This is a personal story, only related to Steiner matters in a roundabout way. Rather self-indulgent you may say, but just one more brick in my anthroposophical wall. Sometimes I write posts I don’t publish for various reasons, but I feel the need to share this one.
I have enjoyed reading Sam’s books for about 10 years. I started with Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith because of my interest in religion and how it affects people, then went on to subjects I wouldn’t have read about otherwise, like free will, morality and lying. Then I was introduced to other writers he worked with on his podcast and read their books too. I still do.
I listened to the podcasts and read Sam’s twitter account, even though I don’t have an account of my own, it was interesting to see what he tweeted about, without having to put up with becoming a target on social media myself.
Then something strange happened and I began to feel he was talking to me personally. I used to drop off to sleep sometimes during the podcasts because listening to his voice had a soporific effect. I had to try to go back to the place I had last been awake!
Anyway this went on for months, until I really thought certain tweets were directed at me and he was trying to tell me something. I even wondered whether he was trying to get my attention for clandestine purposes! But why me? And why carry on so long when I hadn’t responded? Why all the secrecy? Then I thought maybe he was petitioning someone on behalf of a friend who was hoping for some kind of encouragement, through twitter. I also considered the possibility he was specifically offering me or some other person (for clearly someone was the intended recipient of the rather odd messages) a job; he had advertised for a kind of personal assistant to promote his work and organise his diary. The only reason I could think of was that I once wrote a post mentioning Sam here about how atheists are targeted for the purposes of silencing them and for revenge. Scant reason, I know, but that’s what I thought at the time.
So I said to my husband “You don’t mind coming to New York if Sam Harris offers me this job do you?” He said no, he wouldn’t mind. He even said he would make me omelettes for supper at the end of a long day.
I never did apply for that dream job. Unsurprisingly I didn’t really have the right qualifications. Mostly I have worked in retail and catering, which is entirely unrelated to being a PA for a world renowned author!
In the end I e mailed my phone number to Sam asking him if he would explain things to me. What was there to lose? Either my message would be ignored as just another crazy person messaging a famous author, or he would get in touch and explain what was going on.
I never heard anything back of course; Sam must receive hundreds of e mails every day, a lot of them from crazy religious people, I suspect.
If I had been right and there had been something to explain to me, I feel sure I would have had a reply, because Sam is a trustworthy person. I know this from his book “Lying”; he has a reputation for being honest and truthful. Whomever was the intended recipient of the messages, I know he will have explained to that person in the end. I gave up reading twitter and listening to the podcasts after that, since it was clearly having an adverse effect on me! I think I would be an easy person to hypnotise, in the right situation; a horrible thought.
In the book Sam explained how there are different types of lying, including by evasion, omission and by commission. He also explains very well how much happier we would all be without telling lies, even white lies, and how he does not lie himself. He says;
“To speak truthfully is to accurately represent one’s beliefs” page 4.
“The intent to communicate truthfully is the measure of truthfulness” page 5
“Honesty is a gift we can give to others” page 8
Steiner people would do well to remember that. During the Steiner free school application in Stroud a lot of truth was withheld from parents looking for answers.
One quote I find is particularly applicable to the Steiner movement;
“Some [lies] entail elaborate ruses…” page 5.
The anonymous person who wrote the quote I include on the front page of this blog says that “…all the food, the banking, the schools, the medicine only exist to support and further [anthroposophy].”
That is indeed, an elaborate ruse.