Sunday, September 30, 2007

The New Esoteric Section Rules

We can see how Dr.Steiner "softened" the rules as time went on. You will have noted that meat eating was not forbidden, even from the early days- HPB loved her meat! Smoking wasn't even mentioned- H.P. Blavatsky a chain smoker, who was known to have indulged in hashish. Dr. Steiner, originally a smoker, later used snuff, and the first leader of the Anthroposophical Society after him - Albert Steffen - was a smoker.

Alcohol was another matter, as those who've read the original rules would know.

So here we go:
First Rules given by Rudolf Steiner in 1904

"6. The partaking of any kind of alcoholic drink is forbidden to the Shravakas ['hearers' - members of the school], because this would be harmful to the brain, especially the organ connected with spiritual insight. The contravention of this rule would render all the efforts of both teacher and pupil ineffective. The only exception to this rule is when the taking of alcohol is prescribed by a doctor.

7. Abstention from the eating of meat is not compulsory, but it is pointed out that a vegetarian diet will help in the struggle against one's lower nature. Changes of diet must be undertaken with the greatest caution."

Now notice how these rules, 1905, (June 5), become very unrule-like:

"6. The partaking of alcohol is incompatible with the aims of meditation.

7. The abstention from eating meat is not statutory but is recommended, because it works beneficially toward furthering the aims of the Esoteric School."

The full list of rules is in "From the History and Contents of the Esoteric Section."

On another occasion R.Steiner stated that alcohol was to be avoided even in sweets:
"It is most important to avoid all forms of alcohol. Even sweets filled with alcohol have a very harmful effect. Alcohol combined with spiritual exercises leads to the most wrong path. Now that science has proven the bad influence of alcohol on brain function, how much more should a man, who directs his entire efforts to the spiritual, abstain from a delight which completely excludes him from achieving spiritual consciousness."

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 267 – Seelen├╝bungen 1904-1924 (page 513)

"It's especially important to avoid alcohol in every form. The bad effect of alcohol on the brain function has been scientifically shown, and knowledge of spiritual things is made completely impossible through its use."
-From the Contents of Esoteric Classes, R. Steiner

"The drinking of alcohol is very harmful for an esoteric. Alcohol must definitely be avoided."

- Esoteric Lesson, Stuttgart, December 31, 1910

"Abstention from alcohol is necessary, for this works on the ego that lives and works in the blood. Meditation pulls the spirit up and loosens its connection with the physical body; alcohol pulls it down and consolidates it in the same."

- Esoteric Lesson, Cologne, May 9, 1912

Milk was recommended as a transition food for those giving up meat.

More on the Esoteric School:
"Pentecost 1907: The first department of the Esoteric School of Steiner separates from the Esoteric School of Theosophy as Steiner pursues another teaching system. He complains on one hand about Annie Besant's Americanism, i.e. worldliness and on the other hand on her adjustment on Indian traditions which would not have any effect in the West.

"For Steiner, the breathing is not to be controlled by physical body-exercises, but the bodily effects are to be consequences of the Intuition exercises. Steiner's path does the opposite of what the ancient Yogi did when he blended the thinking and breathing processes. ....

"With the new constitution of the Anthroposophical Society at Christmas 1923, Steiner initiates "new forms" of the new Esoteric School. Anthroposophy now consists of the ceremonial realization/gnosis department of the Esoteric School, of activities for the free religious education of the Rudolf Steiner School and of the church ceremonies for the "Christian Community" (founded in 1921).

"Parallel to this, all manuscripts so far only available for members are released. The Esoteric School is transformed into the "Free University for Hermeticism ["Geisteswissenschaften"]. Although Steiner dies before defining the details of its three classes, he intends for some contents of the Mystica Eterna to flow into the second class of this Highschool. ...."

More on Alcohol:

"There is a real reversal of all human organic activity under the after-effects of alcohol. For a “hangover” is the continuation of a process which is vividly at work in the upper digestive tract. It occurs if the natural internal activities following indulgence in wine, beer, or champagne, which are normal up to the incorporation of these substances in the formation of blood and lymph, pass the boundary line and affect these latter processes.

"If that occurs, the regions of the human organism which have as their proper office the liquefaction and dissolution are changed into a kind of sense organ, and instead of the man turning his main sense attention and activity to the world without, and communicating with that external world, and all the phenomena of earth, he is obliged through the damage done by drinking to perceive his own interior. For his own organism now contains processes strongly resembling those of the whole external world.

"Beyond the intestinal activities, into the very lymph and blood activity there has been inserted an internal replica of the earth's processes, an external world in miniature, an external world within the organism. The man thus makes himself inwardly into an external world, and most painfully and unpleasantly perceives inside himself that which does not disturb in the least if perceived in the external environment.

"For the human interior is not adapted to become an earth in miniature, but should withdraw from the earth's processes. The man however, in such conditions, makes a little earth in his own interior; something which would be far better placed, if it could be removed outside into full observation and surrounded with the apparatus of sense perception. He is now, however, compelled to perceive and receive sensation by means of an interior, so to speak “turned inside out.”

- Spiritual Science and Medicine, Lecture 20

"It is indeed so: since the matters that come to expression in a lecture, in a speech, must come out of the whole person, diet must by no means be overlooked. This is not only the case in an obvious sense. Of course, one can hear by the speech whether it comes from a person who has let endless amounts of beer flow down his gullet, or something like that. This is an obvious case."

-The Art of Lecturing, Lecture 5

Alcohol and the Earth:

"I have noticed crowds of students loitering about in their beer-houses, drinking and indulging their passions. Something is happening there: the human will is working in the metabolism. These are processes of which no mention is made in your books on physics and geology; they contain no reference to the fact that the course of earth-existence is also affected by whether the students drink or do not drink...

"That is what a being not entirely immersed in earthly ideas and prejudices would find lacking in the descriptions given by man himself of happenings on earth. For a being from Mars there would be no question but that moral impulses, pervading human deeds and the whole of human life, are part and parcel of the course of nature.

"According to modern preconceptions there is something inexorable in the play of nature, indeed pleasantly inexorable for materialistic thinkers. They imagine that the earth's course would be exactly the same were no human beings in existence; that whether they behave decently or not makes no fundamental difference or really alters anything. But that is not the case!

"The all-essential causes of what happens on the earth do not lie outside man; they lie within mankind. And if earthly consciousness is to expand to cosmic consciousness, humanity must realise that the earth — not over short but over long stretches of time — is made in its own likeness, in the likeness of humanity itself. There is no better means of lulling man to sleep than to impress upon him that he has no share in the course taken by earth-existence. This narrows down human responsibility to the single individual, the single personality."

"The truth is that the responsibility for the course of earth-existence through ages of cosmic time, lies with humanity. Everyone must feel himself to be a member of humanity, the earth itself being the body for that humanity."

"An individual may say to himself: For ten years I have given way to my passions, indulged my fancies and have thereby ruined my body. — With equal conviction he should be able to say: If earthly humanity follows impure moral impulses, then the body of the earth will be different from what it would be were the moral impulses pure."

-The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, Lecture 5

Alcohol and the Dead:

"If throughout the day we are engrossed in thoughts connected with material life, if our mind is directed only to what is going on in the physical world and can be achieved there, if we have given no single thought to the spiritual worlds before passing into sleep but often bring ourselves into those worlds by means quite different from thoughts, then we have no nourishment to offer to the dead.

"I know towns in Europe where students induce sleepiness by drinking a lot of beer! The result is that they carry over thoughts which cannot live in the spiritual world. And then when the souls of the dead approach, they find barren fields; they fare as our physical body fares when famine prevails because our fields yield no crops.

"Especially at the present time much famine among souls can be observed in the spiritual worlds, for materialism is already very widespread. Many people regard it as childish to occupy themselves with thoughts about the spiritual world but thereby they deprive souls after death of needed nourishment."

-Links between the Living and the Dead, Lecture 1
A positive message- Take Heart!


Larry Clark said...

Thank you!

888 said...

G├╝nther Wachsmuth was also a smoker and he made the claim, that originaly Dr Steiner was a smoker, but later used snuff:
The way in which he thus protected the freedom of the individual, and yet helped him in further progress, I take the liberty of illustrating on the basis of a personal experience. When one, as a younger person, approached Rudolf Steiner with the request for advice one often put the request in the form of a question: "Is it right to do this?" Or: "Ought one not to do that?" etc. He very kindly but systematically got us over the habit of such a form of question.
I should like to illustrate with respect to smoking. When I became acquainted as a young man with Rudolf Steiner and then frequently accompanied him in person on his trips - as to which experience I shall say more later on - it had become an inevitable habit out of the period of my university sturlies that I liked to smoke and I must confess, smoked a great deal. There were some among the members of the Society who had not yet overcome the habit of "You ought" or "You ought not."
And these immediately informed me with lifted finger that smoking in the presence of Dr. Steiner was something unheard of. In the first place, I knew that, although Dr. Steiner no longer smoked, he had smoked at an earlier time and - I may remark aside - still enjoyed, according to the old custom, snuff. In the second place, even if this had not been the case, I felt that it would be inwardly untrue to behave in his presence as if I did not smoke in spite of the fact that I enjoyed doing so. I was also more firmly convinced of his capacity to see into my soul, after many perfectly clear experiences, than many others were who spoke of this but did not take it quite realistically. I continued, therefore, to smoke, knowing that he would know of this habit of mine and take whatever attitude toward it he thought right.
As a matter of fact, he was not at all offended by this although I was in his presence daily more than those who had wamed me. When he himself had said nothing about this for a long time, I could not refrain from questioning him directly when we took an automobile trip together from Stuttgart to Basel: "Doctor, should one really smoke or not?" I had forgotten that he never answered questions put in that form, but generally threw light upon them in a picture or an anecdote. In reply to my question, he told me the following: "Early this morning I was in the clinic of Dr. Palmer in Stuttgart. A patient there asked me: 'Doctor, does my illness come from smoking?' I asked him: 'How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?' He answered: 'Forty.' I then said to him: 'Your illness does not come from smoking, but, if you would smoke, let us say, only twenty cigarettes a day instead of forty, that would be much better:'"

From "Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner"

888 said...

He would sit on a simple wicker chair, his legs crossed, perhaps occasionally moving one foot up and down. On the lapel of his black coat one might see a slight trace of snuff, because he indulged in the Old-World pleasure of taking snuff, but he neither drank nor smoked. I have never met anyone, and I am sure I shall never meet anyone who seemed so constantly at rest and in action simultaneously, all the time perfectly relaxed and absolutely alert.


888 said...

Dr. Steiner: In Dornach, the eurythmy ladies smoke much more than the men. The best thing would be to teach them to exercise some reason in regard to smoking.
A teacher: The result was, as they noticed, that they only hurt themselves.
Dr. Steiner: I think you could say what the effect is upon the organism. You could describe the effects of nicotine. That would be best. You may be tempted to do one and not another. This question in particular is a textbook example of when it is better to do one thing, namely, when the children who have such bad hab- its learn to stop them. In that case, pedagogically you have done fifteen times more than if you only prohibit smoking. A restric- tion on smoking is easier, but to teach the children so that they understand the problem affects the entirety of their lives. It is very important not to forbid and punish. We should not forbid nor punish, but do something else.

-Faculty Meetings

888 said...

"Even in the Bible it is pointed out that Noah who, in a certain sense was the progenitor of his race in the post-Atlantean period, was the first wine-drinker, the first to experience the effect of alcohol. Then we come to a chapter which may be really very shocking for many people. In the post-Atlantean period an extraordinary cultus arose; this was the worship of Dionysos.

"You all know that this worship was connected with wine. This extraordinary substance was first introduced to human beings in the post-Atlantean period and produced a certain effect upon them. You know that every substance has some effect upon the human creature and alcohol had a very definite action upon the human organism. In fact, in the course of human evolution, it has had a mission.

" Strange as it may seem, it has had the task, as it were, of preparing the human body so that it might be cut off from connection with the Divine, in order to allow the personal “I AM” to emerge. Alcohol has the effect of severing the connection of the human being with the spirit world in which he previously existed. It still has this effect today.

"It was not without reason that alcohol has had a place in human evolution. In the future of humanity, it will be possible to see in the fullest sense of the word that it was the mission of alcohol to draw men so deeply into materiality that they become egoistic, thus bringing them to the point of claiming the ego for themselves, no longer placing it at the service of the whole folk.

"Alcohol performed a service, the contrary of the one performed by the human group-soul. It deprived men of the capacity to feel themselves at one with the whole in the spirit world. Hence the Dionysian worship which cultivated a living together in a kind of external intoxication, a merging into the whole without observing this whole.

-Dr. Steiner

888 said...

"Evolution in the post-Atlantean period has been connected with the worship of Dionysos, because this worship was a symbol of the function and mission of alcohol. Now, when mankind is again endeavouring to find its way back, when the ego has been so far developed that the human being is again able to find union with the divine spiritual powers, the time has come for a certain reaction, an unconscious one at first, to take place against alcohol. This reaction is now taking place and many persons today already feel that something which once had a very special significance is not forever justified."

"No one should interpret what has been said concerning the mission of alcohol at a special period of time as, perhaps, favoring alcohol, but it should be understood that this has been stated in order to make clear that this alcoholic mission has been fulfilled and that different things are adapted to different periods.

"In the same period in which men were drawn most deeply into egotism through alcohol, there appeared a force stronger than all others which could give to them the greatest impulse for re-finding a union with the spiritual whole. On the one hand men had to descend to the lowest level in order that they might become independent and on the other hand a strong force must come which can give again the impulse for finding the path back to the Universal. The Christ indicated this to be His mission in the first of His signs.

"In the first place He had to point out that the ego must become independent; in the second place, that He was addressing Himself to those who had freed themselves from the blood relationship. He had to turn to a marriage where the physical bodies came under the influence of alcohol, because at this marriage wine would be drunk. And Christ Jesus showed how His mission had to proceed in the different earthly epochs.

"How often we hear extraordinary explanations of the meaning of the changing of water into wine. Even from the pulpit one hears that nothing else is meant than that the insipid water of the Old Testament should be superceded by the strong wine of the New. In all probability it was the wine-lovers who always liked this kind of an explanation, but these symbols are not so simple as that.

"It must be kept constantly in mind that the Christ said: My mission is one that points toward the far distant future when men will be brought to a union with the Godhead — that is to a love of the Godhead as a free gift of the independent ego. This love should bind men in freedom to the Godhead while formerly an inner compelling impulse of the group-soul had made them a part of It."

-The Gospel of St. John, Lecture 5, Rudolf Steiner