Friday, June 23, 2006

Rudolf Steiner...

Know your visionaries. They will remind you of the capacity of influence one person can have. I've only just learned about Rudolf Steiner, and I want to thank the fine people (you know who you are) who introduced me to the universe of ideas that stem from his genius.

Rudolf Steiner (1861 -– 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, artist, writer, esotericist, architect, educator, economist, and social thinker. He is the founder of Anthroposophy, "a movement based on the notion that there is a spiritual world comprehensible to pure thought but accessible only to the highest faculties of mental knowledge."

He is the original spiritual scientist. Which means that along with all the hard science comes a certain degree of seemingly loco ritual. For example, one of Steiner's biodynamic soil preparations requires "stuffing cow manure into the horn of a cow, burying this into the ground (40-60 cm below the surface) in the autumn and letting it decompose over winter." Bring it on I say. Science could use more DaDa underpinnings.

Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a spiritual component. He believed the Goethean view that thought is a perceptive instrument for ideas, just as the eye is a perceptive instrument for light.

He also created many of this Anthroposophy's practical applications, including:

Waldorf Education
Biodynamic Agriculture
Anthroposophical Medicine
Ethical Banking

As a young man Steiner's thoughtful intellectual prowess was observed by many. In 1888 was invited by the Grand Duchess Sophie of Saxony to edit the complete edition of Goethe's scientific works. During this time he also collaborated in a complete edition of Arthur Schopenhauer's work. He also wrote articles for various magazines, including a magazine devoted to combatting anti-semitism. In 1896, Friedrich Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, asked Steiner to set the Nietzsche archive in Naumburg in order. Her brother by that time was no longer compos mentis. Forster-Nietzsche introduced Steiner into the presence of the catatonic philosopher and Steiner, deeply moved, subsequently wrote the book "Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom." (Surely there's a copy of that on George Bush's bookshelf!)

OK, I won't continue plagiarizing the Wikipedia entry on this fascinating man. You can see it for yourself right here. I've only grazed the surface of Steiner's incredible range and passion for good living. Biodynamic farming, Waldorf education, and ethical banking alone are such massive offerings to the betterment of society it's mind boggling to think that he was able to implement any one of these. As we in the United States slowly come to learn the errors of our chemically altered, spiritually stunted, and economically greedy ways in the years ahead, Steiner will surely become a household name, lauded as a visionary superstar and godfather of positive change.

I will say that I had the opportunity this past weekend to taste some wine that was made using biodynamically grown grapes and it was delicious. Normally, I steer way clear of the organic wines because they taste like horse piss. But Frey Vineyards has an outstanding collection of organic and biodynamic, sufite free wines that (ugly labels aside) will please even the snootiest of wine snobs (like Gazpachot). The biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc is particularly good for summer.


Anonymous sanspotash said...

This post completely justified the creation of the internet (in ways that may not be obvious to anyone but myself).

9:41 PM  

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