DOCTOR STEINER STOPS SMILING OR: BUT, MY DEAR FRIENDS, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ALL DOING?
Translated by Tom Mellett, May 4, 2017
Those were the good old days, yes, when young anthroposophists, hippies and seekers of alternative spirituality could still be gobsmacked with anecdotes of Rudolf Steiner's super-sensible abilities. Jeremy Smith still digs up such gems of super-sensible sensationalism on his Anthropopper blog --- sometimes just homespun reports of alleged statements of Rudolf Steiner, as super-sensibly received by super-sensible ladies still in the throes of their rapture.
Take Gladys Mayer (1888-1980), for example, who herself had never been personally granted an audience with the Master himself while alive . . .
(„At length, I received stetig zunahm the instruction to go to Rudolf Steiner for further advice…I met him frequently for something over two weeks: each time I met him he greeted me with a smile and a warm hand-clasp. Each time I asked him, ‘May I come and speak with you?’ he put me off with the reply: ‘Frage mir nochmal (Not just yet).’ Friends in Dornach told me this did happen sometimes, and of course it had a reason…“)
. . . so she made the most of her situation by asking him post-mortem:
„At last, I could bear it no longer: I felt I must know more. I seized hold of him, as it were, with all my soul forces, and challenged him, saying: ‘Who are you?’ Then, as there came no answer, I asked wonderingly: ‘Are you the Christ?’ ‘Nicht so’ (Not so). Then, because these were German words, a further thought came to me. ‘Are you, can you be, he whom we know on earth as Rudolf Steiner?’ There was an instant stillness, and then the answer came softly, ‘Eben so’ (Even so).
In this way, Ms Mayer was able to interview Steiner after his death --- he who, in all openness (and also in terrible German), imparted his opinions to her on the devastating internal battles raging among the orphaned members of the Society about positions of power and what direction they should go:
After Steiner’s death in 1925, Gladys Mayer was one of those people who was very upset by the dissensions and splits that occurred between factions in the Vorstand and in the wider General Anthroposophical Society: “Once in those first years, I heard his voice again, in a kind of despairing wonder: ‘Aber, mein lieben Freunde, was tun si alle?’ (‘But, my dear friends, what [the fuck] are you all doing?’)“
This is the question that Doctor Steiner may still have to deal with in the spiritual world to this very day, given the infighting between those nominalists and spiritualists, the individualists and occultists, the socially adept and the reactionaries, the practical folks and the loony mystics have all bequeathed to the movement nearly one hundred years of trench warfare and endless arguments about anthroposophical identity.
Behold the mind-numbing internal discussions: like constitutional questions about the legitimacy of the Anthroposophical Society, the significance of the Rudolf Steiner publishing house, the inheritance claims of wife Marie and many others. Not only do these have absolutely no significance for the outside world, but they also shackle energies and breed social isolation to the point that the eccentricity of the movement has kept on growing steadily all the while these “world conferences” of self-aggrandized universal significance keep happening.
With uncanny regularity do clairvoyants and visionaries appear, even Christ seers blessed with Stigmata, and all of them together cement the reputation of an esoteric Valhalla on the Dornach hill, just as much as do the latent right-wing extremist, anti-liberal, conspiracy-theory orientation of so many other protagonists. In the wake of PEGIDA [far-right German political group “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West”] and right-wing populists, the myths of the Great American Conspiracy, as far as 9/11 are concerned, are still served up by prominent anthroposophists and magazines, despite well-known public warnings about the reliability of their sources and the careless application of them. The fact that sources are either omitted, or else quoted to distort meaning and then reproduced in a biased way is not surprising. Arguments about it, like here on Facebook, ultimately lead nowhere.
The mix of real data, with details that are cherry-picked and emotionally charged plus an intention to propagandize creates a hybrid reality of “alternative facts” à la Daniele Ganser, who is also praised, heard and interviewed in this same scene. Obviously, following the populist Zeitgeist, a shift took place from the usual eccentric self-centered enlightenment of earlier anthroposophical discussions to no less dubious political positioning --- the occultism of the Trump era greets us with its nationalistic, xenophobic, and ostensibly elitist-critical tinges.
Evidently the contemporary anthroposophical sense of identity favors an anti- mainstream attitude, all expressed in the very phraseology of the new right and the Querfrontier [3rd Position = beyond left & right.]. This also corresponds to an anti-intellectual and anti-materialist positioning of Rudolf Steiner, which, in his time, had to come across as unearthly with its "scientifically" self-understood spiritual science.
Since then, this positioning was not really so abused by the Nazis that a relapse into such rhetoric must appear disreputable, not the least because the anti-intellectual attitude today is to be understood as an anti-Semitic code language [dog-whistle] just the same as the anti-elitist. The alleged elites and secret societies in the entire Querfront [3rd Position] scene --- not just Victor Orban [President of Hungary] --- now happily implicate people like Jewish investor George Soros.
It may be that the "Illiberal" (Viktor Orban) Counter-Revolution of our Time will continue for several years, possibly with unrelenting attacks on an open, peaceful Europe. Should these traits of anthroposophical circles be reinforced into destructive, populist and irrational trends as an element of their very identity, then conspiracy theory would become established as a Neo-Occultism just as xenophobic rabble-rousing would morph into “anthroposophical thinking.” If only we could once more hear Rudolf Steiner, who, with some irritation, asks: “But, my dear friends, what the fuck are you all doing?”