Letters to the Editor
Dr. Mr. Smith, Thank you for translating and posting online Steiner's Esoteric Lessons. I have been reading the new book edited by Meyer (Steiner Books), and while I am finding it quite enriching and moving (as well as wonderfully perplexing) I feel like something is missing. I began researching the lessons online and found your PDFs, and I am amazed at how much more is in your translations than in the Meyer book. So, thank you--that must have been a lot of work. And I am also grateful you didn't give in to the pressures of the Steiner police and those who do not give people the spiritual credit they deserve in terms of being able to handle the lessons or finding them potentially harmful. The world needs anything it can get in the way of spiritual lessons and your work, I think, is a wonderful addition. I would love it if you published your translations in book form--maybe you have, or are planning to. I am much interested if you have or will. Thanks again. Peace, Jenn
Jennifer Angelina Petro
Thanks, I agree with your arguments. I asked permission to read them and to appoint a ‘reader’ to me, as there is no representation of Dornach here in Curaçao, part of the Dutch Kingdom. I am a member of the antroposophical society in the Netherlands, so the administration tried in vain to find a reader here on the island.I know Laurine van Hoevel, who has been part of the body of students in Bergen, Holland, several times, and she lives 6 months per year on the isle. The board in Holland agreed. She knows German and has the German texts, and I have the Dutch translation, since I do not understand German. So, with all permission from the ‘authentic organization’ we meet on an irregular base and read/study/meditate the classes. She reads two pages in German while I follow it in my Dutch copy, and then I alternate and read 2 pages in Dutch and she ‘controls’ this with the German text.Now, for what the meaning, effect of it. I listen, read, write the mantra’s in another notebook without intellectual understanding, but with a profound interest and appreciation and let it sink in to several layers of subconsciousness. I feel it enriches me, not only for this incarnation, but also for the next one(s).
Happy New Year,
I think you’ve got this one right Frank. I have friends who are serious esoteric students of Anthroposophy, one in particular who is somewhat outraged by publication of the class lessons (not by you – its been done before). I am also a serious esoteric student of Steiner's, but substantially less advanced than they (or pretty much anyone else). There was a significant esoteric power inherent in the lessons and the mantras and the meditations. That is now gone and was probably so for some time before any publication. I think it started even in Steiner’s own lifetime. There’s a lecture somewhere, I recall, when with palpable exasperation when so many of his members and students were disclosing stuff they were specifically told to shut up about ( I would surmise about previous incarnations etc. of individuals, particularly
themselves) and he expressly released everyone from any promise of secrecy and that he would have to find a new way of working with the class(es). Yeah, about then it would have been. I call it spiritual fraud and you still see it from time to time. That mystical demeanour conveying the clear implication of a spiritual stature or depth which really isn’t there. It can be regained just by hard work and that’s why they are still precious and I will use them for the rest of my life. But that ‘assist’ is no longer there. And yet there is still a lot of material that awaits discovery. Check out what Ernst Katz was able to elaborate out of a little meditative verse quietly and humbly tucked away in “Verses and Meditations” where it sat, badly translated and untitled other than “For Sickness..” I owe my life to that verse. I have another friend who has recently obtained access to the class lessons electronically receiving them with alacrity because it would be impossible otherwise and he uses them for their intended purpose- as a tool. Everything RS gave should be treated that way and never left in the intellect. I’ll know I’ve reached that point when the phrase “Steiner said”.. drops out of my vocabulary.
‘Onya Frank. Keep up the good work.
I would like to express my enjoyment of the Southern Cross Review made available each month. What I enjoy the most is the eclectic collection of topics. I always find something that sparks my interest or curiosity. With regard to the Apologia included in the most recent edition of the review, I appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback to your expressed position on the matter. I wish to first say that I am a member of the Anthroposophic Society (Northern Rivers Chapter) and am also a First Class Holder. I do agree with your point that it is up to the individual to bring forth the esoteric quality of the mantras in their readings. I also believe that participating and doing this within a group of others (other class holders) intending to do the very same thing amplifies the intention. Given that possibility, it again is up to the individual to resonate or not to that amplification of the esoteric quality. I find the group experience provides a greater quality to that moment of awareness within oneself as to our deeper nature. This I believe, was Steiner's intent as well. The question as to whether or not something is lost in the esoteric message by publishing the mantras, I do not believe that there exists a diminished quality to the intent of the esoteric quality of the material itself. However, I do believe that making the mantras public in a larger sphere of people can create confusion, misinterpretation and can invite public criticism to the material in itself. Seeing critical reviews of Steiner and his works on the internet is one example of this development. Creating the potential for more of this does not serve the collective in my opinion. The judgement comes forth from not taking the time to understand what Steiner was saying. It comes from ignorance. To begin understanding Steiner through the First Class lessons forgoes the necessity to work with other materials from Steiner including his four fundamental texts. I cannot see how anyone can grasp the intent of the First Class Lessons without reading the four texts first and having an experiential understanding of them. True, not all people that access the lessons are naive of Steiner but I believe there exists more than those that are not. Because of this phenomenon, I believe that there exists a greater potential of criticism of Steiner's work. The way I see it, it is not that publishing the mantras takes something away from the lessons or their esoteric quality but rather creates something that was not there before. Society is not an unbiased reviewer of Steiner's works. Steiner at times challenged many different groups and will continue to do more of this the more prolific his materials become readily available on the internet. In our Ahrimanic times of internet and immediate gratification, I see a correlation between accessibility of thelessons and the rebuttal of or rebuking the intended esoteric quality of the lessons. In this day and age, I support those that preserve or hold the intention of the spiritual quality of any esoteric work, Steiner related or not. It is far too easy to say that something is dated or lacks meaning without understanding the material on a deeper level first. The internet is one such vehicle that seems to create more judgement and also creates a blur between truth and fiction. I understand that you are not taking away something that exists of Steiner. I also understand the rationale you maintain in your right to do publish what is already being made available elsewhere. Yet, the more judgement there is about something, the less appealing it is to those that might have been interested in it. In a day an age where we seem to lose our spiritual qualities within the collective consciousness of humanity more with each passing year, I believe it is more essential to hold what is sacred or spiritual in a space that is exactly that, sacred and spiritual. To preserve what is sacred as sacred so we as humans do not forget what in fact is acred. This will become a stronger impulse in the future and this preservation will become more important than what it may appear to be today. I believe that anything that works towards preservation serves the evolution of humanity. In these times, humans seem to need more tools if we are to evolve to becoming a planetary society. Having access to the tools can be a good thing if we can first know how to use them.
Thank you for your time and your passion.
I always start my Writing & Literature classes at a local community college with "The Second Coming". I first ask the students to guess what year the poem was written, then I ask to give their take on what the poet was getting It is a wonderful poem, an example of what Wilde could have produced in large measures had he only used his talent for his life and his genius for his art.
If Southern Cross Review is going to engage in US partisan politics, then it is time for me to look elsewhere. Poor fuming Tom Engelhardt. If he had any sense, he would have realized that the problem with the Donald, the real problem, is that he is merely a symptom of the utter fraud and failure of the 2016 election. In a vast field of unspeakable, unmentionable candidates (but I will have to mention the Hillary, she who can match Dick Cheney in duplicity and socio [sic] -pathology), DT was found by the greatest number of people to be the least reprehensible. Hillary cheated Bernie out of the primary (not that Mr Tom finds anything worth mentioning in that), and the laughable Tweedle-Dees & -Dums among the Republican candidates made even Geo H.W. Bush look like a statesman and man of vision. While raging Tom is blathering about DT's oil energy policy, he conveniently forgets we had 8 years of the Barry who never once, ever, came up with a comprehensive energy policy, dilly-dallied for a year about the Keystone Pipeline (and good distraction it was, because while the protesters were pleading him to act, the oil companies were surreptitiously, with White House approval, building out the rest of pipeline network far from the attention of the liberal media and the protesters). Why doesn't Tommy boy mention that? Obama tried to bribe various nations during the previous Copenhagen global summit to ensure that no meaningful steps were taken against carbon emissions. Obama approved BP drilling in the Caribbean again, even after Deep Horizon. How is that for an energy policy?! Maybe Tom was cheering on the destruction of Libya and the near destruction of Syria by our "progressive" president of Barry. At least now we don't have a Hillary leading us into invading Iran or provoking a nuclear exchange with Russia. As for global warming, there are learned, respectable scientists (not TV actors like Bill Nye) who have valid objections to the idea of anthropogenic global climate change. S-Cross-R would do us all a greater service by providing a platform for a fair and open debate/discussion about such alternate points of view rather than giving space of tantrum-throwing lefty like Engelhardt. Finally, since we presume that Anthroposophy is a guiding light by which we view the events of the world and spirit, I would have appreciated SCR giving space for persons who have both inner emotional balance and spiritual insight to provide a reading of current events not inflamed by fear and hysteria. In how many places has Rudolf Steiner pointed out that what happens on the earthly plain is a reflection of events long underway in the spiritual world. It does not take a genius to see that the USA (and I believe the European nations as well) have been entering into a cultural and spiritual decline for decades. I believe the readership would profit far more from hearing from voices who could speak to that.
And then, I find these lines from Frank Smith himself: "And why not two such articles if the American people elected a psychotic puppet as president by means of an antiquated undemocratic electoral system? We will continue to go after Trump until he falls even deeper than his starting point." Pray tell, dear Frank, which presidents have not been duplicitous, pathological lying puppets, most of all: Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan.... "an undemocratic electoral system" well Frankie, baby, you had, after the fraud of Al Gore losing, 2 times 8 years to vent your spleen on the Electoral college. What has that to do with Trump? Yes, Frank, you may "go after Trump", because you obviously have nothing constructive to contribute from down there in your Argentine hideaway. Talk is cheap, so have at it, mighty Thunderer!!
Allow me to say it again: the publication of the two heavily one-side polemicists of Chomsky and Engelhardt was a mighty disservice, even insult to the readership.
An excellent article and as always good questions by Barsamian and good evaluation by Chomsky. It does give some glimmer of hope if the EU can turn its boat around - certainly the US can't, it's too late for that.
Right, now that really is enough childish Trump bashing. You can cancel my subscription, thank you.
RE: Prospect ParkI read both scenes. I'm hooked. Thank you for venturing onto forbidding waters!
RE: The Norwegian MenaceThe coalition govt that has been in power for four and a half years after being reelected last fall includes the far right Progress Party with its blatantly racist and xenophobic positions and policies. They've been busy dismantling all benefits for the needy and making the rich richer.
They look to the American Republican Party as a model for their own. Most of those fascists happen to be female -- so what? I'm sick and tired
of seeing all those American media reports about Norway (including Michael Moore) where this crucial point is always ignored. The way things are going, Norway will soon be Little Trumpland. Why is this never ever mentioned? The Washington Post has called migration minister Sylvi Listhaug Norway's Donald Trump. In many respects she's a lot worse! And the finance minister and FRP party leader Siv Jensen is just as bad, robbing the poor for the benefit of the wealthy. Fear of foreigners, immigrants, aliens is keeping them in power, and those who fear aliens are being robbed as a reward. Sounds familiar?