News 51-23

HB Branch News -- Sunday 24 December -- Week 51, 2023

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We wish all readers an insightful Christmas time with family and friends imbued with Peace and Goodwill.

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Calendar of Coming Events 
(in the Rudolf Steiner Centre, 401 Whitehead Road, Hastings
unless stated otherwise)


·        Sunday 31 December 7:30 pm. Celebrating 100 years since the re-founding of the General Anthroposophical Society and the Foundation Stone verse.

·        Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 January 2024. 3-day Eurythmy Workshop at Taruna.

·        Weekend 24-5 February. 2-day Workshop on Threefold Social Order*

·        Saturday 16 March 2 pm.  Annual General Meeting.

Remembering the Christmas Foundation Meeting in 1923.

On Sunday 31 December 2023, we will have a gathering open to members and friends to acknowledge a cosmic event 100 years ago when Rudolf Steiner united the various Anthroposophical groups into one General Anthroposophical Society one year after flames destroyed the wooden Goetheanum that members had spent 9 years crafting.  Rather than being deterred by this attack, Rudolf Steiner showed he was ready to let flow through him a wonderful array of spiritual activity in many fields, with particular focus on karma and reincarnation as a new consideration for mankind.

The evening will include a recitation of the Foundation Stone Meditation, an introductory talk on the special significance of the Christmas Foundation Meeting and some Eurythmy.

There will be an opportunity for participants to share an important way in which their life has been enriched by Anthroposophy.  It would also be interesting to hear of recent world endeavours, based on Anthroposophy, which can inspire people to face the future with purpose, hope and peace.

You are warmly invited to join us from 7 pm (small plate welcomed) before a 7:30 start.  

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(extract from “Anthroposophy – an Introduction” by Frank Thomas Smith. )

The relation between Anthroposophy and Education is exemplified in the numerous Waldorf schools and kindergartens that exist worldwide. We will not go into the Waldorf educational method here, as that is being done by the teachers in the meetings with parents. However, education, Anthroposophy and the social question have much to do with each other. Just think: the first Waldorf school was founded for the workers of a cigarette factory. The founder, the owner of the factory, wasn’t an educator. He was much more interested in Steiner’s social ideas. Here’s an example from Toward a Threefold Society:

This book must assume the unpopular task of showing that the chaotic condition of our public life derives from the dependence of spiritual/cultural life on the political state and economic interests. It must also show that the liberation of spiritual life and culture from this dependence constitutes an important element of the burning social question.”

By “spiritual/cultural life”, Steiner is referring, above all, to education, which was originally in the hands of the Church and was then taken over by the political state, a necessary historical step in order to make education available to all. However, persisting in state control of education in a time when it is no longer necessary is destructive, if not fatal. We all know that the Argentine school system is in chaos. We tend to blame economic conditions for this. Of course the schools here are under-financed, of course teachers are paid miserable salaries. But did you know that in the so-called first world where enormous amounts of money are invested in public education, the school systems are also in a state of continual crisis? Steiner maintained that the principle cause of this chaos was, in his time, the dependence of the school system on the political state and economic interests. In other words, that the teachers were not free to teach the children in the children’s own interests. I maintain that little has changed in this respect.

All this raises a lot of questions, like: someone’s got to control what the teachers do. If not the state, then who? But why should anyone control the teachers? Who knows better than they, who are with the children every day, what their needs are? Especially in Waldorf schools where the same teacher stays with the group through the entire primary years. Of course the college of teachers of each school must exercise some control. If a teacher is doing the wrong thing or maybe shouldn’t even be a teacher – it happens – then that group must take the necessary action.

This is one of the most important innovations in education, which has been practiced exclusively by Waldorf schools: that the teachers must be responsible for the schools administration and direction. Here’s Rudolf Steiner on this point:

The administration of education, from which all culture develops, must be turned over to the educators. Economic and political considerations should be entirely excluded from this administration. Each teacher should arrange his or her time so that he can also be an administrator in his field. He should be just as much at home attending to administrative matters as he is in the classroom. No one should make decisions who is not directly engaged in the educational process. No parliament or congress, nor any individual who was perhaps once an educator, is to have anything to say. What is experienced in the teaching process would then flow naturally into the administration. By its very nature such a system would engender competence and objectivity.

It is often difficult for parents, school boards and other officials to understand and accept the fact that teachers are not employees, and that they (Board members) are there to support, assist and advise the teachers and not to give them orders. Once this is comprehended and the spirit of solidarity and freedom enters the community, the school will flourish.  


*Threefold Social Order

About economic life and community

“Just think, my dear friends, how economic life draws us into a particular relation with the world.  You will readily understand what this relation is if you compel yourselves to imagine that it were possible for us to be entirely absorbed in economic life.  If that could happen, what should we be like?  
We should be thinking animals, nothing else.  We are not thinking animals because besides economic life we have a life of rights — a political life — and a knowledge of the spirit, an earthly spiritual life.  Through economic life we are thus plunged into the midst of human relationships.  And because of this, interests are kindled — precisely in this field of human relations we can develop interests which in the true sense of the word are fraternal.  In no other realm than that of economic life are fraternal relationships so easily and obviously developed among human beings.

[…] In the economic sphere, it is through the overcoming of self that something valuable, not derived from personal desires, comes to expression — brotherhood, responsibility for others, a way of living so that the other man gains experience through us.

In the spiritual life we receive according to our desires.  In the sphere of rights, we make a claim to something we need to make sure of a satisfactory human life as an equal among equals.  And in the economic sphere is born that which unites men in terms of feeling: that is, brotherhood.  The more this brotherhood is cultivated, the more fruitful economic life becomes.  And the impulse towards brotherhood arises when we establish a certain connection between our property and another’s, between our need and another’s, between something we have and something another has, and so on.

This fraternity, this brotherly relation between men which must radiate through economic life if health is to prevail there, may be thought of as a kind of emanation rising from the economic sphere — and in such a way that if we absorb it into ourselves we are able to take it with us through the gate of death and carry it into the super-sensible life after death.

On earth, economic life looks like the lowest of the three social spheres, yet precisely from this sphere arises an impulse which works on into super-earthly realms after death.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Inner Aspect of the Social Question: II – Zurich, 11th February 1919


Posted: Sun 24 Dec 2023