Thursday, September 6, 2007

Steiner: the world expresses itself through every human being

When I first tried to research the life and work of Rudolph Steiner, there was very little to be found about him on the web. Nowadays there are a growing number of pages about him and many Steiner Schools.

I see no point in trying to regurgitate an objective assessment of his life and work, which is what you will find at the end of some of the links. The things which appealed to me, were his idea of the four levels of consciousness: he said that stones and rocks had one level of consciousness, plants had two, animals had three and man had four. He believed in the one-ness of all, which is something I have believed in since I had a mystical experience a few months after the birth of my youngest child. For a short time, I experienced the one-ness of all, and understood how it was possible to be uniquely myself, and yet part of a whole. I felt overwhelming love for it all, and immense peace and happiness. Right there, in the middle of an ordinary day in Uxbridge.

That experience has made me look for other people who have had similar experiences, and I was interested by the ideas that Steiner came up with. I love organic architecture, and he felt it was important too.

The educational ideas he came up with seem bonkers in some respects, but I think some of them may become mainstream eventually. His idea that children have a physical phase initially, and ought not to be taught academic subjects until their milk teeth fall out, which seemed nuts to me at first, may turn out to be one of the most insightful things he said: it has been found that children with dyslexia and dyspraxia need to be taught to jump and spin and swing, and these things are now regimented into a regime for trying to recover the skills they have lost.

We may well discover that the most important thing we can do for a child's academic development is to ensure that they do not enter into academic study too early.

As to his ideas on religion and philosophy, I apply the same test to him as I do to everything: does it speak to me? I find with some things I recognise a spiritual trust for myself in things that he says, and with others it takes some time and experience to recognise the truth. I leave you to discover if it speaks to you too.

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