Page 9 - Rudolf.Steiner's.Vision.for.the.Future.(Being.Human.magazine.debut.issue)
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Discovering a 


Rudolf Steiner 

at 150

Frederick Amrine

Willi Brandt (who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and knew J. S. Bach’s greatness needed to be rediscovered and 

whereof he spoke) credits Rudolf Steiner with having made reasserted by Mendelssohn. Van Gogh sold one painting 

the greatest contribution to world peace of the twentieth cen- during his lifetime. In retrospect, we shake our heads and 

tury. The long-time editor of The Nation, Victor Navasky, wonder how such neglect can have happened. Yet it did. And 

described him in his memoir of 2005 as “light-years ahead in the same way, future generations will shake their heads 

of the curve,” and others such as Joseph Beuys have found in and wonder at us.

Steiner’s deep insights into human nature the possibility of a Challenges

thoroughgoing renewal of culture. Owen Barfield argued that 
There are many reasons for the neglect, none of them 
Steiner is perhaps the key thinker of modern times, and aban- 
good. Steiner fits poorly into the conventional categories of 
dons his usual British reserve to assert: “By comparison, not 
respect: ‘educator’; ‘artist’; ‘philosopher’; ‘public intellectual’; 
only with his contemporaries but with the general history of 
‘theologian’; ‘historian’; ‘cultural critic’; ‘spiritual teacher.’ 
the Western mind, his stature is almost too excessive to be 
Steiner was all these things, yet none of these labels begins to 
borne.” Those of us fortunate enough to have discovered 
capture the scope and spirit of his work. On the other hand, 
Rudolf Steiner understand that our seemingly hyperbolic 
Steiner seems at first glance to be a figure one can dismiss 
assessments will elicit skepticism. If Rudolf Steiner was really 
quickly with a pejorative term such as ‘guru’ or ‘occultist’ or 
such a towering genius, how can he remain widely unknown 
‘mystic.’ But Steiner was in no way a ‘guru’: he rejected the 
nearly a century after his death?
concept of authority outright, defining anthroposophy (as he 
It has happened before. Aristotle was lost to the West 
came to call his philosophy) from the very outset as a philos- 
for a millennium. The Catholic Church placed Thomas 
ophy of freedom. Out of respect and enthusiasm, some 
Aquinas on its Index of proscribed writings for half a 
anthroposophists may exhibit reverence towards Steiner’s 
century after his death. By the early nineteenth century,
person, but this is entirely contrary to his wishes and his own

first issue 2011 • 7

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