Rudolf Steiner was one of those polymath genius types. He invented lots of things -- like for instance, Waldorf education. Perhaps you're lucky enough to have a Waldorf School in your community. Chances are good, as there are 151 affiliated schools in the U.S. alone. He also invented the Eurhythmics. To be more specific, he invented this weird form of dance he called Eurhythmics, and Annie Lennox and whatshisface named the band after that. What do you want to bet they went to a Waldorf School? Sweet dreams are made of that. I guess. And speaking of guessing, as if you couldn't, Rudolf Steiner was a German. But now wait, don't get me wrong -- some of my best friends are Germans.
Here's another thing Rudy invented that I bet you didn't know about: organic farming.
Surprised? I was too when I dug this up today. I'm on a rip about the somewhat odd culture that grew up around health food stores in like the '40s and '50s -- long before white folks started taking psychedelics. As I was one of those folks myself (though this was shortly after I did start), I remember books tucked between the cashews and the 3,000 different kinds of vitamins with titles like Back to Eden and Rational Fasting by guys with hyper-penetrating stares like (respectively) Jethro Kloss and Arnold Ehret. The latter was also a German, though I can't really say he was ever one of my best friends.
On the first page of Back to Eden, Jethro tells us...
After I left home I lived in boarding houses and hotels, eating little except devitalized foods, until my health began to fail. This continued until I suffered a complete breakdown. My nerves gave way completely, and I became so weak that at one time I was in bed for three months, with pains no tongue can describe.Wow. That sounds really bad, doesn't it? I mean, there's a guy needs a bunch of real healthy food, and quick! But I have an admission to make. I took a sentence out of the middle of that paragraph because I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, and it's kind of a spoiler. It says: "See Section III, Liquor Habit, pg. 386."
Yeah, that'll do it. I had to take that particular cure myself. (See The Bombast Transcripts, "De Chirico Fends Off the Spectral Bats of Andalusia.")
But back to our main theme. Everywhere I looked, and I looked in a lot of places, Steiner's name came up first in conjunction with organic farming. I knew he had something to do with all that; I just didn't know he was like The Man. But it seems so. Here's a clip from The Politics of Healing: A History of Alternative Medicine in Twentieth-Century North America (p. 60):
...some health foodists embraced an unorthodox approach to agriculture, known as "organic farming," which had developed independently in the 1920s and 1930s from the ideas of controversial British agricultural scientist Albert Howard and Austrian occult philosopher Rudolf Steiner.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that he was also an occult philosopher. I told you: the guy was really some kinda versatile. In Life for the Spirit: Rudolf Steiner in the Crosscurrents of Our Time (p. 238), author Henry Barnes relates the following in reference to a series of lectures delivered in 1924.
...Steiner presented astonishing perspectives concerning soils and plant and animal fertility. He gave directions for enhancing and strengthening the effectiveness of composts and manures by using preparations that could be made by farmers themselves. He spoke of the influence of planetary rhythms and cosmic forces in daily agriculture...Give you another, even better example of planetary rhythms and cosmic forces, this one from Spirit Man: The Cosmology of Rudolf Steiner (p. 77-78). I don't know about you, but I could read this kind of stuff forever. It's just that good. Here's Rudy's Gong Show description of how Life began...
The chemical, or sound ether, which has the power to decompose and to combine substances, permeated the environment. The parts of the earth which had become fluid were in particular permeated with the chemical ether, and by the tone which streamed into the earth from the universe in every possible harmony. Within this fluidic earthly matter were dissolved all the substances which exist separately today, including metals and minerals. In this "water," tone was creating the most varied forms and figures on the grandest scale. Substances that were dissolved in the fluid responded to the in-streaming cosmic music, and arranged themselves in conformity to it. This brought about the formation of albumen, protoplasm -- the foundation of all living growth. Thus, the substances of life on earth became organized through their dance with the world-music, the Music of the Spheres.As usual, I saved the best for last. Seeing as we had Nazis, Cornflakes and UFOs yesterday, I thought it would be nice to follow up with Buddha's trip to Mars. This is from Steiner's Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz. The full text is online as...
As we enter upon this study, the true and original mission of the Buddha becomes clear to us. We find by occult investigation that the beings on Mars who correspond to men on Earth -- they are of course of quite a different nature, but for the moment let us call them "Mars men" -- at a certain time in their evolution were in a similar condition of need as were the Earth men in the Fourth Post-Atlantean period when the Christ had to come to them. And as Christ became a Saviour and an Awakener to Life, as that was a mission for the Christ in regard to Earth humanity, so is it a further mission for that Bodhisattva after he became the Buddha, to be a Saviour and Redeemer of Mars men. He has to accomplish on Mars an event similar to the event that the Christ had to bring to fulfillment on Earth.I ask you: can it get any better than this?
Unfortunately for the prospects of the human race, but fortunately for my book, the answer is: you bet. Stay tuned...
the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to
believe in signs & portents that would make the middle ages blush
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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)
Saturday, March 4