Outlines of Anthroposopy LO20298

W.M. Deijmann (winfried@universal.nl)
Mon, 4 Jan 1999 15:28:02 +0100

reply to: Spirituality in workplace LO20195 from At de Lange, who asked
Winfried Deijmann:

>I am in the dark. I know nothing about Anthroposophy. I have never
>read about it before. Our university's library is closed so that I
>could not even get help there. There is a number of book shops close
>by, but none has a book on Antrhoposophy, nor has any dealer ever had
>one in hand. I have not yets searhed the Web on it.
>In Greek "anthropos" means human while "sophia" means wisdom. I am
>acquainted with the subjects anthropology ("logos"= study) and
>philosophy ("phileo"=love). As a subject "anthroposophy" would
>atymologically mean "human wisdom". But that is as far as my
>understanding goes which is pretty nothing. Will you please be so kind
>as to sketch on an occasion the outlines of anthroposopy to us as well
>as pointing to sources of information. Thank you very much.

Dear At and other fellow organlearners,

Thank you for your question At. You are probably not alone with this
question. I will answer it, but that is not an easy task, because
anthroposophy is quite elusive and hard to give a definition for.

Anthroposophy is hard to define, because it is no religion and has no
churches, it has no set of basic rules a member has to commit himself to,
it does not prescribe a certain lifestyle or insists on abjuring beliefs.
It is an open "sanctuary" where people can share knowledge and visions,
study, find inspiration and may find help to take initiatives.

Since the beginning of this century anthroposophy has already been an
important inspirational source for many people working in the fields of
education, sosial science, medicin, architecture, ecological agriculture
and the arts. There is no doubt of its influence on society if you look at
what has been achieved in the above mentioned fields, although the
worldwide amount of members of the Anthroposophic Society, with its appr.
50.000 members, a quantitative minority is. The number and breadth of
these initiatives, fostered by the General Anthroposophical Society that
Steiner founded in 1924, reflect anthroposophy's progressive, healing
influence on cultural life.

For those who are merely interested in information sources on the internet
I will give some links to websites that might help to gain some primary
insight on Anthroposphy and its practice in the world.

I found some 8.000 weblinks to anthroposophy related topics, so I made a
small summary of those sites that give relevant basic information plus the
ability to link to other interesting sites.

This site provides general information on Anthroposophy and the General
Anthroposophic Society in the USA and it's founder Dr. Rudolf Steiner:

This page <http://www.anthroposophy.org/anthro_work.html> shows the fields
in which anthroposophic impulses are integrated, like education, medicin,
agriculture, sosial development, the arts and architecture.

If you are interested in books about Anthroposophy this is the place you
want to visit: <http://www.anthropress.org/press/Anthrosociety.html> or

These pages have some impressing pictures of buildings around the world
that have an organic architecture inspired by Rudolf Steiner's idea's on
architecture : <http://www.elib.com/Steiner/Pictures/>
and <http://www.greatbuildings.com/gbc/architects/Rudolf_Steiner.html>

Holland's largest bank has built his headquarters in Amsterdam in an
organic architecture style. Take a look at this side and see how was tried
to create a healthy, esthetic and inspirational workplace:

Information on education for teachers, therapists and artists can be found
here: <http://www.steinercollege.org/rs.html> and

You can browse through a list of Waldorfschools around the world ( about
1000) from a good looking site in Sweden:
<http://www.antronet.se/index2a.htm> or from Norway:

Those interested in Medicin will find interesting information about how
Anthroposophy has contributed to new ways of thinking about health:

Two interesting scientific papers about philosophy and mathematics from an
anthroposophical view can be read or downloaded from these links:
<http://www.ch.steiner.school.nz/philos.html> and
<http://space.tin.it/scienza/emiferra/indice.html> .

About Rudolf Steiner (1861 to 1925)

Rudolf Steiner was born in Austria (Actually in a small Hungarian village:
Craljevic), and grew up with the inner certainty of a spiritual world.
Recognizing the need to reconcile the experience of supersensible realities
with that of the material world, he schooled himself in modern science and
developed anthroposophy as a phenomenological approach to the spirit.
Starting with our capacity for thinking, anthroposophy leads to an
experience of the spirit in each human soul who would follow the path.
Rudolf Steiner shared the results of his spiritual research in 40 books,
and in approx. 6,000 lectures now available in 300 volumes. He is
increasingly recognized as a seminal thinker of the 20th century and one of
humanity's great spiritual teachers.

About Anthroposophy:

Anthroposophy embraces a spiritual view of the human being and the cosmos,
but its emphasis is on knowing, not faith. It is a path in which the human
heart and hand, and especially our capacity for thinking, are essential. It
leads, in Steiner's words, "from the spirit in the human being to the
spirit in the universe," because only if we first come to experience the
spirit in ourselves can we know
the cosmic spirit. But anthroposophy is more than self-development. Through
it we recognize our humanity. Humanity (anthropos) has the inherent wisdom
(Sophia) to transform both itself and the world. Steiner provided a
consistent framework of notions with which can be worked in an experimental
and experiential mannor like in normal natural science. (Spiritual)
scientific notions are navigational instruments that can bring a person to

To At's question:
>>By the way, how do you avoid in anthroposophy the ailment of
>>anthropomorphy (anthropocentrism -- narcistic humanism -- by humans
>>through humans for humans)?

By providing humans with the necessary notions, concepts and strategies to
become aware of their humanity in the context of a greater spiritual whole.
Or echoing the ancient Greek axiom: "Man, know the world and thy will know
thyself - Know thyself and thy will know the world.

In Steiner's own words:
"By anthroposophy I understand a scientific research of the spiritual world
which sees through the one-sidedness of both normal, natural science and
traditional mysticism. Anthroposophy seeks to develop those forces of soul
not yet active in normal consciousness and science but which make possible
such a penetration into the supersensible world."

R. Steiner

IMHO learning is similar to penetrating the supersensible world. And isn't
the concept of the Learning Organization all about developing soul-forces
that are not active yet in normal consciousness?

Right after te second worldwar industrial organizations focused on concrete
results like product-reliability. Around 1965 we had products
diversification and market oriented production. Cosequently industry
started to streamline their processes and precedures to asure their
competitive advantage. in the 1980's we were in the middle of Time Quality
Improvement, Product Re-engineering and customer satisfaction. In the
beginning of the 90's Leaders start asking themselves: "what is next in
line?" It seems to me that the next issue will be knowledge and Knowledge
Management. And knowledge is closely connected to the quality of thoughts
and thinking. As a consequence organizations will have to come behind the
contents of thoughts and focus on the core question: what is thinking in
its essence? Many publications from anthroposophic inspired authors reflect
the research that has already been done on thinking in the last seventy
years and it is put into practice in many fields. Why re-invent the

greetings from Holland,

Winfried Deijmann


Mr. Winfried M. Deijmann - Deijmann & Partners - Zutphen - The Netherlands Artists, Consultants and Facilitators for Organizational Learning, Leadership and Action Learning Events Het Zwanevlot 37, NL 7206 CB Zutphen, The Netherlands <Winfried@universal.nl> Phone: +31-(0)575-522076 mobile: +31-(0)654 94 71 27 Homepage: <http://www.come.to/dialoog>

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