Sunday, November 04, 2007

Anthroposophy- not a Dogmatic Religion.

The Anthroposophical Society should not be a dogmatic religion. Rudolf Steiner once said that if he returned and found that the Anthroposophical Society had become a dogmatic religion he would be its "bitterest enemy". I think the word "dogmatic" is the properly pejorative one, not religion.

Some characterize anthroposophy as a religion and it can hardly be argued against, because these days anything even vaguely spiritual (or not) can be registered as such. But it should never become a dogmatic religion. There must always be a freedom of thought- this is what can be emphasized to any critics.   

From the original statutes: 

The purpose of the Anthroposophical Society will be the furtherance of spiritual research; that of the School of Spiritual Science will be this research itself. A dogmatic stand in any field whatsoever is to be excluded from the Anthroposophical Society.

There is one major difference between anthroposophy and religion, and that is one has to be prepared in one's Budhi/Manas capabilities in order for it to be understood properly. Therefore proselytizing is out of the question - same with theosophy.

Of course, our brothers and sisters will hold to their various dogmas; and this is not much of a problem as long as we uphold a spirit of brotherhood and tolerance - that, and the knowledge that our individual dogmas are only "place holders" on our journey towards ever more clarity.
What is in a word?...everything and nothing. I read once that Dr. Steiner wouldn't have minded if the name of the society changed every week or two. The name is not so important- it's the substance behind that name.

“I have often been asked by people whether they would be able to join the Anthroposophical Society as they could not yet profess to the prescriptions of anthroposophy. I respond that it would be a sad state of affairs if a society in today’s context recruited members only from among those who profess what is prescribed here. That would be terrible. I always say that honest membership should involve only one thing: an interest in a society which in general terms seeks the path to the spiritual world. How that is done in specific terms is then the business of those who are members of the society, with individual contributions from all of them.

"I can understand very well why someone would not want to be a member of a society in which he had to subscribe to certain articles of faith. But if one says that anyone can be a member of this Society who has an interest in the cultivation of the spiritual life, then those who have such an interest will come.”

Rudolf Steiner, 1923
The Anthroposophic Movement

"Cymatics" Video

THE original films of the Cymatics experiments made in the 1960's by Swiss scientist and anthroposophist, Dr. Hans Jenny.

"Hans Jenny (1904-1972), studied the phenomena and named the field `Cymatics'. Using crystal oscillators (which allow precise frequencies and amplitudes to be used), he vibrated various powders, pastes, and liquids, and succeeded in making visible the three-dimensional effects of sound. He produced an astonishing variety of awe-inspiring geometrical and harmonic shapes, including life-like flowing patterns, which he documented in photographs and films."

Plagiarised 'Rosicrucian Theosophy'

This is the most comprehensive research I have found on the matter: Heindel-Steiner Connection.

It was written by a member of the Rosicrucian Fellowship (Charles Weber). It seems to have got him into a lot of hot water too!

Dr. Steiner talks about a group in California stealing his teachings. Here is the quote from the Rudolf Steiner's Fifth Gospel:
"A man from America, who spent weeks and months getting to know our teachings, transcribed and carried them off in a watered-down form to America, where he has given out a plagiarized 'Rosicrucian Theosophy.'
True, he says he learnt a good deal from us over here, but that he was summoned to the Masters and learnt more from them. He says nothing, however, about having learnt from us the deeper things which he had drawn from the then unpublished lecture-courses."
Count Carl Grashof (a Dane), a student of Dr. Steiner's, collected the typescripts of some his lectures before they had been published and took them to America. There he added some of his own touches and published the lot under the title of The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception, using the pen name of "Max Heindel". The first edition of this work was dedicated to Rudolf Steiner.

So the Cosmo Conception has some of the elements of Steiner's teaching but it is not purely Steiner. There is a different teaching on the nature of Christ for instance, and it doesn't talk about Ahriman.

Dedication in First Edition of the Cosmo
Max Heindel was vice president of the Los Angeles Theosophical Society (later to become the Pasadena TS) during 1904 and 1905.