Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter259



Letters to the Editor

(March 25, 2013)


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Libel and Magnanimity: Michael Barker's Rudolf Steiner And The Organic Movement

To the Editor:

It's worth pointing out the increasing level of libel regarding Rudolf Steiner to be found in Michael Barker's essays here at Swans. To, without even an explanation, refer to the man as a "white supremacist" and (almost equally outrageous and absurd) a "believer in miracles" is so far from the truth of the matter that, in a world where the aptitude for discernment abounded and where the obvious needn't be stated again and again, such slander could perhaps be magnanimously ignored as so off-base and ill-intended as to be beneath consideration.

As it is, of course, we do not yet live in such a world. In our impassioned effort to be rid, once and for all, of the old dogmas, we've lost sight of what dogma actually is in essence and have thus embraced its spirit anew. It is dogma itself, do we not agree, that needs to be overcome. This requires an altogether new way of thinking. And still we cling to the old in spirit if not in name, in essence though the details have shifted.

In Ulysses, Joyce has Stephen Dedalus tap his brow and say, "But in here it is I must kill the priest and king."

This is not yet, 100 years later, an easy task. But it is absolutely crucial. Too few of our contemporaries have discovered the need to attempt it, thinking it has been achieved for them already, by somebody else. The evidence of this abounds in otherwise well-intentioned writers whose work would seem, ultimately, to serve no good or progressive purpose. Like Mr. Barker, their prejudices and received notions of reality are fundamentally at odds with their professed ideals, however noble.

No one asleep or singing lullabies (to thinking adults) is going to change the world (for the better).


John Scott Legg
Philmont, New York, USA - March 13, 2013


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Published March 25, 2013
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