R. Steiner degraded Judge and Besant
Jun 13, 2009 09:53 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
My views are:
Rudolf Steiner appearntly wrote the following about W. Q. Judge....
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The Anthroposophic Movement - LECTURE SIX
The Emergence of the Anthroposophic Movement
Dornach, 15 June 1923
"During this time it would have been an illusion not to recognize that leading personalities in the Theosophical Society, and Annie Besant in particular, had a very primitive understanding of modern scientific method. Nevertheless, despite the amateurish stamp which this gave to all her books, there was a certain sum of wisdom, mostly unprocessed, in the people who belonged to the Society. This became more marked as the focus of the Theosophical Society gradually moved to London and slowly began to feed, in a manner of speaking, on oriental wisdom. It sometimes led to the most peculiar ideas. But if we ignore the fact that such ideas were sometimes stretched so far that they lost all similarity to their original and true meaning, such books as Annie Besant's Ancient Wisdom, The Progress of Mankind, and even Christianity transmit something which, although passed down by traditional means, originated in ancient sources of wisdom.
On the other hand one must always be aware that in the modern world beyond these circles there was no interest whatsoever in real spiritual research. The reality was simply that the possibility of kindling an interest in a truly modern science of the spirit existed only among those who found their way into this group of people.
Yet within this first period in particular there was a great deal to overcome. Many people were working towards something, but it was in part a very egoistic and shallow striving. But even such superficial societies frequently called themselves theosophical. One need only think, for instance, of the theosophical branches spread widely throughout central Europe - in Germany, Austria and also Switzerland - which possessed only an exceedingly anaemic version of Theosophical Society tenets, impregnated with all kinds of foolish occult views.
One person who was very active in such societies was Franz Hartmann. [ Note 2 ] But the kind of profound spirit and deep seriousness which existed in these shallow societies will become obvious to you if I describe the cynical character of this particular leader. The Theosophical Society was at one time engaged in a dispute in connection with an American called Judge [ Note 3 ] about whether or not certain messages which had been distributed by Judge originated with persons who really had reached a higher stage of initiation, the so-called Masters. Judge had distributed these "Mahatma Letters" in America.
While they were both at the headquarters in India, Judge said he wanted some letters from the Masters in order to gain credibility in America, so that he could say he had been given a mission by initiates. Franz Harmann recounted how he had offered to write some Mahatma Letters for Judge, and the latter had replied that this would not permit him to claim their authenticity. They were supposed to fly towards you through the air; they originated in a magical way and then landed on your head, and that is what he had to be able to say. Judge was a very small fellow, Hartmann told us, and so he said to him "Stand on the floor and I will stand on a chair and then I will drop the letters on your head." Then Judge could say with a clear conscience that he was distributing letters which had landed on his head clean out of the air!
That is an extreme example of things which are not at all rare in the world. I do not really want to waste your time with these shallow societies. I only want to point out that the close proximity of the anthroposophical to the theosophical movement made it necessary for the former to defend itself against modern scientific thinking during its first period.
I do not know whether those who joined the anthroposophical movement later as scientists, and observed anthroposophy during its more developed third stage, have gained sufficient insight into the fact that a critical assessment of modern scientific thinking took place in a very specific way during the first period of the anthroposophical movement. I only give instances, because this process occurred in a number of different areas. But these examples will show you how the theosophical movement was strongly influenced by the deference to so-called scientific authority which I described as particularly characteristic of modern education.
Annie Besant, for instance, tried to use in her books all kinds of quotes from contemporary science, such as Weismann's theory of heredity, [ Note 4 ] which bore no relevance to the science of the spirit. She used them as if they provided some sort of evidence. "
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