THE ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN AMERICA

POSITION STATEMENT ON DIVERSITY

The Anthroposophical Society in America is committed to developing the potential of every human being to its fullest. Admission to the Society is open to everyone without regard to sex, religion, national origin, race, or ethnicity. In addition, the Society does not discriminate due to artistic or scientific orientation.

We emphatically reject racism in all its forms, and embrace the principles of common humanity expressed by the founder of The Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Steiner:

"[We] must cast aside the division into races. [We] must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people." -- The Universal Human, Lecture I

We explicitly reject any racial theory that may be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner's writings. The Anthroposophical Society in America is an open, public society and it rejects any purported spiritual or scientific theory on the basis of which the alleged superiority of one race is justified at the expense of another race.

-- The General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America (1998)

 


 

INTRODUCTION TO QUOTATIONS ABOUT DIVERSITY

FROM RUDOLF STEINER

 

 From THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (1917)

"Nothing will hasten humanity in its downfall more than the propagation of ideals based on race, nation and blood."

 

From KARMIC RELATIONS, VOLUME 1 (1917)

Page 186

"A fourteenth century person who spoke of the ideals of race and nation would have been speaking in terms of progressive tendencies of human evolution;" not so today! . . .

"If anyone now considers them [ideas of race and nationalism] to be progressive ideals to present to humanity [in 1917], this is an untruth. Nothing is more designed to take humanity into its decline than the propagation of ideals of race, nation and blood. Nothing is more likely to prevent human progress than proclamations of national ideals belonging to earlier centuries which continue to be preserved by the luciferic and ahrimanic powers. The true ideal must arise from what we find in the world of the Spirit, not in the blood."

 

"The Ego", THE STEINER LIBRARY, December 1909

Page 16

"To-day in our time, the group-soulness of people is still not yet overcome, and whoever believes that it is completely overcome does not keep in mind certain finer phenomena of life....Certain human beings not only appear alike in their physiognomy, but...also the soul-qualities are similar in groups of human beings: that one can, as it were, divide human beings into categories....The boundaries drawn between the single nations fall away more and more; but other groupings are still perceptible. Certain basic characteristics stand so connected in some people, that he who will only look, can still today perceive the last relics of the group-soulness of man."

 

Page 17

(Today) "All group-soulness has gradually to be stripped off....the individual nature of each single person [will] come to the foreground more and more."

 

Page 18

"That idea whereby the group-soulness chiefly expresses itself loses meaning ever more and more in the evolution of mankind, i.e., the idea of race."

 

Page 18

"Therefore it is necessary that that movement which is called the anthroposophical movement . . . adopts as its basic character this stripping off of the character of race -- that especially it seeks to unite people out of all 'races', out of all nations, and in this way bridges over these differences, these distinctions, these gaps, which are existing between various groups of human beings. For the old racial standpoint had in a certain connection a physical character, whereas what will fulfil itself in the future will have a much more spiritual character. Therefore it is so urgently necessary to understand that our anthroposophical movement is a spiritual one, which looks to the spiritual, and overcomes just that which arises from physical distinctions, through the force of a spiritual movement."

 

From THE GOSPEL OF MARK, (1912)

Page 36

"...from the beginning, [the Christ] does not belong to any one people, but realizes the most beautiful principle in spiritual science: to acknowledge something without discrimination of color, race, and nationality."

 

From THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN, (1909, 1910, 1916)

Page 12 - 13

"...in its fundamental nature, the anthroposophical movement . . . must cast aside the division into races. It must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people. The old point of view of race has a physical character, but what will prevail in the future will have a more spiritual character."

 

COMMENT: Rudolf Steiner, speaking about the Theosophical concept of root-races and sub-races, rejected those concepts.

Page 13

"...every movement has its childhood illnesses, so to speak. Consequently, in the beginning of the Theosophical movement the earth was divided into 7 periods of time, one for each of the 7 root races, and each of these root races was divided into 7 sub-races. However, we must get beyond the illnesses of childhood and understand clearly that the concept of race has ceased to have any meaning in our time."

 

From SECRETS OF THE THRESHOLD, (1913)

COMMENT: On the ability to learn from all people.

Page 67

"Attention must be given not only to one's own opinion, not only to what one thinks oneself and can recognize as correct through one's own powers, but respect must be felt for that which has resulted through the civilisations and the efforts in wisdom made by the different races in the course of historical development."

 

From THE FESTIVAL BOOK ON EASTER, Dornach, Switzerland, April 2, 1920

Page 28 - 29

"When Paul appeared with his interpretation of Christianity there was a fundamental break with the principle whereby human knowledge was determined by the blood, the principle that had prevailed -- and necessarily so -- in earlier times. For Paul was the first to declare that neither blood nor identity of race, nor any factor, by which human knowledge had been determined in pre-Christian times, could remain, but that man himself must establish his relation to knowledge through inner initiative; that there must be a community of those whom he designated as Christians, a community to which man allies himself in spirit and soul, into which he is not placed by his blood, but of which he himself elects to be a member."

 

From the FESTIVAL BOOK ON ASCENSION/PENTECOST, Hamburg, Germany, Whitsunday, 1910

Page 24

"Our bodily nature has actually a double function to fulfil: it makes us a human being, but it also makes us members of this or that people, this or that race or family. In the ancient times which preceded Christianity, little as yet was experienced of what can be called world-wide humanity, of that feeling of human fellowship which in ever greater measure has lived in human hearts only since Christianity was proclaimed, and which says to us: Thou art fellow-man with all the human beings of the earth! On the other hand, that feeling was all the stronger which makes each man a member of a particular people or tribe."

 

Page 24-25

"It used to be that one felt oneself to be a member of his folk, and nothing more. The further you go back into antiquity, the more intense this feeling was. Now, in racism, one feels that other people are members of a race or tribe, and nothing more."

 

From THE AKASHIC CHRONICLE (1904)

". . . the beginnings of what we now call 'race' arose. This 'characteristic of race' was retained throughout the times of development in Atlantis, in the fourth main epoch, and onwards into our own times of the fifth epoch. However, at the end of this fifth epoch the word 'race' will once more lose all meaning. The humanity of the future will be organized into groupings which one will be unable to call 'races'. Conventional Theosophical literature has caused much confusion in this respect. . . In it world development is portrayed as if 'races' were to perpetuate themselves in the same way throughout the eternal cycles of the earth. This is absolutely not the case. Even everything worthy of the name 'race' comes into being and also passes away."

 
 

ABOUT ANTIQUARIAN PUBLICATIONS

"Antiquarian publications" are commonly viewed within the context of their times and culture. This has been the case for the work of: Martin Luthur, Carl Jung, "Lewis Carroll", Sigmund Freud, "Mark Twain", and others.

Because the work of Steiner continues to form a source of study and inspiration for many people in contemporary life, students are urged to place Steiner's statements on the races in a holistic context which may include: their antiquarian nature, other statements by Steiner which speak positively of the qualities of the races and higher nature of humanity, the life and work of Rudolf Steiner himself, and living work arising from anthroposophy.

To restate: the General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America has said, "We emphatically reject racism in all its forms, and embrace the principles of common humanity expressed by the Founder of the Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Steiner. . . . We explicitly reject any racial theory that may be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner's writings. The Anthroposophical Society in America is an open, public society and it rejects any purported spiritual or scientific theory on the basis of which the alleged superiority of one race is justified at the expense of another race." (See Position Statement for complete text.)

 

 

ABOUT THE PUBLISHED WORKS OF RUDOLF STEINER

The collected works of Rudolf Steiner (1861 -1925) includes 40 books and over 6,000 lectures published in 300 volumes containing more than 89,000 pages. It is estimated that Steiner's public lectures may total some 20-million words.

"From my anthroposophical activity two things have resulted: First my books published for the whole world, and secondly a great number of lecture courses which were at first considered as privately printed and to be sold only to members of the Anthroposophical Society. These were really shorthand reports of the lectures more or less well done and which I, for lack of time, could not correct. It would have pleased me best if spoken words had remained spoken words. But the members wished the private publication of the courses. And thus, it came into existence. If I had had time to correct the reports, the restriction 'For Members Only' would never have been necessary. For more than a year now (1923), this restriction has been removed."

"As private courses of lectures were held in the sense then required, something else arose in consequence. Only members attended these courses. These members were acquainted with the elementary information coming from anthroposophy. It was possible to speak to them as persons advanced in the realm of anthroposophy. . . . In private groups I was allowed to speak about things in a manner which I should have been obliged to shape quite differently for public presentation if, from the first, these things had been designed for such an audience."

-- Rudolf Steiner, "The Course of My Life"