“What is the chance that one guy who died in 1925 would have stumbled across the last word in education?”
asks a commenter on a forum. She goes on to say how just enough information is provided to satisfy mild curiosity, no more.
This comment is useful in explaining what Steiner followers believe and how they share or hide these beliefs from outsiders.
Most of the people who write articles in national newspapers advocating biodynamics, or who buy biodynamic produce, or who think it is a good idea to support free school applications, usually have very little or no knowledge at all about the belief system they are supporting. If and when some of the details begin to reach their ears, they are already conditioned to accept some of the less bizarre notions of anthroposophy, by people adept at painting it as a “philosophy”, or (as used last week locally) a “new way of looking at nature and the human being”.
It was new 100 years ago, and probably seemed just as crackpot then as it does now.
When it is suggested to people who join in that anthroposophy may not be something to support, they either immediately dismiss the idea as ridiculous or do some cursory research and then announce that no-one today really believes what Steiner said, and that today’s Steiner organisations should not be tarred with the same brush.
Admittedly it seems far-fetched; grown adults in the UK who spurn science and history and turn to Rudolf Steiner for wisdom.
But yes, they do. And in the opinion of the anthroposophists, WE are the unfortunate ones, the poor fools who do not know that Steiner was right about everything (including the gnomes). They are superior because they understand this and we do not. They have seen the light, we have not.
The comment above helps to illustrate how anthroposophy is indeed alive and well, but is difficult to spot with an untrained eye.
The schools would not be called Steiner schools and under the direction of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship if it were not for the fact that in every school there are influential people believe that Rudolf Steiner was a genius and clairvoyant.
There would not be 60+ acres of biodynamic farmland in Stroud if those who make a living from it did not believe in the cosmic forces and magic rituals Steiner spoke of in his lectures.
The countless therapists dishing out and charging a fortune for eurythmy, rhythmic massage, and anthroposophical remedies to helpless camphill residents and college students would not be flocking to ply their trade if they had not spent time studying Steiner doctrine..
Kindergartens where the teachers are so fully versed in Steiner’s alternative view of child development that they will only allow certain kinds of toys, the same stories told endlessly, and certain paint finishes on the walls. It is not just because someone there thinks these things are nice, it is because of specific guidelines in the Steiner creed on what is suitable for children at specific stages of spiritual development.
As the commenter remarks, Steiner followers often say, “the stuff is out there”; the books and lectures are available to anyone. The problem is that it is hard to credit that there really are people today who take it seriously.
In Stroud there are many, very many. They run the 40+ business I have listed.
Look carefully and you can identify who are the anthroposophists at the centre, but often those who buy the biodynamic produce and send their loved ones to camphill or to kindergartens and Steiner schools, are not privy to this information at the beginning and have no idea what is driving businesses such as Tablehurst Farm referred to in the Telegraph, or Ruskin Mill in Stroud; at their heart is a belief system where Steiner’s occult versions of science, history and human nature are “truth”, where people with learning difficulties (or often behavioural problems in the case of the schools and colleges), labour on the land to produce biodynamic carrots, are routinely sent to anthroposophical doctors where they are treated according to the way these doctors view their condition as “karmic“, and where they are persuaded to pay for anthroposophical “therapies” which have no scientific basis.
The deception is practiced efficiently by a group of people who know that their future depends on hiding their creed from the world whilst at the same time using it on vulnerable people in society.
Why are the 40+ business listed not known locally to be Steiner? Because the movement prefers to keep a low profile; more people would start asking more questions if the extent of the Steiner influence here were fully known.
They just want the support ; they don’t care that the support comes from people who have never heard of their belief system, and would thoroughly disapprove if they did.