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A READER'S JOURNAL
Practical Advice to Teachers, GA#294
14 Morning Lectures in Dornach
August 21 to September 5, 1919
Foreword by Astrid Schmitt-Stegmann
Translated by Johanna Collis
ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Anthroposophic Press/MA in 2000
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2017
Practical Advice to Teachers, GA#294
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This book arrived with its companion book, Discussions with Teachers, GA#295 which I read first. It might have been better to read this lecture book first, given its Collected Works number 294 is lower, but it turns out it doesn't make a difference which one you read first. Volume 294 contains Lectures which were given by Steiner in the morning of successive days for two weeks, and in the afternoon of each day, he held led Discussions with the same teachers which are complied in Volume 295. The best way to read these two books might be to read each morning lecture in 294 followed by its accompanying afternoon discussion in 295. Then a review could be done of both books at the same time — a challenge that I am glad that I didn't attempt. Instead this review will be of the Lectures (294) and my previous review will be of the Discussions (295) which followed each Lecture. Each review will stand alone, but there will likely be some similar topics covered in both.
A good head cannot read amiss. In every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides, hidden from all else, and unmistakeably meant for his ear. No book has worth by itself; but, by the relation to what you have from many other books, it weighs.
Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1854 Journal
I feel the resonance of these words of Emerson, especially in regard to my reading and reviewing of Rudolf Steiner's works, some 256 books, of which this book is the latest. Each new book of Steiner's lectures that I read reveals some mind-boggling concept which likely would have little impact on me but for the logjam of books I have worked on as I cleared my way to reading it. I have wended my way through most of his 26 volumes on Education which are listed at the end of this review(1). As I begin my review of the seventeenth volume of the set, I can hardly wait to find out what new gems will pop into my hand to show you. The writer of the Foreword reveals there are many such gems herein.
[page viii, Foreword] This book contains so many gems and profound insights into how to address the needs of the growing human being in a healthy way that it is positively astonishing. For that reason these lectures can be an inspiration to parents, home schoolers, and all others who are interested in human development and education
Ms. Schmitt-Stegmann was writing this Foreword in the year 2000 and brings a modern look to Steiner's work almost a century after he spoke the words in this book. What he offers humans is needed even more urgently today in light of the barrage of technological innovations which offer an intellectual form of empty calories to human souls starved for real nutrition, a nutrition which provides us an enheartening hope for sustaining harmony among human beings.
[page viii] The harmonizing of the growing human being is an urgent need in our time, now that the technological revolution has propelled humanity into an information age that brings with it a hectic pace of life accompanied by stress and an over-emphasis on intellectual pursuits. Artistic expression as well as other aspects of education that nourish the soul and spirit are neglected and ignored. Our children and teenagers are struggling to find meaningful experiences where they feel met as human beings searching for answers to their earthly existence.
Television and Smart Phones provide a constant influx of information and dazzling entertainment in this 21st Century, but it provides busy-ness instead of fulfillment for most people.
[page viii, Foreword] The excitement and constant flow of entertainment that the technological innovations supply hold many captive. However, entertainment does not address the need for inner fulfillment that the human individual seeks in order to find his or her place and purpose in this present incarnation.
When artistic expression is ignored and intellectual expression is emphasized, there will be some children who will grow up lacking simple abilities such as recognizing letters of the alphabet. Elisabeth, a school teacher in the NetFlix series, "When Calls the Heart", has such a young pupil who is unable to read or write, and decides to bake him cookies in the shape of letters of the alphabet, e.g., using a big C cookie to illustrate how he could write the word Cat. The boy was able to hold the C cookie in his hands and manipulate it, activating his will in a way that merely looking at a C on a blackboard could not do for him. At age 10, his parents had given up on his ever reading. Soon, under Elisabeth's innovative teaching, he began spelling words by moving cookies around with his hand, a very tactile and non-abstract way of writing. From these early steps he soon learned to recognize the letters in a book and was able to read for the first time. This is core of the reason that Steiner urges teaching children how to write before teaching them how to read. Reading is completely abstract, but any artistic activity involves the will and movement of the body in various ways: painting, singing, sculpture, baking, dancing, etc, and can move the abstract into a concrete will-based reality. Steiner does not urge"art for art's sake", but urges art for the sake of the child.
page viii, ix, Foreword] In Practical Advice for Teachers, Rudolf Steiner focuses on just that: giving much practical advice and insight into methodology. He gives a clear picture that the curriculum does not include art for art's sake. Instead, every subject is to be taught artistically so as to engage the whole child and draw forth the students' own creative essential being as well as their interest in the world. We recognize the mission of the arts rightly if, in addition to the above, we see them also as strengthening the motivational will forces and harmonizing the child's whole being — thinking, feeling, and willing. Rudolf Steiner gives a wealth of indications in these lectures that cover all subjects of the curriculum, showing how to teach the individual subjects artistically, imaginatively, and in such a way that they strengthen the inner being, the true Self of the child.
Artificial lntelligence or A. I. focuses solely on conceptual activity using images of the world, i.e., maps, to analyze, interpret, and predict events in the world. Rudolf Steiner recognizes we cannot live solely in our mental images, and he cites the importance for human beings, especially as children, to be engaged directly in the world of objects, music, dancing, sculpture, painting, etc.
[page ix, x Foreword] He suggests that if it were possible to live solely in our mental images, in conceptual activity, we would live in a realm that consists only of reflected images of the objects of the visible, physical world. This is the world we analyze, dissect, name, and isolate. It manifests in us as the sphere of the past. Therefore, when we work to develop the children's mental, conceptual side, we must enliven what is dying into the fixed and static condition of our conceptual thought life by quickening it with the help of the pictorial, sculptural element, through drawing, modeling or painting. Crafts and woodwork, which are part of the Waldorf curriculum, also quicken the child's conceptual life.
Can you see that this approach to the abstract conceptual life by beginning with the concrete manipulation of the physical world is similar in process to his strong recommendation that Waldorf teachers begin a child with writing (physical manipulation) before reading (abstract conceptual manipulation)?
Steiner could have predicted the advent of the current 21st Century dance phase I call, "Jump and Thump"(2) because this kind of entertainment resembles animal instincts grown rampant.
[page viii, Foreword] If we fail to address the heart and will forces of growing children, if we fill them with a constant flood of information that only addresses the conceptual life, the unfulfilled, empty soul and spirit will opt for thrill-seeking and entertainment, and as Rudolf Steiner points out, "animal instincts will grow rampant."
As we enter Lecture One, we find that our traditional 3 R's (Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic) operate only on our body and soul. Reading and Writing is a physical body function; Arithmetic a soul function. It is Art that operates on our spirit. A school system that is devoted to transmitting information to our children will leave them empty of spirit. The Art education a child requires cannot be transmitted by a teacher; it must be experienced by the child, and the earlier in life, the better for the child's development.
[page 2,3] The reading and writing you teach children is based on convention; it came about within the realm of physical life itself.
Teaching children arithmetic is a very different matter. You get the sense that the most important thing in arithmetic is not the shapes of the numbers but the reality living in them. This living reality has much more meaning for the spiritual world than what lives in reading and writing. . . . In teaching children reading and writing, we work in the most exclusively physical domain; in arithmetic our teaching becomes less physical; and in music or drawing, or in related fields, we really teach the children's soul and spirit.
Steiner urges teachers to encourage the child to draw an artistic form of each letter, such as a script f which resembles the first letter of the word fish. By doing this, the child gets each letter in its limbs as a will activity, and the child will later read with its entire body, not just its head. Learning cursive writing first is essential because it activates a child’s will and keeps writing from becoming a production of abstract block characters or mere typing on a keyboard. Steiner says, "Our aim is to interest the whole human being in this activity." (Page 6)
With the operations of arithmetic, the teacher does best to proceed from a whole into its separate parts. For addition, a whole piece of construction paper is separated into 24 parts. The child can count these parts. Then the teacher separates the 24 parts into 6 separate piles of four perhaps. The child can note 6 sets of 4 pieces adds up to 24. There is no abstract operation calling addition to be performed. Then working with various combination, the child can see that the piles of 9, 5, 7, and 3 must also add up to 24. We let the child see the sum first and then the various pieces which comprise the sum. Doing this systematically for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will create children for whom being kept after school to do arithmetic will seem as a welcome treat instead of a punishment. (Note: Steiner relates elsewhere that a new Waldorf teacher had this experience. When he tried to punish one student with arithmetic problems after school, the rest of the class wanted to join in to enjoy the fun.)
[page 7] This is how I have taught children to add. I did not start with the separate pieces from which a sum would be derived. This would, in fact, be out of keeping with the original nature of the human being.(3) It is actually this reversed procedure that is appropriate to human nature — first the sum is considered, which is then divided into the separate parts.
The child will understand better this way what the teacher means when she says, "This is how to add these all together." Why? Because the teacher started by allowing the child to have experienced already what together meant!
Knowing what together means is important in telling fairy tales to children. One should allow the whole story together to move each child. Never try to sensationalize the events of the story, but rather let your own being be moved by the events and the child will follow your lead. This works equally well with one child as with an entire class.
[page 15] Educators must keep this truth very clearly in mind. They must make sure that the child's whole being is moved. Consider, from this point of view, telling legends and fairy tales. If you have the right feeling for the stories and tell them from your own inner qualities, the way you tell them enables children to feel something of what is told with the whole body. Then you really address the child's astral body. Something radiates from the astral body up into the head, something that the child should feel there. You should have the sense that you are gripping the whole child and that, from the feelings and excitement you arouse, an understanding of what you are saying comes to the child.
Avoid concepts and explaining. If you move children without any explaining, you will build up unanswered questions in the children which act as seeds which grow into the fruit of future learnings. As a teacher, you do best to share all of what you feel and little of what you know to be true. The children will thank you in their minds in future years when this internal fruit ripens in them.
[page 15] Thus, you may consider that the ideal, when telling legends or fairy tales, or while drawing or painting with children, is not to explain anything or work with concepts, but to move their whole being. As a result, later on when they leave you, out of themselves they will understand what you told them. Try therefore to educate the I-being and astral body from below upward so that the head and heart follow later. Try not to tell the stories in a way that causes children to reflect and understand them in the head. Tell them in a way that evokes a kind of silent, thrilled awe (within limits) and in a way that evokes pleasures and sorrows that continue to echo after the child has left you, gradually to be transformed into understanding and interest. Try to allow your influence to arise from your intimacy with the children. Try not to arouse interest artificially by counting on sensation; instead, attempt to achieve an inner relationship with the children and then allow interest to arise from their own being.
If this sounds difficult to do for you, perhaps being a teacher is not the best life choice for you. Children store these unanswered questions, which you as teacher may say, "I know the answer", but dear teacher, you only know the answer for you and the only important answer for the child is the one which grows in them over future years.
As a teacher you need to understand that soul-to-soul communication is the most important tool you have available for reaching the child — it flows from deep inside you to deep inside the child and finds nourishment for growth of understanding inside them. Do not be like the farmer who planted a field of soybean sprouts and went out one night to give each sprout a slight tug to encourage it to grow. The next morning all the sprouts were dead.
Take this important example Steiner gives of teaching a child under fourteen about immortality. There is a story, but you as a teacher must believe the story is true yourself before it can reach inside the child.
[page 16] As a simple example, lets say that I wish to teach a child about the continuation of the soul's life after death. I would only deceive myself and never make it clear to the child if I taught only theories about it. There is no concept that can teach a child under fourteen about immortality. I could say, however, "See this chrysalis; it is empty. Once there was a butterfly inside, but it crept away." I could also demonstrate the process of how metamorphosis happens. It is good to show such things to children. Then I make a comparison: "Imagine that it is you who are the chrysalis. Your soul is inside you, and later it will emerge just as a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis." This, of course, is rather naively stated.
You can talk about this for a long time. However, if you yourself do not believe that the butterfly is an image of the human soul, you cannot accomplish much with children by using this analogy. You should not allow yourself the false notion that this whole idea is merely a contrived comparison, which it is not; it is a fact presented to us by the divine, cosmic order. These things are not invented by the intellect, and if our attitude toward such matters is correct, we come to trust the fact that all nature offers us analogies for the realities of soul and spirit.
What you believe, in your soul, will communicate soul-to-soul to the child and will overwhelm any words you say to the contrary(4). Steiner could not be more emphatic on this point!
[page 16] We must not offer children understanding merely for their ears, but we must communicate from soul to soul. If you remember this, you will make progress.
In Lecture Two on August 22, 1919, Steiner explains how aversion leads to comprehension and affinity leads to love(5). He says there are three focal points in us where aversion and affinity meet. As I understand him, these are the head (sensory system), the chest (rhythmic system), and the whole body as a system of speech production.
[page 17] If you think about what I presented, you will realize that human beings carry three inner focal points, and within each, affinity and aversion meet. We can say that aversion and affinity even meet in the head. We can simplify it schematically. Imagine that in a certain part of the head, the nervous system is first interrupted while sensory perceptions enter, and they encounter aversion arising from the individual. This example demonstrates how we must view each individual system anew in the whole human being. Sensory activity itself is essentially a kind of delicate limb activity; it occurs in such a way that affinity dominates the senses, and the nervous system sends aversion to meet it. In the activity of seeing, a kind of affinity occurs in the eye's blood vessels. Aversion flows through that affinity in its nervous system. This is how seeing takes place.
The second focal point is in the central body or chest (rhythmic system) where affinity and aversion meet.
[page 18] Again, the whole human being is active as affinity and aversion meet, with our awareness, in the middle system. You also know that this meeting can be expressed in response to an impression — a rapid reflex involving very little thought, since it is simply an evasive, instinctive act directed against a perceived threat. These subconscious reflexes are also mirrored in the brain and the soul, and so the whole again acquires a kind of pictorial nature. With images, we accompany what occurs in the chest (the respiratory and rhythmic system) in relation to the meeting between affinity and aversion. Something happens in the breast that is intimately related to the whole life of a human being. There is a meeting between affinity and aversion that has an extraordinarily significant connection with our outer life.
The third focal point is in our speech where our whole being affinity meets the cosmic forces of aversion. In this translation, the words sympathetic and antipathetic are used because an adjectival form is required to modify activities, and affinity and aversion have no common adjectival form.
[page 18, 19] Human speech is the expression of these sympathetic and antipathetic activities that meet in this way. And the brain complements this meeting of affinity and aversion in the breast through our understanding of speech; we follow speech with understanding. Fundamentally, in speech there is an activity in the breast, and there is a parallel activity in the head. In the breast the activity is far more real, whereas the activity in the head fades to an image. In fact, when you speak, you have a constant breast activity that you accompany with an image through the head activity. This makes it obvious that speaking is based on the constant rhythm of sympathetic and antipathetic activity, just as feeling is. Indeed, speech originates in feeling. The way we accompany the feeling with the knowledge or image causes the content of speech to be identical with thoughts.
From this beginning Steiner shows how various feelings generate accompanying sounds: the sound of amazement appears in the letter "O" as it is spoken. Words containing that letter, like "open" generate a slight astonishment, he points out. On Page 20, he develops the various vowel sounds, then gives us the vowel sound of a, o, and u sounding together. As I understand it, this is the vowel sounded in word AUM which is often extended for a long time, used as a mantra, as a way of meditating.
[page 20, 21] This sound expresses the most profound awe. It is found with particular frequency in Asian languages and shows that Asians are able to develop tremendous awe and veneration, whereas in Western languages this sound is missing, since awe and veneration are not the strongest traits of Europeans.
In the 1960s this sound came to Western cultures from Asia and was heard resonating through various meditation centers.
What is important is to note that vowels are sounds of affinity and consonants are sounds of aversion. Consider how love songs are filled with flowing vowels and concern lovers who wish to surrender themselves to each other. If we wish to avert or ward off someone, we expel strong consonants such as in our words, STOP! or QUIT! Only when a vowel is bracketed by consonants can it create aversion. The so-called Romance Languages of French, Italian, and Spanish are filled with flowing vowels. Italian names and nouns often end in a vowel, which make Italian an ideal language for vocal music such as arias and love songs which flow with affinity. German words often being and end with consonants, making it an excellent descriptive language for creating nouns which represent objects which we can bang into and manipulate through processes of aversion.
[page 22] Consequently, you find that we must view vowels as nuances of feeling, whereas we find that consonants, f, b, m, and so on, are imitations of external things. Hence, I was correct yesterday when I showed you how f is related to a fish, since I imitated the shape of the fish. It is always possible to trace consonants back to an imitation of external objects, whereas vowels are very elementary expressions of feeling nuances in people towards things. Therefore, we can view speech as a confrontation between aversion and affinity. Affinities are always present in vowels, and aversions are always present in consonants.
My name is Robert, which has four consonants, and begins and ends with one. Only teachers called me Robert because that was the name on their attendance roll. All my friends and family called me Bobby as a child. Note the ending Y is really a vowel sound like a long e. That gave my everyday name a sympathetic ending sound; it added a bit of affinity and like-ability to my name which made me more approachable. When my family moved me at age 15 to a distant place where I knew no one, I decided that I wanted a more adult name and introduced myself as Bob. Note that my teenage mind equated adult with stand-offish and I chose a new name for myself beginning and ending with a hard consonant. Even today people in my high school area who met me between the age 15 and 18 (at which age I went away to college in a distant city) still call me Bob. When I decided to become a writer, neither Bob nor Robert seemed suitable to me, and I chose Bobby for my pen name as well as my everyday name, so most people call me Bobby today. I offer this analysis as a way of suggesting you review your own set of first names and nicknames as to their approachable nature. Which ones end or begin in vowel sounds? These are the names which represent affinity or like-ability to the rest of your world. A name bracketed by hard consonant-sounds would be suitable for an economist, a statistician, a sculptor, i.e., people who work in jobs with hard edges, etc, such as David, Patrick, Garrick. In fact, I knew a Garrick who switched to using the name Nikki, a much more approachable name for his work on the stage.
[page 22] We can also view speaking in another way. What kind of affinity is expressed in the chest region of the human being so that, as a result, the chest arrests aversion and the head merely accompanies it? The basis of it is musical, something that has passed beyond certain boundaries. Music is the foundation, and it goes beyond certain limits. In a sense, it surpasses itself and becomes more than music. In other words, to the degree that speech contains vowels, it encompasses something musical; to the degree that it contains consonants, it carries a kind of sculpture, or painting. Speech is a genuine synthesis, a true union in the human being of the musical with the sculptural element.
Children feel everything their teacher feels. If a teacher is bored, the children become bored, and the teacher has disciplinary problems. A teacher who develops a sense of awe and respect for the cosmos will feel a reverence for how the cosmos opens up and reveals itself in the growing child in the classroom. A good teacher should sense the mystery in a mature spirit who has arrived from the cosmos as a growing child and feel a reverence for their charge to help this child learn anew about the world of today.
Steiner gives us several pages of description of the connection of human beings with the cosmos to help teachers learn how human beings relate to the cosmos. He explains that as we live and breathe we mirror the astronomical processes of the cosmos. We breathe 18 times a minute. Using this basic fact about human breathing, Steiner shows us that each human being is a microcosm of the cosmos itself. In other words, we are designed in the small, the way our world is designed in the large: as above, so below. Brace yourself, there will be some arithmetical speed bumps ahead.
[page 24, 25] Human beings are embedded in the cosmos in a particular way, and we can observe this externally. I am saying this because (as you saw in yesterday's lecture) much depends on the nature of our feelings toward growing children — the degree of reverence we have toward the mysterious revelation of the cosmos in growing human beings. A tremendous amount depends on our ability to develop this feeling as teachers and educators.
Now let's take a broader view and look again at the significant fact that the human being takes about eighteen breaths per minute. How many breaths is this in four minutes? 18 x 4 = 72 breaths. What is the number of breaths in a day? 18 x 60 x 24 = 25,920 per day. I could also calculate this in a different way, by beginning with the number of breaths in four minutes — 72. Then, instead of multiplying this number by 24 x 60, I would simply multiply it by 6 x 60, or 360; I would arrive at the same number of 25,920 breaths per day: 360 x 72 = 25,920. We can say that our breathing for four minutes — breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out — is, in a sense, a microcosmic "day." The sum of 25,920 I obtained by multiplying it by 360 relates to this as the process of a whole year: the day of twenty-four hours is like a year for our breathing.
This is first level of our relationship as humans to the cosmos: 24 hours is like a year of breathing. At the next level, Steiner has us look at a higher level of breathing which we go through once in the course of a day. This is the breathing our soul and spirit back into us when we awake each morning, which we then breathe out each night as we go to sleep. How many times does this happen a year? 360. Now we can calculate the equivalence of a day and year for this second level of breathing. The numbers will be familiar to you if you remember the Biblical passage that an average lifetime is 72 years.
[page 25] So with the greater breathing process, in one year we complete something similar to what we complete in one day with the microcosmic breathing process, assuming that we multiply what takes place in four minutes by 360. If we multiply what takes place with waking and sleeping during one day by 360, the answer shows us what takes place in one year. And if we multiply one year by an average life span — that is by seventy-two — we arrive again at 25,920.
We can see that over an average lifetime our second level breathing of waking and sleeping takes place 25,290 times. Do you feel a slight sense of awe, yet? Hold tight, there's more. There's a Great Solar Year which takes place over 25,290 years. This is marked by the position of the Sun rising on the day of the Vernal Equinox. This spot revolves around the horizon in the course of the Great Year also called a Platonic Year. Watch in amazement as Steiner does the math for us.
[page 25] Furthermore, we find a third breathing process by following the sun's course. You know that the spot of the sunrise in spring appears to advance slightly every year. After 25,920 years, the sun has moved around the whole ecliptic (i.e., the spot of sunrise has returned to its beginning place on the horizon). Once again we have the number 25,920 in the planetary cosmic year.
Our average life span of 72 years multiplied by the days in a year 360 = 25,290 which is also the number of years in a Great Year. We could say that we live our entire life during a single day of the Great Year.
[page 26] Thus we can regard what is depicted as a year in the universe as one breath in our human life span and see our human life span as a day in the great cosmic year.
Still feel small and puny? It's hard to do feel anything but a sense of awe and reverence when you realize that the entire cosmos lives inside of you.
[page 26, 27] Overcome the illusion that you are a limited human being; think of yourself as a cosmic process — that is the reality — and you will be able to say, "I am a breath of the universe."
What's the big deal anyway? Why should we understand this theoretical aspect of human beings? What good does it do us to know these details? The answer, at the knowing level is nothing, but, at the feeling level it is absolutely essential. It creates the teacher's soul-to-soul connection with children in the classroom, helping hold the children in rapt attention to the teacher, an attention without which boredom ensues and little useful learning takes place. So, yes, it is a big deal!
[page 27] . . . if, on the other hand, you can maintain a feeling of immeasurable reverence for what is expressed so mysteriously in every human being, this sense will become the solid foundation within you that must be the foundation for teaching.
If you can see the human being as a cosmic mystery, you cannot be misled by those abstract logical thinkers who see Artificial Intelligence as a replacement for human beings in the future, near or far. Such abstract thinking, if carried to an extreme, will be the downfall of humanity, a falling directly into the hands of Ahriman and his materialistic plans for Earth.
When I came to Steiner's works, I saw life as a puzzle with an enigma on each end. What happens during life is puzzling, but happened before birth and after death were two great enigmas to me. Here in this brief passage below Steiner explains the puzzle and two enigmas. As beings of feeling, thinking, and will, we need to realize that feeling is with us during the puzzle we call life, thinking belongs to time before birth, and that what we experience as will will be carried as a seed after death into our next lifetime. Through this realization we are able to fill our children with the cosmic importance of their own lives, newly arrived as they are from the spirit world into a new life on Earth.
[page 28] On the other hand, earthly culture is raised only when we permeate education with the feeling that the whole human being has cosmic significance. And this cosmic feeling arises only when we regard the content of human feeling as belonging to the period between birth and death. Human thinking indicates the period before birth, and what exists in the human will points to what comes after death as a seed for the future. As the threefold human being stands before us, first we see what belongs to the time before birth, then we see what lies between birth and death, and, third, we see what awaits us after death. Our life before birth enters our existence as images, and the seed of what lies beyond death exists within us even before death.
One of my favorite quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson is this: "We will meet as if we met not and we will part as if we parted not." If this sounds mysterious to you, it is because the time in which we live discounts the existence of karma, up until now. If you meet someone you knew in a previous lifetime, it will seem more like a reunion than a new meeting. If you part after a time, you know that this spirit will arrive again in your world in a next lifetime, whether or not during the present one. There may be random occurrences, but there are no random meetings. The aversions we develop towards people in this lifetime ensure that we will develop affinities towards them in future lifetimes.
[page 29] Furthermore, you can be certain that we are not led to meet one another in this life if there are no preconditions for such a meeting. These external processes are always the outer expression of something inner, regardless of how strange this may seem to a conventional worldview. The fact that you are present to teach these children from the Waldorf factory, and the fact that you will do what is necessary in this regard, indicates that this group of teachers and this group of children belong together in terms of karma. You become the appropriate teacher for these children because in previous times you developed aversions toward them. Now you free yourself from these aversions by educating their thinking. And we develop affinities in the right way by aiding the appropriate development of the will.
If you learn nothing else from Lecture Two, learn this: aversion enables us to comprehend and affinity enables us to love. (Page 30)
In this second decade of the twenty-first century, a TV series known as "The Walking Dead" has become well known. I cannot attest to its content, since I haven't seen any episode, but I can attest to its popularity. What better sign attests that a large majority of Americans have become able to see the world only through mental representations?
[page 32] If we were beings of understanding only, if we were able to observe the world only through our mental representations, we would eventually become walking dead — we would present the image of dying beings on earth.
How can we transcend this lugubrious situation? Through sculpture and pictorial imaginations. Steiner's new art form of eurythmy combines music with sculpture and pictorial images so that the musical and visible realms become one. He says, "We save ourselves from this mortality (of the living dead) only by feeling in ourselves the urge to enliven what is dying in concepts through sculptural and pictorial imagination." (Page 32, 33) He suggests that educators not deny the death processes of conceptual ideas in children. To do otherwise is a great mistake as he illustrates with a metaphor.
[page 33] This mistake in the realm of the soul and spirit is like that of a doctor who observes cultural evolution and then announces, as though he is a great teacher, that bones are a dying part of human beings. Therefore, he says, let us guard people against this dying element by keeping the bones soft and lively. If physicians acted on such an opinion, it would lead to a world of rickety people unable to fulfill their tasks.
This error would be similar to saying that Lucifer and Ahriman are bad and must be guarded against. Nothing could be further from the truth, they must be embraced but in a balanced manner. They do not harm human nature but instead form human nature. One ought to feel comforted by this thought.What is the true nature of color? I must admit that what I learned about color as a physicist is of little help to understanding the nature of color. Goethe, I found, said it best, "Color is the result of the labor light undergoes on its way into the human eye." Let's admit this truth, color would not exist if human eyes were not present to observe light. Physicists who claim that color would exist if there were no human beings reveal their bias to the conceptual over the real. As a physicist I saw a plain coffee cup as white, but as an artist I must admit that coffee cup can have shades of blue, green, red, yellow, etc., on it depending on the path the light takes before falling on its surface. As a human being I can admit that each shade of color creates a different feeling in me. Goethe emphasized the feelings generated in him by each shade of color.
[page 33] We should not avoid educating the conceptual, thinking element. We must educate it, but we must also never fail at other times to approach the nature of the child through the elements of sculpture and image; unity arises out of this.
Unity does not arise by extinguishing one element, but by developing both sides. People today cannot yet think in this way about unity(6).As for myself, I was born in the 1940s into a world of coloring books and wax crayons. I was taught to stay inside the lines and to use the right color for the leaves of a tree and its bark, for the sky, etc. There is nothing more dead than the line drawings in color books. I colored within the dead lines well, but learned little about color and reality as it exists in the world. Steiner urges teachers use watercolors on both colored and white surfaces, so that children may learn the inherent liveliness of colors. (Page 35) I never had a chance to learn this until I took an art course from a delightful Sufi artist in the 1980s. She taught me to see colors and to render them on the canvas. Like Steiner she urged me to paint with colors, not within artificial dead lines.
[page 34] Consequently, he emphasizes the challenging nature of red; he stresses not only what the eye sees but also what the soul feels in red. Similarly, he emphasizes how the soul feels the stillness and absorption of blue. It is possible, without piercing children's innocence, to lead them into the realm of color so that the feeling nuances of the world of color emerge in a living way. Although the first result is a great mess, it provides a good opportunity to train the children to be less messy.Steiner gives us the example of a horizon drawn as a single line which separates the ground from the sky, calling it "an abstract, deathly untruth against nature." Then he shows a watercolor wash of blue across the top of a wash of green. This becomes a living representation of the nature of a horizon. After a performance by eighty children who came from Munich to learn eurythmy in Dornach, Steiner was asked to say a few words to the children before they went home. His prefatory remarks show how important he felt it was for teachers to point out things to children that they do not understand yet; to do otherwise as a teacher would be to deaden all education. Such not-yet-understood things, rightly understood, remain in the children as unanswered questions, seeds for further understanding.
[page 35, 36] Drawing, as such, in fact, approaches the abstract element in nature as something that is dying. Indeed, we should always draw in such a way that we become aware of drawing essentially what is dead. When we paint with colors, we should do it in such a way that it makes us aware that we are invoking the living out of what is dead.Similarly, Steiner urged that so-called unmusical children should be present for all musical presentations. When music is an unanswered question to a child, only further exposure will reveal the secrets of music and form a basis for an appreciation of music. (Page 40) So many unanswered questions in my life have sprouted into lively answers through my reading and studying of Rudolf Steiner's works. I have learned in this Lecture Three that we can look upon the beauty of sculpture, but we must become the beauty of music.
[page 38] I said, "What I am going to say you will not understand now, but you will understand it later. Be alert in the future when you hear the word soul, since you cannot understand it yet."He suggests that we find a way when reciting a poem to sing the rhymes of the poem at the same time. This would be a way to reduce the clash of the content of the poem with its musical process.
[page 44] When the musical ear of human beings is cultivated, they are inspired to experience in a living way the musical essence of the world itself. This is of utmost value for the developing individual. We must not forget that in the sculptural, pictorial realm we look at beauty, we experience it in a living way, whereas in the musical realm we ourselves become the beauty.Human beings who create music are riding on time waves from the future, rightly understood. Remember the future, it hums in the present(7), and the future is the source of true music created by humans.
[page 44] It would be a step in the right direction if we could further develop our considerations of poetry by reciting each line and enlivening only the rhyming word with melody, so that the line flows along in recitation and the rhyming word is sung like an aria.[page 45] Of course, simply imitating in music the sighing of the waves or the singing of the nightingale can produce a certain musicality. But all true music and poetry are new creations, and it is out of this act of creating anew that the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan evolutions of the world(8) will arise. Through music we rescue in some way what still has to transpire; we rescue it out of the present nullity of its existence and give it life.Time waves from the future, as I point out in Matherne's Rule #36 reach us as feelings, and when these feelings from the future arrive in a musician, they can be translated into music. This is the kind of true music that Steiner is talking about in the above passage: music that is non-imitative because it originates as a time wave from the future. This is the essence of other art forms as painting, dance, sculpture, etal(9). Eurythmy arrived in Steiner, no doubt, as a time wave from the future, and its presence as a new art form as well as an educational tool for small children has greatly increased in the hundred years of Steiner’s future since he introduced eurythmy to the world. Teachers often get so entranced by their own conceptual knowledge that they expound on it to children who are with them on a nature trip. Wonderful phrase, nature trip, don't you think? The children have been transported out of their classroom into Nature. So, why should a teacher cause the classroom experience to intrude into a nature trip? True teachers will allow themselves to be transported out of their classroom teaching mode into the same enjoyment-of-Nature feeling they wish the children to have. True teachers will never break the spell Nature creates in their children by spewing didactic gibberish from some classroom lecture, because gibberish is exactly how the children will hear or, better said, not hear what the teacher says.Teachers do best to share a feeling of sadness that they must dissect nature when they bring it into the classroom, always reminding the children, e.g., that the plant they are looking at is not a whole plant because most of its roots were left behind in the Earth, that they should be delighted in how the beetle runs across, over, and under the leaves of a plant.
[page 45] We should never forget to point out to them that we take them out into the open air so that they can experience the beauty of nature and we bring the products of nature into the classroom so that we can dissect and analyze nature.Teachers also do best to provide occasions for children to feel in their soul the creative nature of music.
[page 46] We should seek to arouse in children a different kind of feeling, the felling that it is unfortunate that we have to dissect nature when we bring it into the classroom. But the children should nevertheless understand this as a necessity, for the destruction of what is natural is necessary in the building up of the human being. We should certainly not imagine that we are doing any good by giving a scientific explanation of a beetle out of doors in natural surroundings. The scientific description of the beetle belongs in the classroom.
[page 46] Furthermore, we should not neglect to call forth in the child's soul a clear sense of how a creative element lives in music, transcending nature, and of how the human being shares in the creation of nature in creating music. This feeling will take shape only very primitively, of course, but it will be the first feeling that must emerge from the will element of music — that the human being feels an integral part of the cosmos.
In Lecture Four Steiner begins by telling teachers that their very first lesson with a classroom of children is extremely important because, rightly executed, it can become a seed for all the future growth of the children.
[page 47] You must regard the first lesson you have with your students in every class as extremely significant. In a certain sense a far more important element will emanate from this first lesson than from all the others. Of course, the other lessons will then have to be turned to account — so that the substance arising in the first lesson becomes fruitful for all the others.
It is in the first lesson that the teacher must plant the WHY, why the child is in school.
[page 47, 48] You are faced, then, with a class of all sorts of children. The first thing to do is to draw their attention to the reason they are there in the classroom. It is very important that you should speak to the children somewhat in this vein: "You have come to school, and now I am going to tell you why you have come to school." This act of coming to school should immediately be drawn to their attention. "You have come to school in order to learn something. You have as yet no idea of all the things you will be learning in school, but there will be all sorts of subjects that you will have to learn. Why will you have to learn all sorts of different things in school? You no doubt know some adults, some grown-up people, and you must have noticed that they can do things that you cannot do. You are here so that one day you will also be able to do what grown-ups can do. One day you will be able to do things that you cannot do yet."
This introduction by the teacher places the child in the present, in the world of adults, and talks about observations which the child will likely have already made, and answered some unanswered questions the child may already have puzzled over. The next phase of the introduction take the child into a world it has likely never considered before: the achievements of previous generations, not only of its parents and grandparents, but also all of the people in the world during their lifetimes and before.
[page 48] No teaching can flow in the right channels unless it is accompanied by a certain respect for the previous generation. This nuance must remain in the realm of feeling and sensing, but we must nevertheless cultivate in the children, by every means, respect and reverence, with which they look up to the achievements of former generations and to what they are also meant to achieve by going to school. We must from the start arouse in the children this way of regarding the culture around them with a certain respect, so that they see those people who are older as somewhat higher beings. If this feeling is not kindled, there will be no progress in teaching and education.
The teacher's job is to plant dozens of unanswered questions which will create energy in the children for finding answers to them, not so much by searching for answers, but by having answers arrive to questions planted months or years previously by their teacher. Steiner says, "The principle that dictates that you teach the children only what they can understand and form an opinion about has ruined much of our culture." I cannot think now of specific instances where this principle is being applied in our time, but from what I've heard mothers telling their children, I expect it may be even more widespread in our time than a hundred years ago.
Another principle that Steiner urges upon teachers is, "Bring life, not play to the child in the classroom." There are certainly many more examples of how play can enter a classroom today, especially with early grade schoolers carrying Smart Phones into school with them, but the principle is the same whether it's square matchsticks being arranged playfully on a desk in Steiner's time or Smart Phones in our time. (Page 50)
[page 50, 51] Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that play should not be used in education; I mean that games artificially constructed for the lesson have no place in school. There will still be a great deal to say about how play can be properly incorporated into the lessons.
The next step is for the teacher to make each child aware that it has two hands. "Look at yourselves. You have two hands, a left one and a right one. These hands are for working; you can do all kinds of things with them." (Page 51) Do this and the children will not only know they have two hands, but will become aware of their hands. The next step is to have the children use their hands to do something simple, like drawing a straight line on the board or a piece of paper.
Describing nouns is straightforward: children learn to name the objects they see around them using nouns, and they remain separate from those objects. They say, "I see a table and a chair," and they remain separate from the two objects. When they use adjectives, however, children experience a subtle unconscious merging with the described object.
[page 56] It is quite another matter to describe things using adjectives. When I say, "The chair is blue," I am expressing a quality that unites me with the chair. The characteristic that I perceive unites me with the chair. By naming an object with a noun, I dissociate myself from it; when I describe it with an adjective I become one with it again. The development of our consciousness takes place in our relationship to things when we address them; we must certainly become conscious of the way we address them.
With verbs the unconscious process of uniting takes place both on the speaking and on the listening activities.
[page 56] If I say a verb — for example, "A woman writes" — I not only unite with the being in relation to whom I used the verb, I also do with her what she is doing with her physical body. I do what she does — my I-being does what she does. When I speak a verb, my I joins in with what the physical body of the other is doing. I unite my I with the physical body of the other when I use a verb. Our listening, especially with verbs, is in reality always a form of participation. What is at this time the most spiritual part of the human being participates; it simply suppresses the activity.
The amazing hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, M. D., never officially put any of his patients in trance, he only told them stories, but a minute or so into the story, the patient would be oblivious of the outside world and did internally whatever the person in the story did and had whatever learnings the person had. He did this for over fifty years and had amazing success. Here's my version of one of his wonderful stories. "I was a growing boy in Wisconsin and my brother and I had the job of getting ole Betsy, our milk cow, into the barn each night when the weather got very cold. I would watch my brother fight with Betsy: he pulled her toward the barn and she leaned back and refused to budge. He would have to pull her with her hooves skidding over the frozen ground to get her into the barn, and he would come into the house exhausted. When my turn came, I pointed Betsy away from the barn's open door, and as I tugged gently on her rope, she backed herself into the barn, safe and sound." What Erickson did as a hypnotherapist with his patients was like what he did with Betsy in this story: he would point the patient away from the place they needed to go and tug gently as they backed themselves into a safe and healthy life again.
Erickson knew what a client did when you told him a story: he placed himself in (united his I with) the actor of the story and experienced whatever the actor did, even if the actor might be a rose, for example. When we cry during a poignant moment of a good movie, we are doing exactly the same thing. Why else would we cry? People who don't cry at such moments are to be pitied because they remain disconnected with much of the action in the world around them, both in the real world outside them and the real world inside of them. Rightly understood, if you are not disconnected you are united, and the inside becomes the outside and the outside becomes the inside.
When is listening always made visible? In eurythmy, a speak-dance form of art, innovated by Rudolf Steiner. Today most people do eurythmy unconsciously and in such a sloppy way, they would be angry if you suggested that they did it while listening.
[page 56, 57] Only in eurythmy is this activity placed in the external world. In addition to all its other benefits, eurythmy also activates listening. When one person says something, the other listens; he engages in his I with what lives physically in the sounds, but he suppresses it. The I always participates in eurythmy, and what eurythmy puts before us through the physical body is nothing other than listening made visible. You always do eurythmy when you listen, and when you actually perform eurythmy you are just making visible what remains invisible when you listen. The manifestation of the activity of the listening human being is, in fact, eurythmy. It is not something arbitrary, but rather the revelation of the activity of the listening human being. People today are, of course, shockingly slovenly; at first, when they listen, they do very poor inner eurythmy. By engaging in it as they should, they raise it to the level of true eurythmy.
What passes for listening today? For most people, it is being attuned only to words, phrases, and ideas that they heard for decades; everything else goes right through them without genuflecting or disturbing a single neuron of their brain. They are not uniting their I with the person speaking nor with the actors in the speaker's words, but spend instead their time in the unproductive activity of searching for something the speaker says to which they can reply, sometimes silently, "I know that!" Steiner knows such people and comments on them:
[page 57] Sometimes they innocently admit as much by saying, "Dr. Steiner says a lot of good things, but he never says anything new." People have become so rigid in their listening that they become confused about anything that has not already fossilized gradually within them. People cannot listen and will become increasingly less able to do so in our age, unless the power of listening can be reawakened by eurythmy.
I have read and studied over 256 of Steiner's collections of lectures and I can say from my own experience that not only does Steiner often say things that are new, many of them are completely mind-boggling and require sometimes years to comprehend.
One of his educational strategies is to teach writing before reading. We already heard about how Elisabeth in "When Calls the Heart" took a 12-year-old who was considered dumb because he couldn't read, and she baked cookies in the shape of animals and taught him to write using these cookies. Only then could he begin to recognize those letters and words in a school textbook.
We all know that Egyptian hieroglyphics were a picture language. When did we move from a pictorial to an alphabet language?
[page 65] The fact is if you go back in history to the most ancient forms of Egyptian writing, which was still a type of sign writing, you find many copies of objects and animals in the letters. Not until the transition from the Egyptian to the Phoenician culture did the change take place that brought about the development of the picture into a sign representing a sound. It is this transition that the children must experience anew. Let us therefore gain a clear idea of the theory of it ourselves.
Steiner goes through several letters to describe their origin to encourage teachers to find their own ways to introduce their children to the various letters of the alphabet. The script f looks like a fish, the uppercase B like a Bear, and the flattened out M resembles a Mouth. When children are presented with letters and learn the sounds that go with each, the fuh, the buh, the muh sounds for f, B, and M, they can learn to draw the objects while hearing and saying their associated sounds. Once versed in the alphabet in this fashion, they become able to write down simple words and say them. Soon they transit almost magically into being able to read the words and say them aloud, all because their will had already been activated in the writing phase. Writing is a concrete activity, and reading is an abstract activity. Children love the concrete will-based activity and hate the abstract activity, so presenting writing first will appeal to the children who will learn reading soon afterward, almost on their own. Plus the teacher will receive joy from having personally inspired their children by the selection of the objects to form the letters of the alphabet.
Steiner is speaking directly to the teachers:
[page 66] Working things out for yourself will refresh you so much that what you tell your students will have a far more living effect than lesson material you find through historical research. Looking at life and your teaching with these two aspects in mind, you must ask yourselves which is more important. Is it to take in a historical fact with great effort and then strenuously seek to weave it into your lessons or to have such agility of soul that you can invent your own examples to offer your students with your own enthusiasm? It will always give you joy, albeit a quiet joy, to transfer to a letter the shape you have made yourself out of some animal or plant. And your Joy will live in what you make out of your student.
In a world one-sidedly devoted to the conceptual aspect of life, we tend to create the phenomena of "little professors" in our children. These are preteens who spout out facts about everything. They seem to know the meaning of everything and the value of nothing. The meek or absent-minded professor is a familiar example of little professors who age into grown professors who know a lot, but can do little.
[page 79] What is assimilated as meaning works only on the faculty of observation, the faculty of cognizing through thought; by laying emphasis on the meaning, we educate a person one-sidedly merely to observe the world, to know it through thought. If we were to teach only in accordance with that statement, the result would be nothing but weak-willed individuals.
Being married to a strong-willed woman, I am often upset by her resisting my perpetual unrestrained laying bare of meaning. "Why would I want to know that?" is a common epithet she throws at me.
[page 79, italics added] It is indeed a fact that by first one-sidedly analyzing the meaning of everything we can go a long way in the education of the human being's observation of the world. But we would get nowhere in educating the will, for we cannot force the will to emerge by throwing a strong light on the meaning of anything. The will wants to sleep; it does not want to be awakened fully by what I might call the perpetual unrestrained laying bare of meaning. It is simply a necessity of life that penetrates beyond the simple truth about the revelation of meaning and gives rise to the fact that we must also do things with the children that do not call for the elucidation of meaning. Then we shall educate their will.
As a youth I was obsessed with learning, but my will became developed by being forced to use my hands to build my own toys, pick blackberries, snap beans, chip pears for preserves, catch fish and crabs, and numerous other things. However, there were some things that I tried my best at and failed by using my grasp of meaning, like marching in step. No matter what information I got on how to do it, I failed. The meaning-level information never made it into my will system. After a Fall of marching out of step during my high school band's half-time performances during football games, I had to march in several six-mile-long parades during Carnival season. After about three miles of the first parade, I began to feel the downbeat and set my foot down in harmony with it and voila! I was marching in step. No amount of instruction or study of the meaning of marching in step could have helped me do that, only the will-based activity itself.
[page 80] Human life calls for more than education in the realm of meaning; it calls for education in what the will experiences in its sleeping condition — rhythm, beat, melody, harmony of colors, repetition, any kind of activity that does not call for a grasp of meaning.
Wow! Harmony of colors! That was a concept which evaded me for about fifty years. My choice of colors to wear were based on anything but a harmony of colors. But I had studied harmony in music theory while singing in a Barbershop Chorus. I sang lead parts successfully in a chorus because I was able to match the tone of other lead singers and sing in tune with them. But I was lost in a quartet where I was the only lead singer, having a poor ear for pitch. One day after my wife corrected my choice of colors for the umpteenth time, I thought about harmony in music, how three notes can make a harmonious chord, a chord whose sound feels good when you hear it, and I wondered if colors might work like that. I began to select colors to wear based on how I felt when I saw two colors together. If I wore green trousers, I selected a shirt which had some green in and they harmonized. If the shirt also had some red in it, I selected an undershirt that was red. By keeping solid colors in my pants and undershirt I could select a top shirt of various colorful patterns which included the colors of the shirt and pants. When I wore these combinations, I felt good. Harmony in music and color, I discovered, makes me feel good. My wife is happy, I'm happy, and I get compliments for my clothes from friends and strangers now.
Another principle of Steiner's Waldorf education requires teachers to follow students through each year's study into the next year until the end of their schooling. When you do this as a teacher, the unanswered questions which you intrigue students with in one year will return later at a time when they are ready to receive an explanation for what had puzzled them earlier. (Page 84)
[page 85] This works very strongly on the heart forces. That is why it is essential in any good school that the teacher remain with a single group of students for as long as possible. . . . Only in this way can one work with the rhythms of life. And life has rhythm in the most comprehensible sense.
In Lecture Eight Steiner discusses how children cannot absorb concepts of science as they apply to human beings before the age of twelve. Take the example of how light enters the eye of the human being. You can show them the physics but they cannot relate to it happening inside of their own body before the age of twelve.
[page 108] It is quite simple to do so by showing them a lens, explaining the focus, and demonstrating how light is refracted. But these are facts of physics that have their place outside the human being. We can describe them to children in the period between ages nine and twelve, but we should not apply such descriptions of physics to the organs of the human being before the children have reached the age of twelve. Only then do they begin to assess properly how the external world is continued in the human being. Before then, they cannot understand this. They can understand the processes of physics, but they cannot understand how these processes take place within the human being.
If you are skeptical about this age requirement, I would agree with you. I would be skeptical myself if not for a memorable event which happened to me at age ten. I was taking out five books each time I went to my local public library and was well-known to Mrs. Lawson the librarian. Only once did she ever hesitate to check out a book for me. That event was burnt into my soul as an unanswered question for more than a decade. For the ten-year-old me this was a fun cartoon-filled book about the adventures of a cute imp named Spiro who had a spiral-shaped tail by which he bored into a human body to begin his adventures, one of which ended with him coming out on the side of an eyeball. After examining the book thoroughly and looking at me intensely, Mrs. Lawson allowed me to check out the book. I read the book hardly at all, it was Spiro's adventures in the human body that caught my attention. Sometime in my twenties, I recalled that book and realized that it was about syphilis and the playful Spiro was the syphilis bug. If I had read the book several years later I might have made that connection, but under 12, it was the book's comic book aspect that attracted me. And it is this episode in my life which convinced me of the truth of Steiner's recommendation to wait until after the child is over twelve years of age to discuss science topics which involve the human body.
Sometime in schooling I probably encountered this contradiction: to create electricity by rubbing objects together, the object must be dry, but somehow water itself falling from the sky generates huge electrical lightning bolts!
[page 112, 113] I must point out to you that a considerable amount of what is included in our concepts of physics wreaks havoc in the child and that a great deal depends on the teacher's knowing what is right and trying to be mature in judgment. You cannot avoid saying to the bigger children: "Here you have an electrical generator; what I have here is a frictional electrical generator. I can make electricity by rubbing certain objects together, but I must first wipe the objects carefully because they have to be very dry. If they are wet, the experiment will not work, and no electricity will be made." Then you enlarge on the reasons why electricity cannot be produced with wet instruments. And you go on to explain how lightning occurs, pointing out that it is also an electrical process. There are many people who claim that clouds rub against each other and that the resulting friction causes lightning as an electrical discharge. The children will perhaps believe this because the teacher actually believes it, but in their subconscious a special process takes place of which they are unaware.
The children say to themselves: "My teacher wipes the instruments before rubbing them together to make electricity, just to make sure that they are not wet, and then tells me that if clouds rub together, electricity is made. But clouds are wet." Children notice such inconsistencies. And much of the disharmony in life stems from the fact that children are told such contradictions. These contradictions ought to arise outside in the world; they have no place in our thinking. Because human knowledge and perception are too shallow today, such contradictions, which really tear apart the human unconscious, continually crop up in what we tell children and, later, young people. We must take care that what we bring consciously to the children does not contain too much of what in their subconscious they will imagine differently.
In my second year of college studying physics, I found a design for a waterdrop electrostatic generator. Using two large and two small metallic juice cans, four blocks of paraffin wax for insulation, some stiff wire, some plastic tubing and two metal rings, I made a working generator that simulated the action of rain falling to create large electric charges. The voltages were 5,000 to 8,000 volts as measured by the length of spark produced. All this from a couple of streams of dropping water. This is about voltage produced by walking across the carpet in a Las Vegas hotel and putting a metal key into a lock. The air in a desert is so dry that high voltages can be built up before discharging all at once. In moist air elsewhere the electrostatic build-ups leak into the air via the moisture and are defused before a discharge.
What the teacher said about instruments being dry to make electricity was true, but the water drop generator proved to me that lightning size build-ups can happen in the presence of moisture, with much higher voltages and large flashes when they discharge.
When I first took German in college, it was a five semester hour class which meant one hour of class every day for the semester. The teacher explained if you wish to make an A in this class, you will need to spend 3 hours in the audio lab with audio tapes, listening to and speaking German, for every hour of class. It was tough, but I did it, got the A, and began taking other classes in German as electives because I enjoyed the language. Never did the teacher read a passage aloud and ask us to follow in a book. He showed us how to pronounce the various vowels and consonants of the German language in class and the rest of our learning was in the lab hearing and speaking what we heard in the earphones.
[page 136] The right way is for the teacher to relate freely whatever is to be put across to the children or, if a passage or poem is presented verbatim, to speak it by heart without using a book. Meanwhile, the students do nothing but listen; they do not read the text as the teacher speaks. Then, possibly, they are asked to reproduce what they have heard without having read it first. This method is vital for teaching foreign languages, but need not be taken into account so much for lessons in the mother tongue. What matters very much with the foreign language is that the children should understand through hearing rather than through reading — that a language should become intelligible to them through speech. When this has been accomplished, the children can be allowed to take their book and read the passage. Alternatively, if this is not expecting too much of them, they can be given for homework the task of reading what has been addressed in the lesson.
If any of topics in this review were of interest to you, read the book as the full lectures contain a lot more information about the things I covered, plus there are many more topics than I covered. Steiner closed this book of practical advice to teachers with four principles that he urged them to follow (from page 187, 188).
I. The teacher must be a person of initiative in everything done, great and small.
II. The teacher should be one who is interested in the being of the whole world and of humanity.
III. The teacher must be one who never compromises in the heart and mind with what is untrue.
IV. The teacher must never get stale or grow sour.
These four principles for teachers laid down by Rudolf Steiner he followed in all of his life and teachings. He gave over 6,000 lectures and wrote a number of books in 25 years and his lectures never grew stale. He devoted his entire lifetime to well-being of the whole world and humanity. Never once can you find him compromising on what is true versus what is untrue. His initiative never faltered. If someone asked him a question about a matter, such as Emil Molt did about founding a school based on his educational principles for Molt's employees at his Waldorf Factory, Steiner offered to help and devoted the last 6 years of his life to doing that. He saw it as the best chance of developing the type of people who will understand the world in a new way of openness for spiritual realities, which the world needed so desperately in his time and even more in our time.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. This type of music fills most wedding receptions and carnival balls in 2017. It can't be danced to, but merely jumped up and down to the heavy thumping beat. With this animalistic music, lyrics become almost non-existent, limited to repetitive chants in time with the drum beats. I coined the name "Jump and Thump" for this genre, modeled off a genre which began 70 years ago called "Rock and Roll".Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. A footnote refers us to Steiner's book Goethe's Theory of Knowledge in which he writes on page 39, "Goethe always takes the path of experience in the strictest sense. He first takes the objects as they are, then tries to penetrate their nature while waiting to see what develops. One tries to allow nature an opportunity to demonstrate her laws under especially characteristic conditions that one brings about."Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Footnote 4. Read my Live Lecturer in the College Classroom for more insight on soul-to-soul communication. Link is http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tandlrvw.shtml#live_lecture.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. Steiner noted that he was expanding on what he had pointed out to his audience an hour ago, namely, the processes of aversion and affinity in his earlier lecture on August 22, 1919. If you look at what he talked about then, you'll find his words are antipathy and sympathy, another way of translating the actual German words he used into English. See the likely passages he was referring to in pages 49 to 62 of The Foundations of Human Experience. Several of those passages are in my 2013 review (linked at left) of the book published in 1996.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. Steiner adds as an aside, "This is why they find it so difficult to understand the threefold arrangement of society. It is entirely appropriate in society that the spiritual, economic, and legal spheres exist side by side; this is how unity comes about, instead of being constructed abstractly." These topics are elaborated in Towards Social Renewal and other references contained in that review.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
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Footnote 9. See my essay on Art as the Process of Destruction: http://www.doyletics.com/artpofd.htm. What is being destroyed is the dead sameness of the art of the past and present as a time wave from the future arrives. Note especially my essay's poem Art which ends with this sentence, "Art is the fresh hardware store/that hums our future".Return to text directly before Footnote 9.
RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURES
and WRITINGS ON EDUCATION
LEGEND: (TBA) indicates this review to be added later.
Underlined Title indicates Available Review: Click on Link to Read Review.
(NA) indicates the Book is NOT in Print presently, so far as we know.
I. Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik: Pädagogischer Grundkurs, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 293). Previously Study of Man. The Foundations of Human Experience (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
II. Erziehungskunst Methodische-Didaktisches, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, (GA 294). Practical Advice to Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 2000).
III. Erziehungskunst, 15 discussions, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 295). Discussions with Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
IV. Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage, 6 lectures, Dornach, 1919 (GA 296). Previously Education as a Social Problem. Education as a Force for Social Change
(Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
V. Die Waldorf Schule und ihr Geist, 6 lectures, Stuttgart and Basel, 1919
(GA 297). The Spirit of the Waldorf School (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VI. Rudolf Steiner in der Waldorfschule, Vorträge und Ansprachen, 24 Lectures and conversations and one essay, Stuttgart, 1919-1924 (GA 298) Rudolf Steiner in the Waldorf School: Lectures and Conversations
(Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
VII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Sprachbetrachtungen, 6 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919
(GA 299). The Genius of Language (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VIII. Konferenzen mit den Lehrern der Freien Waldorfschule 1919-1924, 3 volumes
(GA 300a-c). Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner, 2 volumes: Volume 1, Volume 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1998).
IX. Die Erneuerung der pädagogisch-didaktischen Kunst durch Geisteswissenschaft,
14 lectures, Basel, 1920 (GA 301). The Renewal of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
X. Menschenerkenntnis und Unterrichtsgestaltung, 8 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921
(GA 302). Previously The Supplementary Course: Upper School and Waldorf Education
for Adolescence. Education for Adolescents (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XI. Erziehung und Unterricht aus Menschenerkenntnis, 9 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920, 1922, 1923 (GA 302a). The first four lectures are in Balance in Teaching (Mercury Press, 1982); last three lectures in Deeper Insights into Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1988).
XII. Die gesunde Entwicklung des Menschenwesens, 16 lectures, Dornach, 1921-22
(GA 303). Soul Economy: Body, Soul, and Spirit in Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2003).
XIII. Erziehungs- und Unterrichtsmethoden auf anthroposophischer Grundlage, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1921-22 (GA 304) Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XIV. Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1923-24 (GA 304a). Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XV. Die geistigseelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst, 12 Lectures, 1 special lecture, Oxford, 1922 (GA 305). The Spiritual Ground of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004).
XVI. Die pädagogische Praxis vom Gesichtspunkte geisteswissenschaftlicher Menschenerkenntnis, 8 lectures, Dornach, 1923 (GA 306) The Child's Changing Consciousness as the Basis of Pedagogical Practice (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XVII. Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung, 14 lectures, Ilkley, 1923
(GA 307) Two Titles: A Modern Art of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004) and
Education and Modern Spiritual Life (Garber Publications, 1989).
XVIII. Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens, 5 lectures, Stuttgart, 1924 (GA 308). The Essentials of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XIX. Anthroposophische Pädagogik und ihre Voraussetzungen, 5 lectures,
Bern, 1924 (GA 309) The Roots of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XX. Der pädagogische Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik, 10 public lectures, Arnheim, 1924 (GA 310) Human Values in Education(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971).
XXI. Die Kunst des Erziehens aus dem Erfassen der Menschenwesenheit, 7 lectures, Torquay, 1924 (GA 311). The Kingdom of Childhood (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XXII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Erster naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Licht, Farbe, Ton — Masse, Elektrizität, Magnetismus
10 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919-20 (GA 320). The Light Course (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
XXIII. (NA) Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Zweiter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: die Wärme auf der Grenze positiver und negativer Materialität, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920 (GA 321). The Warmth Course (Mercury Press, 1988). This Mercury Press edition may still be in print.
XXIV. (NA) Das Verhältnis der verschiedenen naturwissenschaftlichen Gebiete zur Astronomie. Dritter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Himmelskunde in Beziehung zum Menschen und zur Menschenkunde, 18 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921 (GA 323). Available in typescript only as "The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy."
XXV. Six Lectures in Berlin, Cologne, and Nuremberg from 1906 to 1911, (Misc. GA's.) The Education of the Child — Early Lectures on Education (a collection; Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
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