Over in the commnts of my posting on the Influence of Books, Peter "Pete" K. has taken me to task for misunderstanding Rudolf Steiner‘s indications about how Eurythmy=Anthroposophy, and accused me of using "Waldorf Speak" to obfuscate the fact, parrotting a "party line" because I disagree with him. He is mistaken, as I labor to demonstrate in my response, which I copy below. Peter wrote:
Daniel, I’m quite aware of the party line on Eurythmy. That you say it is not Anthroposophy is, well, bizarre. But, I have no desire to come here to your site and teach you about what Eurythmy is. Here is what Steiner said about it – and I would recommend you read the entire lecture before suggesting Eurythmy is nothing more than an art form. Some of us who are accustomed to Waldorf-speak have better things to do than to be instructed by you on what you apparently know very little about, or if you do, are unwilling to discuss honestly. Here – talk to Steiner:
“I speak in all humility when I say that within the Anthroposophical Movement there is a firm conviction that a spiritual impulse of this kind must now, at the present time, enter once more into human evolution. And this spiritual impulse must perforce, among its other means of expression, embody itself in a new form of art. It will increasingly be realised that this particular form of art has been given to the world in Eurythmy.
It is the task of Anthroposophy to bring a greater depth, a wider vision and a more living spirit into the other forms of art. But the art of Eurythmy could only grow up out of the soul of Anthroposophy; could only receive its inspiration through a purely Anthroposophical conception.”
From Rudolf Steiner’s “Lecture on Eurythmy” August 26, 1923
And please, take the time to read the entire lecture.
It is not my intention to parrot any sort of "party line". First, no one has ever suggested that I do so, much less told me what such a line should be, and second, I’m not the type of person for parties or conformity. You appear frustrated that you find so few people who agree with you, but I would suggest that this is because the facts are against you, and not because of some sort of Waldorf conspiracy.
I have read the entire lecture in question (and several others). More importantly, I have about 15 years experience practicing Eurythmy (I can also sing fairly well, play three instruments, draw, paint, and knit, thanks to a Waldorf education). So when I talk about what Eurythmy is or isn’t, I can talk as one who has done the movements and exercises (just as I have practiced scales on my cello, and done life-drawing exercises in graphic arts). I have experienced about 10 different Eurythmy teachers on three different continents, observed their different approaches to teaching Eurythmy, and observed several professional performances. I have also studied a lot of anthroposophy. None of my Eurythmy classes ever talked about anthroposophical subjects; they described the movements and what they were looking for as far as forms. And they really tried to get us to have a feeling for what we were doing, so that the movements would come from the heart, and not be mechanical. A parallel is perhaps applicable in music. Beethoven’s piano sonatas are renown for being fairly simple to play. Yet they are one among the more difficult pieces to perform, because you really have to feel them properly in order to have them sound satisfying. Done improperly, they sound plodding and mechanical. It takes a real artist to bring them to life. Eurythmy is the same, and I say this from experience.
I’ve had a lot of real Eurythmy teachers (it is a four-year training, seven for Curative Eurythmy), I don’t need you to "teach" me what Eurythmy is, because, frankly, you are not qualified.
Rudolf Steiner said a lot about Eurythmy, five volumes worth, in all, including the lecture I quoted. You have taken two further paragraphs from it, and apparently misunderstood them, because you have drawn a conclusion from them that is not supported by what is there. Rudolf Steiner said:
I speak in all humility when I say that within the Anthroposophical Movement there is a firm conviction that a spiritual impulse of this kind must now, at the present time, enter once more into human evolution. And this spiritual impulse must perforce, among its other means of expression, embody itself in a new form of art. It will increasingly be realised that this particular form of art has been given to the world in Eurythmy.
It is the task of Anthroposophy to bring a greater depth, a wider vision and a more living spirit into the other forms of art. But the art of Eurythmy could only grow up out of the soul of Anthroposophy; could only receive its inspiration through a purely Anthroposophical conception.
According to Rudolf Steiner, all of the arts originated in spiritual impulses, Eurythmy like the rest of them. Steiner is explicitly NOT saying that Eurythmy is Anthroposophy. He is saying that Eurythmy, like literally everything else in the world, originates from a spiritual impulse. Steiner was an Idealistic philosopher (in the technical sense); he believed that everything in the material world had its origin in the spiritual world. Now this spiritual world is not "Anthroposophy". The term "Anthroposophy" is not synonymous with "spiritual world". Anthroposophy is a method of investigating what exists, it is not the thing investigated. (For some, Anthroposophy is the results of such investigations in the form of hypotheses, or "Steiner says" quotes, but these are really just shadows of the real thing.) Now, according to Rudolf Steiner as cited above, the art of Eurythmy has its origin in a spiritual impulse, one that is closely related to the Anthroposophy. But this does not change the fact that the result of this impulse is an Art, an Art just like the other arts. Now that it exists, it is possible to study Eurythmy and perform it entirely without reference to its origins, as is done in Waldorf schools.
You are quite combative with your opinions, but that does not change the fact that they are hasty and ill-informed. You presume to "teach" me about Eurythmy, but you can’t take the time to read and understand two paragraphs. So I’m sorry if everyone who has actual experience with the subjects we are talking about contradicts your opinions. If several people disagree with you, it may simply be because you are wrong, and not some "party line" designed to fool you. If I could recommend anything, it would be to slow down and study a subject before becoming an instant expert in so-called "Waldorf Speak". Get your basic facts correct, please.