Concerning the History of the Anthroposophical Movement

41 Responses to Concerning the History of the Anthroposophical Movement

  1. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just read about physical/spiritual gravity and find it an engaging way of setting forth the predicament of mankind.

  2. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just read the story about the space ship and have reached page 30. The story was, as human history is, is gripping and how you imagine ‘The Turning Point of Time,’ is both ingenious and apt!

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      Dear Christopher, I am both very grateful and embarrassed. But most important for me is to know that my imagery has not misfired. If you still have interest and patience to read on you’ll encounter two more fictional stories in the text, one closer to the end, and I wonder how they will fare with you.

  3. Christopher garvey says:

    Dear Ilya,
    I am looking forward to everything that comes!
    I have just read about Steiner’s early beginnings as a speaker, teacher, editor etc. I recognise that I spent many years trying to understand his way into the spirit. I am sure it strengthened me. I realise how valid and timely his contribution was and at the same time I realise how different my own approach to the spirit is, which is neither scientific or philosophic. (though both of these approaches have contributed much to my inner formation)
    To-morrow I will read your next literary piece. My appetite is whetted!
    P.S. 1. I realise I am not sure what you meant by the idea that ‘Events only occur in the human sphere’ ( yesterday’s reading) It felt as though there was more behind this statement than I could grasp.
    2. When you spoke of Christ planting a seed were you thinking cosmically of the earth as a whole or more of the individual soul.

    • Iiya Zilberberg says:

      Dear Christopher, many thanks again for your comment. As to your questions I couldn’t identify the passages in my text to which you refer. I couldn’t find the wording you quote in question 1. Can you please refer to my words exactly as they are in the text or/and to the page on which they occur. Thank you.

      • Christopher garvey says:

        Dear Ilya,
        Here are the two quotations:-
        ‘What Christ planted in Man as a seed of His Own Being not only saved him from imminent death, but allowed him to accomplish his mission and to become a divine being. But it did not change him as such, or put him on the right course, or even avert him from the wrong one’ (page 25-26)

        Clearly I can see you were referring to the human soul. However the idea of seed planting I find more fitting in connection with the planet as a whole. In my understanding Christ was helping us awaken to our true idea which was conceived by The Father and realised by Jesus. We have the potential of remembering our Christhood/Higher Self having forgotten it through identifying with the physical body and thinking materially conditioned thoughts.
        We shall begin, though, by placing in the middle realm not events, but the main culprit responsible for them, Man himself, of whom it can be said that “all events were made by him; and without him was not any event made that was made” page 27.

        • Ilya Zilberberg says:

          Dear Christopher, in response to your two questions I would like to combine my answers to them into one, if I may. It all comes down to the context. The main subject of that part of my narrative is Man and his evolution, and it is in this context that I speak of Christ and His deed. As to “the events” I also limited myself to some specific ones of which I said clearly, for instance, at the top of page 27: “By drawing two lines (below) the author invites readers to stretch their imagination still further and follow him in his exploration of the events constituting the subject of his discourse.” Going beyond that wasn’t my task or objective.

  4. Christopher garvey says:

    Ilya, thank you for your comments.
    I just read your story about the clock, the woods and the islanders, very intriguing!
    P.S. have you ever thought about offering your material to New View in installments? It might go down well.

    • Iiya Zilberberg says:

      Thank you Christopher for your advice re New View. In fact it has been implemented in a way. In the Autumn 1914 issue they published an extract from my book, while I was still writing it, as an article under the title THE ORIGIN AND ESSENCE OF THE THREEFOLD SOCIAL ORDER. But they published only the first part of what I made as a separate article THE THREEFOLD SOCIAL ORDER which I placed on this website. In the introduction to it I explain why they refused to publish the second part.

  5. Christopher garvey says:

    Dear Ilya,
    I have been reading with interest your description of the unfolding of Anthroposophy through Steiner’s endless activity. I think you manage the task well. I was particularly interested when you describe the two aspects of Steiner, Rudolf Steiner – the man and Steiner the spiritual scientist. You show well how his every day personality functioned using ordinary human faculties of judgement while,Steiner the scientist when engaging in his spiritual science, employed the new supersensible faculties. And I believe you say how such a differentiation is important for the unfolding of a truly human society. Is that Right?

    • Iiya Zilberberg says:

      The existence and coexistence of these two aspects – purely human qualities and special gifts and talents – are interesting in every human being. Particularly in such an individual as Steiner. What I said in this respect in my text was not my specific objective but was dictated by the course of the narrative. And I am very glad that you saw in these passages something of a universally human significance. Thank you.

  6. Christopher garvey says:

    Dear Ilya, thank you for your very clear exposition of the 3 fold social order.
    I feel better just having read it!

    • Iiya Zilberberg says:

      Thank you so much dear Christopher – it is very rewarding to hear this. This subject has preoccupied me for many years and my work on it turned out to be of use to other people as well – what can be more rewarding!. The editor of New View found my exposition of the subject the best in the English language therefore he published it (see my earlier response to your comment). I had a number of good responses to that article and the most rewarding was from a fiend who after studying the threefold subject for fifty years understood it properly only now, after having read my article.

  7. Christopher garvey says:

    Dear Ilya,
    You have no doubt noticed my lack of engagement recently. it is nothing personal. I have suffered a stomach ‘flu which completely knocked me for 6 and I lost all rhythm to my reading. I will now be carrying on where I left off.

    • Iiya Zilberberg says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this Christopher.Please get better soon.

      • Christopher garvey says:

        At last I returm to your beautifully written and detailed account of the Anthroposophical society.
        I just read your piece on Israel in connection with the 3-fold social order.
        You open my eyes a little to the great mystery that Israel embodies.
        I need to mull over this for a while. So many questions!

        • Ilya Zilberberg says:

          I’m so glad this theme attracted your interest – It’s very close to my heart. If you have time and interest, there is this article on my website, The Threefold Social Order, with some background personal details related to this theme.

  8. Christopher garvey says:

    I will look further at your article Ilya.
    I was interested where you said (page 84) that in the 2nd half of the 19th century the the term ant-semitism was coined and it became the banner for an ideology which was based on a view of the Jewish people as being ‘physiologically, intellectually,and morally inferior as a race.’
    Novalis called the Jewish people in his Hymns to the Night ‘too soon mature,’ which hints that they were actually in advance of other peoples. As I remember Steiner bears this out by describing how through Abraham the new intellectual faculty made its appearance on earth. This as I understand it bestowed on the Jews a possibility of development that was not there before. Hence the divine decree to keep the blood of the people unmixed so that the new faculty had a chance to take root. Certainly the Jews have to be recognised as the most culturally creative race that has ever been so far. (Perhaps that is why their destiny was to be spread over the earth so that all could benefit) So as well as being culturally gifted as a race they were also very strong individuals. That is to say the went through an Ego development as a kind of pilot project on behalf of the whole. . It is hardly surprising that the world shadow was jealous of the cultural fruits as well as infuriated .by the degree of individual self-consciousness the people developed.
    So the idea of the Jews being inferior seems to me to be a complete inversion of the truth.

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      Apart from the development of human ‘I’ and thinking their main mission was to create and provide the physical body for Christ. Hence the strict requirements concerning the purity of their blood, not mixing with other peoples, etc. As the Jews stuck to these requirements over millennia, in Diaspora, this of course only added to their persecution.

  9. Christopher garvey says:

    The mission of the people of Israel was to be the race that enabled the Redeemer to be born on earth. So the faculty of knowing, both earth and heaven was vital. The Christ event had to be as it had to be. A tragedy (The crucifixion) that turned into a comedy (the resurrection).
    Steiner spoke of Anthroposophists as being the ‘chosen people’ of our time. Of course self-chosen. but again a group in which the intellectual faculty should become spiritualised opening the doorway to the Higher Self through the spiritual gift of Michael (The angelic force enabling us to direct the mind heavenward) and Sophia. (its wisdom-filled content)

  10. Christopher garvey says:

    I wrote something apropos your article on the 3-fold social order and placed it after your notification in the reply box.

    I have always had an intuition regarding one of the previous incarnations of Steiner. but have no idea as to whether it is actually true or not. I will share it with you and would like to know what you think.
    I have always seen Steiner as a leader of the old Jewish nation, Moses to be precise. Moses who brought the 10 commandments balanced by Steiner who wrote the philosophy of spiritual activity. (Freedom)
    Moses who just failed to experience the promised land. And Steiner w ho prophesied the 2nd coming of Christ but died before he could witness it on earth (1933) Steiner who spoke of this time as a reverse Abraham time.
    When I think of the Arab race that descends from Abraham -Hagar how they also received intellectual strengthening and the power of cultural unfoldment, specifically modern science, through their taking up of the philosophy of Aristotel. Aristotel who is recognised as being one of the previous incarnations of Steiner who later transforms into Thomas Aquinas the philosopher par excellence of the Catholic church. And how he then becomes Rudolf Steiner, The SPIRITUAL scientist, who then brings the teaching of reincarnation and karma and becomes the prophet of the 2nd coming.

  11. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just read your descriptions of the Waldorf Movement, Science, Religious Renewal, and Medicine.

    One question arose for me regarding your description of the process of separation of art science religion from one another as well as morality. You spoke of this as being a necessity as well as having a purpose . What was the purpose and why was it a necessity? Was it to do with the Mystery Centres closing down? Was the purpose of this to enable the new faculty of knowing to become their new basis and point of integration? Was the new morality of insight stemming from the spirit to create the new ground between them as well as revealing their common root? It is as though the activity of knowing included all the different mysteries in just one : epistemology. Is this how you see it? Is this what anthroposophy teaches?

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      I called this separation “an evolutionary necessity”. It can also be called “an evolutionary inevitability” (the Mystery Centres closing down was part of this process). I see its “purpose” in general terms of our human evolution at this stage – for man to become an individual, even at the expense of other important things. Then, at a higher level, having found the spirit, he starts his conscious building and rebuilding work. That is what we are supposed to be doing now. Yes, you are right: the new morality is grounded in the spirit. I’m afraid the question of epistemology will take us too far for this exchange. Sorry.

      • Christopher garvey says:

        ‘ having found the spirit he starts his conscious building and re-building work.’ There is so much lying in the words: ‘having found the spirit!’

        Thank you for your answer. I am sure on your website you tackle this issue more directly. Clearly a historical resumee of Steiner’s work is not the place. I am very grateful for the thoroughness of all your research and the manner in which you help the reader meet Steiner, keeping him human despite his super-human endeavors.

  12. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just experienced the tragedy of the burning of the Goetheanum through your text.
    what a terrible trial.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  13. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just arrived at the re-founding of the Anthroposophical society.
    The dramas following the burning of the 1st Goetheanum are themselves searing.
    I have not fully understood the predicament of the insurance money. Why would Steiner only allow this to be used on the re-building and no new donations?
    You describe his sense of hopelessness at the state of the different national societies. What was it about the consciousness of those responsible members that made things so difficult? Was there a common feature and if so what was it?
    If there were not enough souls able to enter the spiritual life and so carry society matters in a spiritual way would it not be wise to take the time necessary to see what the souls themselves are requiring for their own growth? Are they not also an expression of the spirit of the age in a time of transition, albeit in its shadow form?

    Ilya, I do not expect answers to all these questions.
    I share them with you as they arise in natural response to your words. And it may take another book to answer them!!

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      Dear Christopher, thank you for your continuous interest, for careful reading and insightful questions. You are right: to answer them properly might take another book. And knowledge and years of study. But I’ll do my best within the limits of my possibilities.
      I don’t quite understand your question about the insurance money and new donations. Can you please refer me exactly to the passage where Steiner or I said that the latter shouldn’t be used for the re-building.
      You second question re anthroposophists encompassing in fact several questions, I can only answer succinctly, as I understand it. Of course people are what they are and they need time to become better persons and especially to develop spiritually. But their destiny put those people in the situation, very specific and difficult, which objectively required certain qualities and actions which they ‘couldn’t deliver’. You asked for ‘a common feature’. If there was any it was their inability to decide what their tasks should be in that situation.

  14. Christopher garvey says:

    ‘Another constraint imposed on the design and construction of the building was
    financial. Steiner insisted that the actual building cost should not exceed the sum
    paid by the insurers and should not consume other funds and donations which would
    be badly needed for the aforementioned anthroposophical activities and for the
    running of the Goetheanum. The solution seemed inevitable: “So we shall have to
    restrict ourselves somewhat.”
    This seems to be putting a limitation on the idea of what would be forthcoming for the new building and seeing this apriori as taking away from contributions to the activities and the runnning of the Goetheanum itself.

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      I think it’s the other way round: “putting a limitation” was “on the design and construction of the building”, i.e. they should be within the budget – the insurance money. That was the intention. What happened in reality is a different matter. Of course the insurance money turned out to be insufficient for the re-building and other funds/donations had been used.

  15. Christopher garvey says:

    I have just read your recounting of the events making up the re-founding of the Anthroposophical society. I must say you have given such a comprehensive and flowing description of events that move the heart to its very depths. Thank you. I did read accounts of this event years ago but I am so grateful for the way you have integrated them all into an account that allows one to feel the majesty of the moment.
    So, thank you.
    As a young man it was always a source of pain to me that Steiner described his students as not really ‘getting it.’ I felt I had joined a society that had already failed in its task! I would feel guilty for the mountains of misunderstanding which Steiner had ‘suffered’ over the years. However, I was not really sure where the misunderstanding lay and so was unable to put it right within myself. There was a mood of deep and chronic failure among Anthroposophists for which there seemed to be no remedy.
    The consequence of this resulted in 3 basic attitudes which were generally adopted in the society by different groups in order to help cope with such a sense of failure.
    1. One attitude which I encountered was to push the difficulty away and carry on as if it did not really exist. Strength was afforded to this cover-up by an enormous sense of pride in being a member of such an extraordinary esoteric society where occult information on every aspect of life was readily to hand.
    2. Another attitude was adopted by those ‘in the know’ who really knew what had or rather had not happened in the society and stood on another level than the rest and were able to judge them from their superior point of view, which the ‘philistines’ could never comprehend. (this was the group that I was most closely allied with)
    3. The 3rd attitude I believe was the result of a certain British pragmatism ( I am just talking about the AS in GB) which basically took the view that the society was there as a kind of caretaker, to look after the fruits of Steiner’s research, and to enable members of the public who sought it out to gain access. This went along with a kind of deification of the man, who was so extraordinary that no-one could follow in his footsteps & woe betide any individual who broke ranks and showed himself spiritually creative for this was tantamount to blasphemy!
    As you know I spent my working life developing the art of speech. Over the years I gradually got a sense of what might have been the real issue with the society.

    Thank you again for your very vibrant and living account of the re-founding of the Anthroposophical society.

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      Thank you very much for your appreciative words. On my part, I find your comments most interesting and educational – thank you so much. You speak of something – of “3 different attitudes” – which is completely new to me. It can’t be otherwise because from the very beginning I was an outsider and those who were my friends or with whom I was in contact had never spoke of these matters. But it gives me more reason to appreciate what you shared with me and other readers and be so grateful.

  16. Christopher garvey says:

    A key question that arises for me as I read on about the the re-founding conference is: what is meant by ‘The Spirit of the Goetheanum’ and how do you work in it’s spirit?
    Perhaps it was experienced as more truly Michaelic for members to take away the question rather than be given any guidelines or answers. The danger of such an approach is that the question, which is pointing to something profound, specific and unique in the Anthroposophical contribution, may remain as a vacuous exhortation without content.

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      Your “key question” I also consider important and it also arose for me at the time of writing, but I never addressed it properly. To explain why, I have to give some personal details.
      As I intended my work to be fully comprehensible to non-anthroposophical readers, I had to present not only anthroposophy in general, but also its various contributions in such specialised fields as medicine, agriculture, art, education, etc. For this I studied these contributions from their original source (Steiner) to sufficiently grasp them to be able to present them and make comprehensible to others. All this was to serve as a background before I could go into what was the essence of my discourse. I reached this transitional stage when I suddenly had a heart attack. Then – five years of being in and out of hospitals, with various surgeries and complications resulting for me in a considerable loss of blood, weigh and, most importantly, strength and energy, which changed everything.
      I felt that I had neither energy nor time to finish my work. However I decided to persevere even if I manage to work only occasionally and producing only a few words at a time. But I also had to change my priorities and the way I work. I had to concentrate now on my anthroposophical readers especially as the theme required it anyway. And I had to choose most essential aspects of my very complicated subject and tackle them as economically as I could forgoing all my former plans and intentions. Thus, piles of my copious notes remained untouched as there was no question of working with them – I could only manage what I was able to bring forth out of myself at the time of writing (reading had to be limited to the most essential material).
      Thematically, the first victim was Steiner’s economics. When expounding the subject of The Threefold Social Order, to which it belongs, I didn’t have time to develop it properly and decided to do it later. But now I gave up on this limiting my intention to a footnote reference.
      Then, coming to the stage at which you are now, the Christmas Conference, I had to give up my intentions of giving my own detailed presentations of such important subjects as the Foundation Stone Meditation, the Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, the Karmic Lectures, the Archangel Michael as our Time Spirit and His School and some others. Your “key question” belongs to this category and, like all of them, remained just mentioned. I couldn’t do leave it out because of its importance for Steiner and in the context of the Christmas Conference. Nor could I, or can I now, explore it and explain its meaning. Sorry.
      Nor do I think it is “a vacuous exhortation” as its meaning can be ascertained from what Steiner said about the Goetheanum, though in different places and at different times. But I very much appreciate the fact that you are not afraid to challenge Steiner!

  17. Christopher garvey says:

    Again it is most inspiring to read of Steiner’s ideas concerning the two main events occurring in the 20th century,viz: The Second Coming of the Christ and the reuniting of the Aristotelian and Platonic streams at the end of the century. The latter descriptions touch me deeply, the former has much less said about it, perhaps because Steiner did not speak of it so much. The way you or Steiner describe it: ‘ It consists of some spiritually developed individuals meeting Christ in the spiritual world and being fully conscious of this meeting while in their current earthly abode,’ seems too limited to me as this event contains cosmic and individual forms of expression as it seems to me
    I believe this appearance of Christ in the etheric world can be experienced and expressed in so many different ways; it is truly multi-faceted. I will write to you privately to share some other perspectives.
    Regarding the comment I made 17th November regarding ‘How to work in the spirit of the Goetheanum’ I realise that if the meaning of this lights up in the soul- a great leap forward is made in one’s Self understanding. This call is itself a call to initiation. To exhort people to work in this spirit begs a lot of questions!!!

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      I placed my reply to your previous comment and then I read your present one. I think – if we are seriously seeking it – each of us has to find his/her own meaning of the Spirit of the Goetheanum. What I found for myself at this stage is not mature enough to be shared with others. And I don’t feel I have enough resources at present to develop it further.
      As to the Second Coming you are right that comparing with other significant events Steiner didn’t say much about it. I can think of some reasons for this but don’t wish to speculate on such serious matters. I agree with you absolutely that “this appearance of Christ in the etheric world can be experienced and expressed in so many different ways; it is truly multi-faceted.” As to who and how can have this direct experience, I’d like to refer you to our two contemporary anthroposophists, Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon and Judith von Halle, for whom the Second Coming, apart from their personal experience of it, is the major event of the 20th century – of our time in fact. They say much more about it than Rudolf Steiner did, and with much more exaltation and pathos. It is that rare occasion when Steiner is not the only source of ‘information’. It is up to us of course what we do with it.

  18. Christopher garvey says:

    I was so sorry to read the endlessly intense strenuous path you have been through since the heart attack. It seems to me that in a strange way your work has been curtailed somewhat similarly to the situation of the society you describe. I must repeat I am grateful for the opportunity before I die to read through this historic overview as it helps me enormously re-cognise what I invested my life’s path in for so many years. Any for-shortenings due to ill health work on me in an awakening fashion in any event!
    So, thanks!

    • Ilya Zilberberg says:

      It is only now that I discovered your comment of 21 November. Many thanks for your appreciation of my work. And I am so happy that it has been of some help to you!

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