Comparative Thinking about
and Related Contextual Matters.
It is, as I suggested earlier, difficult to argue with a fence
post. In fact I have no desire to argue with a fence
post. My goal is otherwise, and here I want to make more
clear the situation that arises from my own life experience.
At some time in the past, in various places (including
discussion lists on these themes on Facebook), there was some
consideration of a individual that might be called a “great
teacher”, or something similar. The appellation “great”
is itself a good example of “comparative thinking”, which
tends to decide that one thing is better than another, ... or
Steiner used such terms, including the term “lofty”, to
describe certain personalities. I tried (at various
times) to use the term “expertise”, in an effort to make a
similar (in kind, but not degree) distinction, that is based
more in reality. A car mechanic is not a heart surgeon,
and we wouldn’t want them to change jobs for the day, without
expecting a disaster.
The fence post has taken to using that term in this
connection, writing of “experts” in anthroposophy as if they
tended to a certain kind of flaw.. Of course we can’t be
clear what he means. For example, would I be an “expert”
in social science, working from a spiritual (evolution of
consciousness) perspective, and be flawed according to the
fence post? Is a dear friend of mine, who practices
anthroposophical medicine, an “expert”, but somehow flawed
because she has let herself be inspired by Steiner?
Here is something the fence post recently wrote: “Well put,
xxxx. Also, there are fun and sneaky ways that even the
experts do the “Steiner said” move but simply don’t use those
words. It’s a bit more laborious but it at least allows them
to scold and keep their distance. But, hey, we can even
learn from them despite such tantrums.”
This was after I had expressly done a rant about Steiner-said,
and was part of the thread of comments. If I am
appreciating what was said just above, then Steiner was a
“scold” many times over in Awakening to Community. And,
of course, where would the fence post be if he never had read
Steiner, or studied Steiner enough to forge his own point of
Does a doctor scold a patient if they strongly suggest that it
might be better were they to stop smoking and drinking and
loose weight? How about a sports coach?
Each day I do certain tasks rather similar to those tasks I
did the day before. Can I become more skillful every
time I do something that is like what I did before? Is a
coach more skillful than the players he “teaches”? Was
John Wooden a “great teacher”, or a “great coach”? http://www.ted.com/talks/john_wooden_on_the_difference_between_winning_and_success?language=en
How about Bill Belichick? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Belichick
A great teacher, or a great coach?
Tomberg, in his Meditations on the Tarot, makes an analogy
between the Earth and a cruise ship. Most of the
passengers are there to “play” and enjoy themselves. The
Captain is Christ, and some people staff the cruise ship, to
keep it going and make it function smoothly. Are the
staff experts of any kind?
If we study what is being done at The Nature Institute http://www.natureinstitute.org/
we will find a lot of material about the role of the
context as regards its relationship to any single fact.
My experience of the fence post is that he doesn’t see the
context in which others, who don’t meet the standards of his
comparative thinking, are carrying out their lives.
Now, my analogy here is that Christ is the owner of a sports
franchise. He also owns the stadium, and his goal is to
provide valuable emotional and cathartic experiences for the
“fans”. To do this he hires coaches, and players, and
hotdog sellers, and bathroom janitors.
The players self-identify by taking up an interest in one of
the skill sets that is basic to their Way of participating in
the “game”. The players aren’t better than any fan, ...
its just that in the total context of the situation, that’s
their role, or as Belichick would say: their job. So
what coach Belichick says to the players he had been hired by
the owner to help: “do your job, and here are some ideas that
come from my perspective (expertise) on how to do your job
Depending on the “player”, they can refuse to pay attention,
and take the point of view that they already possess all the
skills they need. In this “game”, all that does is
decrease their effectiveness, assuming they want to be more
effective. Or as Wooden puts it (I’ll paraphrase): There
is a difference between winning and success. If you want
to succeed, then you do that by pursuing the best in yourself.
So, here is coach Wendt saying to the fencepost: You have
settled down too much in one place, and don’t give much
evidence of appreciating the context in which your teammates
operate. You can do better - at your job, but the that’s
up to you. Personally I’d like to see you write that
book advancing Steiner’s understanding of thinking and the
experience of the pure percept, for people who maybe have had
a bit too much Steiner, but mostly for those yet to come - for
You see, Mr. Fence Post, you are part of a community - a team,
and you come here all the time to this shared locker room with
all its aspects (shower stalls, closets, rooms to watch film
in, blackboards to lay out plays, etc.), but maybe you should
go back to the school of fundamentals and remember (as Wooden
made even his All American players do at the beginning of each
season) and practice your basic skills, like how to put on
your socks and tie your shoes so that when you go running down
the floor you don’t right away get blisters and don’t get to
play. Wooden even made them spend days and weeks at the
beginning of each season on dribbling and passing drills,
before getting to run plays. In 12 years, UCLA won 10
national championships, and in one spurt, they won the March
Madness 7 years in a row.
P.S. Stop dissing the coaches, ... its unseemly and
counter-productive for the shared work that makes a team able
to do more than any individual can do on their own.
You can’t, however hard you try, be both the quarterback and
the wide-receiver, throwing passes to your-self all the time,
and thinking nobody else is doing their job right.