Comparative Thinking about Anthroposophy,
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 worse.

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 view.

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”?

How about 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 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 better.”

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 the future. 

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.