Rudolf Steiner had no great love for, nor admiration of, America. Before and after colonization by Europeans, America has been a place of death, decay, demons, and doom.

Here are a few of Steiner's statements on the matter.

“Groups of men in whom the bones had, as it were, become too strong, were now left behind as degenerate races. They could not adapt themselves to post-Atlantean conditions [i.e., conditions after Atlantis sank]; the last remnant of these people are the American Indians; they had degenerated.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Collison, 1931), chapter 6, GA 105.

“[I]t was the normal human beings that were the best material for the initiates to use for the evolution of the future ... Those peoples whose ego impulse was developed too strongly, so that it permeated their whole being and made it a manifestation of egohood, these people gradually wandered to the West [out of Atlantis] and became the nation the last survivors of which appeared as the Red Indians of America." — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), lecture 8, "The Manifestation of the Ego in the Different Races of Men", p. 118.

"If we cross over the ocean to America, where the place is at which the races or civilizations die, we then find the race of the dark Saturn, the original American-Indian race, the American race. The American-Indian race is the Saturn race.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF FOLK-SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 6, GA 121.

“America was discovered under the influence of the greed for gold, under the influence of a purely materialistic culture....” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 67.

“This is the region where, through the prevailing external conditions, above all a relationship is developed with the mephistophelian-ahrimanic nature [i.e., the spirit of Ahriman].” — Ibid., p. 69.

"[P]art of the mystery culture of ancient Atlantis made its way, not toward the East, but toward the West, to the lands of America discovered later on by the Europeans. There the more ahrimanic part of the irregular post-Atlantean culture lived itself out. Whereas the luciferic part lived on more in Asia, the ahrimanic part worked more in America." — Rudolf Steiner, INNER IMPULSES OF EVOLUTION (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), lecture 5, GA 171.

“Ahriman-America should not have the only voice; Lucifer-Bolshevism should not be allowed to do the only deed. However, as no one knows any different from what the stupefying and spirit-alienating institutions of ‘modern science’ have been teaching people, a real ‘enlightenment service’ is needed above all else. A lot would be gained if a number of people were to admit to themselves that they cannot but commit wrong actions in the world if they apply what they owe to ‘modern thinking’ and were to realize that a new way of thinking had to be adopted.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIGHT FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), T. H. Meyer, editor, p. 230. Steiner attributed this statement to Helmuth von Moltke, who was dead at the time. We are safe in inferring that Steiner invented the statement; it is his.

"Ahrimanic fear, the holding back from the spiritual, makes itself felt especially in the culture of the West, and particularly in the element of American civilization ... What I am now speaking of as 'Americanism' (as collective concept, not applying to individual Americans), is fear of the spiritual, the longing to live only on the physical plane ... The mark of Americanism is fear of the spiritual." — Rudolf Steiner, A SOUND OUTLOOK FOR TO-DAY AND A GENUINE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture 6, GA 181.

“[I]t is America’s endeavor to mechanize everything, to push everything into the realm of pure naturalism, thus gradually extinguishing Europe’s culture altogether.” — SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 70.

“From the quarter which will put forward the Antichrist as the Christ will come endeavours to make use of something that can work through the most material of forces, something that can work spiritually through the most material of forces ... I have shown you how the forces of the earth rise up in what I have termed the human double. People will discover this secret. It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually.” — SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 188.

“There is a certain operation of ceremonial magic by means of which a wall of psychic influences may be built up around an individual who has become dangerous, which has the effect of paralysing the higher activities, and producing what is called the ‘repercussion of effort’, and the result is a kind of spiritual sleep characterised by fantastic visions. It is an operation seldom resorted to even by Brothers of the Left, and in the case of Madame Blavatsky was disapproved of by almost all European occultists. On the American brotherhoods alone rests the responsibility for what has since happened.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p. 102 (note 3).

"Peoples whose existence is more under the influence of the abnormal Spirits of Personality [gods three levels above man] are also to be found on the earth; those Spirits of Personality do not work for the further progress of evolution. You need only study the character of the North American people, there you have a people absolutely founded on this principle." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK-SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 2, GA 121.

"If we continue this line, we come far to the West, to America, the region where those forces are active which lie on the other side of the middle third of life. We come, — I beg you not to misunderstand what is now being said, it only refers to man in so far as he is dependent upon the physical organizing forces, not upon those forces which constitute his essence as a human being but the forces in which he lives, — we come then to  those forces which have a great deal to do with the decline and death of man, with what in man belongs to the last third of his life ... The forces which determine man with respect to race take this course. The American Indians did not die out because it pleased the Europeans that they should do so, but because they had to acquire those forces which lead them to die out." — THE MISSION OF THE FOLK-SOULS, lecture 4.

"The whites can go anywhere, they can even cross to America. Everything that is in the white population in America comes from Europe. This is how whites come to be in the American territories. But this means that a man from Europe, where everything inside him was formed, comes to America. To this extent, something of his hindbrain must be used. In Europe, you see, he was like other Europeans, who mainly use the forebrain. Well, in America, the native people are those who were actually decaying negroes previously, which means they do not thrive, they perish — the Indians. When you get there, there is almost always a struggle between the forebrain and hindbrain in the head. And there is this peculiarity that when a family moves to America and settles down there, the people who come out of this family always have slightly longer arms. The arms are longer. The legs grow even more if the European settles in America — not in himself, of course, but in his descendants. That's what happens, because the family’s story is influenced more by the midbrain through the hindbrain, when you come to America, as Europeans." — Rudolf Steiner, "Color and the Human Races", lecture 3VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE, ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), GA 349; see "Forbidden".

"But among the Americans something else very peculiar comes about. The European, especially if he is a thinker, very inward-looking, does not live truly when he moves to America. Even if he is not a thinker, but tries to think in America, there is something false about his new life. As soon as the European settles in America, he no longer thinks as deeply. So the following occurs: If you are reading a European book, the proof of the argument or the lack of proof always depends on the evidence. As one reads through an entire book, through four hundred pages, even if it is a novel, only evidence is important. However, most often in the end, by the four hundredth page, nothing is proved. The Americans do not think this way. If you read an American book, everything is presented as a claim. This is a backward approach, depending not on reasoning but on instinct. An animal does not prove anything. The lion does not prove that he wants to eat another animal, he just eats it. The European, if he wants to do something, first he wants a proof. Everything has to be proved. Today this is the big difference between the Europeans and the Americans: Europeans prove, Americans claim." — "Color and the Human Races".

"At present, we are approaching the vernal equinox, in Pisces. Previously, the Sun was in Aries. After some time, he will be in Aquarius. Then will come the first real American civilization ... It will happen slowly, but when the Sun will enter the sign of Aquarius, then the Sun will send its rays to the earth in such a way that the American culture and civilization will then be particularly powerful. You can foretell this today ... We in Europe have the anthroposophy that comes out of the spirit. Over there, they have created something that is like a wooden doll of anthroposophy [i.e., a false explanation of human nature]. It is all materialistic. But the person who is not a fanatic can see that in American culture there is something similar to what we have as anthroposophical science in Europe. Only there it is wooden. It is not yet alive. We in Europe, working out of the spirit, can make an anthroposophy that is alive in the spirit of Europe. This removes it from the sphere of mere instincts ... You see, you can notice every detail. There will come a time where this American 'wooden man' who is actually more than mere wood will begin to talk. Then he will say things that are very similar to the European anthroposophy, very similar. One can say that we in European anthroposophy proceed in a spiritual way, but the education of Americans leads them to proceed in a naturalistic way. So, sitting apart, I can point out: Well, what they have is like anthroposophy, it is the American cartoon version of anthroposophy. It is a caricature." — Ibid.

"There are three currents which through their inward relationship had the greatest power of destruction in human evolution, due to their having absorbed the inherited and the new, in different ways. First among them is what I call Americanism, which tends to produce greater and greater fear of the spirit, making the world a mere opportunity for living in the physical ... Man's connection with the spiritual is bound to die out under such an influence. In these forces of Americanism lies what must actually bring the earth to the end, destruction dooming it at last to death, because the Spirit will be shut out from it.

"The second destructive element is not only that of Catholicism, but all Jesuitism, which in essence is virtually allied to Americanism. If the latter is the cultivation of the impulse to build up fear of the spirit, so the former seeks to awaken the belief that one should not seek contact with the spirit, which it deems impossible; it wishes spiritual blessings to be dispensed by those who are called into the teaching office of the Catholic Church. This influence seeks to atrophy forces in human nature which incline to the supersensible [i.e., supernatural, beyond the reach of our senses].

"The particular indications of the third stream can be seen arising in a terrible form in the East: a social state based on a purely animal, physical socialism. Without plastering it with dogmas, we call it 'Bolshevism', and it will not easily be overcome by mankind." — A SOUND OUTLOOK FOR TO-DAY AND A GENUINE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

— Compilation by Roger Rawlings

[R. R., 1969]

Some of Steiner's followers have striven to make Anthroposophy seem compatible with American values, but it has been a stretch. See, e.g., John Fentress Gardner, AMERICAN HERALDS OF THE SPIRIT (Lindisfarne Press, 1992), and Carl Stegmann, THE OTHER AMERICA (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1997). In reality, Anthroposophy is rooted in Oriental and European mysticism. And, as we have seen, Steiner has told Anthroposophists what they really should think of America.

Waldorf education, in particular, is an awkward fit for America. Steiner created Waldorf education to help German children fulfill the German national mission. [See "The Good Wars".]

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.



blood : and race

decay : Attila and leprosy

differences : Steiner on

n-word : the worst word, used in a Steiner school

"Negro" : Steiner on

races : Steiner on

RS on Jews : Anthro anti-Semitism

RS on Races : title search

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