Footscray City Primary well rid of Steiner “education”
October 30, 2011 23 Comments
Every word and gesture in my teaching as a whole will be permeated with religious fervour…
Such things show us that instruction and education must not come from accumulated knowledge…
What we have educated in children very naturally in a priestly way – what is really a religious devotion – we must now be able to reawaken at a higher soul level during the second stage of life…
Rudolph Steiner The essentials of education pp. 65-69
I can scarcely agree with Jewell Topsfield writing in The Maribyrnong Weekly expressing concern that parents “… at Footscray City Primary have been left reeling…” after the Education Department moved on Thursday to sack the school council and dump the First Class cult driven Steiner (or Waldorf) “education” program. But then maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because Topsfield inexplicably misleads her readers with:
… the Steiner stream, [which] emphasises learning by play rather than formal classes in the early years of school.
Ah, the “early years of school”. And who could fault “play rather than formal classes”? But is that really what’s going on in Steiner’s secretive descendent program? In brief Steinerism (Anthroposophy cult) propagates the belief that human evolution marched on with survivors from a doomed and fictitious Atlantis who inexplicably made it to other continents.
Generations survived through Persian, Greek and Egyptian civilisations – or epochs – eventually into Germanic tribes which, maintaining their Atlantean heritage culminated in the early 20th century with the Aryan civilisation as the pinnacle of human evolution. Those that survived with Atlantean heritage have largely spiritual forces of body and soul that must be “reawakened”, or developed “in the right way”. It is here that Steinerism as a belief system, a religion, and Steiner Education become inseparably entwined.
In one of his Practical Advice to Teachers lectures Steiner offered:
The subjects you teach will not be treated in the way they have been dealt with hitherto. You will … have to use them as a means with which to develop the soul and bodily forces of the individual in the right way.
Steiner teachers don’t so much reject other races, as pity their clumsy inferiority. Asians whilst ancient and wise are vitiated and cannot invent anything. African races are improperly formed, youthful and childlike. How this goes down in history or biology class – or the “narrow homogenised way of teaching” – as one Steiner parent suggested I can only guess.
Childhood development must follow an analogue of evolution as it’s viewed by Steinerism. That this is done by teaching only further blends the mystical aspects with the purported educational aspects. Steiner Cult teachings divide childhood development into 0-7, 7-14 and 14-21 years.
Thus the “early years of school”, as Topsfield so innocently puts it, is also the “second stage of life”. Whereupon the little darlings should be “able to reawaken at a higher soul level religious devotion” that cult members have drilled into them “in a priestly way”. Of course this is no run-o-the-mill reawakening. Each of these stages is under the influence of either the animal, vegetable or mineral Kingdom. Directed by the Principles of thinking, feeling and willing. Controlled by one of three body parts – head, chest and limbs.
But please spare a thought for the cultists cum teachers who must juggle this with the three Aspects of the human being – body, spirit and soul – which are further sliced by thrice into astral, etheric and physical bodies. Just as well they are experts in the art of Spiritual Science. Or rather Steiner Spiritual Science. I don’t want to get out of tri-sequence here.
On top of this they must accept that conventional science is rubbish, homeopathy is real, diabetes is treated with bee stings because, “anthroposophically logically” honeybees like sugar, the body has energy channels and fields (akin to chi, meridians and chakra) that are treatable through more pseudoscience. They are influenced by karma which comes into being by Lucifers’ effects upon their astral body. Lucifer then evokes Ahriman who effects from without, “working upon and in us by means of all that confronts us externally”. Reincarnation is real.
With all this on their mind, teachers appear to forget to inform parents of Steiner’s key revelations that he could encounter a super-sensible reality. This super sensible chap was behind ordinary objects in the world but as “a so to speak divine being” could give Steiner knowledge acquired about these everyday objects. This knowledge was, most fortuitously, secrets of their activities and existence previously revealed to the super-sensible reality. Steiner seemed to take this in his stride and later ascended through etheric and astral consciousness, eventually arriving at the karmic level.
The karmic level must be even better than the Eureka Skydeck because from up there Steiner saw an amazing spiritual panoramic view including all recorded spiritual events in the history of the whole wide world. He probably couldn’t believe his luck, and it turned out this history had a name. The Akashic Records. Akashic is Sanskrit for “Sky” or “aether”. Through these records he could access the known history of the earth. Not his “known history” but the real known history. There were some other nifty tidbits in there as well it turned out, gleaned from clairvoyance. If anything trumps scientific fact, it’s clairvoyance.
With clairvoyance “Anthroposophists can scientifically investigate mysteries in both the spiritual and physical realms” – and this is scientifically proven, not an article of faith according to Steiner teachers. Steiner knew that islands “swim in the sea”, that the Earth (nor Venus and Mercury for that matter) does not orbit the sun, but “follows it” whilst Mars, Jupiter and Saturn precede it and clearly the heart does not pump blood like scientists say, but attracts it. Sleep is “exhaling the astral body… awakening is inhaling it”, the earth is a living being and much, much more. This can be discerned through “powerful clairvoyance”.
For Spiritual Anthroposophists (fellow cultists), evolution began on the fictitious continent of Lemuria which was situated where the Indian Ocean stubbornly seems to be today. Evolution was a highly spiritual process overseen by the likes of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and positively assisted by other spirit beings. The Christian Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost “is a reality deeply bound up with the whole evolution of the cosmos”, Steiner wrote in 1922. On Lemuria and Atlantis, Lucifer and Ahriman respectively were the bad guys who held back evolution. Spiritual evolution.
For the mythologists out there you’ll recognise Ahriman as a principle evil doer in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. According to Steiner in An Outline Of Occult Science:
These two figures — Lucifer and Ahriman — must be clearly distinguished from each other. For Lucifer is a Being who detached himself from the spiritual hosts of heaven after the separation of the sun, whereas Ahriman had already broken away before the separation of the sun and is an embodiment of quite different powers.
The site Overlords of Chaos – that New World Order extravaganza – has much the same in the second paragraph on the Ahrimanic Deception, the Atlantean epoch and destruction of Atlantis and some “insight” into mans ability to manipulate the forces of air and water on Lemuria. What these deviations from Steiner’s teachings and work show us is that Steiner did not break entirely new ground.
Rather, Steiner mixed junk science with ancient mythology that actually went very well with the Aryan supremacy theories of the early 1900’s and the German Nationalist Socialist movement of the 1920’s. Although I rush to add there is no link to Nazism. Steiner’s views on Aryan supremacy were spiritual, not material and benign not malevolent. His schools were closed down by the Nazi party. At the time many Anthroposophists in Germany headed to Switzerland. Dornach, Switzerland was the location of 26 of Steiner’s 38 fabled Esoteric Lessons, allowing entrance into his First Class Cult. Hitler did persecute Theosophists, Freemasons, and Rosicrucians also, arguably as surety against threats to Nazi rule.
Steiner was accused by Hitler of being a tool of the Jews. Other sources claim he was murdered by the Thule Society. Nonetheless, there were secret lodges and occult societies aplenty in Germany in the early 1920’s. The secrecy of Steiner’s First Class Cult happenings is demonstrably impervious even today, though online texts exist (sorry about the eye zap). But persecution and quaint secrecy relate exclusively to the past. Today the realities of multiculturalism have had an eroding impact on attendee genealogy, if not Steiner philosophy.
Spiritual teachings include the belief that Lucifer caused a volcanic destruction of Lemuria ending the Lemurian epoch. The strongest survived and settled on fabled Atlantis. Here they developed a superior and intuitive grasp of the environment and speech. As hinted at above, their nemesis here was Ahriman who sought to lure them toward the material from the spiritual and intuitive. Still today criticism of a material understanding of the world or education remains and plays a major role as to why parents have little say in their childs’ education. Put bluntly, Steiner education is about stomping out critical thought before it takes hold.
As Roger Rawlings writes in My Experience As A Waldorf Student, about a discussion with his Steiner teacher:
Once he asked me whether he should fire the school’s Latin teacher, and he quickly added “Don’t think about it with your brain”—I should give an instinctive response, not a considered reply. (Which raises the question, what organ should be used for thinking, if not the brain?)
Whilst Steiner’s notions on the linguistic meaning of speech are insightful, valid and at times fascinating, the religious and mystical overtones of his teaching are inescapable. From his first Practical Advice For Teachers lecture:
We could ask why these things are as yet not included in science, even though they offer real practical help. The reason is that we are still working out what is necessary for the fifth post-Atlantean age, especially in terms of education. If you accept that speech in this sense indicates something inward in the vowels and something external in the consonants, you will find it very easy to create images for the consonants.
You will no longer need the pictures I will give you in the next few lectures; you will be able to make your own and establish an inner connection with the children. This is much better than merely adopting an outer image. In this way we recognize speech as a relationship between the human being and the cosmos. On our own as human beings, we would merely remain astonished, but our relationship with the cosmos invokes sounds from our astonishment.
Speaking of making sounds from astonishment. During Atlantean times man could command the creative forces of plant (vegetable), animal and mineral kingdoms, which is mirrored in Steiner Education of children – perhaps your children – today. It was Ahriman the second distinct incarnation of evil, who gradually misled some inhabitants of Atlantis to misuse the power of Earth and Water which led to the divine powers of Nature flooding Atlantis in a particularly nasty storm. So it was that the Atlantean epoch ended and the Persian, Egyptian, Indian, Hebrew, etc epochs followed, right up until the Germanic epoch.
Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy is a religion in every way and should not be tolerated in a serious education system. Fixation with the numbers three and seven is plainly religious. Avoiding the wearing of dark colours is a Steiner religious expression relating to dark forces and the dark side of humanity. The “play” we hear of in place of “lessons” is nothing of the sort. It is designed to avoid structure, reasoning, choice, calculating cause and effect, or indeed any materially oriented activity.
Rather it’s a primitive “play” to reinforce the supposed intuitive correlates to the latent Atlantean self and thus “reawaken” the Atlantean powers as dictated by this religious cult. The most famous are the watery paint blobs kids churn out. Designed to expunge the thought, care and even correction needed to apply straight lines and geometric thinking that children develop with traditional drawing, painting helps to tap into the “forces” of body and soul.
As you may have noticed selling an evidence base for this hanky panky is a big ask. Showing a bit of flare even Scientologists must admire, Melbourne’s Rudolf Steiner School dodges Australian Government guidelines. Although controversial, all schools are to make publically available the performance of their students. This includes the percentage of students meeting reading, writing, spelling and numeracy skills for years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Amongst a cornucopia of feelgood cuddly wuddly spiritual warmth, the Rudolf Steiner School response (item 6) is:
As 98% of parents chose to remove their children from participation in these tests, it did not allow for a large enough sample to be indicative of the School’s Performance. Therefore results are not available.
So what’s the score? Given all the above, Victorians can be grateful for the Education Department action in removing what I confidently predict (without any Steiner clairvoyance) was a school council heavily weighted in favour of psuedoscience and religion dressed up as education. Simple cult observance.
Children are fairly robust and can sort silly parental views from the real world with remarkable skill. Still, that there is such a strong and vibrant abuse of our education guidelines, thus Victorian children, played out in Steiner annexes and at the main campus in Warranwood is concerning. Perhaps the Department should extend its reach.
Clearly Steiner education is designed to propagate religious beliefs. Parents are given no say in their childrens’ “education” under the Steiner banner. Steiner School curricula cannot possibly comply with Government regulations. The inherent racism in Steiner’s teachings are manifest. We need to accept that Waldorf schools hide the truth of their extreme religion from education authorities and prospective recruits alike. In respect of the previous point Steiner Education is to be regarded as a cult.
Yet more specifically is the High Court definition of a religion given in Victoria October 27, 1983 during the Scientology case. Church of New Faith vs Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax:
We would therefore hold that, for the purposes of the law, the criteria of religion are twofold: first, belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief… Those criteria may vary in their comparative importance, and there may be a different intensity of belief or of acceptance of canons of conduct among religions or among the adherents to a religion. The tenets of a religion may give primacy to one particular belief or to one particular canon of conduct. [….]
According to this legal definition Steiner Education, which follows on from and is presented strictly as relevant to a system of belief as outlined above, is clearly a religion.
Steiner education is anti-science and certainly anti-critical thought. Anthroposophy itself offers a non evidence based, completely ineffective alternative to medicine. The inherent dangers of these practices and the thinking it nurtures are well documented. To allow expansion of such illusory beliefs and high risk conduct under the watch of any Education Department, state or federal, is patently irresponsible.
More so, the volume of work produced by Rudolph Steiner goes far beyond belief and ritual to a universal and “cosmic” world view that at it’s heart is demonstrably void of any grounding in reality whatsoever. It is fantasy. Our education system should teach fantasy as fantasy, not permit our corridors of learning to be used for the telling of fables palmed off as fact. The growth of this new age cult belief in adults is at variance to, and an unwelcome intrusion upon, the natural development and educational needs of children.
Any parent who spends some time understanding the purpose of Steiner Education would no doubt, to borrow Jewell Topsfield’s phrase, be left reeling.