Coronavirus: what is its significance for humanity at this time?

Since early January 2020, when news first broke of a strange respiratory disease connected with a wild animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has become clear that the world is facing the worst pandemic since the onset of Spanish flu at the end of the First World War. But unlike the situation in 1918, the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus is able to spread much faster around today’s hyper-mobile world, in which more than 12 million of us take commercial flights every day.

The virus seems to have its most damaging impact on people with poor health or compromised immune systems. Beside the lungs and respiratory tract, the virus can also affect the oesophagus, heart, kidneys, ileum and bladder. Coming to a diagnosis isn’t easy – the patient may have a cough or fever or be short of breath – but there are also many cases of asymptomatic infection, making an outbreak significantly harder to contain.  Some cases are so mild that they never reach the notice of medical professionals. But others as we know are much more serious: at the time of writing, the death toll worldwide is 4,970; while 126 countries are so far affected, with 134,511 recorded cases. The website Worldometers has a daily update of these totals.

Here in Britain, a leaked government memo seen by the Sun newspaper indicated that the government is planning for up to 80 per cent of the population becoming infected with the coronavirus in a worst-case scenario; and in the “reasonable worst case” would result in around half a million people in the UK dying from the disease. This does seem to me to be absurdly pessimistic; the Sars virus outbreak in 2002/3, which also emanated from China, led to predictions of an ultimate death toll in the UK very similar to that predicted now for Covid-19. In the end the total number of deaths was nil and the number of cases recorded only four.

The worst-affected EU country at the moment is Italy, which has 15,113 cases as of today’s date, resulting in 1,016 deaths. But nobody knows where all of this is going or how long it might last; perhaps the best one can do is to avoid the plethora of misinformation and disinformation on social media and just look only at reputable sources, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), whose website has detailed information about the various types of coronavirus.

The WHO describes coronaviruses as “zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.” Commenting on the widespread belief that Chinese traditional medicine may have caused the outbreak, Wuhan inhabitant Wang Xiuying wrote in the London Review of Books that traditional medicine in China holds that some animal parts have near-magical properties: “Pangolin scales are supposed to help new mothers produce milk; manta ray gills clear the lungs and cure chickenpox; the penises of pandas, tigers and bears can do the same trick as Viagra; a bit of monkey brain can make you smarter.”

And in a recent article in The Spectator, Matt Ridley spelt out a possible connection between the current coronavirus pandemic and bats:

“I’m no Nostradamus, but 20 years ago when I was commissioned to write a short book about disease in the new millennium, I predicted that if a new pandemic did happen it would be a virus, not a bacterium or animal parasite, and that we would catch it from a wild animal. ‘My money is on bats,’ I wrote. We now know that the natural host and reservoir of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, is a bat, and that the virus probably got into people via a live-animal market in Wuhan.

This is not the first disease bats have given us. Rabies possibly originated in bats. So did, and does, Ebola, outbreaks of which usually trace back to people coming into contact with bat roosts in caves, trees or buildings. Marburg virus, similar to Ebola, first killed people in Germany in 1967 and is now known to be a bat virus. Since 1994 Hendra virus has occasionally jumped from Australian fruit bats into horses and rarely people, with lethal effect. Since 1998 another fruit-bat virus, Nipah, has also infected and killed people mainly in India and Bangladesh. Sars, which originated in China in 2003, is derived from bats, though possibly via civet cats. So is Mers, a similar bat-borne coronavirus that’s killed hundreds of people and camels in the Middle East since 2012. (…) Probably, captured pangolins, on sale in the live-animal market in Wuhan and mainly imported from Malaysia, had somehow caught the virus from bats. Pangolins are globally endangered because of demand from China.”

I have seen three respectable clinical studies (here, here and here) which back up Matt Ridley’s assertion of a connection between Covid-19 and bats; and this reminded me of Rudolf Steiner’s comments on bats, given in Lecture 5 of the cycle “Man as Symphony of the Creative Word.”

Be that as it may, all that this tells us is the likely source of the infection rather than the more interesting question of why it has happened. Let us put aside the conspiracy theories such as those of Dr Francis Boyle, the man who was apparently responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-terrorism Act of 1989, the American-implementing legislation for the biological weapons convention, which was later adopted worldwide. Dr Boyle says that coronavirus is a weaponised biological warfare agent that came out of the BSL-3 biowarfare lab at the University of North Carolina. Read the whole article from Natural News in which Dr Boyle sets out his allegations and then draw your own conclusions. While I’m completely prepared to believe that the biowarfare lab at UNC is very far from Rudolf Steiner’s ideal of the “laboratory table as altar”, personally, I’m unconvinced by Dr Boyle’s assertions. It’s also worthwhile looking at the website of Full Fact, a UK-based fact-checking charitable organisation, for a selection of other paranoid conspiracies about coronavirus.

So why is the world facing a pandemic of coronavirus? As an anthroposophist, I’m inclined to take a particular view on the causes of modern illness, which is that illnesses are brought about by the conditions and circumstances which we human beings create for ourselves – and not just by our actions but also our feelings and thoughts. I’m going to quote now from the book Illness and Healing by Judith von Halle, who says that since the beginning of the age of the consciousness soul, illnesses are increasingly becoming an expression of the soul-spiritual state of the whole human race and that humanity needs to see itself as a social organism which can fall ill just as much as the individual standing within it:

“We have to regard it as a tragic fate but at the same time as evidence and illustration of the context described here that the Spanish flu (…) broke over humanity like a scourge during the First World War – at a time therefore when huge losses of human life were already being inflicted. At this time, scientific advances had not only brought new developments in scientific medicine but also in the field of technology and thus in the domain of warfare. Machine guns and nerve gas are just two of the countless inventions of the modern age (…) which human beings used in a bestial way to rob their brothers of health and life. All this ensued from the dishonest politics of the time, from delusional ideas about nations and races, law and history. The beast that humanity created at this time in its thinking and emotions finally took a form corresponding to such thinking and emotions as countless millions of viruses.”

In an esoteric lesson given on 5th December 1907 (ie long before the First World War had started), Rudolf Steiner made a connection between the formation of bacilli and the god Mammon (Ahriman). Commenting on this, Judith von Halle says:

“No one today, at least, will doubt the link between Mammon and the commercial position of chemical and pharmaceutical companies in western society, which benefit financially from the ever-increasing outbreaks of epidemics. Humanity’s way of thinking has become so corrupt that it can no longer even realise how absurd it is that production of medicines is subject to financial interests – for instance that the treatment of millions of people with AIDS is, in all seriousness, dependent on the activities of profit-oriented stock market speculators.”

Referring to the rise of epidemics, Judith von Halle says that:

(…) “the organism of humanity is showing the same reaction to poor treatment as the earth organism does to the treatment which it receives. As reaction to the general deeds of humanity, the organism of humanity throws up epidemics, while the earth organism is rent with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Those who have not caused the harm are usually in fact the ones who suffer most. (…) … the social organism can only be brought back into equilibrium by innocent people having in a certain sense – with Christ as exemplar – to give up their health and life for that of the perpetrators. This will continue until humanity eventually learns, bitterly, that it is a single organism, and that through chauvinistic nationalism or economic disparity it differentiates itself into either less or more advantaged social groups or nations, and in doing so cuts off its own limbs, like arms and legs. Then we will realise that our thinking and actions have inevitably impacted on the overall social organism.”

According to Dr Dietrich Klinghardt of the Klinghardt Institute, there does seem to be a connection between the worst cases of coronavirus infection and places where there is the highest degree of 5G installation. Wuhan was one of the first cities in China for the rollout of 5G technology.  In Washington USA, there have been six deaths from coronavirus infection in the same hospital (Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland). Kirkland has prided itself as being one of the first towns in the US wired for 5G. Evergreen Hospital has, according to Dr Klinghardt’s measurements, the highest levels of WiFi exposure ever measured in a hospital. (Though I have to record that Full Fact UK, referred to above, regards any connection between 5G and coronavirus as false; nevertheless, to my mind the possibility that 5G compromises the human immune system and therefore makes us more vulnerable to viruses seems highly probable.)  The only attention that 5G gets in the British mainstream media is whether or not the Chinese company Huawei should have any part in building the UK’s 5G infrastructure. If the current pandemic raises people’s awareness of the health dangers of 5G, it will have done some good.

What are some other unexpected benefits that may emerge from this crisis? Here are a few, in no particular order:

  • The coronavirus, by itself, will not put an end to our current form of globalisation. But by serving as a reminder of how the health of humanity has been mutually dependent across borders for millennia, the latest outbreak could prompt a rethinking of how the world works together.
  • The crisis is a reminder to American politicians that there are major faults in the USA health system. Health in the USA is a perfect example of the late J.K. Galbraith’s observation that in America there is an obscene divide between private affluence and public squalor. The usual political responses won’t work – diseases can’t be deterred with overwhelming military force or bombed into submission. The federal government can’t bankrupt the virus through a heavy set of economic sanctions. Covid-19 doesn’t care how much money you make or what a big shot you are in society. This crisis could cause many more Americans to recognise that their health system is in need of fundamental reform.
  • Passenger aviation is in big trouble, because it’s clear that the virus has spread via air travel – and now the airlines have also been hit by Trump’s travel ban on Europeans flying to the US. Airlines worldwide are now in survival mode, with many implementing emergency cost-cutting measures and cutting back their flight schedules. The owners of Flybe said the coronavirus was the final blow that pushed Europe’s largest regional airline into administration this month. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the impact of the coronavirus could cost passenger airlines up to $113 billion (£87bn) in lost revenues this year. But the rest of us could be seeing bluer, less polluted skies, as was evident before when flying had to stop in 2010 after erupting volcanoes in Iceland stopped many flights.
  • Both coronavirus and climate change are crises that need humanity to unite to plan for better outcomes. The drop in global emissions caused by the coronavirus is also evidence of the level of its impact on global economic activity. No doubt many of you will have seen the astonishing “before and after” pictures issued by NASA and the European Space Agency of nitrogen dioxide pollution over China prior to the crisis and the amazing reduction in that pollution since.
  • Governments around the world need to help economies and societies that have suffered through coronavirus to recover by starting the shift to a low emissions future. They could seize this moment to enact new climate policies, remove subsidies for fossil fuels or raise taxes on carbon dioxide emissions, since lower oil prices resulting from the fight between Russia and Saudi Arabia make it less likely that consumers will feel the same level of impact as when prices were high.
  • There may be greater acceptance of the need to make sacrifices and accept restraints for both the common good and personal wellbeing. This could pave the way for many more of us to understand that, if we are to address the climate crisis not only are huge shifts in government regulation needed but also in the personal behaviour and expectations of consumers.

We live in apocalyptic times – there’s even a vast plague of locusts in Africa. The coronavirus pandemic is of course a global tragedy.  But coronavirus is also helping to strengthen recognition of our interdependence – that everyone’s health and wellbeing is everyone else’s business – and it could increase recognition that compassion and empathy are essential parts of what it means to be a human being.  Will the pandemic produce changes in society which make us more willing to act on the climate crisis and the other issues which threaten life on earth at the present time? In the end, it’s up to all of us, as it always has been.

244 Comments

Filed under Climate change, Coronavirus, Existential Threats

244 responses to “Coronavirus: what is its significance for humanity at this time?

  1. Finnegan

    Of course, I see we are immortal spirit regardless of pandemics. I understand reinstatement to mean CONSCIOUS reclamation of a formerly rejected state. And, yes, it would involve a conscious rejection of inaction (complacency, indolence, etc.) I disagree that the dying sun will be restored to its former condition. I think we have to experience its death in order to move out into the broader universe in the right way – instead of just leap into our future state as though we can bypass stages of development – as the “Archangels Counsel” tried to do. Or perhaps as we in the Counsel tried to do when we were playing grownup? Maybe in the Jupiter stage we will be encountering an experience of a new Sun? Or participate in the beginnings of one?

    Also, it’s interesting to see our variations of response to solar states. I can experience solar minimum more with sadness, even despair. And solar maximum with hope, excitement – increased inspiration. I, too, certainly see Spiritual Science as a school. And I think our reason for avoidance of entering in is the same as our defense against examining the contents of our subconscious minds. And now, with Covid-19 we have more time than ever to encounter our subconscious contents. I think fear of doing just that {unconsciously) feeds the rampant preoccupation with conspiracy theories. (They were, of course, increasing long before the virus hit – but they are gathering speed and power.) We’ll see if the denial demonstrations grow…if increased numbers of people refuse a vaccine…if we keep or change elected officials… if we pull more apart or together. And I suspect the largest overall effect of the virus among us will be if economies crash and burn or we agree, together, to declare a year of Jubilee and reject Mammon.

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    • Steve Hale

      The several Archangelic regencies that govern the Planetary Intelligence all work for the good of humanity as They rotate every 333-350 years. When Michael allowed the descent of the Cosmic Intelligence to Earth in order for the personal and individual intelligence to develop, then these planetary regents began to work toward that goal as well. For example, at the time that Michael conducted this sacrificial deed in the 9th century, Raphael, the Archangel of Mercury was working on earth. Thus, Michael and Raphael were very close in the overall aim. Samael, Archangel of Mars, succeeded Raphael, and during Its regency our present 5th Cultural Epoch began. Samael was succeeded by Gabriel, Archangel of the Moon, around 1550, maybe even as early 1510, and here is where we have indications of what Gabriel accomplished on behalf of the personal and individual intelligence of humanity. The frontal lobe of the brain is owed to Gabriel, and whence our abstract thinking in materialism arises. Michael’s own development has been going on since November 1879, when Gabriel passed the Moon regency over to the Sun. Michael seeks to preserve the Cosmic Intelligence in its original form for Humanity, and this concerns a faculty wherein past lives will begin to be remembered. This could occur as early as the next life on earth. The regaining of the original Cosmic Intelligence vouchsafed in the Sun is the objective of earth evolution.

      There is marked evidence to indicate that the Sun, which is not a physical globe of light or gas, is rather the product of human beings who are the Sources of Light. This middle lecture of the so-called “Bridge Course” describes how it works. Please note the diagrams VII and VIII, especially. Now, this gives a whole new complexion on solar minimums and maximums, and what or who is actually behind them. Much to ponder concerning ponderable matters.

      https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA202/English/AP1958/19201218p01.html

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  2. Kathy

    Since the beginning of this pandemic I have repeatedly connected it with the growing epidemic of conspiracy theories I’ve encountered in friends and clients alike. I found a lecture that helps me put this in perspective anthroposophically. First, I’ve been interpreting conspiracy fantasizing as both contagious and as likely resulting from increased efforts to remain unconscious in this suffering world. On the surface I’ve seen conspiracy fixations resulting from denial, and specifically, denial of our complicity in how we allow ourselves to be manipulated by materialism . For example, I need a job to take care of my kids so I will work in a coal-burning power plant and deny the science that doing so will harm my kids. I’ll take my clothes off outside and shower before I play with them – and NOT SEE the grit all over their swing set. This dynamic can produce treatment-resistant depression – among other symptoms. It also triggers defense mechanisms, such as projection, which transfer responsibility/blame onto others. Preoccupation with conspiracies serves this function.

    In a lecture in Dornach on April 7, 1920, Steiner said that an “abnormal attitude of human beings to waking and sleeping life” has an effect on epidemics and on our susceptibility to epidemic diseases. He says that the result of too much sleep predisposes us to being less able to resist contagion. As I understand it, being on “automatic”, going through the motions without daring to look at the contradictions beneath our assumptions and actions, is to walk through life asleep. And isn’t it amazing how awake and conscious we are being asked to become in order to buy time to defeat Covid 19? All the way to inhibiting how often we unconsciously scratch ourselves, rub our eyes, etc.

    It breaks my heart to see the people I know who waste their precious time and suffer as a result – both psychologically and physically. And, of course, in the larger context, we engage in all this in order to stay asleep to the fact we are more than bodies – we are souls and spirits. And we have the power, here and now, to wake up to our participation in soul and spiritual worlds – but we don’t allow ourselves to know it – or challenge ourselves to do it.

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    • Steve Hale

      Hi Kathy,

      I like this lecture very much and would recommend reading it for Steiner’s considerations concerning hygiene. What strikes me as important now, in relation to the present epidemic, is how it appears that possibly, and maybe even likely, it will take an approved vaccine in order to lift the current lockdown situation in most communities in the world. As such, I find these final words very important because they involve freedom and what true democracy means:

      “These matters, which are so intimately connected with the personal life of human beings, have a very great bearing and effect upon social life. How the social effects come about, whether a larger or smaller number of people are obliged owing to illness to be absent from their work, whether or not a whole region is affected — all these things depend upon the most intimate details of man’s life. Hygiene here plays an immeasurably important part in social life. No matter what people may think about infection or non-infection — this element is none the less a factor in epidemics. And here external regulations are of no avail; the only thing that will avail is to educate, within human society, men and women who are able to meet the doctors who are trying to explain prophylactic measures, with understanding. This can give rise to an active co-operation for the preservation of health between the doctors who understand the technique of their profession, and the laity who understand the nature of the human being. … It is, of course, not the laity nor the amateurs who will do the healing, but reasonable human beings will bring understanding to meet the professional medical men who tell them this or that. If he understands the human being — and this understanding can be developed in social life in collaboration with the doctor — the layman can form an intelligent idea of technical science and then, in democratic Parliaments he can say “Aye” with a certain understanding and not because of the pressure of authority. The sphere of hygiene can become a social concern in the true sense if it is made fruitful by a science of medicine enriched by Spiritual Science. In short, hygiene can become in the real sense, and to a high degree, an affair of the people, of the democracy.”
      https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Hygien_index.html

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  3. tonmajoor

    Sleepiness and vanity (concerning the beginning of WW1) is another asuric/soratic theme. And the same holds for nationalism and Napoleon, the ‘bodily incarnation of Sorat‘ (i.e. the French Revolution), ‘the great riddle of our time’ and ‘one of the greatest enigmas of contemporary evolution’, according to Steiner (1924):

    “… it is really quite terrible how the Satanic powers used the vanities of men at the beginning of the world war in order to create a tremendous turmoil in a few days — after there had been a very deep state of sleep — which put people in a great uproar, so that they’re still not sure what really happened.” GA0346/19240922

    … the great riddle of our time that developed with Napoleon consists of this. This striving of men into races and nations that has come to expression so incomprehensibly through Wilsonianism today really only arose in a distinct way under the influence of Napoleonism, of the first Napoleon. GA0346/19240918

    In this strange juxtaposition of the Revolution and Napoleon lies one of the greatest enigmas of contemporary evolution. One has the impression that a soul wanted to incarnate in the world, appeared without a body, clamoured for incarnation amongst the revolutionaries of the eighteenth century, but was unable to find a body … and that only externally a body offered itself, a body which for its part could not find a soul, i.e. Napoleon. GA0185/19181019

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    • Finnegan

      I’d like to respond to two concepts raised in the last few posts. (1) That it will take a vaccine to save true democracy and freedom. How can we save something we don’t have? We are prisoners/slaves/vassals of a worldwide predatory economy. And we are all complicit in keeping one another entrapped. If we all get vaccinated tomorrow we would likely just fall back asleep. Then, our only hope would be the next virus and that it last long enough to crash the whole system. Maybe declaration of a regular, repeating, “Year of Jubilee” will remove power from the hands of the tyrants – and allow for “democracy”. We probably will have to rack up a lot of “forgivable loans” to precipitate such a shift. If Covid-19 doesn’t accomplish this, maybe the next one will.

      (2) Regarding this riddle of the “striving of men into races and nations”: The refugee crises have been serving to polarize us farther and farther back into tribal mentality. But now, as virus spreads like lightening, the world is too small to simply allow any given people/race/nation to founder and die without taking everything down with them. And we all know – though largely unconsciously as yet – it’s not the refugees crossing borders that have spread this virus across the world. It’s the businessmen who flew first class.

      And if it is true that Luci, Ahri and Sor are involved in bringing this upon us – are they not being used to our benefit – in spite of themselves? Poor fellas.

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    • Steve Hale

      … the great riddle of our time that developed with Napoleon consists of this. This striving of men into races and nations that has come to expression so incomprehensibly through Wilsonianism today really only arose in a distinct way under the influence of Napoleonism, of the first Napoleon. GA0346/19240918

      As well, this.

      Muavija rules not long after Mohammed. He thus stands entirely within Mohammedanism, within the religious life of Arabism. He is a genuine representative of Mohammedanism at that time, but one of those who are growing away from its hide-bound form and entering into that mode of thought which then, discarding the religious form, appears in the sciences and fine arts of the West.
      …..
      If we follow this Muavija, one of the earliest successors of the Prophet, as he passes along the undercurrent and then appears again, we find Woodrow Wilson. GA 235, 16 March 1924

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      • Steve Hale

        Also, Muaviah I was caliph in 666 AD.

        Muawiyah I c. 597, 603 or 605–April 680) was the founder and first caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate, serving from 661 until his death. He became caliph less than 30 years following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and very shortly after the reign of the four “rightly guided” (Rashidun) caliphs. Although considered to be lacking in the justice and piety of the Rashidun, Muawiyah was also the first caliph whose name appeared on coins, inscriptions, or documents of the nascent Islamic empire.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muawiyah_I

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        • Kathy

          Okay, so you didn’t say what you seemed to say and now we have a lecture on Muavija, Muaviya and Muawiyah? Are they the Larry, Moe and Curly of the tragic Umayyad Caliphate? Ah, yes – I recall they were largely wiped out by an epidemic in 666.28 BC But we have them to thank for protective garb – head to foot – right? Oops, Jeremy! – but this is why I’m tempted to sarcasm. I’m willing to learn a more effective way to stay on track. And, of course, if we don’t want to talk about the causes/effects of the pandemic any longer that’s fine. But if others cannot connect some dots between Covid 19 and the Umayyad Caliphate, I’d like a heads up before I begin the deadly trek through Grimpin Moor.

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      • tonmajoor

        Still, one could connect Steiner (1918) on the enigma of the French Revolution: ‘a soul wanted to incarnate in the world, appeared without a body’ (CW 185) with: ‘an important being who would not have entered the physical plane … this being should appear, even if not on the physical plane‘ (Arabism, CW 184).

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        • Steve Hale

          As well, one could connect Steiner in similar fashion to what caused the founding of America: ‘James I. He was in every respect a man of the new age and was involved in this age with all the contradictions latent in the personality. As I mentioned yesterday those who characterized him from the one angle were mistaken, and those who characterized from the other angle were equally mistaken; and the picture of him which we derive from his writings is also misleading. For even what he himself wrote does not give us any clear insight into his soul. Thus, if we do not consider him from an esoteric point of view he remains a great enigma on the threshold of the seventeenth century, occupying a position which, from a certain point of view, revealed in the most radical fashion the dawn of the impulse of modern times.’ GA 185, 19 Oct. 1918

          So, we must consider him from an esoteric point of view. Steiner offered this but never revealed. James was incorporated by Sorath at an opportune moment in time.

          Good to have a parallel line going in relation to the pandemic.

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        • tonmajoor

          In King James we can see the impulse of modern times, the consciousness soul, a personality (Archai), and a great enigma, but not the ‘quintessence of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch’, not ‘the soul of this epoch’ (like in the French Revolution):

          “In what appeared in the French Revolution we see, to some extent, the soul of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch without social embodiment, without corporeal existence. It is abstract, purely emotional, a soul in search of embodiment … this quintessence of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch appears in the French Revolution in the form of slogans. The soul of this epoch is comprised in three words (fraternity, liberty and equality), but they are not understood. It is unable therefore at first to find social embodiment and this leads to untold confusion. … Considered as a symptom, the French Revolution is extraordinarily interesting. It presents — in the form of slogans applied haphazardly and indiscriminately to the whole human being — that which must gradually be developed in the course of the epoch of the Consciousness Soul, from 1413 to the year 3573, with all the spiritual resources at man’s disposal. The task of this epoch is to achieve fraternity on the physical plane, liberty on the psychic plane and equality on the spiritual plane. …

          One has the impression that a soul wanted to incarnate in the world, appeared without a body, clamoured for incarnation amongst the revolutionaries of the eighteenth century, but was unable to find a body …”

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  4. jaromer

    I continue to follow this discussion with great interest and some amusement.
    Steven Hale, you have great depths of knowledge and I respect that and appreciate your suggestions and references and I trust, your wisdom.
    Kathy comes from a different direction and brings great liveliness and a sense of wanting to find answers but also frustration with clever answers that seem like put downs. I appreciate your frustration and choleric responses.
    I am getting rather fond of you both and regret that physical distance even without Corona Lockdown- (something to do with this thread?) means we will never party together. Pity.
    I am currently try to get my head round Napoleon having accidentally released the Corona virus from a Lab in Gondishapur run by a black magician. I should stop listening to White House Briefings.

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    • Stephen Hale

      John, I can see where you might find amusement in all of this seeming rancor, and I can personally attest to the fact that I am not frustrated at all, but could be considered choleric. But I do not consider my answers to be “clever put downs”, and if you think so, then please tell me where. You said you grew up with an anthroposophical influence, e.g. Michael Hall, and so maybe you have been dealing with it for many years. I have lived out here in the periphery my entire life, and maybe that has made the difference on an environmental level. In other words, no influences but my own. Thanks for chiming in. We had a kind of mojo going for awhile before which was really stimulating for me. Keep contributing your thoughts.

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      • jaromer

        Stephen, Please note I wrote: “SEEM like put downs” in relation to Kathy’s responses. Just as I appreciate your considered thoughts arising from thorough studies of RS works, I also strongly sympathise with Kathy’s sharp and sarcastic reactions.
        The penultimate sentence of last entry is response to information overload in recent contributions. Because I have not read all the texts, discussion between knowledgeable scholars becomes ‘occult’. (hidden)
        Yes, I grew up with anthroposophical influence, all those ‘beings and forces’
        Withered spinach that was GOOD because it was Bio-Dynamic.
        My grandfather discussed astronomy with Elisabeth Vreede but also was an inspiration to me to understand the world scientifically. My parents were Steiner School teachers. So you can appreciate that anthro viewpoints were both part of life but often ‘too much of a good thing’. My first ‘formal’ study of RS was ‘The Theosophy of the Rosicrucian’ with Rene Querido in about 1959. Perhaps that explains a some times ‘love-hate’ relationship to
        ‘the whole caboodle’.

        But now back to the significance of Corona to humanity.
        Yesterday I came across a CNN (Fake news of course) report about a 900 year old water mill in Dorsetshire in South England. The mill is restored as a museum and has been working everyday to supply flour to shops depleted by lockdown home bakers. Then I found a similar story about a 700yr old watermill in Northumberland- North England- which has closed it’s online order site because they have too many orders.
        This minute in world terms but wonderful in human terms story shows what is possible. And is perhaps a positive balance to the story that in U.S. 700 thousand pigs have been killed and dumped in landfill because they cannot be processed and sold.
        But even THAT is a here and now significant consequence of Coronavirus. A lesson that could be taken is that all that factory farmed meat is NOT NEEDED. Never mind 5G, the suffering of mistreated animals is another way that human diseases could be created. Deliberate cruelty and the enjoyment of causing suffering is the basis of Black Magic.

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        • jaromer

          Just an addition. Back to Faith, Belief and Knowledge theme. I wonder why
          I am prepared to take R.S. seriously enough to spend time and energy on at least trying to follow his uncheckable statements, whereas I remain skeptical of other conspiracy fantacists and let’s face it ‘5G caused Corona’ is big time mainstream.
          It is also interesting that a number of conspiracy peddlers have made a good profit from gullible consumers, whereas Anthroposophy remains a minority sport.

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        • Steve Hale

          “My first ‘formal’ study of RS was ‘The Theosophy of the Rosicrucian’ with Rene Querido in about 1959. Perhaps that explains a some times ‘love-hate’ relationship to ‘the whole caboodle’.”

          John, that doesn’t explain anything. Either you disliked the course, or Querido, or possibly both. 1959. I was nine that year, and didn’t even hear Rudolf Steiner’s name until 1986. Just how young are you? I have come to realize that my position out here in the periphery, i.e., America, is by a certain design and destiny. Necessary for a slow and gradual development in order that I would eventually be able to sustain it longer in these harsh times.

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          • jaromer

            Hi Steve, Unfortunately I misplaced my sentences. The ‘hate’ bit was being hassled by ‘anthroposophists’ – parents, teachers. I lived on campus so I, and friends, developed ‘not being seen’ strategies to avoid trouble. No record player, restricted cinema visits ‘because Rudolf Steiner said so’. To have any fun required avoiding ‘adults’ who were also ‘anthropops’
            René was great and his youth group was enjoyable and laid a strong foundation for an anthroposophical perspective separate from parental/ adult conflict. (I still don’t like adults much.)
            I visited René , must be 20+ years ago one Halloween in Boulder, CO, a lovely city, after visiting Taos, Arizona and Grand Canyon.
            I hope that clears the picture, young man. Oh to be 69 again!

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          • jaromer

            Steve, Sorry you feel ‘on the periphery’ in America.
            When I visited San Francisco for a few days I felt I was under an ‘Anthro umbrella’, but then I was visiting Anthro friends and lodging at the Christian Community . Also attended meeting and lecture from visiting staff member from Steiner College in Sacramento meeting in a Steiner School.
            Of course Forest Row , England is second only to the Goetheanum- slight exageration. In Hamburg , Germany, there are more Anthros than in all of Britain.
            In fact there is no periphery, or everywhere is a periphery since we live in an Egocentric Universe. Luckily we can all meet on the Ahri-web.

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  5. Kathy

    Jaromer, thank you, thank you for your observations. I am convinced this virus is an opportunity to transform fear and cruelty by bringing us together. I love to hear about the watermills. For years, my sister and I were viewed as “those two, LIBERAL, city girls on the hill who don’t know the trouble they can stir up around here”. But now, with so much rain incapacitating both their private gardens and their money crops – as well as fears over the food supply chain breaking down, some neighbors have taken me up on an offer to have them grow food on my property. My sister and I designed our home (built @ 20 years ago) with two, tiered, sixty-foot long raised beds. We faithfully composted in three piles. We declined to let neighbors grow soybeans and corn on the rest of the land because they used chemicals. We never went as far as cow poop and horns – which would have been viewed as demonic (we used to act out asking folks for poop and horns – it was worthy of Saturday Night Live!)

    But now, with excess rain that ruined crops last year (climate change) and fears of disruption in the food chain (Covid) things have changed. My sister died in 2017 and I’m OLD – so the gardens have been ignored. My heart breaks when I look out over the property – until now! I offered to have neighbors raise food for themselves – and their families in the county – in my raised beds and they took me up on it! They’ve worked the soil and added in the rich, black dirt from the three neglected piles. They are asking me – this city girl on the hill – how to proceed! And one of them brought her 3-year old granddaughter last week – who gave me her binky and blanky to hold while she helped in the garden – and they told me she never lets ANYONE hold her binky and blanky! So I figure it’s a sign from God.

    I’m even seeing some change in response to my “Letters to the Editor” (my college major). One fella – a nemesis I’ve never met – has called for us to pull together and “stop polarizing” because of the virus – even though he knows China is to blame and Dt is doing his level best. This means that Adams County, Ohio, is now willing to admit we have a problem. A MIRACLE…

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    • jaromer

      Kathy, wonderful to read your positive and happy post. Fancy being allowed to hold binky and blanky , a heart warming honour. Wow!
      In an earlier post towards Steve the topic of words, definitions and dictionaries came up. I was reminded of this when you say your and your sister were viewed as: “LIBERAL”. This is an example of 2 nations divided by a common language. In the 70s I dabbled in politics and was elected to the town council as a member of : The Liberal Party! in opposition to the dominant Labour party representing the coal miners and ship builders. Nowadays in U.S. if you don’t wear a red cap and carry an AK 47 you are a ‘Libtard’ and probably support women’s rights. (and maybe can read and write)
      That your garden is being brought back to life is splendid. Building was a labour of love but having to let it go back to nature must have been sad. Now there is new hope and new life and if the weather behaves new fresh, healthy food.
      Here in Hamburg, Germany, we have had the hottest , driest April ever. There was rain in winter but now the land is dry again, forests are on fire alert and farmers looking at bare fields. Last summer some areas had 80% losses. I have reduced my cultivated area to what I can keep watered but at 78 I appreciate my garden, which is a mile from home- just right for a daily exercise out of corona lockdown, on my bicycle. There are about 200 plots in a large park with a whole sky and horizons! And quite close to city centre. Not quite the gentle, wooded hills around Adam County.
      As for the poo and horns – I did that in my ‘last incarnation’ on a farm.
      In Australia they mix the magic potions and deliver it by spray plane over huge areas. Perhaps Australians are not as superstitious as Americans.
      Glad to have ‘met’ you.
      J0hn

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      • Steve Hale

        ‘Here in Hamburg, Germany.’ What in the world does that mean for a boy listening to Querido giving the course to the youth circle in 1959 at Michael Hall? It must mean further progress on the quest. In other words, no one here knew that you moved from England to Germany in order to make an acre a plot of your own. Gods Little Acre. You’ve possibly heard that one:
        Come over to gods little acre
        Come over to gods little acre
        Come over to gods little acre
        Come back home

        Now I know how young you are! I knew it had to be around 80. Listening to Querido at 17 must have been a dish. And did he tell you what it meant to be a part of the youth circle? I mean, did he reveal the Michael meditation for those who first heard it from Steiner himself in October 1922? There is someone here who also went in search of the coveted Michael meditation. It was in 1980, when Rene Querido had left Spring Valley, N.Y., for Sacramento, CA. Do you know that story. Well, it seems that a priest of the CC, who had actually listened to Steiner’s course to the priests in Sept. 1924, came here in order to attempt to create the fourth mystery epoch of our time. His name was Carl Stegmann. Well, Querido was involved in getting his book transcribed from German to English, and it became “The Other America”. It spawned the so-called ‘American Work’. Have you heard of it?

        Steve

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  6. I was struck by what Jaromer told that his parents talked with Elisabeth Vreede. That reminded me of the way she publicly denied that Steiner was the Boddhisattva of the 20st century. And was kicked out of the Board for this and other reasons. I would hope that all these endless speculations whether Obama was the incarnation of Ahriman or Bush (or Trump) etc. etc. etc. would be publicly denied by a strong lady like Elisabeth. And those who continue with this nonsense kicked out of the society (…).

    Now the mission of this Bodhisattva was, according to Steiner, to announce the rebirth of the Christ not in the physical but in the Etheric. Whether we call this the reemerging Christ or awakening Mother Earth, I think this is what we all have in common all over the world that we long for this revitalization of Earth forces to counter industrial fall out including vicious viruses, 5G, climate change (drought in Germany, oh boy) and AI. Through our individual and collective consciousness of Earth’s love. That indeed is why it is so heartwarming to hear from Kathy that her garden blooms again. Whether at micro, meso or macro level, this urgently has to happen including the UN Decade for ecosystem restoration and thus Earth Trusteeship.
    From earlier posts on this subject I remember there was a question how our individual etheric bodies relate to the Etheric of the Earth. By chance I found this quote from Steiner and I found it intriguing:

    “The human beings think through their brain, and in the same way the earth thinks through these sleeping human bodies. The earth always perceives by day; it perceives through the fact that the sun shines upon it out of the cosmic spaces. That is the earth’s perception. And during the night, the earth works out in thoughts all its perceptions. “The earth thinks”, says the clairvoyant seer; the earth thinks because it makes use of the sleeping human beings. Every sleeping human being becomes, as it were, a brain-molecule of the earth. Our physical body is organised in such a way that it can be used by the earth for it’s thinking activity, when we do not use it ourselves.” (Lecture the Etheric Body as a Reflexion of the Universe, June 13, 1915, Elberfeld).

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    • jaromer

      Despite my dinosaur years it was my GRANDfather who discussed the state of the universe with Eliszabeth Vreede. My mother was more in contact with Ita Wegman. That must have been during the Great Schism because I. Wegman was often in England.
      If the Earth thinks through ‘sleeping human bodies’ , then the Earth never sleeps because of the wretched Sun orbiting the earth every 24 hours. Night here, Day there.
      This brings to mind the tendency for Steiner to be Eurocentric, e.g with earth sleeping and waking through the seasons and relation to consciousness. Having grilled steaks on a Christmas picnic in Australia this has made me – well – wonder? And what about seasons and consciousness on the Equator?
      Sorry off the Corona thread. Whoops!

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    • Steve Hale

      Dear Hans,

      If you remember, Steiner said himself that he was not the Bodhisattva of the 20th century, and John [jaromer] also said that it was his grandfather who spoke to Elisabeth Vreede about astronomy. So, no need to get on a soapbox about it. Vreede and Wegman were expelled for issues related to the coming war. All the rest of what you wrote is hyperbole, but I like you. I have always liked you, although you generally leave me out of your responses. Why is that?

      Have you heard of the legend of Barlaam and Joshaphat? This is a medieval tale in which Joshaphat, who is an incarnation of the Maitreya Bodhisattva, is converted to Christianity by Barlaam, a Christian hermit. As such, it is the point in which Buddhism accepts Christianity. Have you seen any evidence of this so far?

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    • tonmajoor

      Steiner apparently recognised the Hindu boy Krishnamurti (1895-1986) as the future World Teacher, the Bodhisattva of the Word, while rejecting the absurdity of a second coming of a Messiah in the flesh. “He who has been incarnated nearly every century since that time, is now also already incarnated …” GA0130/19111104 (cf. GA028_c31). The death of Krishnamurti’s brother Nitya in November 1925 was unexpected, and it fundamentally shook Krishnamurti’s belief in Theosophy and in the leaders of the Theosophical Society (wiki).

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      • Ton, can you quote Steiner recognizing Krishnamurti as the Bodhisattva of the Word. It’s new to me. Thanks, Hans.

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        • tonmajoor

          Of course, Steiner didn’t say that one hundred years ago, nor did Vreede. But he described the preconditions: the unknown youth, the inner transformation between the thirtieth and the thirty-third year, the moral influence of the word, the present working of the Bodhisattva (in Steiner’s time). In 1925 Krishnamurti experienced exactly this change, but one has to judge for oneself.

          Steiner (1911): “Those who do know something of them may see them as gifted people, but do not see that the being of the Bodhisattva is working in them. It has always been like this, and it will be like this in the twentieth century, too. It will only become recognisable during the time that lies between the thirtieth and the thirty-third year — the same span of time as there was between the baptism in Jordan and Golgotha. Then a change takes place in the human being, and to a certain degree he sacrifices his individuality and becomes the vehicle for another … The Maitreya Buddha will also work out of his own inner strength, and against the stream of general opinion. He will remain unknown in his youth. And when in his thirtieth year he has sacrificed his individuality, he will appear in such a way that morality will work through his words.“ GA0130/19110919

          “At present the word cannot have a moral influence. Such words can by no means be produced by our larynx as it is today. But such a power of spirit will one day exist. Words will be spoken through which the human being will receive moral power. Three thousand years after our present time will the Bodhisattva we have mentioned become the Buddha, and his teaching will then cause impulses to stream directly into humanity.” GA0130/19111104

          Krishnamurti in an interview (1935) declared: “A man infinitely greater than any of us had to go His own way that led to Golgotha; no matter whether His disciples could follow Him or not; …“ (Landau 2011, REZ8CgAAQBAJ)

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          • Steve Hale

            Good stuff, Ton, and thanks for writing it out. You offer a great deal when sincere people ask, like Hans, and then you provide. Yet, it can also be shown that something more exists.

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          • Dear Ton and all,
            Thank you for your reaction. The two quotes of Steiner are interesting but do not confirm what you said. The quote from Landau is pretty worthless if you see the full paragraph. But I am grateful that you brought this up because it triggered three thoughts.
            First is that the whole problem (as it became for the society and Elisabeth Vreede, and those who can still not find the answer) is that the “Bodhisattva of the 20st century” concept is an example of cultural appropriation which in the eyes of Buddhists is quite unfortunate (and Steve’s reaction below are a bit in that category). Nobody in the Buddhist world speaks about it. From this point of view, there could be a lot of bodhisattvas, and indeed we are all potential bodhisattvas.
            So, if we free ourselves from the straight jacket Steiner (clairvoyantly or not) constructs, let’s make some free assumptions. And I discovered some interesting (if not controversial) perspectives thanks to your reaction. [And of course you may disagree].
            Let’s say that the Bodhisattva had three major incarnations (and maybe a lot more) in the 20st century. In Tibetan Buddhism it is quite common that an incarnate splits in three emanations e.g. body, speech and mind.
            I propose these three are: Krishnamurti, Rudolf Steiner and H.H. the Dalai Lama (I know you are suspect of the Dalai Lama but for me these are minor doubts).
            I think you made clear that Krishnamurti indeed complies with all the criteria Steiner set. However we have to ask ourselves: what did he say about the re-appearance of the Christ in the Etheric realm.
            Well, he just clears the air, until today, for any narrow cultural or sectarian interpretation of that message.
            The one who really announces this reappearance is Rudolf Steiner, but he packs the message in half 19th century Theosophical and early German/Christian terms.
            The Dalai Lama comes a bit later, born in 1935, but recognized as the Bodhisattva of Compassion from childhood. So he carries, in particular by means of his message on Universal Responsibility (including the environment) the “opportunity to revitalize the lifeforces in the community of life” through to the second half of the 20st century up until the beginning of the 21st.
            Now this is still completely speculative, one could say. But I found something interesting.
            In 1956 the Dalai Lama (21 years old and so before he went into exile) was invited by the Indian government to make a tour through India because of the Budhha Jayanti celebrations: 2500st birthday (or Enlighgtenment) of the Buddha. Indian mentors recommended him to meet with Krishnamurti.
            “The young monk had commented “A Nagarjuna!” and had expressed a keen desire to meet Krishnaji.” (J. Krishnamurti. A Biography, by Pupul Jayakar, 1986, page 205). Nagarjuna was a second-century Buddhist sage and also a rector of Nalanda University. The resonance between Krishnamurti’s “teachings” and those of Nagarjuna was later confirmed by Jagarnnath Upadhyaya (a well-known Indian Buddhist scholar in that period). Upadhyaya made his observation in dialogue with Krishnamurti, but had to explain what the teaching of Nagarjuna was. ” It was the negating of all doctrine, belief, including the doctrine of the Buddha. Krishnaji was very interested.” (Ibid., pages 435-436).
            The message I would distill from this set of assumptions is that Steiner announced the “re-appearance of the Christ in the Etheric”. But if we want this message to be supported and realised by a global and massive awareness and responsible action, we have to detach it from all cultural or religious packaging and enable all persons to join to make it happen (to counter corona crisis), even if they are totally secular in their outlook.

            I conclude with an even more controversial observation. Did you ever wonder who stood model for the face of the central person in the “Representative of Humanity”?

            https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/95823/to-be-human-by-jiddu-krishnamurti/

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            • tonmajoor

              Before his travels abroad, the young Dalai Lama (then 32 years old) experienced an inner transformation, too:
              [In] the decade prior to …. 1967 … Tenzin Gyatso … began … a series of lengthy retreats during which he seems to have had a number of deep spiritual experiences’ (Norman 2008)

              Steiner saw a possible spiritual fusion of exoteric Christianity (one afterlife) and exoteric Buddhism (many incarnations) in Anthroposophy. (‘We see the fusion of East and West, of the two mighty revelations of Christianity and Buddhism; we see them flow together in the spiritual.’ GA0118/19100515).

              Also, Steiner mentioned three historical Boddhisattva’s or Great Teachers, working together: one more in the East (Buddha/Josaphat in India), one in the Middle East (Zarathustra/Zarathas in Persia), and one in the West (Skythianos in Alexandria, Egypt), gathered around Manes. GA0113/19090831

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              • Steve Hale

                Don’t forget Jeshu ben Pandira 100 years before Christ. He was a Maitreya incarnation. He taught a kind of reverse 42 generations of Abraham to his disciples, and was eventually stoned to death and hung on a tree. See GA 123 and GA 130 lectures of November 4 & 5 1911 concerning Jeshu. Also, hard not to see John the Baptist as the actual Maitreya incarnation at the time of Christ. He was the acknowledged forerunner in life, and announcing the coming of the One who’s sandal he was not worthy to even touch.

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            • tonmajoor

              Other characteristics of a Bodhisattva:
              “The best method of developing good thinking is by complete absorption and insight, not so much through logical exercises but by observing one thing and another, using for this purpose processes in nature, in order to penetrate into hidden mysteries. Through absorption in problems of nature and of humanity, through the endeavour to understand complex personalities, through the intensifying of attentiveness, we grow wise. Absorption means striving to unravel something by thinking, by conceiving. … The Bodhisattva develops in the highest degree what we may describe as devotion, serenity in the presence of destiny, attentiveness to all occurrences in one’s surroundings, devotion to all living beings, and insight.” GA0130/19111105

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      • Steve Hale

        I can find no evidence at all that Steiner thought Krishnamurti to be the future World Teacher. In fact, it was the announcement of Annie Besant concerning the young boy’s destiny that would soon see the demise of the German Section of the Theosophical Society in 1912. Steiner had indeed stated in 1911 this important clue about the Bodhisattva: “He who has been incarnated nearly every century since that time, is now also already incarnated …” GA0130/19111104.

        Rudolf Steiner was 29 years old when he went from Austria to Weimar, Germany for seven years (1890-1897), and these were seven very enlightening and productive years living in an idyllic setting. Foundational work for the upcoming mission between 1900 and 1925 were accomplished in Weimar. Also to be found in this citation from GA 130 and closely linked to the above passage are words that announce the reappearance of Christ in “etheric raiment”. This seems very indicative of Rudolf Steiner’s role as either being the Bodhisattva of the Nineteenth Century (leading to the 20th), or in spiritual contact with the Bodhisattva due to his exact clairvoyant faculty. Yet, this would still leave the identity unknown, and no other person exists to have announced such a thing coming at that time.

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    • jaromer

      I have just re/read the quotation and suddenly remembered the film
      ‘Matrix’, On the other hand perhaps this is an element of participation, if unconsciusly, in the Universal Unity .

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  7. Kathy

    John and Hans, thank you both for sharing these new events with me – though thousands of miles away! I’d like to talk about something you raised a few posts ago, John, and you identify an example of, Hans: the issue of the dangers of burgeoning conspiracy theories yet taking RS’s theories seriously. First, I realize I’ve come to think of conspiracy-thinking as something of a virus in itself. Or maybe ruminating on conspiracies is a symptom of the virus called “materialism”. (Even when any given theory involves aliens or inter-dimensional creatures with seemingly non-materialistic capacities.) This conspiracy virus – which has proved itself to be deadly and highly contagious – serves either to enervate us for positive action, or to fuel anger and violent impulses – all the way to genocide. It can trap the human being in all sorts of materialistic fantasies. One fundamental fantasy may be that we live by matter/energy alone and we are in perpetual competition to control it and to be assured of the consequences of our actions. (Sartre called this drive for assurance “bad faith”.)

    Second, how then, do I explain that I take Steiner’s outrageous claims as likely to be true? Yes, outrageous in the eyes of the world – let’s face it: the earth thinks through sleeping human bodies – we are its brain molecules? Cyanide kills more than the body – it kills the soul. (That was the first claim I choked on 55+ years ago – though I think I get it now). All these teachings have to be verifiable in some manner – even if in as contingent a manner as this world and our present human condition allow. This drive to verify is tied into the need to keep changing, growing …(and, oh yes, taking responsibility/blame. ..”Is it I, Lord?” – am I betraying you?). And I, a 21st C. doubting Thomas, have received personal verification of Steiner’s claims thousands of times and can never get enough “proof”. To this day, I feel squeamish and my toes curl when someone asks about Steiner. I think it’s because Anthroposophy is a “lived” philosophy for me – it’s experiential, and it always challenges me to let go of the side of the pool if I really want to swim.

    To satisfy Jeremy’s penchant for continuity: Covid-19 may be providing us with examples of where we, mankind, have become so stuck (or in denial, or spinning our wheels). And is giving us more time to think about it. Are we each in this all on our own (which may get us toilet paper but it won’t save us) -or do we use this precious time to connect more deeply, genuinely, challenge denial and gain insight? I do see this happening and hope that if enough of us commit to swimming, the whole may take a step forward. (There’s a mixed metaphor!) And for myself, I’m learning that no matter how individualized a journey it may be, how wonderful it is not to feel in the water alone. Glad to meet you, too!.

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  8. Thank you, Kathy. Yes, that is the incredible good deed of Jeremy that he created a platform where we can meet, whatever crazy ideas or assumptions we may have. [How are you doing Jeremy, with the corona challenge?].

    I would like to add one thought to my previous post: whether metaphor or reality (I start feeling it as reality): the Earth thinking through us during the night; I think nowadays we are aware that, as the Earth Charter (2000) mentions it, we are not alone in our sleep, also in this sense that we are a “community of life” together with the animals, plants and the elements.

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  9. Kathy

    Yes, John, I have experienced, many times – though briefly – that we are participating in a “community of life” with both the “:animate” and “inanimate” worlds. When I’m not busy fighting with God over life being so painful and complicated, my heart melts at the “sacrifice” of spiritual beings who (to my level of thinking) are sacrificing themselves to provide us with a stage for our drama – or school room? Also, at times I wake up knowing I’m engaged in a “dialog” – a communication – that I’m trying to put into words. This morning I woke thinking something like the following: of course ruminating over outrageous, convoluted, conspiracy scenarios is on the increase – truth really is just too much stranger than fiction for some to bear – you know that!

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  10. Dear Steve and all,
    Thanks for your kind empathy, Steve. Your question why I generally leave you out of my responses is indeed the kind of questions I desperately try to avoid. So I owe you a response this time. What I often think to see is that a reaction leads to another reaction which is much more than an answer but rather a demonstration of your knowledge and wisdom irrespective what triggered it. I don’t dislike this or so, as it sometimes opens new perspectives and good humour, but also sometimes lengthy comments completely off track. Which is also OK and entertaining, no problem, I like you too. And Jeremy is our referee so that is in good hands.
    Regarding the Bodhisattva question, Steiner made the statement that he was not it, only in private, according to T.H. Meyer, with nothing but a single oral report and a few people present. And Elisabeth Vreede even did not know about Steiner’s own denial (acc. to Meyer). So her public stand was courageous and it was part of the complexity of dynamics that led to her and Ita Wegman’s expulsion, together with the whole Dutch society. Yes, the looming war was a factor but more factors were involved, including Elisabeth’s strong resistance to sectarianism.
    Dear jaromer John, indeed living with the rhythms is essential and also an element of immunity build-up and maintenance, including the capacity to match unknown viruses. I live in Thailand and I remember from times in Maluku (right on the equator), Indonesia, that even under tropical conditions seasons do occur, in particular small and big rainy season and the dry “winter”; and changes in wind direction over months etc. For the day and night rhythm, it depends whether you live by the minute, the split second, or you follow the sunshine, but if you live in a 24 hour rhythm than day and night are part of one day as is the case for Mother Earth.
    In Thailand we have until now only 64 people who died from Covid-19. But still the whole country of 60 million is under complete lock-down (causing immense suffering among the poor), although this week we start loosening up. This is an enormous achievement of the medical profession which is very good and priding itself here in Thailand. But it also raises questions about priorities; and the danger that authorities (semi-military government) start enjoying their new skills and strategies. Will we live under surveillance for ever from now on?
    This morning I red a lengthy but very well documented and insightful article (in German) of Peter Selg, Ita Wegman Institute, on the “medicalization” under the fascist regime in Germany with build-up long before the WWII, and whether the present global “corona regime” shows similar characteristics or not. Of course, by now we all laugh about conspiracy theories, but as Kathy says, reality may become “stranger than fiction”. So we should allow ourselves to co-create with positive imagination an unexpected new world in which anthroposophy is one of the leading movements.
    If we achieve that at all, it will be thanks to the generation of the grandparents and parents of John and the way our generation churned their pioneering dedication into a more diverse contemporary engaged spirituality which is now being picked up by young people in their own (sometimes completely secular) way. IAO.

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  11. Dear Steve and all,
    Steve may rightly criticize me that I ignored his question about the Medieval story of Barlaam and Josaphat. I learned about it for the first time from the book of Stephen Batchelor The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture (1998). I cannot find the book back now. Batchelor sees it as an early entering of the story of the Buddha in Western, disguised as a Christian conversion story.
    Here is the etext on the recent exhibition on Buddhism at the National Museum in London:
    Nearby is a 15th-century copy of the book Barlaam and Josaphat, a Christian romance inspired by the life of the Buddha, opened to a page with an engraving of Josaphat, the Christianized Prince Siddhartha (whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word for bodhisattva), giving up his worldly life. Printed in Germany around 1470, this story was the Middle Ages’ equivalent of a bestseller, and it saw many translations, including Arabic, Georgian, Hebrew, Slavic, and Ethiopic versions.
    A more recent story of conversion, however to Buddhism, is Dr. Ambedkar, who by this well studied act, started a strategic emancipation movement of untouchables in India. It is very sad to see that the cast division in India plays out again as cruel as before due to the mindless corona crisis lock-down.

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    • Steve Hale

      “It was known that the name Josaphat, Judasaph, Budasaph, is directly connected with Bodhisattva. So here we have evidence of a remarkable connection of a Christian legend with the figure of Buddha. We know that according to the Eastern legend Buddha passed into Nirvana, having handed on the Bodhisattva’s crown to his successor, who is now a Bodhisattva and will subsequently become the Maitreya Buddha of the future. Buddha is presented to us in the legend in the figure of Josaphat; and the union of Buddhism with Christianity is wonderfully indicated by the fact that Josaphat is included among the Saints. Buddha was held to be so holy that in the legend he was converted to Christianity and from being the son of an Indian king could rightly be included among the Saints — although from another side this has been disputed.

      From this you will see that it was known where the later form of Buddhism, or rather of the Buddha, was to be sought. In hidden worlds the union has meanwhile taken place between Buddhism and Christianity. Barlaam is the mysterious figure who brings Christianity to the knowledge of the Bodhisattva. Consequently if we trace the course of Buddhism as an enduring stream in the sense indicated in the legend, we can accept it only in the changed form in which it now appears. If through clairvoyant insight we understand the inspirations of the Buddha, we must speak of him as he actually exists to-day. Just as Arabism was not Judaism and the Jahve-Moon-religion did not reappear in Arabism in its original form, neither will Buddhism — to the extent to which it can enrich Western culture — appear in its old form. It will appear in an altered form, because what comes later never appears as a mere replica of the earlier.” GA 124, 13 March 1911.

      So, what Steiner is saying here is that it is necessary for Buddhism to embrace Christianity at some point in time during the Maitreya incarnations of the Bodhisattva. One of the qualifying factors of this modern bodhisattva is being a teacher of the Christ Impulse working in the world, and we know how much a teacher of this kind was Rudolf Steiner.

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  12. Kathy

    Jaromer-John, I just re-read your last post and had forgotten there was something I wanted to tell you. Forgive me if it’s already known to you. I don’t remember reading it through Steiner – it may be well known to farmers everywhere (not here). In a very dry season when I hated using so much “city water”, I used lots and lots of straw as mulch to keep the moisture in. Someone told me it may cut down on birds eating seeds, too – which I’d never thought of as a problem because I always started with plants.

    And as I write this I’m aware of how riled up I feel reading about Vreede and Wegman. I don’t know much about the Anthroposophical Society as an organization – its politics – but I know how shocked I was to experience the judgemental male-mindset I found when I first started to attend workshops, years ago – in PA and Ann Arbor.

    Whoops!…I know I can relate this to corona, but I’d better not start!

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  13. Dear Steve and all,

    Thank you Steve for the story of Barlaam and Josaphat in Rudolf Steiner’s beautiful version! I had read it before and thank you for bringing it back at the right moment for me.
    Yes we have to co-create and transform our traditions according to the demands of our time and the future. That is also the credo Jeremy formulated for this blog, as I understood, in particular aiming at Anthroposophy itself. The most important step is that we come together across diversity and unite around our common goal. And that we open the borders of fortress Anthroposophy, while recognising the importance of simultaneous in-depth studies for those with special capabilities.
    The story of Barlaam and Josaphat told be Steiner makes me re-tell the story of Sita as earlier referred to (hope it is not too boring; adapted text from wikipedia):

    “(…) The Thai version of the Ramayana, however, tells of Sita walking on the fire, of her own accord, to feel clean, as opposed to being thrown into it (for the fire test King Rama imposes on her after her abduction to the forest in Sri Lanka by a rival). She is not burnt, and the coals turn to lotuses. After proving that Sita is still pure, she returns to Ayodhya to reunite with her husband King Rama. But the citizens of Ayodhya spread rumours that Sita is still impure. Rama as the King has, against his will, to choose for his people and he sends Sita back to exile in the forest with their two children. After 12 yrs he searches for Sita and asks her to come back to Ayodhya. But Sita denies Rama’s plead and requests her mother Bhumi, Mother Earth, to take her inside. Sita unites with the earth and gives her sons to Rama.”

    In this (my?) version the story does not end with the death of Sita but “with the re-appearance of Christ in the etheric”. If enough persons all over the world can feel that we can combat the virus and so much more.

    Thank you, Kathy for your advice to jaromer John, our hero! Working the land at your age, what a splendid wonder!

    Mulching with straw (quite a job as it has to be applied with care) may serve in two ways regarding moist: it prevents evaporation of the humidity of the earth during daytime. And it keeps the dew around the earth in the morning and helps absorbing the moist. That is maybe the moment the etheric body of the earth really gets visible, in the early mist between night and day.

    And that’s what I experience when taking a nap in the hot afternoon (36 – 40 Celsius here) that day and night rotate in my 24-hours self and night is always present during the day.

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    • Steve Hale

      Dear Hans.

      Here is what I find most indicative of your present situation of an active and engaged Buddhism where you reside now in Thailand. It can only have happened because Christ entered earth evolution. Steiner conveys it here in words that cannot be dismissed for the simple reason that they are true. How else could they have been expressed, and especially with all the dynamic action seen, which is so uncharacteristic of the normally sedate and contemplative Buddhists?

      “In hidden worlds the union has meanwhile taken place between Buddhism and Christianity. Barlaam is the mysterious figure who brings Christianity to the knowledge of the Bodhisattva. Consequently if we trace the course of Buddhism as an enduring stream in the sense indicated in the legend, we can accept it only in the changed form in which it now appears. If through clairvoyant insight we understand the inspirations of the Buddha, we must speak of him as he actually exists today.” ref. GA 124, 031311

      This clearly seems to me to be the active engagement we see with the Buddhist movement today, The Christ Impulse has entered, and it only remains to be seen, felt, and cognized in order to make it truly real in terms of personal perception and knowledge. I for one hope it is working, and as you say, the UN charter for Earth Trusteeship since year 2000 is really worth it. I like it. The Netherlands has a huge legacy coming out of the Steiner era. It also experienced the travesty of the German invasion of 1940, which was brutal, and also recognized by us anthro’s today. You see, how do we fathom these things/events today? What seems to make sense is that nothing makes sense. And yet, only because the anti-Christ is still largely not known today, and even by anthroposophical standards.

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  14. Kathy

    Dear All:
    (First, before I forget: Hans, was it Steiner who suggested the straw?)

    I love the story of Sita and see its connection to reuniting with the Earth mother. This is another window on the virus drama. Mankind demands that the Earth, in its material manifestation, continuously prove its abundance and purity – and eternal willingness to serve. So, throughout human history, the Earth mother, and her girls, get exploited, used, and abused. We can’t trash one without the other. Then, periodically, come times of reckoning. In the Middle ages, after the RC Church stripped us of our spirit to bring us under their control, they knew more women than men were apt to be on to them – that women had a better (?) – more direct (?) connection with spirit – or maybe just had more street-smarts and knew when they were being scammed?). So the church had to cultivate the belief that women were inherently more vulnerable to being seduced by demons. By some estimates, they wound up torturing and killing about a million women. Many of those women were older, without men to control them, and had cat companions. So they killed the demon cats, too. So the rats proliferated, and the fleas on the rats, and a third of Europe was wiped out. So – was the bubonic plague the first official act of the “ME TOO” movement? And the probable connection between the warming earth and increased viral activity be another act in this drama?

    Now we have a virus that is testing the way we have been seduced into trashing science and denying the lessons of history. Here where I live, one of the most prevalent conspiracy theories is that epidemics are myths and vaccines are used by the government (usually) – or various cabals, or even aliens – to control us. (It’s only the hippies in the hills who think it’s aliens – most of the rest think it’s more likely to be Michael Bloomberg and the Sierra Club.) I see some possibilities unfolding. This virus just might bring places in a middle-ages time warp closer to the 21st Century. And even more. Is our entire multinational, patriarchal, predatory economy actually being brought to its knees? But, if not, and if we return to the same-old, maybe the next plague will do it. I really get that there’s a point where Sita’s had enough and asks Bhumi to take her inside. But, first, I’ve got a few questions for Pop.

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  15. jaromer

    WOW!! This thread has thrown up some amazing links, connections and free associations. There seems to be a basis for several specialist threads. Sorry I threw in Elisabeth Vreede’s name and caused that to snowball into the fascination Bhoddisatva question. Hey ho, hey ho.
    We are not yet in the 6th Cultural Epoch, and judging by some of the current goings on triggered by Corona, a large part of humanity has somewhat limited culture right now.
    The wonderful 2nd Amendment allows people to ‘bear arms’ and use them vindictively and on e.g. restaurant staff because seating is closed, or guard who applies a state rule about wearing mask in shops.
    It might be safer to modify the Amendment to permit rolling up sleeves and so having the right to ‘Bare arms’
    Unfortunately even in UK where it is forbidden to bear arms, people are being shot and killed. Mostly drug gang business with collateral damage.
    Even before corona there was a lot of anger and anxiety and that is now bubbling up strongly.
    Equally crazy, if less immediately deadly was the town in Northern England , near Manchester (not yours Kathy) where opening a Kentucky Fried chicken drive through gridlocked the area for hours. What sort of culture is this?

    A quite specific situation that is to do with ‘here and now’ ,Never mind the Bhodisattva and the Vulcan incarnation, is the reopening of schools with ‘Social Distancing’. Children are being taught that each and any classmate is a potential source of disease and must be avoided. Instead of building group solidarity and mutual support it is every one for himself and the only safe place is to be alone.
    Perhaps we will be blessed and the emergency will pass before too much damage is done to the perceptions of children.
    I will leave it there for the moment. I would love to join ‘the big boys’ conversation but I fear I am not qualified.
    Oh I cannot resist to mention that German Slaughter Houses are being closed after large numbers of staff get Covid-19. Just like in U.S. Thousands of miles apart the animals are taking revenge.

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    • Steve Hale

      Hi John,

      The Bodhisattva Question goes back nearly two years to where Hans brought it up here in these two installments:

      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2018/09/
      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2018/10/

      So, we entertain it now and then. I personally had the opportunity to translate Adolf Arenson’s two lectures in which he covers all of Steiner’s indications and which caused Vreede to feel the need to come in and deny Steiner being the Bodhisattva, c. 1930.

      Yet, I think the major issue here is you attending Michael Hall school in 1959, and experiencing the influence of Rene Querido. Of course, having parents who teach the Steiner method is also an overwhelming factor. Please remember how you first presented yourself here as a kind of ‘devil’s advocate’, who pisses off the so-called “steinerites”. I loved it. It shows how it can come about that someone is forced into an educational modality that is really not suited to the individuality.

      John, I see you more in the guise of a typical existentialist, although moving to Hamburg in order to maintain a kind of BD garden is really impressive to me. Why would that have happened? Your other comments concerning Kentucky Fried Chicken and America and guns are merely typical of the European mindset today.

      I hope we can continue to talk. Querido came up in a very important blogpost from Jeremy in September 2017, when E. Pfeiffer came to the U.S. in the latter 1930’s, and met someone who claimed to have either poisoned Steiner on 1 January 1924, or arranged it. it was also a glorious conversation.

      Steve

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  16. Steve Hale

    It seems interesting to consider in this new thread about the corona virus working in the world today how the Bodhisattva eschews self esteem and rather works for the populace. In such a regard, I have two names to offer on behalf of same. Of course, Rudolf Steiner is the first. And yet, while it is very interesting to consider Jiddhu Krishnamurti as the other, or even the present Dalai Lama as the other offering, what if it can be shown that Mahatma Gandhi, who reached age 30 in 1899, at the very end of Kali Yuga, was the Bodhisattva? He is a kind of model in that he refused enlightenment in order to serve the people in their quest for a free and independent India. As such, having been denounced and actually thrown off a rail carriage in going to South Africa in 1898, he experienced a kind of ‘wake up call’ at that time.

    Now, here is something interesting. Albert Einstein is known for having said words about Gandhi in his honor. I don’t have the actual words at hand at the moment but they are important. The reason is that M.K. Gandhi wrote a book about his so-called “experiments in truth”, and wherein he wrote about Brahmacarya I and II. In other words, he wrote about what it means to achieve E = MC (2), which Einstein eventually perceived about him. In other words, one can achieve divinity and then sacrifice it for the common good. This was Gandhi in every way.

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  17. Hello Katy,

    In the mornings at Emerson College we read the Agriculture Course of Rudolf Steiner (Koberwitz, 1924) under the guidance of Dr. Herbert Koepff and Matthias Guepin. In the afternoons we galloped from the classroom like cows in spring into the garden for practice. There we learned most. I cannot remember whether Steiner talked about mulching himself, but it is certainly common practice in bio-dynamic agriculture. For various purposes like humidity regulation, weed suppression or soil treatment/protection (surface becomes accessible for worms etc.). Various materials like local leaves litter or straw. Better avoid hay as it will spread grass seeds. Drought conditions of course are an enormous challenge. Dew retention may not be that common but is practiced in desserts (where dew is the only humidity for long periods), also with gravel or boulders. But straw may help already for drought conditions in Europe or USA.

    One thing I liked when re-reading in the Agriculture Course a bit after so many years.

    ” It is not at all a bad thing if he/she who has farming to do can meditate. (…) Think of a simple peasant-farmer, one whom your scholar will certainly not deem to be a learned man/woman. There he/she is, walking out over his/her fields. The peasant is stupid – so the learned man will say. But in reality it is not true, for the simple reason that the peasant – forgive me, but it is so – is him/herself a meditator. Oh, it is very much that he/she meditates in the long winter nights! He/she does indeed acquire a kind of method of – a method of spiritual perception. Only he/she cannot express it. It suddenly emerges in him/her. We go through the fields, and all of a sudden the knowledge is there in us. We know it absolutely. Afterwards we put it to the test and find it confirmed.” “The merely intellectual life is not sufficient – it can never lead into these depths.” (Agriculture. A Course of Eight Lectures by Rudolf Steiner, Ph.D., English Translation by George Adams, M.A., Koberwitz 1924. Edition 1977).

    Later more about angels, bodhisattvas, spiritual leadership, secular spirituality, eco-system restoration and the corona crisis.

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    • Steve Hale

      Hi Hans,

      Here is what I remember from two years ago about your experiences at Emerson College and your internship back in the early 1970’s. You were digging ditches, maybe irrigation ditches, and then seeing this fellow who got to spray BD 501, and feeling the need to sublimate your anger at seeing such a thing. You were exhausted, and yet saw the light around this individual and felt the need to relent. Now, who was this fellow? You actually named him, and maybe he was one of your instructors. I loved the anecdote, and I know and trust that this has furthered your career since then.

      Steve

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  18. Kathy

    Morning All:

    I think it’s critically important, Steve, to grasp a point you raised: there’s a world of difference between knowing E=MC(2) and actually experiencing it…”doing” it. We get seriously lost if we don’t get this. I’d like to tie this in with jaromer-John’s observations about the effects of Covid. This pandemic is stirring up something in me I have struggled with and groused about all my life: that pain, suffering, loss and desperation are built-in as part of the “plan”. Did God wake up one day and wanted an adventure, so He individuated Himself, forgot who he was, and leaped?. And are we the result – God in free-fall – with all the terror that conjures? I think once these physical bodies with physical sense-reading capacities evolved far enough, our trajectory changed and now we’re developing higher octaves of our senses. (I know Hinduism and Buddhism have a lot to say about this.) On a personal level, I think a higher expression of the sense of touch is empathy. And doesn’t Covid seem to be the testing ground for empathy? A developed sense of empathy allows pain – both physical and psychic to flow through – and be experienced by each other. The burden becomes shared. My struggle with God has always been – why does there have to be such a burden? I remember the day I felt so grateful to be able to share someone’s pain – I knew that doing so literally helped her complete an important task. I was crying and thanking God – when I had a thought: WAIT A MINUTE! – if You can take that pain in her and put it in me – WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST STICK IT IN THE GROUND? – SEND IT INTO SPACE?…AREN’T YOU GOD?

    Recently – I believe in relation to efforts to cope with/understand Covid and with what’s happening today in myself, neighbors and patients – I’ve had some thoughts that seem to be a response to my old peeves. The thoughts consist of something like: Do you ask Rembrandt why he’s not a musician? Do you ask a sculptor why he gets his hands dirty? This is your art form – DO IT. I think it may be that this life we’ve collectively created and perform, is our art form. And it includes all that is being stirred up with Covid. It’s giving us a highly-charged opportunity to grasp the lesson: WE are creating this, I am creating this. And we resist it with all our might – with denial, anger, conspiracy obsessions, demonstrations with guns, etc.

    I can envision teachers having their students stand feet apart but learn to focus more fully on what each others’ doing – maybe create an interactive dance from eight feet away from each other. Maybe with masks and flowing robes??? Could a eurhythmic (sp?) approach actually come to public ed? I already see both patients and neighbors more wiling to cut to the chase in so many ways – reprioritizing their lives and assumptions. Some old ways of judging and taking things for granted are loosening. What’s happening with my garden is an example. Also, some neighbors have suggested I get a gun because there might be looting – but if I don’t, I can “always call” them. Also, a young mother who lives up the road told me she’s afraid about what’s going to happen when the meat in her freezer runs out. I suggested she get some dried beans and rice and I’ll bring seasonings and show her how to make something “as good as meat” for the kids. I didn’t tell her about the 25 lb bags of beans and rice, etc. in the attic that my sister and I bought through the coop over the years. I’ll save that for if we really need it. But if Covid keeps doing its job, I may be l having folks eating falafel burgers yet!

    So, take heart, jaromer-John. I can almost see me sitting around a camp fire with neighbors – telling stories of my grand old Hippie days when Joan Baez and Mahatma Ghandi convinced me to stop eating meat and wearing leather shoes!!!

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    • Steve Hale

      Hi Kathy,

      I think I get your drift about knowing something through thinking/reasoning, and then “doing it”, as you say. Yet, what if it can be shown that Einstein really got the drift about Gandhi having achieved a measure of E = MC (2). Here is a more drawn-out explanation, and for you having the beans in the attic, it is worth writing it out.

      Einsteinian Relativity In the Light of Gandhiji

      It is said that Albert Einstein had difficulty in tying his shoes, and that he wore five suits of the same variety so that he wouldn’t be confused. It took four years to confirm his General Relativity theory, and the observation of a total solar eclipse served as the proof, c.1921. The equation, E=MC 2 appeared in 1915, after 10 years of applied thinking relative to his Special Relativity formula, which had analytical math attached to it. Einstein forced it into being through his intense efforts of thought. And it was given in a spark of insight, chalk on a blackboard, in a dream. E=MC 2, as the formula for General Relativity, serves to denote our self development in the earth sphere of evolution.. On earth, light speed is degraded two powers below the absolute (C). This can be proven by the resistance that plays on nerve cells within the psychophysical system of man, thus creating the condition called Entropy.

      Einstein is noted for a famous quote about Mahatma Gandhi. He says words to the effect that “people will only gradually come to realize the significance of this man and his work”. Well, Gandhi revealed a very important fact about himself in his autobiography, “My Experiments in Truth”. In it, he indicates that he hated himself and his life. He felt that he was a mere pawn of the British education he had received, and desperately sought a way to combine his Indian roots with the Christianity that he had heard and read about in England. And when he returned to India, by way of South Africa, i.e., 1914, where he came to realize so much of the brutal inequities of human life and treatment, he had experienced a change; a profound change that precipitated a course of action that is clearly outlined in the book. Therein, he gives two chapters to the process known as, “brahmacarya”, or self-purification. In fact, they are entitled, Brahmacarya I and Brahmacarya II.

      What this leads to, experientially, is called, ‘Saguna Brahman’, according to the Advaita Vedanta of the Hindu spiritual heritage. In scientific terms it means: achieving the balance between opposites in the human psychophysical system. In Fourth Way language it means: establishing permanent center of gravity, or Level 4 Being. This, in fact is what Gandhi achieved. And it guided all his efforts toward a free and independent India. What is most remarkable is the fact that he could have, at any time, attained to what is called, ‘Nirguna Brahman’, that would have freed him from all earthly bonds. But he didn’t take this route, instead fighting for Indian independence and its realization. Thus, in thinking about Einstein’s great homage to Gandhi and its meaning, it seems to confirm that Einstein really didn’t understand his own relativity theory at all; yet, he saw its realization in a human being. And Gandhi was this realization, as far as achieving Saguna Brahman is concerned. Squaring the speed of light is meant for the human being who seeks to achieve it. Gandhi was able to raise the speed of light to the first power, via his efforts of brahmacarya. He conscientiously eschewed the second power (nirguna brahman) because of his destiny of achieving a free and independent India. He gave up something that he could have easily achieved because of his love for his people and mankind. And that makes him someone of great importance to the 20th century.

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      • tonmajoor

        In 1901 Gandhi also travelled to India. “It was in the year 1900 [30 years of age] that these ideas [on Brahmacharya] underwent a radical transformation, and in 1906 they took concrete shape.” (Gandhi, Experiments)

        Click to access An-Autobiography.pdf

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        • Steve Hale

          Albert Einstein said of Mahatma Gandhi that: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” A deceptively simple man, Gandhi overturned the greatest Empire the world has ever seen. His country, India, was regarded by the British as “the jewel” of their Empire. For centuries they had held it by the force of arms. But the struggle for Independence from the British “raj” was won by a struggle, led by Gandhi, which used the power of peaceful non-cooperation.
          http://www.universalrights.net/heroes/gandhi.htm

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  19. tonmajoor

    For Steiner (1922), in the age of the asuric force and of the ‘demon of the earth‘ (Sorat) intellectualism was a fundamental problem. The French Revolution with her three abstract ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood was ‘the most significant expression‘ of the age of the consciousness soul so far, but also ‘the lowest point‘ of intellectualism:

    “… the most significant expression of the intellectualistic age [the age of the fifth post-Atlantean culture] so far [1922] has been the French Revolution, that great world-wide movement of the end of the eighteenth century. … Only consider that the French Revolution, in the way it manifested at the end of the eighteenth century, could not have been possible previously. For prior to those days human beings did not seek full satisfaction on this earth with regard to everything they were striving for. You must understand that before the time of the French Revolution there was never a period in the history of mankind when people expected everything human beings can strive for, in thought, feeling and will, to find an external expression in earthly life. … The fundamental character of the French Revolution itself was the endeavour to found a social environment which would be an expression here on earth of human thinking, feeling and willing. This is essentially what intellectualism seeks, too. …. The French Revolution comes at the lowest point (see sketch), and from here onwards things had to start moving upwards once more.” GA0210/19220319

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    • Steve Hale

      Steiner indicated in many places in his lectures that the 18th century ended the last measure of the instinctive wisdom that was traceable to the ancient heritage of the old clairvoyance. With the advent of the 19th century, abstraction replaced instinct, and intellectualism caused everything to be questioned anew. Goethe was the last remnant of the old etheric way of thinking. It is very fortunate that Rudolf Steiner got to study him intensively as a young man.

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    • tonmajoor

      The intellectualism of the consciousness soul is about the individually isolated (CW 127) or emancipated (CW 346) intellect under influence of the sense impressions (CW 145). It was activated prematurely by Arabism, and according to Steiner it lost its spiritual content most of all in the eighteenth century, the age of enlightenment that ended with the French revolution

      “Men began to live their conscious life in those forces of the soul only, which are directed to the sense-perceptible. Blunt indeed became the powers of Knowledge for spiritual things — most of all in the eighteenth century. The thinkers of humanity now lost the spiritual content from their Ideas. In the Idealism of the first half of the nineteenth century, the Spirit-empty Ideas themselves are represented as the creative substance of the world.” GA026_c28.

      “Arabism, entering into the spiritual life of Europe, held back the souls of men, in Knowledge, from the Spirit-world. Prematurely it brought that intellect into activity which was only able to apprehend the outer world of Nature. This Arabism proved very powerful indeed. Whosoever was taken hold of by it, was seized by an inward — though for the most part quite unconscious — pride. He felt the power of intellectualism, but not the impotence of intellect by itself to penetrate into Reality.” GA026_c27

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  20. Kathy

    Steve, I was not questioning your suggestion that Gandhi was a walking, talking, loving example of E=MC(2). I was referring to that tightrope we walk between the abstract and “lived experience” when we try to understand and communicate our lived reality. Maybe it’s better put in oriental terms – we beacons of western cognitive processes often miss the subtle shifts and wind up engaging in the practice of “cognitive splitting” (yes vs no; black vs white, cause vs effect, God vs man, infinite vs finite, etc). That is, of course, we get trapped in the double bind of dualism and wind up making our lived reality an abstraction. We become the walking dead in our thinking. Steiner was big on us understanding this.

    As you probably know, oriental wisdom teaches us to avoid this pitfall by examining our thought processes as we think and as we engage in the “conditioned origination” going on in our thinking. This is demonstrated beautifully in the practice of Chuan Tsu’s “Four Negations”, and even more fully in Nagarjuna’s Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra. As you know, the Sastra makes clear that we find ourselves in a continual, living contradiction – an impossible “double-bind” in psych-talk. There cannot be both a finite/relative world and an infinite/absolute world because then, the absolute world would be relative to the relative world.

    Now let’s look at the virus through the “Four Negations”: (1) Covid-19 is not “this.” (2) But It is not NOT “this”. (3) But it is not BOTH “this-and-not-this”. (4) But it is not NOT “both-this-and-not-this.” No joke, Guys. Semper topic!
    .

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    • Steve Hale

      This sounds very abstract to me, but that is okay. I like it. I like how everyone writes in their own individual style, and I admit to grokking the ponderables and imponderables all the time. For me, it is placing and keeping the third force in perspective all the time, and this helps in resolving the dualities. Good example that you gave was Empathy standing between sympathy and antipathy. That is a great resolver. I admit to keeping more of my comments impersonal and not anecdotal. Steiner was like that. He would even apologize before making a personal remark.

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  21. Kathy

    I know it sounds abstract to you, Steve. That’s because we persist in marking the steps but not entering into the dance. To enter fully – engage fully – we need to engage all three functions: we need to FEEL ourselves in free-fall, KNOW it’s happening and WILL ourselves to spread our wings and fly. I became conscious of this when I read the Penmaenmawr lectures (1923). He spoke of the fact that in regard to the will we are asleep and we live in an age where man is in danger of losing our connection with the spiritual world. Grasping this threw me into free-fall. Everything in me revolted against it and for the first time I had a brief experience of WILLING myself into engaging/seeing into the (or “a”) Spiritual world…rather than falling into it haphazardly.

    I’m thinking Covid is precipitating a sort of global sense of free-fall. I see people putting aside defenses at a rate I haven seen in 50+ years. But also, it’s a repeated shock to my system to see how many people are rejecting/denying its presence among us. Over the last few months I have spoken with (I can’t believe it) colleagues – specifically, a physician, a chiropractor and a nurse – who think Covid is “all blown out of proportion”. They, along with so many others, just want things to “get back to normal”. Back to the familiar, every day life: the world of materialism – where the laws of nature work the way they are supposed to.

    But we really can’t count on the laws of nature any more, can we? Not if the spiritual beings who have maintained them for us until this age are relinquishing responsibility to us – and we are in danger of losing our connection with the spiritual world. My personal “growing edge” is to let go the heartache of all this – to stop rebelling against the struggle – just spread my wings.

    And that’s what the “Four Negations” mean to me, Steve. Not an abstract puzzle. Steiner said that the Eastern Initiates understand this better than we do. They recognize the road turning back on itself which allows us to enter into the worlds beyond the senses.

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    • Steve Hale

      This is all very well said, and I did get beyond the seemingly abstract puzzle. That is what it means to grok on things. As well, marking the steps does not mean that one is not also in the dance of actual experience, or “lived reality”, as you say. Yet, we have moved well beyond the “Four Negations”, which is merely an intellectual exercise in futility. The reason it still applies in antiquated usage is because since the midpoint of the 19th century the human race has gone into a kind of decadent retrogressive period, which obviously still exists today.

      But, a spiritual step forward also took place at that time. We humans became perfect replicas of soul and spirit in our heads. Yet, the price was a kind of densification in the physical body, which also caused concomitant results to occur in the etheric body (contraction), and astral body (division). Thus, a kind of retrogression now exists in which materialism is the god of our senses and its brain-bound logic. So, indeed, we need to both forge and fly our way out of this situation. That is why I continually refer to spiritual science as the absolutely necessary educational imperative of our time. The relativity of it all is that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. The better analogy would involve human beings.

      My approach to spiritual science involves the thought processes in which inward intensity is amplified in order to reach the pure thought world itself. This essay from Ronald Milito gives an excellent reminder of Steiner’s “Intermediate Path” to enlightenment through Exact Thinking:

      Click to access intermediatepath2.pdf

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      • tonmajoor

        The intermediate spiritual path is described extensively in Steiner’s phenomenology course (CW 322). Paradoxically, we have to refrain from all thinking in order to experience what pure sense perception and thus what exact thinking is. We have to:

        “… exclude and suppress conceptual thinking from the process of perception and surrender oneself to bare percepts. … isolate the phenomena from everything conceptual. … absorb percepts unelaborated by concepts” GA0322/19201003

        “… the soul-spirit must again unite with the physical organism by consciously grasping the physical body … just as in emerging from the body we carry the ego with us into the realm of Inspiration, we now leave the ego outside when we delve again into the body” GA0322/19201002

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        • jaromer

          The difficulty of ‘isolating the phenomenon from everything conceptual’ is almost impossible in ‘normal life’. I took part in a group exercise attempting to become aware of the experience of the pure phenomena. No one could describe it. The best result was to no more than NAME the phenomenon but in most cases there was already JUDGEMENT.
          However, the experience of ‘the bare percept’ DOES occur in the fraction of a second before it is named or judged. The problem is to HOLD that experience. The joy of perceiving something of beauty, or disgust at something ‘not’ , for example, changes as soon, and it is all too soon, that the percept is recognised and/or judged.
          The fleeting moment of pure perception corresponds with what Owen Barfield called ‘Participation’ in his book: “Saving the Appearances”.
          (well worth a read.)
          Personally I experienced a time of ‘soul blindness’ when phenomena were clearly ‘seen’ but did not reach ‘me’. That was during depression.
          The restoration of that ability to experience the moment of ‘pure perception’ is something that I treasure and can use as a test of my mental state. Thus I am repeatedly aware of whether a flower, a cloud or a tree branch moving in the wind ‘speaks to me’ or not.
          Extending the ‘pure percept’ moment is another matter. However, the contemplation of Moving Water, waterfalls, Flow Form fountains, or simply the movement of a stream around an object , can help me to move out of judgement and naming and to allow ‘something to happen’ .
          That is just my experience and it may not be specifically related to ‘free perception’ but to ‘self hypnosis’ or even a form of ’empty mind meditation’.

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          • Hans

            Dear Jaromer and Ton,
            I learned that it is is no need (and that can be exactly what distracts you) to “exclude and suppress”. Just acknowledge judgement is part of the bundle of perception and gently concentrate on the phenomonen again with the judgement present in the background and fading out. What counts is the length of the experience and relaxation, while once “you got it” direct experience can come back in each split second.

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            • jaromer

              For me the contemplation of moving water allows that withdrawal and letting go of judgement and relaxation . Most other ‘things’ tend to be too strongly attached to their concepts to allow the restoration of ‘pure percept’.
              As to Judgement: Christ Jesus said :’Judge not that ye be not judged’, Mathew 7.1. And I sort of recall that ? Rudolf Steiner suggested that 90% of judgements are unnecessary and most of the rest are wrong- so better to avoid judgement, (unfortunately no Chapter and verse )
              What IS interesting is that I, like most other humans, find that I have made a judgement before I am aware of doing it.

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              • Steve Hale

                The thing about phenomena is that it exists in order to be aligned with a twelve-fold system of sense perception, and in its original formulation contained both supersensible and sensible parameters. Then, it divided off for the purpose of separating noumena from the underlying phenomena, and wherein we humans began to be sequestered in the latter. Yet, only a kind of counter-earth could have caused such a division in the first place. Without it, there would have been no reason for such a division. Thus, the goal was to create the so-called, “fall of man”, into the realm of phenomenal appearances in order to bring about a higher striving and attainment. We are in the midst of this striving right now. Without it, there could have been no extension and expansion into a future Jupiter, future Venus, and future Vulcan, which we have in our sights.

                So, indeed, judgement becomes a kind of “bane of our existence”, but only because phenomenal appearances have been added to the mix of what was once seen as pure perception of a divine existence. In other words, the “human all too human” was added to the mix in order to achieve the higher product. And we are now consciously contemplating it. John, you make an extraordinary revelation when you say:
                “What IS interesting is that I, like most other humans, find that I have made a judgement before I am aware of doing it.”

                Yes, indeed, and this has been noteworthy throughout this thread, and especially with your use of ‘all caps’ in places, as well as your own personal appellation as being a kind of “devil’s advocate” against the Steinerites, even as you admit to being a young student of the circle around Rene Querido, c. 1959.

                All good stuff, John, and maybe especially because you live now in Hamburg, Germany, which could be your biggest testimonial to the advocacy of the Science of the Spirit.

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              • Yes, that’s exactly the difference between an enlightened person and amateurs like myself and most students on the spiritual path: awareness comes before judgement for the enlightened, while we have to clear out our judgements, habits, paradigms, emotional attachments etc. before we really can be aware. ‘Pure percept’, thank you for that. Being aware of awareness helps strengthening it. Thinking about thinking? But as you say, jaromer, the movement of water, and for me, the waves of the sea, and the threshold to infinity opening by the seaside horizon naturally clear up much routine thinking and perception. Do you think ‘pure percept’ strengthens immunity?

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  22. Dear Anthropoppers,
    These days I have to really focus on writing a paper for the (online …) conference Private Rights for Nature in Amsterdam, 4 – 5 June 2020. One of the things I try to include is a reference to Comenius (1592 – 1670) who lived the pinnacle of his life in Amsterdam. Comenius was a member of the Bohemian Brotherhood and a Rosecrucian. He is considered the “father of modern education” and was a co-founder of the movement called Pansophia. One of the things I discovered was that Rudolf Steiner came across the works of Comenius in 1916 (I mentioned Steiner’s quote on Comenius in my guest posts of which Steve Hale kindly provided the links earlier in this thread), while working on the “threefolding” concept which morfed into the Waldorf school movement later, by means of a book of Fredrich Eckstein. Frederich Epstein was an good friend of Steiner in Vienna around 1890 and probably the person who introduced Steiner to the Rosecrucian circle around Aloys Mailaender in Germany. This group still exists under the name of Pansophia and, after the mandatory 100 years of secrecy, they now start releasing information on their members and students at the end of the 19th century. Including about Rudolf Steiner who may have met his Master M. in this context. (A book will be published soon with a chapter critical of Steiner).

    Anyhow, in November 2020 an international conference will be organised at the occasion of the 350st year of the passing of Comenius titled “Comenius and Pansophia: Search for System, Method and Harmony of All Things”.

    Later Steiner, while designing the new Anthroposophical Society, complained that the Theosopical Movement had been a sect but he, maybe much too long, had clinged to it. But the re-consititution of the Anthroposophical Society should now (1923) avoid this sectarianism … which it did not achieve and we still are trying to get rid of the ballast …

    M.K. Gandhi met with Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant in London as early as 1889. Gandhi did not want to became a member as he disagreed with secrecy. However, Besant and Gandhi worked together intensively in the Indian independence movement. But Annie Besant kept distance from Gandhi (1919) once he started preparing his non-violent civil disobedience movement. Steiner unfortunately seems to have met only colleagues in Europe and was not comfortable in contacts with any Asians …

    If these four spiritual leaders: Rudolf Steiner, Krishnamurti, M.K. Gandhi and H.H. the Dalai Lama (and others) would have known each other better and worked together (beyond time differences through their students) … And we are still following our respective THE Bodhisattva of the 20st century it seems …

    Two points Steve raised: the “etheric body of the Earth” experience was in the Dominican Republic with Mark Feedman, my teacher spraying 501. I cannot remember anger, but yes, I did not have a good chemistry with Mark (USA), although I learned a lot! And the Earth Charter https://earthcharter.org/ and Earth Trusteeship https://www.earthtrusteeship.world/ and https://earthtrusteeshipplatform.org/ are two different things, though connected.

    In Thailand there are since the day before yesterday NO new cases of Covid-19. Yesterday I saw Trump pulling in the military in his Task Force aiming at the (“compulsory for those who want a job + surveillance chip injected under your skin”) vaccination of the whole world by December 2020, January 2021 latest. Did you mean that with anger, Steve?

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    • Steve Hale

      No, not at all. Who has time for such a reaction in the light of enlightening measures such as your current engagement. Maybe I should have merely posted what you wrote on 6 October 2018, because it was so impressive:

      “My second personal experience related to the subject came at the age of 39. Location: CREAR at Rio Limpio, Dominican Republic where I did my Emerson College rural development internship. I learned more than ever in my life in that period. I did not have a good relationship with founder and leader of CREAR Mark Feedman and working in the garden (with passionate “double digging”) in the tropical climate was hardship. One day I observed from a distance how Mark, he liked to do things on his own, sprayed the land by hand with the 503 cow manure preparation. Suddenly a strong golden glance arose from the soil and I “heard”: “this is my body” … I experienced something happening which earlier had fascinated me and had explored as transubstantiation…”

      Now, is that true about Trump and the mandatory corona vaccine + surveillance chip by December 2020, or were you just trying to stir up Kathy?

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    • Steve Hale

      Dear Hans,

      I would like to get serious for a moment and say a few things. I know you work hard and steadfastly for peace and harmony throughout the world, which is being crushed today by this specious corona virus, with its worldwide implications. I also know, and can appreciate what it means to be a Buddhist working in the world for peace and harmony based on active engagement. So, I also can appreciate what might appear as a kind of rigid and dogmatic anthroposophical christology, based on Rudolf Steiner, which says that Buddhism converts to Christianity at a certain point in time. Based on fundamentalism in the so-called ‘Christian religion’, Buddhism as an alternative can be considered a “breath of free air”, if you know what I mean. So, yes, Steiner is guilty of his own dogma in proclaiming that there is/was a point in time in which Buddhism should accept Christianity based on the Maitreya incarnations.

      Steiner spoke here in this lecture from the Karmic Relationships about how both Francis Bacon and Amos Comenius after they died continued to work in order to bring two German historians to earth in the 19th century. Bacon sponsored Leopold von Ranke, and Comenius was instrumental in bringing forth Friedrich Schlosser to the world scene.
      https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA236/English/RSP1974/19240412p01.html

      Steiner did speak in places about Rabindranath Tagore, and his influence, which seems to be very encouraging. Tagore was also born in 1861. And, as well, we have other candidates for bodhisattva, who worked diligently and faithfully in sacrificial service for the cause. Two names come to mind immediately, i.e., Aurobindo Ghose, and Ramana Maharshi. I wrote about them as well in my little book, which referred to Gandhi’s experiments in truth, which impressed A. Einstein so much.

      So, I think I was only trying to keep you in the loop in our discussion and encouraging you to respond, which you did, very thankfully. I know you are still busy with all you do. I did go back to Sept/Oct 2018, and reviewed your guest posts for content, and they are a highlight for this blog, as well as the commentary.

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  23. ininsoi

    I have been enjoying reading all the comments above as the weeks have rolled by and have learned a lot in the process. Thanks to all who have taken the time to write down their thoughts and thanks to Jeremy for coming up with this platform.

    I have much compassion for all the suffering going on worldwide (a few times I have felt almost overwhealmed with grief) but at the same time feel a kind of optimism based on a perception of the long-term big picture.

    As Bob Dylan sang in the 60’s, ‘the times they are a-changin’.

    They were a-changin too about 3,000 years ago when we are told there was a human incarnation of Lucifer, most likely the Yellow Emperor, in China. I’m guessing it had to have been a traumatic experience for the Chinese population of that time but in the end there were many benefits for humanity; music, art, agriculture etc.

    I’m working on cultivating a similar perspective on this present traumatic and Ahrimanic event. I think there are going to be many positive effects in the long term, most of which are impossible to discern with clarity from within the constraints of everyday present reality.

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  24. Kathy

    Ininsoi: Thank you for affirming there is a way through the grief to the realization there are wondrous benefits in everything that’s happening. I am so resistant to Ahrimanic influence I even balk at signing up for the “like” thing at the bottom of every post. So here it is: LIKE!!!

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