Barbarians at Steiner98: A Meditation from JoAnn

Subject: barbarians at steiner98
From: (JoAnn Schwartz)
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 08:46:25 -0800

Dear All--

A number of recent posts have come together for me to give a picture of this space we call Steiner98. In what follows, I will cite the writer but not always the specific post. The posts I have been looking at include Tom's reposting of and commentary on Catherine's post in Broomsticks & Barbarians, Tom's letter to Joan Almon, and Jerry's reply to Emanuel...


>In seeing through, one begins to perceive between self and other a third
>element, which is the dance itself. This is the dawn of the Vajrayana or
>Tantric stage. Vajrayana realization is treated with some discretion, for
>it has a slightly scandalous quality. One begins to actually enjoy the
>circus of passion and aggression which one was only attending to be a
>good sport. ...
>This stage is morally dangerous, for it is possible to bliss out on the
>dance in a completely amoral way. The Tantrika's fearlessness around
>passion and aggression can lead to an arrogance so profound that nothing
>in the human realm has the power to overcome it. There is a real
>possibility of becoming a monster, and if compassion doesn't keep pace
>with fearlessness, one does so.


JoANN: Worse, even if one's compassion DOES keep pace with fearlessness, there is the possibility of being PERCEIVED as a monster. Because, if I am reading Catherine aright, the Tantrika willingly descends into the valley (the swamp, the cesspool, the sewers) to do her work. She is not just "being a good sport". She begins to live down in the mud and the muck. And so we do not trust her -- because, like good Hinayana broomstick-wannabes, we distrust passion and aggression. Yet, an old lyric from Donovan keeps running through my head (yes, I know it is also a zen koan, but I do not claim to be coming out of a buddhist tradition ....)

"first there is a mountain
then there is no mountain
then there is.

first there is a mountain
then there is no mountain
then there is....."

first there is the mountain top -- then there is the valley -- then there is the mountain top (transformed)....

First there is passion and aggression -- then there is composure -- then there is passion and aggression (transformed)....

Ooops! Does that last sequence look out of place??

Is it not the same?? How about:

first there is enlightenment (composure) -- then there is endarkenment (passion and aggression) -- then there is the Christ (enlightenment transformed)

What about this next sequence:

first there is the intellectual soul age -- then there is the consciousness soul age -- then there is the spirit self age

Where does transformation take place?? In the valley. In the place where the mountain is not. In the consciousness soul age.


>"...Prokofieff quotes Tomberg as having said to his friend Lubensky in
>the early 1940's:
> 'The impulse of the Consciousness Soul has failed; a direct
> path must be found from the Intellectual Soul to the WE-Soul
> (Spirit Self) [Manas]'"


What's wrong with this picture???


Back when Jack, the boy genius, was still on Steiner98, I wrote: "Sometimes folks need to finish that vision quest thing up in the mountains before they realize that they need to work for a spell down here in the sewers. But hey, that's ok. The sewers will still be here. The sewers are always here. ... and there ain't no way to get up and stay up except by digging down. It's the central paradox of Steiner98."

One can talk about passion and aggression in a dispassionate, intellectual way. We can see Catherine and Emanuel and Joel all engaging in this style of discourse. This has the advantage of keeping passion at bay, of keeping aggression at a safe distance. But such discussion does not really engage either passion or aggression or the *self*. And --


But the engagement of passion and aggression is not for the faint of heart. FEARLESSNESS is necessary to face the dark side of passion and agression and come out the other side. And, make no mistake, it *is* our task to come out the other side (although we may not get there in this lifetime). But we cannot bypass the fetid, fertile swamps of passion and aggression, of our transformation. We must have the courage to go *through* passion and aggression. We must have courage, because our route leads us right through the consciousness soul age.

Or as Father Tom so poetically expressed it in his letter to Joan Almon:


>TOM: ...But woe betide any of these Americans who dare [try] to bypass
>the Consciousness Soul Age and whose karma it is to trip and fall down
>headlong into the treacherous snake pit, sewer and cesspool of Steiner98,
>a definite esoteric mudhole that exists to detain and restrain such
>irresponsible people from their drunken Ahrimanic rush to Philadelphia.


Why? Consider the quotes from Florian Sydow in this spring's ASinA Newsletter: (emphasis in all caps and [brackets] from our fearless leader):


> "Ahriman stands in the service of this Anti-Christ being. The
>latest strategy that we can see unfolding from this powerful alliance is
>to forcefully introduce a PRE-MATURE 'SPIRIT SELF' [MANAS] AGE without
>allowing for the maturing of the human ego and individual human freedom."
> "... According to Steiner's reckoning, this 'Spirit-Self' Age is
>not meant to BEGIN [I repeat: BEGIN!] until the MIDDLE of the FOURTH
>MILLENNIUM A.D. [i.e. 4400 A.D. = End of Kali Yuga in 1900 + 2500 years
>to the appearance of Maitreya Buddha!]
> ". . . in light of the warp speed acceleration that Ahriman is
>IMPOSED PREMATURELY, it will become all the more important to cultivate the
>pre-figuration of this future stage presently embodied in anthroposophy."


I am still thinking about the consequences of this premature rush to Philadelphia, but I send this to you in the hopes of sparking some discussion here amid the mint juleps and the gin & tonics. And because I suspect Catherine was right:


>It's hard to say for sure whether your provacateur is a Crazy Wisdom guru
>or just a barbarian. From a Vajrayana perspective, the barbarian *is*
>your guru, and your monster is your mirror.


In love & light,
Sister JoAnn

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