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the German folk soul  Peter Staudenmaier
 May 22, 2007 15:26 PDT 

Thanks to Diana for once again providing a series of directly relevant
quotes from Steiner on German national karma. There are lots more where
those came from. For an ample source easily available in English (just
republished by the Anthroposophical Press in 2005), see Rudolf Steiner, The
Mission of the Folk Souls in Relation to Teutonic Mythology. Here are a few
more from the book I cited a couple days ago, while Baandje was out looking
for dope: Rudolf Steiner, Die geistigen Hintergründe des Ersten Weltkrieges.
In the midst of WWI Steiner writes:

"We know as anthroposophists: Europe's I resides in the German spirit. That
is an objective occult fact." (19) Indeed the war itself, for Steiner, is a
battle of national spirits. The "Germanic peoples" have the task of
fulfilling the integration of the physical and the spiritual (39). This is
followed by a Germans-as-closer-to-nature tangent, wrapped up in Nordic
mythology (39-40); Steiner contrasts Germanness here to the Chinese and the
Slavs in particular. The conflict is not just a military event but a cosmic
confrontation between "Germandom" and the immature East as well as the
obsolete West. (42)

"Just as the true mission of the fifth cultural epoch was adopted by the
Germanic element, so it is this same Germanic element that had to bring a
true understanding of Christianity to earthly evolution." It would thus be a
cosmic tragedy if the German element were to be defeated by the Romanic
element or the Slavic element, says Steiner. (43) Indeed German spirituality
is the pinnacle of cosmic evolution, the paradigm of universal humanity.
(44-45) Steiner presents all of this, of course, as objective spiritual

For those who read German, I highly recommend, on precisely this topic,
Pietro Archiati's book Die Überwindung des Rassismus durch die
Geisteswissenschaft Rudolf Steiners (Dornach 1997). Following Steiner,
Archiati posits "the divinely ordained differentiation of humankind into
races and nations" (20), and argues that only certain racial and ethnic
groups have so far developed spiritually to the point of being able to
unfold the "I" and genuine individuality. He says quite explicitly that
these especially advanced souls are not to be found "scattered all over the
earth, in every race and in every people" -- instead they are concentrated
in one specific national group (36):

"It is simply an objective fact that the purely human -- the completely
individual and completely universal -- has so far been revealed in a
prototypical way predominantly in human spirits that have their basis in
Central Europe." (36) Archiati names Goethe and Steiner as the two high
points in this process, and expounds upon the uniquely German attributes
that made each a paragon of spiritual perfection. According to Archiati,
preparing and producing the "universal human" is the "special task of the
German language, of German culture, indeed of the German national spirit"

Rejecting cultural interpretations of this basic anthroposophical principle,
Archiati clarifies: "In order to be a European, one must be born in Europe."
(39) He also insists that non-Germans who fail to recognize these "objective
facts" are simply trapped in their own sense of ethnic particularity, thus
proving their own insufficiently individual nature (41).

Greetings to all from Germany,

Peter Staudenmaier

Rudolf Steiner, The Destinies of Individuals and of
Nations. A course of fourteen lectures given in Berlin from 1 September
1914 to 6 July 1915. Translated by Anna R. Meuss. Rudolf Steiner Press,
London 1986; Anthroposophic Press, Inc., New York.

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