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DR. STEPHEN USHER | AN INTRODUCTION TO RUDOLPH STEINER

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TesserAches
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First off, I just want to say this was a fantastic episode. Super timely, as I've been getting a ton of syncs around Steiner lately and he seems to be coming up everywhere in my podverse at once.

For those who have been similarly compelled by this episode, I wanted to share this resource I found, which is an archive of free audio recordings of many of Steiner's books and lecture series convering all manner of topics. For any other author, I would guess you'd be looking at his complete works for the miles of scrolling you have to do to get through all those links. But for Steiner, I'm guessing this is still just a fraction, and you may have to go out and buy some of the titles. Cheers!

http://www.rudolfsteineraudio.com

 
Posted : November 1, 2021 6:44 PM
GoldMantis
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I’ve been studying Steiner off and on for 10 years. I feel like he has a lot of valuable ideas, especially in regards to health and medicine.
However, like many folks who listen to this show and have come to the conclusion we have been lied to about pretty much everything; I wonder about characters like Steiner who are so overtly counter culture. I’m of the opinion that many people in counter culture are manufactured or there is a purpose to their presence or resurfacing.
I was really shocked to hear some first hand criticism of Waldorf and Montessori methods from people who’ve been in early childhood education for 30+ years. I’m not saying these approaches are not worthwhile but keep in mind how avoidant many of these approaches seem to be on the intellectualization of the child. Isn’t this just another mechanism to dumb down the individual? Just interesting food for thought. I also wonder how much time Steiner spent around children, observing them or are his ideas simply ‘channeled.’ The other idea that I hear many proponents of Steiner push forth is the idea that the incarnation of Ahriman is unstoppable, so we better just prep and pray. While I agree it seems we are on the fast track to transhumanism, I am hesitant to accept the idea that this is unstoppable?! It seems like the perfect idea for “tptb” to push on us at a time when it feels like holding out on the jab keeps pushing us into a tighter and tighter corner and to keep us from fighting back…. Just some ideas I’ve pondered on Steiner lately. Also clearly a Jewish name and he’s supposed to be Christian? Also a student of Rosecrucianism which is also in my limited understanding an occult sect? Just the more I think about him, the more fishy it feels. I personally believe a lot of these people who want to know the ‘secrets of the universe’ and dabble in the spirit worlds give themselves over to the dark arts in some shape or form. I’m not saying there isn’t truth to be found in some or many of his ideas; I just feel like some of it is really pushing me to more skeptical of him.

 
Posted : November 2, 2021 3:11 AM
sofahkingfoxy
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goldmantis wrote:
.
However, like many folks who listen to this show and have come to the conclusion we have been lied to about pretty much everything; I wonder about characters like Steiner who are so overtly counter culture. I’m of the opinion that many people in counter culture are manufactured or there is a purpose to their presence or resurfacing.

Yes! Over the decades I’ve found myself evolving from a certain amount of gullibility to this skeptical questioning of everything. One of late is for those who are being optimistic and saying the controller’s agenda is cracking. Is this an invitation to breathe a sigh of relief that we shouldn’t be sighing?

I think many, but not all, of the optimists aren’t shills but are victims of propaganda. Deception hides well amongst nuggets of truth. The problem with this massive assault of sustained gaslighting is our ability to trust eventually shatters. I think we must be vigilant that our ability to trust remains intact as long as it’s always balanced with skepticism. There’s no advantage in throwing out the baby with the bath water, as you have not done. You question and still give credit to many of Steiner’s ideas.

It’s a chore to keep up our guard, but I think we must each have a reliable litmus test as we wade through the currents of validity and lies. As difficult as it is, we must persevere, accepting nothing at face value. I’m hopeful but not optimistic. It’s far too dangerous with too much at risk to ever underestimate the cunning & skillful manipulations of any psychopath or narcissist. Especially these ones that hold extraordinary power.

 
Posted : November 2, 2021 10:02 PM
personman
(@personman)
Posts: 37
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goldmantis wrote:
I’ve been studying Steiner off and on for 10 years. I feel like he has a lot of valuable ideas, especially in regards to health and medicine.
However, like many folks who listen to this show and have come to the conclusion we have been lied to about pretty much everything; I wonder about characters like Steiner who are so overtly counter culture. I’m of the opinion that many people in counter culture are manufactured or there is a purpose to their presence or resurfacing.
I was really shocked to hear some first hand criticism of Waldorf and Montessori methods from people who’ve been in early childhood education for 30+ years. I’m not saying these approaches are not worthwhile but keep in mind how avoidant many of these approaches seem to be on the intellectualization of the child. Isn’t this just another mechanism to dumb down the individual? Just interesting food for thought. I also wonder how much time Steiner spent around children, observing them or are his ideas simply ‘channeled.’ The other idea that I hear many proponents of Steiner push forth is the idea that the incarnation of Ahriman is unstoppable, so we better just prep and pray. While I agree it seems we are on the fast track to transhumanism, I am hesitant to accept the idea that this is unstoppable?! It seems like the perfect idea for “tptb” to push on us at a time when it feels like holding out on the jab keeps pushing us into a tighter and tighter corner and to keep us from fighting back…. Just some ideas I’ve pondered on Steiner lately. Also clearly a Jewish name and he’s supposed to be Christian? Also a student of Rosecrucianism which is also in my limited understanding an occult sect? Just the more I think about him, the more fishy it feels. I personally believe a lot of these people who want to know the ‘secrets of the universe’ and dabble in the spirit worlds give themselves over to the dark arts in some shape or form. I’m not saying there isn’t truth to be found in some or many of his ideas; I just feel like some of it is really pushing me to more skeptical of him.

I think you just have to be wary of deifying anyone. Rudolf Steiner was a person, he no doubt had negative traits and bad ideas. I've never really studied his work but have often found his influence present in my interests. My family is part of a home school collective that is definitely Waldorf influenced, my journey in organic agriculture has given me a great respect for biodynamic thinking. None of this means that Steiner is a God to go unchallenged (one of my favorite bd books is by Hugo Erbe, a friend of Steiner, and is about his journey experimenting with other types of preps) but it certainly indicates that he was an influential thinker and worth considering.

I'm curious to hear about the complaints about Waldorf education. My experience with friends who attended them as children and all the studies I've seen indicate that children who attend Waldorf schools tend to do better than average academically. All the complaints I've heard come from people who have a dogmatic belief that reading as early as possible is somehow critically important to a child's long term success.

Could you share any of the specific critiques you've heard about Waldorf or perhaps links to critiques you've read?

Also, to be clear, our group has a number of Waldorf trained educators but is explicitly not a Waldorf school. The system is too rigid for us and too heavily Christian focused for us. So again, recognizing the good thoughts and ideas in the sustem, but not getting trapped in the dogma. That's always my advice

 
Posted : November 4, 2021 12:16 AM
sofahkingfoxy
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Posts: 150
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I too would like to hear your opinion of Waldorf education. It looks like it counters much of the dumbing down that seems to be the foundation of mainstream education.

 
Posted : November 4, 2021 3:15 PM
GoldMantis
(@goldmantis)
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I personally only have experience in Montessori preschools, but I did have my oldest child enrolled in a Waldorf Charter school prior to COVID. Unfortunately charters must bend to state mandates etc, and I wasn't going to have my child's first experience of school be behind plexiglass, masked up, sanitizing and using automatic hand washing machines. There are very limited "alternative" options where I live, so I was really bummed when that all came down.

I would say what drew me to both the Montessori & Waldorf educational methods was not just the desire for something different for my kids educationally, but an approach that encompassed their whole being. Both these approaches do have at their foundational base of a spiritual view of the child and a natural unfolding of the child's spirit, personality and intelligence in the presence of an environment that enables such un-folding. It all sounds magical to me when I think of my childhood education and what children are enduring these days.

What was shared with me from someone in early childhood education and elementary education with over 40 (yes 40) years experience was that Montessori and Waldorf are a nice and appropriate approach in the first few years of life. However, there comes a moment (for some kids it's 4 years and others its 5 or 6 or even 7) that the child becomes bored with the simple tasks of these approaches and they just kind of check out and wander around. They don't do their work, they don't really participate in the activities that seemed so exciting or fun when they were just a bit younger. This educator (whom I respect very much) told me that when this window opens she found that this was the appropriate time to introduce the more intellectual and academic subjects because after decades of observation and thousands of children; this was the moment that the child was ready to absorb and hone skills. I appreciate the school we are at is still quite different from mainstream/conventional schooling in that each child is still encouraged at their own pace, but that the expectations are now quite high of them to learn math, cursive, spelling, reading. I can say my kids are thriving beyond anything I ever expected of them at 5 and 6 years old and they seem to be ready for this work. In all her years, the educator felt guilty for running a typical "Montessori" school because she said without the structure of more academic and intellectual activities from the teacher who recognizes the child's readiness; that most kids were just wandering around and playing with each other and this lady/teacher felt guilty for these children not actually learning anything during school hours.

The other thing I have observed in friend's children who have attended Waldorf from infancy is that these children seem overly sensitive to the world and kind of fragile. It is almost like they have been cocooned from the real world so much that they cannot interact with it. Just an example was a birthday party that two boys (at the time 8&10 years old) attended at a trampoline park where they were completely overwhelmed by the noise and people and didn't know how to handle themselves in this situation.

The critiques I have read are basically in regard to the fact that Waldorf focuses so much on the spiritual that the intellectual real world skills are often left un-developed.

This is just light hearted and curious commentary. I am not shunning Steiner or Waldorf or anything. I am just maintaining my skeptical view of everything now. At one point I had my children enrolled in "co-op" preschool which to ME seemed magical. A beautiful outdoor garden for the children, free play, low tech toys, lots of sensory things around but my kids did not do well in this environment. They were stressed and just overall not ok. I then moved them to a more structured pre-school and they thrived! I was surprised and a bit disappointed, but I am doing my best to observe how my kids respond to these things. I think a hybrid of waldorf, reggio, montessori, and all the other brilliant approaches to education is probably the best; although some kids need different types of environments to thrive. Some thrive in public school, too.

I guess my point is, don't get too caught up in what you "think" your child needs or what you wish you had. I think ultimately for those of us choosing an alternative path, it is easy to get caught in the dogma of being "alternative." Does that make sense? Sometimes we have to let go of what think is best and observe what is actually working and cultivating a useful skillset for our kids future. For me, having my children master the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic is crucial to their success in life and the so called real world. I am certainly not downplaying art and gardening and music etc; but these are things we easily explore at home. I do wonder though if I am doing my kids a disservice by not putting them in the public system, to be socialized with more kids, learn coding and generally be exposed to more challenges. Who knows?

 
Posted : November 4, 2021 6:31 PM
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