Atlantean Fantasyland with Racist Aftertaste

by Michael Eggert

translated by Tom Mellett

Today let's do without the Steiner regurgitators, the petty hair-splitters and the esoteric mind-racers, but instead, let's concentrate directly on the Doctor himself, sit at his feet and pay attention to his remarks on the subject of human origins on the continent of Atlantis --- however, not without evaluating his claims, as far as possible, against the modern scientific findings of our own day.  For example, solely by evaluating the kilometers-deep ice cores at the poles, it is possible today to sequence climatic and volcanic changes in the Earth's history according to geological age and geography. Therefore we ask: did these “Atlanteans” --- according to Steiner --- actually “live on that part of the earth which is now covered with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean?”  [1]

Many discoveries have also been made regarding variations in the human species --- in his time, Rudolf Steiner was only aware of a second hominid type alongside Homo Sapiens, namely, the so-called Neanderthals. Steiner described them, in contrast to the “Atlanteans,” as a primitive, degenerate species that evolved alongside the Atlanteans:

. . . the old Atlanteans had very high foreheads in their watery heads. Then, as I said, when the water disappeared, low foreheads appeared at first, and then they gradually grew out again into high foreheads. It was just in a transitional age that men looked like the Neanderthal man . . .” [2]

That must have been a really goddamned long “transitional age!”   Why? Because the Neanderthals, with a population of about one million, settled into the dense, lush forests between “the Indonesian archipelago and the Iberian peninsula . . .” [3], already using fire 300,000 years ago:
By about 300,000 years ago, Homo erectus, Neanderthals and the forefathers of Homo sapiens were using fire on a daily basis.”  [3]
The Neanderthals had already lived in this habitat for hundreds of thousands of years before!

In marked contrast to Rudolf Steiner's version of events, modern archaeological and paleontological research demonstrates that a first wave of human groups identified as the species Homo Sapiens, bumped into this prehistoric and static culture of Neanderthals in the Eastern Mediterranean area [the Levant]. They came to grief:
About 100,000 years ago, some Homo Sapiens groups migrated north to the Levant, which was Neanderthal territory, but failed to secure a firm footing.” [3]

The next attempt took place 30,000 years later:
"But then, beginning about 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens started doing very special things. Around that date Sapiens bands left Africa for a second time."  [3]
Among the most remarkable characteristics of this new species was its urge to explore and colonize every corner of the Earth.
"Within a remarkably short period, Sapiens reached Europe and East Asia. About 45,000 years ago, they somehow crossed the open sea and landed in Australia – a continent hitherto untouched by humans.”  [3].

Homo Sapiens' capacities for coordination, communication and adaptability correlated with a high rate of energy expenditure with respect to their own cognitive apparatus:
In Homo sapiens, the brain accounts for about 2–3 per cent of total body weight, but it consumes 25 per cent of the body’s energy when the body is at rest.”  [3]

The ancient venerable species of Neanderthals had become accustomed to behaving and thinking in timeless continuity for thousands of years. The more these Sapiens upstarts advanced on them, the Neanderthals would, as far they could, get out of their way. Sapiens were just socially, technically, and intellectually much more mobile and agile:
"In other words, while the behaviour patterns of archaic humans remained fixed for tens of thousands of years, Sapiens could transform their social structures, the nature of their interpersonal relations, their economic activities and a host of other behaviours within a decade or two.” [3]

In contradistinction to Rudolf Steiner's view, these two species, as well other hominid species, did not emerge one from the other.  In the modern human DNA code, we can only find about 2% Neanderthal genes, which indicates a very insignificant mixing. In no way whatsoever did the Neanderthals evolve from the “Atlanteans.”  Instead,  after so many hundreds of thousands of years of being the most venerable human culture, in existence, they were simply supplanted by Homo Sapiens. It is possible to determine the farm roads and trade routes of Homo Sapiens based on the distribution of sea shells --- a wide-ranging cooperation that was totally absent with the Neanderthals:

"Archaeologists excavating 30,000-year-old Sapiens sites in the European heartland occasionally find there seashells from the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In all likelihood, these shells got to the continental interior through long-distance trade between different Sapiens bands. Neanderthal sites lack any evidence of such trade. Each group manufactured its own tools from local materials." [3]
This means that even separate groups of Neanderthals did not trade with each other. They simply did not participate in the cognitive revolution of that time.

Rudolf Steiner supplied his own peculiar concept --- first, Atlanteans with a high forehead, then Neanderthals with a low one, followed once again by Aryans with a high forehead --- at times contradicting himself and reaching diametrically opposed conclusions:
The Atlanteans had even less frontal brain, an even farther-receding brow  . . .” [1]

Rather than portraying tens of thousands of years of parallel existing human cultures, Steiner primarily develops an Atlantean racial theory without a hint of embarrassment, yet also one that he invented so that he could sing the praises of the Aryan people:

"We distinguish seven races within the Atlantean population. Five of these exist in an ascending mode of development. ... The Fifth Sub-Race, which we call the Primal Semites, and who had their 'home base' in today's location of Ireland, formed the seminal structure  of our present Caucasian --- or, as we call them in spiritual science --- Aryan race of people. From this race --- one that is quite dissimilar to the modern Jewish population --- but because of certain interactions with the rightly named Semitic Sub-Race – a portion of them migrated across Asia and cultivated an intellectual civilization, which then spread far and wide throughout today's Europe, over southern Asia and among the populations of northern Africa.”  [4]

Especially embarrassing is the fact that Steiner felt compelled to point out that what he called “Semitic” was very unlike the “modern Jewish population.”  Apparently, he wants to emphasize once again the supposed superiority of the Aryan-Caucasian race.

Steiner didn't just cram the stuff of fairy tales and myths into his fantastical saga of Atlantis;  he also inserted the Aryan Master Race ideology into human evolutionary history. The facts ---  as well as the analysis of modern human DNA --- refute his views. The fact that the expansion of Homo Sapiens proceeded out of Africa and over to the Levant and then, from there, moved in many consecutive waves, to the East and to the West will stick in the craw of every racist. Then, after the Ice Age, there was a similar [migrational] dynamic at work regarding the agricultural revolution.

The Aryan Atlanteans of Rudolf Steiner, however, remain a fiction with a redolent racist aftertaste put forward on the basis of occult authority.


[1]  Rudolf Steiner, Foundations of Esotericism
       Lecture 18 of 31, October 16, 1905, Berlin, GA 93a

[2]  Rudolf Steiner,  Evolution of Earth & Man & the Influence of the Stars
       Lecture 4, July 9, 1924, Dornach, GA 354,

[3]  Harari, Yuval Noah, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 
       HarperCollins, NY,  2015    

[4]  Rudolf Steiner, World Riddles and Anthroposophy
       Lecture 6 of 22 entitled:  Basic Concepts of Theosophy.  Human Races.
       November 9, 1905, Berlin, GA 54

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