science in this regard? In a coherence theory of truth, Crohn’s disease nowadays could be described as an immune deficiency state, because the insight of natural science has deepened, and not just because this is a new point of view that is corresponding better with reality than the old autoimmune view.


      • Ton, thank you, you make a very interesting point. The gastroenterologists known to me still hold to the view that Crohn’s is an abnormal reaction of the immune system and they are still looking for the triggers which provoke it. What you describe seems to me to be more like a different way of conceptualising the phenomena, not something derived from new discoveries in pathological research. In my comment about Steiner I was wanting to draw attention to the fact that for his example he had chosen a science which does not depend on observation and experiment.


      • Dear Ton and Tom,

        I appreciate very much this particular discussion because it concerns a malady my daughter is being diagnosed for. Either it is a kind of spastic colon condition, or Crohn’s disease, which I had observed earlier with a friend’s son, and hope that it is not her fate to experience. Steiner talked with utmost aim about the advancement of anthroposophical medicine here, and why the mere intake of new knowledge could make the difference within the etheric body. Here in America today, I can’t even reach my own children, who suffer from anxiety, depression, and these intestinal problems. No wonder I wonder about you Europeans; left, right, and central 😉

        “This morning, when Dr. Zeylmans spoke in connection with the sphere of medicine, saying that it is no longer possible to-day for bridges to be built from orthodox science to what it is our aim to found in Dornach. If we were to speak of what it is hoped to develop in the sphere of medicine here by boasting that our products can stand the test of all modern clinical requirements, then we should never reach any definite goal. For then other people would simply say: That is just a new remedy; and we too have produced plenty of new remedies!

        It is of essential importance that a branch of practical life such as medicine should be taken in the real sense into anthroposophical life. That is what I certainly understood to be Dr. Zeylmans’ wish when he said this morning that an individual who becomes a doctor to-day really longs for something that gives impulses from a new corner of the world. In the domain of medicine this is just what will be done from here in the future, together with many another branch of genuine anthroposophical activity. It will be worked out now, with Dr. Wegman as my helper, as a system of medicine based upon Anthroposophy. It is a dire need of humanity and will soon be available. It is also my intention to establish as soon as possible a close relationship between the Goetheanum and the Clinic in Arlesheim that is proving to be so beneficial. The work there will be orientated entirely towards Anthroposophy. That is also Dr. Wegman’s intention.

        In speaking as he did, Dr. Zeylmans also indicated what attitude the Vorstand in Dornach will adopt in all spheres of anthroposophical activity. In future we shall know exactly how matters stand. We shall not say: let us bring Eurythmy to this or that town, for if people first see Eurythmy without hearing anything about Anthroposophy, Eurythmy will please them. Then, later on perhaps, they will come to us, and because they have liked Eurythmy and have heard that Anthroposophy is behind it, Anthroposophy too may please them! Or again, it may be said: In the practice of medicine people must be shown that ours are the right remedies and then they will buy them; later on they may discover that Anthroposophy is behind them and then they will come to Anthroposophy!”


        • Liliana

          Steve, concerning anxiety and depression, here’s an idea: both are linked with problems involving the will – anxiety is born of fear and can make us spin like tops – we lose control; depression creates inner darkness and can weigh down on the will to the point of becoming paralysing. The seat of the will is the metabolic system, hence problems like Crohn’s disease. Fear and inner darkness are ahrimanic ‘gifts’ and they are proliferating like no other parasite these days. The most effective help could come from our guardian angels, but we have to ask, and who believes in them these days.


      • Gemma


        The gastroenterologists known to me still hold to the view that Crohn’s is an abnormal reaction of the immune system and they are still looking for the triggers which provoke it.

        If these gastroenterologists are working out of the physical realm – and anybody using the word ‘autoimmune’ usually is – their understanding of the etheric where the ‘triggers’ are manifest, will be entirely lacking.

        All they can hope to do is make a pseudo-science that deals with the effects created by the underlying reality.

        Which actually lies in the Astral.


  23. Dear Steve Hale,
    You begin your posting to myself ‘With all due respect’, but the contents are not respectful to Alicia or myself. I am concerned that you attribute feelings and thoughts to her, which you have no way of knowing. What you write is not respectful and is the product of your own imagination. From your postings I would assume that you are someone who claims to stand for Anthroposophy, but by writing as you have done you bring Anthroposophy into disrepute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tom Shea,

      I could hardly be the one to bring anthroposphy into disrepute. Thread upon thread here I provide anthroposophical insight; at least I try. I am merely pointing out something that I am seeing in these latest interactions, and the “due respect” is still intended. I have invested five years in defending and unpholding anthroposophy on the Waldorf Critics list, wherein the anthroposophist is looked upon with ridicule. Thus, whatever attribution you perceive I am making is actually well known in hundreds of exchanges with the critics and other opponents of the anthroposophical world conception.

      My intent here, as well as WC, is to be informative about spiritual science in itself, and not preachy/teachy, although aversion to same amongst the folks on WC, including Alicia, has now carried over to this blog. Integrity in the search for truth needs the input of anthroposophy, as it is very informative. Tolerance for all things anthroposophical should have the effect of firing the enthusiasm for truth and knowledge, and lead to growth and development. Sadly, some stay stuck in place year after year, and refuse to take on these discussions and make contributions in the spirit of what this blog is about. That is my opinion, and why I participate here.


      • Steve Hale,

        you make some very interesting points about your own activities regarding your intention of “due respect” for others when bringing their faults to light.

        What is more interesting is that you are unable recognize this when others bring your faults to light. That is when you start dissembling, saying things that throw my respect for you back into my own lap: “Whatever concession that Gemma deludes out of her own personal soliloquy would be good to review here”.

        The intellectual soul has many ways of unveiling itself to those who look to their own faults as much as they do others.

        But then, I doubt you’re in the market for a guru, either.


      • Gemma wrote, “faults to light”.

        Yes, indeed. Just to let you know, I wrote out a nice response to this last night, which also touched on several other pointers in order to make myself clear. My post was disapproved for being too personalistic, and maybe overly critical. I’m sorry for that, but sincere in what the post was meant to convey. Jeremy saw an issue with its content, and I respect his judgment to allow or disallow. As such, we all get fair moderation, it seems, with no favorites getting special treatment.


    • Thank you, Tom.

      You’re right, those were not my feelings and thoughts; they are the product of Steve’s imagination.

      In a way, this off-shoot of the discussion has more to do with the post in which Jeremy tried to prove (unconvincingly, in my opinion!) that anthroposophy is not a cult, than it has to do with this post. For example, the vilification of Tom for engaging with people like me screams cultish behaviour.

      As an “outsider” who takes an interest in anthroposophy, you quickly encounter two kinds of anthroposophists: the ones who (oddly) think it can be anything they wish for it to be and, moreover, it can’t be described or defined (but still they can tell you you’re all wrong about it! truth works in mysterious ways) and the ones who are the brave defenders of the one true version of the holy and immutable creed. The members of the latter group preach tirelessly, they want blind submission, and they harbour no doubt that their version of anthroposophy is the only valid one (an attitude with I suspect is more of a pain to fellow anthroposophists, than to outsiders — and rather a gift to opponents, who can laugh at it). One could call them dogmatic, but even conceding that anthroposophy has some kind of a dogma, one must come to the conclusion that some have often misunderstood it, all while, of course, celebrating their superior grasp of it. It’s strange to behold. One can apparently graduate magna cum laude from the School of Spiritual Steiner Quoting without ever “getting it” in any meaningful sense. Of course, they think they enter disussion with imbeccable motives, and cannot understand why failure of conversation inevitably ensues. To put it bluntly, the assumption that non-anthroposophists — and, actually, other anthroposophists, it appears… — are idiots (inferior) and should be happy to be told what to think, is (I believe) what’s getting in the way.

      Then, for people like me, who stick with it for a longer time, you begin to notice there is more, and that the two groups just mentioned make noise, but aren’t the ones worth hearing. Ignorance and fanaticism strike me not just as luke-warm, but as stone cold.


      • “You’re right, those were not my feelings and thoughts; they are the product of Steve’s imagination.”

        No, Steve is well aware of Alicia’s position on anthroposophy, e.g., it is a cult. Nor did I vilify Tom intentionally, or Alicia. What is good to have is her concise statement about anthroposophy right here on this blog, although I have had interactions, more or less, with these sentiments as displayed on Waldorf Critics. I still feel now, as then, that they are quite shortsighted and prejudicial, although to be expected when discoursing with profoundly adamantine opponents of serious anthroposophy and the desire of its exponents to defend it, largely based on the extraordinary, yet routine, errors committed about Steiner, his biography, the history of theosophy, and the content of spiritual-scientific knowledge, whether factual, actual, or otherwise true.

        My position on WC was the task of upholding the veracity of the broad scope of anthroposophical subjects, and Steiner’s sincerity in communicating to the best of his ability the results of occult investigations. The very fact that this open enterprise took place on the stage of a very active and outgoing public life, could hardly warrant the charge of its being characterized as a cult. Nothing could be less of a cult that openly communicates its findings and products, and seeks to serve the goodwill of mankind.

        Again, I appreciate Alicia coming out, so to speak, and offering this contribution about her position and attitude concerning anthroposophy.



  24. Caryn Louise

    Gemma, what about this chap Daniele Ganser …. is he your equivalent of a 21st century guru?


    • Gemma

      Those who have developed the consciousness soul can learn from everyone they meet irrespective of whether other people call them a guru or not.


      • Caryn Louise

        An abstract thinker would take it as a matter of course that the socialist proletarian of the present time is a product of social impulses. For it is proper, is it not, to define the social by the social. But it is not true, my dear friends. One who considers the proletarian socialism of the present day in its reality knows well that socialism as it appears in the Marxism of today is an anti-social phenomenon, a product of anti-social impulses.
        By the inner structure of their formula: Proletarians of all lands, unite! That is to say: Feel hatred against other classes in order that you may feel the bond that shall unite you! There you have one of the anti-social impulses.

        Lecture 3: The Metamorphosis of Intelligence


      • Gemma

        Okay, Caryn, that is the response of the person who prefers to quote their guru.

        What are your own thoughts on what I said?


  25. Caryn Louise

    Why Gemma do you enquire about my soul when you take so little time to study spiritual science?


    • Gemma

      If studying spiritual science is to study the material word, the material world and material manifestations, then I am no spiritual scientist. If the soul can grasp the difference between two words, know what is understood by those terms from reading the dictionary, then one can speak with other anthroposophists who possess those soul qualities.

      I know that today, I am no spiritual scientist for I know that the dictionary is the key of the modern spiritual scientist. How can I speak to a spiritual scientist when I am not using their language, speaking from the dictionary, or speaking by quotations from the gospel of the Good Doctor? Because I know that modern spiritual scientists know the truth by looking up the word they need to know about, and all spiritual scientists will read the same description.

      I know my failings in this modern world, and it shows in that when I ask of someone’s soul, I do not ask them to copy and paste long passages from a long forgotten lecture.

      Mea culpa.


  26. Visitor

    Gemma, would you mind pointing to some of the core descriptions/lectures or, if in the mood, putting in your own words some short description of distinction between various kinds of souls, of course in Steiner´s sense of the word?
    I admit that I find it difficult to grasp accross quite a few lectures I managed to read so far, but somehow still not quite sure how to understand the very notion of conciousness or intellecctual soul or even sentient for that matter.
    The thing is I have a feeling I should take it in a sort of more common-sense, everyday meaning somehow, but then it could be just too trivial and unfruitfull. But still very conccept sounds alienated and remote most of the time.
    Basically, my problem might be that I seem not to see need for such concept aside for already well known simple ´intellect´ or ´´awareness´. What´s the difference, why do we need ´souls´for that?
    Thanks for any clues.


    • Gemma

      Dear Visitor,

      it is always so nice to be asked the simple questions in life, and yours is no exception. Here at “Anthroposophy Today”, we get a lot of letters addressed to me, their Agony Aunt.

      Now, given the broadness of your question, I think if you read Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Occult Science’ from beginning to end, you may have a few intimations as to the answers to your question. A reading of his seminal work ‘Theosophy’ from cover to cover may bring a ray of light into your world.

      As to the notion of consciousness, that is a vexed question indeed, and has taxed academics since the dawn of time. Indeed, at university, it was strongly forbidden to write about it in our essays because the lecturer himself could not grasp the concept. Perhaps he thought it was too trivial, as you, yourself have mentioned.

      I would have thought it would have been fruitful had he thought it through, because the truth is, it doesn’t take much thinking. But it does take a little imagination – and academics and intellectuals find this end of things rather more of a challenge. Their lives are spent in devising questions about psychology that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

      Now, as to the specifics: the soul (to start at your last question, which really should have been the first) is our ability to reflect on the things we experience – that is to say, feel. The quality of that experience is what determines the level of the soul’s activities. Just to muddy the waters for a moment, our experience arrives through the sentient soul, which just feels things and makes no judgement on them.

      However, dear Vistor, if you are repelled by something, or you feel attracted to something, this is the realm of the intellectual soul. It really is “either, or” – and it is this dichotomy* that led to the formation of philosophical logic. Logical statements can only lead to a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer.

      *(sorry for the long words, you can look them up in a dictionary, which I am sure you will have close to hand)

      The consciousness soul is a little more aware, and can discern (see above about long or difficult words) more than just yes or no answers. This in itself means that everything is open to doubt – and it is this very first step that disposes most anthroposophists intellectuals to refrain from questioning such things. Suffice it to say that those who do can reason intellectually, but also reflect on the outcomes of their decision. Hence: consciousness soul. One is conscious of the effect of the decisions one has made in one’s life. Conscience is a big part of this, of course.

      Now you are quite right about not needing any of these bits and bobs, call them concepts if you will. It’s not as if you would need to reflect on your wanting a breakfast before you go to work at the local bus station. It just makes common sense. But that time you drove your bus into a lamppost did raise a few doubts in your mind. However, these were quickly dispelled when you were sacked from your job. You see, dear Visitor, life has a way of keeping people on the straight and narrow, where doubt never arises and the unemployment money is never enough to tank up your five litre BMW.

      Now when you say “Basically, my problem might be that I seem not to see need for such concept aside for already well known simple ´intellect´ or ´´awareness´.” Had you had a little more awareness that day, you might not have run your bus into a lamppost and you would still have a job. As to your soul, you’d not have been able to feel cross at being sacked without one – and for that matter, the necessity to subdue any doubts about your innocence with a few pints of beer.

      Yours sincerely, Agony Aunt Gemma.

      PS My father was a bus driver, so please don’t assume that I am speaking low of your having such a job.

      Remember, you can always call me on Anthroposophy Today’s premium rate phoneline. You will get direct and personalized help from one of my pre-recorded messages that include renditions of the Good Doctor’s more popular lectures. All you have to do is type in the number that most suits your state of mind and you will receive your personalized message from your favourite anthroposophical agony aunt! (Calls cost £3.25 per minute, exclusive of any mobile phone charges with all proceeds going to the Anthroposophical Dementia Benevolent Fund. I’m nice like that).

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Visitor

    Ok, many thanks Aunt Gemma for a quick help! 🙂
    As I read it, but I might be wrong (here we go, c. soul..! ) it is possible to state that to usual intellectual binnary thinking, c. soul adds a layer of doubt into that two-dimmensional presentation intellect is able to give. Because, I guess, awareness surplus allows us to see something like a spectrum of options/outcomes etc. from various points of view etc.
    In other words good old intellect seems like not to be “enough” or not too convincing anymore.
    But, then, just one more question (for now.. 😉 – how do we, from that layer of fundamental doubt, proceed to ´knowning´ anything certain in terms of c. soul?
    In other words, seems like we get less, not more, of the ability to claim knowledge just about anything?
    So, don´t we simply end in the labirinth of doubts and, in certain sense, more lost than those relying on the intellect- at least they could stick to their yes and no, but what the c. soul people could stick to in your view (eccept reading multi-thousand pages books, which is of course minimum thing to do..)?


    • There are definitely superior reasons for going with anthroposophical knowledge in the understanding of the various soul faculties, i.e., Thinking, Feeling, and Willing. All three have arisen as specific evolutionary activities involving the Ego’s own progression from the unconscious to the conscious state of being in the individual human being.

      Thus, beginning with the 3rd post-atlantean epoch, a specific emphasis designed to bring down the faculty of Imagination into the astral body, caused the Sentient Soul to form; in the fourth epoch, when the faculty of thinking itself first formed (Greco-Latin), Inspiration embellished the etheric body, and the Intellectual Soul was born. And, in our present fifth epoch, Intuition stands behind the breaking forth of Conscious Egohood, or the Consciousness Soul.

      This lecture describes it with a nice diagram midway down, in which EGO is shown to be guiding these three activities: Thinking Feeling, Willing, with the goal of keeping them separate as to their own innate functions, and yet fulfilling the needed integration between all three for the so-called “whole man” necessary for freedom.

      This particular activity is also descriptive of the third Pre-Earthly Deed of Christ in which these Soul members were seen as needed in the progressive stepping forth of the Ego consciousness first brought to earth by the physical incarnation of Christ.


    • Dear Visitor:

      I have always exclaimed my identity over many years, and that is because I am confident of a certain authority-knowledge involving spiritual science. As such, and recently indicated in relation to our present world stress and fear-anxiety, I revealed that two of my children, now both adults, suffer from both anxiety and depression. This was done because I feel that it is possible to be very personal with people who care about spiritual science, and maybe even see how anthroposophical medicine will one day serve to prove the old “Hippocratic oath” of Galen and Hippocrates. This oath knew, then as now, that the etheric body is the one receiving the onslaught of modern-day influences. Steiner, as part of his extraordinary insight, saw this need to resurrect the original work of Galen and Hippocrates of the old Greek epoch, which knew by force that the sense world was approaching, and that death was imminent.

      From another perspective, which I am close to, and offered a long and likely clumsy response to what constitutes the Intellectual Soul vs. the Consciousness Soul, which is really the issue in your questioning, it can be shown that the difference between these two soul faculties is merely the need for an outer-external perspective to meet an inner-internal perspective. Thus, the issue is one of fourfold thinking as the comprise of both the Intellectual Soul, and the Consciousness Soul.

      The Greek/Roman epoch beget the forming of the Intellectual Soul comprising:
      1) Deductive reasoning (Greek)
      2) Inductive reasoning (Roman-Arabist)

      Our fifth cultural epoch exists to bring these intellectual formations into concrete being with the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras., This is what serves to ramp up the Sentient Soul for the acceptance of human cognitive intelligence. Thus forms the base-line for what comes next.

      Since 1900, it has been the dedicated effort to advance thinking by way of two inwardly-directed forms of reasoning designed to draw the outward-external into the originally inward perception, which was once clairvoyant of the spiritual worlds and our place in this overall scheme.

      Thus, these two forms comprise:
      3) Reductive reasoning
      4) Adductive reasoning

      Owing to the advent of Spiritual Science in the first quarter of the 20th century, it was Steiner’s dedicated intent to make these two forms a realizable value in gaining the knowledge of both spiritual evolution, and how soul and spirit evolve in our present epoch. And that is why he advocated gaining acquisition of knowledge first, and maybe even for an entire lifetime, before even starting the spiritual exercises.

      Thus, recent advice to you to read certain books “cover to cover”, when you only asked for a mere differentiation, is worth noting. The Book of Revelation warns early on of the condition of the “double-edged sword coming out of the mouth”. Ego consciousness in its early days makes this quite evident.



    • Gemma


      my comment wasn’t moderated because it was off topic. So this comment will have to be strictly on-topic, that is to say, Britain and the European Union as seen through the lens of thinking, feeling and willing.

      Now I’m not sure if this image will come through, or if you will need to click on the link. It is the same one as Steve’s but in colour. (According to the WordPress Forum, it is up to the moderator to allow images when moderating a comment).

      So what do we have in Brexit? We had two parties – Bremain and Brexit – both offering an outcome, both offering their thoughts and feelings on the issue. Since both parties were in the state that Mr Hale describes when he says, “in which EGO is shown to be guiding these three activities: Thinking Feeling, Willing, with the goal of keeping them separate as to their own innate functions”

      If this is the goal of the ego, this implies ego control. The entire point of crossing the threshold is that the ego no longer has any control! Should the ego be ‘guiding’ the thinking, the feeling and the willing, there is little room to understand the individual qualities of these as the ego retains overall control. That is to say, it wants to retain its guiding influence and restrain their activities to that which the Ego is comfortable with.

      If the EU was not impelled by this controlling Anglo-Saxon ‘ego’*, it might have had a chance to learn the differences between the qualities of the cultures of say, Britain, France and Germany. Britain the thinker (think of all the inventions), France the feeler (just think of their cuisine) and Germany the willer (they are workaholics, aren’t they?) (*The EU was initially funded by the CIA, which means its accounts cannot be published for auditing, or the cat would be out of the bag.)

      If each of these tendencies had been recognized for what they are in reality, the EU would be a beneficial organization.

      In today’s Europe, each of these states must do as the EU ‘ego’ tells them to, that is to say, it is a guiding influence, not one that understands the differences in quality. The British are cramped by having to do as they’re told in a manner like the Germans. The French delight in feelings is constrained by laws that the intellect needs to know about what’s in their food. The Germans do as they’re told, whatever they’re told because they’re not that interested in new ideas and their food isn’t worth eating.

      Now: beyond the ego to the right in the drawing, one sees thinking, feeling and willing shown as individual qualities and are shown in colours that Rudolf Steiner used specifically to demonstrate these differences (in accordance with Goethe’s colour theory). The problem here is that the ego no longer has any control, and can only work with these individual tendencies as they themselves require.

      Because the imposition of the ego does not allow feeling or willing to express their true virtues, and must become vassals of the ego. That is to say, they are kept separate in a manner according to the demands of the ego. In being vassals, their qualities are not understood and so in moments of chaos – Brexit in this instance – then instead of the qualities unfolding – the strengths of Britain, France and Germany working to strengthen the weakness of the others – the process is inverted because the ego cannot guide them any longer and so has no idea of what to do. The chaos of the subconscious ensues (depicted in the left of the drawing). The “market uncertainty” and the response of the EU to Brexit is a clear example of this kind of unpreparedness.

      Thus we have the ego “keeping them separate as to their own innate functions” rather than allowing each to behave freely in their own way according to their nature. That is to say, without any interference from the ego. It is only through the comprehension of these qualities that develops the consciousness soul. The control of the ‘guiding’ ego implies that this is retarded and only the intellectual soul can flourish – the problem in our day and age is that the demands on humanity as a whole is to develop the consciousness soul.

      Thus any attempt to retain ego control in the way of “the ego guiding these three activities” implies that the forces of chaos are allowed to develop unimpeded by conscious self-development – put the other way around, the conscious understanding of the qualities of each. With the understanding of each quality – thinking, feeling and willing – Britain, France and Germany – each can act independently of the ego – the EU. Since the ego is fully conscious of this, it knows how they behave and can allow them free reign when the threshold approaches.

      Failure to do this results in the aforesaid chaos of the unknown – the aftermath of the Brexit vote – and the resulting shame that arrives with the inability to control one’s thinking, feeling and willing at a time of stress. Then comes the rememberance of all that one has done wrong, and this takes the shape of the Inner Guardian.

      The slump in commercial real estate, the slump in manufacturing confidence and the slump in the pound all point to a realization of this. If Britain had allowed its thinking, feeling and willing to be free agents, it would have been fully prepared for the coming of a crisis.

      Neither side – Bremain or Brexit – knew this, both offered what they thought was the right answer, and now, with the reality of Brexit, Theresa May is doing her best to limit the damage and retain Britain’s ‘ego’ control in guiding the various elements of Britain’s culture. In short: Britain is trying its hardest to retain the guiding ego of its Intellectual Soul. Just as the EU is trying its hardest to restrain the unfolding qualities of its consciousness soul that we all have to meet in the Fifth Epoch of the Northern Age.


  28. Visitor

    Thanks so much Steve,
    indeed there are incredibly important points in these lectures that I wasn´t aware of, eg. more detailed elaboration of subconscious ´mind´. I guess Gemma refers also to these when she described challenges of ones subconscious impulses.


    • Sure. Gemma writes alot of extraordinary stuff which demonstrates an acute knowledge of the prevailing situation in Britain. Yet, an American anthroposophist like myself can attest to how this vantage-point came into being with the continual westward migration of Soradt, from east to west, just like Christ. The difference is that Christ is for good, and Soradt is for bad. And Gemma will always righfully go back to the economic crisis of 2007-2008, which was an orchestration of the United States in GWB’s second term, while he was already advancing the ‘war on terror, that his own pappy first spawned with his own singular presidency from 1989-1992. Overthrowing the Soviet Union was instrumental in this possibilty of a war on muslim terrorism today; does anybody understand that?

      Thus, two competing powers for balance of the world was a good thing for many years, until GHWB got the grand idea to find someone within the USSR who would be the scapegoat to “western blue-jean democracy”. You likely know about this, as well as knowing that GHWB before he became POTUS was the director of the CIA.

      His little boy skipped out of reserve-duty with the Texas National Guard in the early 1970’s, and found to be AWOL during the Vietnam War. No matter. When Soradt makes his migration to the west, just watch how the shit makes the world spin in one direction.

      Gemma makes an adequate note and notation. Just one more element is needed in the equation; an American anthroposophist actually living in the west, where it is actually happening from the point of causation. Thus, causal knowledge will always be the most important.



      • Gemma

        My apologies for this seemingly being off-topic, I will arrive at it shortly.

        Steve Hale mentions that “And Gemma will always righfully go back to the economic crisis of 2007-2008, which was an orchestration of the United States in GWB’s second term”

        Actually the roots of the crisis in 2008 stem from the Clinton administration in 1994 when lending regulations imposed on banks were relaxed. Things came to a head in 2006-7 when the US banks realized they couldn’t afford to pay out on their ponzi scheme, the so-called toxic assets.

        This arose because the US banks had been allowed to peddle mortgages on homes that were barely worth a tenth of the value of the mortgage. Nevertheless, what with a little financial wizardry (which I speak of on my blog but owing to this not being a PhD thesis, I will omit here), the banks were able to make a stack. This they passed on to their ‘investors’ until the point came where the US fraud became unstuck.

        In good US tradition, the banks foreswore their honour in stating that they would not honour their side of the contract – which they had signed and were responsible for under US law.

        If this was an orchestration, it went to the core of US legislation and government, all of which are – or at least should be, in a free country – based on trust.

        So What Did Germany Do?

        Because under German law, it is unlawful for a bank to lend more money than the valuation of a property. That is to say, the Germans would not undermine their laws just to please the banks.

        So the German government thought things through and started an investment campaign. The number of Waldorf graduates in the German government clearly showed at this point, what with their ability to act both honestly and creatively – whilst remaining within statute law.

        The essence was that they invested money in housing stock that was delapidated. They offered the owner to do the place up, and they’d only have to pay once the building work had been finished for five years. That should be enough enticement for any fool, leave alone a German owner of property. Buy it up cheap, have it renovated, make money by renting it out.

        The point of all this is that it takes relatively little input to renovate a property – and even if paid for by the government, still injects life into the economy. This kind of creativity is known as “bottom up wealth distribution” where the US version only benefitted the rich and the banks.

        In those five intervening years, the value of that property was not only improved by the renovation, but also by other properties being renovated. Rudolf Steiner speaks of this kind of positive activity in his “World Economy”. In short, everybody won!

        So how did the house owner pay their debt to the government? By getting a mortgage, of course. What with a healthy income from rent, that would easily be paid.

        No laws transcended, slackened or even chucked aside – in the manner of the American fraud that depended so earnestly on the machinations of Ahriman! The German government used everything in its correct manner, thus strengthening its society and its economy.

        That is what the EU should be doing!!! Instead, it does the Kau-Tau to the US government and its need to extend corporate power into countries that look first to their electorate.

        Germany is the balance point between East and West, as Rudolf Steiner mentioned on no few occasions. That today’s balance is between two evils speaks only of the things he warned us against.


    • “I guess Gemma refers also to these when she described challenges of ones subconscious impulses.”

      Yes, she guesses about what it all means from the perspective of this diagram, and especially when she notates “subconscious activity” on the lefthand side, which is the basis of confusion in the Soul. In actuality , what Steiner depicts on the left-side of the diagram is integration of soul faculties, not confusion. I stressed actually reading the lecture, but it is worth its weight in saying that the Ego is designed NOT to lose consciousness when passing the threshold, and this will prove to be ever more true as we proceed from life to life. The goal is to remain conscious, even after death, and meet the hierarchical spirits without being overwhelmed by their power to extinquish our consciousness in favor of their own.

      Spiritual science exists to be the cultural imperative in this Consciousness Soul age for acquiring new knowledge, and wherein even on a theoretical/conceptual level, this knowledge proves to increase both earthly consciousness, and its retention after death. Thus, Ego remains after the earthly death and the crossing of the threshold. Even the Greater Guardian Itself sees this as the standard-bearer for admittance.

      Now, in looking at the specific lecture cited, it is important to note the express words used to indicate that integration of thinking-feeling-willing exist on the left-hand side of the diagram. Steiner spent little time in discussing the dark subsconscious influences of the soul for the simple reason that he was clarifying what needs to become the clear daylight consciousness of our greater Consciousness Soul age.

      “That these three activities [thinking-feeling-willing], which before passing the threshold border upon each other but work separately, interact in the right way and do not come into confusion is due to the fact that the threshold has, so to speak, a certain breadth in which our ego itself lives. If our ego acts normally, has perfect soul health, then the interaction of thinking, feeling, and willing is so regulated that they do not collide with one another, but mutually influence each other. It is the essential secret of our ego that it holds thinking, feeling, and willing beside each other, so that they can affect each other in the right way, but do not mix in any accidental fashion. Once across the threshold into the spiritual world there is no danger of this since the three faculties then separate.”

      So, whatever Gemma would like people to think occurs on the left-side of the diagram as subsconscious confusion, in reality is owing to a very definite working of the incoming Christ force, i.e,, the third pre-earthly deed, which Steiner clarified elsewhere, and is also worth going over.



      • So Mr Hale says the following:

        In actuality , what Steiner depicts on the left-side of the diagram is integration of soul faculties, not confusion.

        All I can say to this is try it sometime, do the exercises and determine for yourself the reality of what Rudolf Steiner speaks about the conscious, day state of the ego:

        If our ego acts normally, has perfect soul health, then the interaction of thinking, feeling, and willing is so regulated that they do not collide with one another, but mutually influence each other. It is the essential secret of our ego that it holds thinking, feeling, and willing beside each other, so that they can affect each other in the right way, but do not mix in any accidental fashion.

        Oh, that is from the same passage that Mr Hale quoted in order to contradict himself. I mean this isn’t me challenging him, it’s me stating the things he himself has written and quoted. Furthermore, it was moderated.

        Because if what Mr Hale sees as being “integration of soul faculties” this must speak of an ego that has no contol over these, because to integrate implies collusion and the antithesis of the true work of the ego which is to hold “thinking, feeling, and willing beside each other, so that they can affect each other in the right way, but do not mix in any accidental fashion.” Which Mr Hale himself unwittingly quoted.

        Mr Hale continues:

        whatever Gemma would like people to think occurs on the left-side of the diagram as subsconscious confusion

        This wasn’t me wanting people to think. It was Rudolf Steiner speaking from the truths of the human soul. I’m not interested in getting people to think anything: my interest is getting people to do the exercises that they might unveil the truth for themselves!

        Because there’s no other way to do it: the realms beyond the threshold are so subtle they are beyond words. Not only that, they are constantly changing, which means that a form of thinking is required that meets the demands of the threshold and not of this earth which is more fixed.

        If Mr Hale imagines me wanting people to engage in material thinking, that is for him to imagine. He may do as pleases him.

        I am interested in those who do the exercises, for they speak a very different language. Because in their life, they can keep their thinking, their feelings and their willing in place, according to a healthy human ego consciousness.


  29. Caryn Louise

    ‘… the intellectual soul, since it partakes of the nature of the I – since in a certain respect it is the I, though not yet conscious of its spiritual being – may be designated simply as the I or Ego.’ (Occult Science, pg58)

    There is the study of the sentient soul trying to bypass the intellectual soul and entering into the consciousness soul through the back door. Until the spirit-self is developed the nature of the consciousness soul is naturally anti-social (GA186, 5). The entering into the back door scenario is likened to a wolf in sheeps clothing as the sentient soul in trying to circumvent the intellectual soul in acting out from the consciousness soul amounts to luciferic thinking.

    “The spirits who influenced the thinking in images which human beings had at the time of the Old Moon lost that function in the normal progress of human evolution. The original intention was that they should only influence dreams within the human sphere and everything related to dreaming. In the context of today’s lecture we refer to them as luciferic spirits. Their proper sphere would be everything that has to do with dreaming and anything related to this. They are not satisfied with this, however. They haunt the human way of thinking that has evolved out of their own sphere, human thinking now bound to the mineral sphere.

    When we allow anything that normally rules our dreams, the life of imagination, to enter our thinking we fall prey in our thinking to luciferic nature, to the influence of spirits that should only have influenced the old form of thinking in images that belonged to the human ancestors. They have retained their power and instead of limiting themselves to our dreaming, our life of the imagination, our creative artistic work, they are constantly trying to influence our thoughts and make them dependent on impulses similar to those that existed in pre-earthly times.

    It is necessary for us to tear ourselves away from our subjective feelings. If we do not do so the luciferic element will enter into our thinking. Once you have got at least to some extent into the habit of liking to hear the facts you will often suffer tortures when people of the present age want to tell you something. All the time they want to describe their subjective feelings concerning the matter, whilst you want to hear an objective report of what they actually saw.”

    (abbreviated notes from Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind, Stuttgart, 5 March 1920)

    Man’s present experiences are fundamentally a picture or copy of his past adaption to the Macrocosm, and in this sense we live in the pictures of our past. Within these we are enabled to evolve our freedom, and from them we receive our moral laws, which are independent of the necessity ruling in our nature (Man: Hieroglyph of the Universe, lecture six, GA201)


    • Caryn gives a nice composite of various source-references in order to indicate that the bestowal of the Intellectual Soul in the last third of the 19th century marks the advent of the greater Consciousness Soul age. Thus, the Consciousness Soul is grounded on the Intellectual Soul, which certain well-known initiates of the fourth cultural epoch made it their life’s destiny to bring forth, whilst the greater populace lived in their Sentient Soul, and completely unaware that a cognitive faculty was in the works.

      Well, not until it leaked out that certain odd goings-on were taking place in a town in southern Italy, i.e., Croton, where Pythagoras had started a school after being initiated directly by Zarathos, and then sent to the Mystery of Ephesus for its teachings on the Cosmic Word, and how especially the Moon works its influence into the world. Thus, a kind of revolt, or what history calls, the “pythagorean massacre” took place, because the ancients, living comfortably in their sentient soul, heard rumours that a school existed that sought to discern the angular representation of the world, based on odd symbols of number and geometric form, and the evil ‘theorem’.

      So, anyone can study the Greek epoch, in which certain initiates were compelled by a Being which made them feel and say: “Michael Thinks In Me.” Yes, Michael, the beholder of the Cosmic Intelligence. Thus, our present power to think is owed to these initiates of the 4th cultural epoch, and the plan of the 5th epoch, which was designed both to recapitulate the former, and also advent the attainment of this faculty in all humankind. This is how evolution works.

      Now, in our time, which is also a Michael era, since 1879, it has become paramount that Spiritual Science be indoctrinated. That is a harsh word, I know, in today’s atmosphere of free being, which only owes to one’s open moral and ethical principles based on the very Intellectual Soul that has been bestowed by the work of the initiates.

      Yet, if a new body of knowledge exists, which extends and overcomes the present limits of the intellectual soul, but also acknowledges the necessary foundation of the intellect, which perceives and cognizes an outer-external world, then we are on our way, it seems. The beauty is that nobody has to make the effort, and so remains free, but those that do, and then advocate the attainment of even greater freedom, which is a real value, get to do that. One way or the other, it will be done.



  30. Alvaro Garcia

    Brexit and B’reschit

    ‘If we would bring the sound B’reschit [‘In the beginning’ in Hebrew, the first words of the Bible’s Genesis] before our souls in the right way, there must arise before us — in the only way it can do so, in mental images — all that happened through the severance of sun and earth […] Let us imagine that from this substantial habitation, woven of the elements of water, air and heat, the countenances of spiritual Beings, weaving within it, look out upon us […] Bet the first letter, called forth the weaving of the habitation in substance; Resch the second sound, summoned up the countenances of the spiritual Beings who wove within this dwelling, and Schin the third sound, the prickly, stinging force which worked its way out from within to manifestation.’ (Rudolf Steiner, 1910: GENESIS, GA 122)


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