Origin of the Specious: Race, lies and stereotypes in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy

Origin of the Specious: Race, lies and stereotypes in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy

Creationism is not the only enemy of science in today’s classroom. Within the self proclaimed “fastest growing school movement in the world”, Steiner Waldorf schools foster their belief system with a deception which is quite chilling.

Anthroposophy – the word is not even in the dictionary, and my spell-checker is foxed by it – the pseudo religion/science which lies at the heart of Steiner education (and also biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and cosmetics – Weleda and Dr. Hauschka) is the guiding force within these classrooms, and yet in the schools the word is barely heard, let alone explained. Schools are cagey and evasive at the mere mention of the word, and swiftly move on. It is deliberately buried. This is a religion which recruits by intentionally not setting out its beliefs. Surely this is the behaviour of a cult?

Most people think of Steiner schools as gentle places – a creative pedagogy, where every toy is wooden, and phrases like “free to learn” and “natural” are used with abandon. Only occasionally do their more ludicrous beliefs get a mention: the supernatural, the occult, belief in karma, demons, angels, Atlantis, medieval temperaments, spirit worlds, astral forces and… gnomes!

The schools routinely champion themselves as a radical alternative to the mainstream, their websites drawing people in with vague and general terminology and gushingly self-congratulatory advertisements for Steiner and the movement. But they invariably make one huge omission: that “anthroposophy” guides their every move, and that anthroposophy’s central tenet is “racial hierarchies”.

6 comments so far

  1. Thebee on

    For some balanced info on the subject see the Wikipedia articles on Waldorf education and anthroposophy.

  2. Iris on

    Dear Sune, what can YOU possibly mean by balanced? Perhaps in that sense of: how many angels one could balance on the head of a pin? And how much will your nonsense weigh in the balance against reason?

  3. wise owl on

    the wiki entry on steiner waldorf and anthropospphy is the most unbalanced load of balls I’ve seen.
    Investigate the steiner waldorf movement.
    It’s beeen too long information which is only the preserve of a few, too many people affected by it’s tentacles.

  4. brainduck on

    I actually spent a while working at a Steiner school in New Zealand, fortunately before I got into Ed Psych.

    The philosophy behind it is lunatic. Absolutely bizarre, nonsensical gibberish. Surreal fairy stories. You can’t teach a child to read before the ‘change of teeth’ at ~7, because otherwise you will damage their incarnation from their astral body. Seriously, just read Steiner’s actual writing, it is as batshit crazy as anything you will find in Scientology, & it’s taken surprisingly literally. It’s also very prescriptive & authoritarian – children are carefully taught what & how to draw, right down to what colours are allowed to be used, based on what stage their ‘astral body’ is in.

    Shame, because in practice they are often lovely people, sometimes doing amazing stuff – the Camphill villages in particular are fantastic. There’s a few sensible ideas, like ‘have long lessons for doing projects in’. But the underlying philosophy & religion (yes, there is a religion accompanying, along with a made-up ‘medicine’ and ‘agriculture’ and much else) is jaw-droppingly surreal.

  5. wise owl on

    Right brainduck; some of Steiner’s ideas were great, it’s just a crying shame that a sort of religion culty thing has to be behind it. Not all Camphill is fantastic.
    Steiner taught that people with learning difficulties have incarnated properly I think; on one occasion he said they were “demons in human form” or something, and they are like that because of karma, of something which happened in their past life. I think the people who work at camphill are meant to help them incarnate better for their next life.
    Some of the people who have worked there tell dreadful stories; there is repression and pecking orders; adults aren’t necessarily given respect but treated as children. It is quite a restricted life for some; and Steiner had odd ideas about “curative education”. Remember it is run on wholly spiritual anthroposophy too, the same stuff behind the schools. There’s no choice about leaving out anthroposophy. It’s there.

  6. Kyle on

    My children began their Waldorf Education in kindergarten. When I encountered the school I looked at the protection of childhood. As I was totally in the box I questioned some of the practices,but looked at the side of Waldorf education that I liked. My children are now in grades 7 and 8 and have had a tremendous experience while at the school. The next step in their education will be in the Public High School. My girls love education and are not burned out with Standardized Testing. When I questioned the education something that hit the childs development was right on the money and my girls are leaving the school with a liberal arts education and a view of the whole world. I say ignore some of the anthroposophical stuff and grasp this lovely education. My girls were studying the same art history as I had been studying at the Sophmore level in college.

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