Letters to the Editor
Re: SouthernCrossReview Nr. 74
A very happy new Year and pleasure and success in whatever you are doing. And Thank you for Southern Cross Review, it is always a pleasure. This time there was the article on music that I already announced to a musicologist who might be interested. All the best to you and yours (I loved the Magi story!)
Why all the naked women?
Actually, there is usually a “naked woman” only on the cover page. I would, however, call them artistic representations and celebrations of the female body, which have become a kind of signature for Southern Cross Review. [Editor]
Re: The Tao of Color
Really excellent work! The clearest refutation of Newton's theory I have come across. The article should be required reading for all physics students.
Re: Evolution and Music For the moment I have read quickly parts I and II but have difficulty in reading part III (the words are in a vertical line). As I am not a music historian I cannot say if what Kieth Francis has written is accurate or not but I find it highly interesting.
Michael Dawson (France)
Re: The Imposter Magi
I always enjoy stories about the three kings. But there is something special about this one, involving town politics, local color and a careful dose of wisdom. I love the Dad's answer about the southern cross. And what a gift those Las Chacras' magi brought to the children! The story didn't fail to transport me to the Argentina of my childhood and left me thinking, savoring the images. Someone said that the best stories keep coming back after you read them. Yours does that. Thank you for such a refreshing take on Los reyes magos.
Re: Why Waldorf Works
Dr. Regalena Melrose's article, "Why Waldorf Works - From a Neuroscientific Perspective", is a fine piece of writing that appeals to the reader in ways that are clear and convincing. Dr. Melrose is to be highly commended for writing this wonderful article, and for her encouragement and endorsement to seek ways to improve child education based on the latest findings of brain development.
An adult educator at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, I have studied Rudolf Steiner's works for about 36 years, and have also helped educate hundreds of Waldorf teachers about Rudolf Steiner's life and his exact spiritual-scientific methods of research. Being familiar with Rudolf Steiner's way of working - he called his research "spiritual science" - two statements in Dr. Melrose's article seem slightly misleading, and are thus painful to read. I realize that Dr. Melrose supports Waldorf education, and that she does not intend to disparage Rudolf Steiner's contributions in any way. To her credit, Dr. Melrose praises Rudolf Steiner's "theory" of child development as proving to be "correct" - that is, current brain research finds many of Rudolf Steiner's insights invaluable through verifiable scientific study of brain development.
However, Dr. Melrose's article conveys the mistaken impression that Rudolf Steiner was not working "scientifically." She directly states that Rudolf Steiner could not have "known" what he was doing. Instead, she assumes he was merely forming "theories" that only now, through current brain research, can be "proven" to be correct. The statements pasted in below in red, excerpted from Dr. Melrose's article, convey this unfortunately limited point of view. Dr. Melrose seems to bias her conclusions toward the current scientific paradigm - using expensive electronic instruments to remotely sense and "verify" correspondences between brain activity and cognitive development in the growing child. Indeed, this approach is bearing some results. However, it is a mistake to assume that it is the only "sure" way to determine these correspondences. Rudolf Steiner's approach has born valid fruit through Waldorf for over 92 years - well in advance of current brain research. This seems significant.
Another approach Dr. Melrose could have taken in her article would be to pose the question, "How did Rudolf Steiner observe the child's cognitive brain development so well that he could prescribe a healthy path of education for the growing child? How did Rudolf Steiner know, 92 years ago, what modern science is just now recognizing as the stages of brain development in the child? Did Rudolf Steiner merely form "theories" that now "prove" to be successful? Or rather did he employ an exact method of spiritual research whereby the content of his observation was not dependent upon modern technology, but rather on developing his organs of soul and spiritual perception properly and using them to draw forth insights?
Please forgive me if these comments seems pedantic. Dr. Melrose's article is a resounding endorsement of Waldorf education. But the 'mood' or 'stance' behind Dr. Melrose's statements do not do full justice to Rudolf Steiner's significant contributions, not only to education of the growing child, but also to the scientific methods he employed. Rudolf Steiner's methods of research are far in advance of those employed through remote sensing technology presently used to measure brain activity. The expensive machines currently used to 'sense' brain activity are not at all superior to the 'spiritual sensing' techniques Rudolf Steiner employed. He systematically trained and extended his own sensitivities to be aware of subtle perceptions that most of us overlook. He perceived the remarkably sublime spiritual and soul activity playing into the brain and body of the growing child. He perceived how the brain serves as a 'mirror' and instrument of the soul and spirit's own activity. Rudolf Steiner could perceive this activity and understand exactly the stages of child development and the approach to education that will be most fruitful for the child.
These spiritual-scientific perceptions were the basis of his "observations" of the growing child. He was not 'guessing' or following lucky 'hunches' when he prescribed the Waldorf approach to education. The fact that Waldorf education has grown over the past 92 years and is gradually being recognized by mainstream educators is the 'proof' that Rudolf Steiner knew very well what he was doing. It would be tragic for all those who have benefited from Rudolf Steiner's contributions since 1919, when the first Waldorf school was founded, if the world had to wait for current brain research to provide the sole basis for healthy education. Even current brain research has to be placed within the context of understanding the human being as an organism of body, soul and spirit, if it is to become helpful in prescribing paths of education.
Once again, my deep thanks to Dr. Megalena Melrose and her very wonderful article. I hope these comments might be helpful anid stimulating in writing and publishing future articles. Blessings on your work!
Director, Foundations in Anthroposophy Program
Rudolf Steiner College
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Regalena Melrose replies:
I couldn't agree with Brian more! what a wonderful alternative way I could have written the article...as he rephrased so perfectly in his fourth paragraph.
Thank you for bringing this response to my attention.
All the best,