Some comments on the paper "Race and Redemption. Racial and Ethnic Evolution in Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy" by Peter Staudenmaier from 2004

The following is based on and refers to the draft of the paper with the same name by Mr. Staudenmaier from October 2004. It is not at this time written to in full meet academic standards, but as a comment on a number of points in the paper by Mr. Staudenmaier.)

Through his life, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, Waldorf education, biodynamic farming, curative education for the developmentally disabled, anthroposophical medicine, and a number of other activities, based on anthroposophy, commented on most of the basic historical social and other issues current in his time, often in repeatedly original ways.

One of those issues was the issue of race, that became a central theme in all public discussions of nation and state at the end of the 19th century and continued to be occupy people's minds into the first decades of the 20th century and far up into the 1960s' and 70s'.

It was used to refer to all sorts of groups of people with some common characteristic, whether biological, social, geographical, or encompassing humanity in its totality, referred to as "the human race".

According to Ivan Hannaford:

"During the period from 1890 to 1915, race as an organizing idea claimed precedence over all previous formulations of nation and state. Although the works of many racialists writers of the period are virtually unreadable today without an elementary insight into Niebuhr and Treitschke and their accounts of Western history from 1740 to 1870, they attracted vast audiences in Germany, France, Britain, and the United States, who were greatly excited by racial ideas. According to his own admission, Adolf Hitler obtained all of his ideas confirming the singular importance of race from the period immediately preceding 1910. The influence of this literature continues in contemporary understanding of race and ethnicity."

Hannaford I: Race. The history of an Idea in the West. The Woodrow Wilson Center Press, Wash DC, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London, 1996, pp. 326-7.

The dominating concept, that distinguished between five main races of humankind, had its roots in the third edition of a work by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach published 1795, De Generis Humani Varietate Natura (On the Natural Variety of Mankind), published in a first edition in 1775.  The five principal varieties of humans suggested by Blumenbach in the third edition of his work were Caucasians, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American and Malay (Hannaford, p. 207-8).

In spite of this dominance and use of the concept of "race" in all public discussions at the time, the issue is a peripheral theme in Steiner's published works. Only five of his appr. 4,000 published lectures have the issue of race, as it was understood at the time, as their main theme. According to a study some years ago, appr. 245 comments on the issue can be found in the published complete works of Steiner, encompassing appr. 89,000 pages. The comments in question constitute on the order of 0.2% of his published collected works.

In his works, the concept appears in three main senses.

One of them is the theosophical concept of "root races". It originated with Helena Petrovna  Blavatsky, the originator of Theosophy

Judged from its appearance, the paper by Staudenmaier can seem to be a serious description of Rudolf Steiner's views and comments on the concept of "race"; in different forms during the first decades of the 20th century, dominated by the concept in all discussions of social issues from 1890 to 1915 1

A closer analysis of some central points in Mr. Staudenmaier's argumentation shows that this is not the case, and that he (at least gives the impression that he) does not seem to understand the basic elementary concepts involved that he argues about, and the difference and relation between them. This is the case with the central theosophical concept of "seven root races", that in Steiner's view refers to humanity during the development of our present solar system. It also concerns the difference between the theosophical concept and the anthropological concept of "five main races humanity", originating with Blumenbach in 1795), and the relation between them.

It also shows that he - seemingly following the tradition of his earlier writings on anthroposophy - repeatedly gives incomplete and slanted descriptions of the sources he uses, and that he in one case uses a conscious self made mistranslation of a published source that "aligns" it with his argumentation, as also that he in another case refers to a mistranslation, that he after extensive discussion and explanation of it should know is an error, to support his general argumentation.


The central focus around which the paper revolves and that stands out as the driving force of what Mr. Staudenmaier writes, is the theosophical concept "Aryan Root Race", still used today in theosophy, but early criticized by Rudolf Steiner, and not used in the development of anthroposophy, separate from theosophy.

It stands out as the summary of everything that later developed as Nazism, that according to different sources led to the killing of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Two other concepts touched on, but not clarified in the paper with regard to their nature and origin, are "normal races" and "abnormal races", in the view of Steiner, and the relation between them, and with the latter referring to what since the 18th century was referred to as "the five main races of humanity", while the implicit first concept refers to the human forms (including its predecessors) that developed from beginning to end of Cenozoic time (Tertiary and Quaternary).

What does the concept "Root Race" stand for in theosophy, and what was Rudolf Steiner's relation to it?


At pp. 6-7 of his paper, Mr. Staudenmaier writes about the theosophical concept "root races":

"The Theosophical theory of root races, which Steiner adopted wholesale into Anthroposophy, is structured around an evolutionary narrative of lost continents, astral bodies, cosmic destiny, and similarly arcane phenomena (foot note 11). Indeed the particulars of Steiner's root race mythology are so fantastic that they largely resist scholarly analysis."
In foot note 11 he writes:
"Anthroposophist apologias for Steiner's racial teachings sometimes claim that he abandoned the root race theory when he broke organizationally from the Theosophical Society. This claim is without merit. While Steiner rejected the cyclical format of Theosophical race theory in favor of a more forthrightly progressive model of increasingly higher racial forms, he did not repudiate the basic contours of the root race scheme."
He then writes, to try to support what he writes:
"This specific ideological continuity between Theosophy and Anthroposophy is acknowledged by a number of sympathetic commentators ..".
What Mr. Staudenmaier writes can seem to indicate that the theosophical concept "root race" is too difficult to understand, based on an elementary textual analysis of the sources discussing it, and that he is not aware of such a possibility.

He is wrong on the first point (as he knows, see below), and would be untruthful if he explicitly stated the second point as his view.


The theosophical concept "root race", though difficult to understand based only on Blavatsky's writings, takes little effort to understand if you look at Rudolf Steiner's clarification of it in comments on the concept in a number of articles, written during his time as General Secretary of the German section of the Theosophical Society from 1902 to 1912. They have later been published as "Cosmic Memory", that Mr. Staudenmaier is well aware of and refers to in his paper (pp. 12, 15, 16 of the draft version of his paper).

They make it clear that the theosophical concept "root races" in Steiner's view refers to humanity during the sequential stages of our present solar system, and that it not is a biological concept, but is used in theosophy in the broad sense the term as often was the case during Victorian times at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century century, to refer to groups of humans, be it humanity as a whole referred to as "the human race" in general, defined by some form of biological criteria ("the Malayan race"), geographical criteria ("the Irish race") or sociological criteria ("the race of scholars").

An overview of the meaning of the theosophical concept "root races" from an anthroposophical perspective was published in 1991 here at this site. As another article at this site comments on an earlier paper by Mr. Staudenmaier and he has commented on that in public discussions, it can be assumed that he is well aware of the mentioned overview.

A second, more developed description of the meaning of the concept, as used in theosophy and as replaced in anthroposophy with the more proper (though geocentric) term "Earth Epochs" (528 search results at can be found at the site of Waldorf Answers. It was published in April 2004, and Mr. Staudenmaier can be assumed to be very well aware of it since then too, as he was pointed to the site during discussions on a public mailing list some time after it was published.

How do theosophy, and anthroposophy as developed separate from theosophy, differ in relation to the understanding and use of the theosophical terms "root race" and "Aryan root race"?

At the beginning of his time as General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Germany from 1902 to 1912, Steiner used the traditional theosophical terms, colored by the pervasive discussions of "races" at the time, when he spoke to theosophical audiences and commented on them. From about 1906 on, he stopped using the theosophical terminology of "root race", with its racist tinge, in describing the evolution of humanity.

One reason he gave for this was that the term "root race" was an undeveloped, misleading and inaccurate concept compared to the concept of "race" in its general biological sense. Another reason was that the way the term "root race" was understood in the theosophical tradition seems to imply that human evolution consists in the repeated schematic formation of ever new "races". That is not the view Rudolf Steiner held and developed as anthroposophy, separate from the theosophical tradition.

From an anthroposophical perspective, the theosophical concept "root race" is not a biological concept but rather refers to humanity during the successive stages in the common evolution of our solar system and of humanity. For these epochs, Steiner used the geocentrically oriented term "Earth epochs". Even "Earth epochs" may be misunderstood by those unfamiliar with nthroposophy.

The picture anthroposophy gives of the evolution of our present solar system corresponds to the currently accepted idea of planetary development from a contracting cosmic "gas cloud".


The theosophical tradition refers to the first stage of our present solar system as "the Polarian root race". This period refers to humanity during the stage when our present solar system was still only in the first stages of its formation, contracting out of a cosmic "gas cloud", up to the forming, or budding off of the present planet Saturn in its first form at the periphery of the further contracting "gas cloud".

In anthroposophy, as developed separately from theosophy, this stage is not referred to in the "racial" terms of the early 20th century and of the theosophical tradition, but as the "Polarian" epoch or the first "Earth epoch". During this stage, the human being according to anthroposophy lived as a soul-spiritual being in the womb of higher spiritual beings, partaking in the development of the contracting cosmic gas cloud, developing as our present solar system.


In the theosophical tradition, the second stage in the evolution of our present solar system is referred to as "the Hyperborean root race". In anthroposophy it still simply is called the "Hyperborean" epoch (connecting to one level of what later in mythology was called "Hyperborea") or the second "Earth epoch".

It refers to the stage in the development of our solar system and humanity that took place from the end of the first formation or budding off of Saturn up to the separation of Earth from the further contracting and developing Sun, together with what according to Steiner later was formed as the present Moon, separate from our present Earth.


Only with the formation of the Earth in its first form, separate from the Sun, did life on Earth start to develop into its present form. This was the third stage. 

In the theosophical tradition, this third stage, during which humanity at first - according to Steiner - had not yet fully taken physical form, is called "the Lemurian root race". In anthroposophy, this first stage in the development of the Earth as separate from the present physical Sun is referred to as the "Lemurian" epoch or the third "Earth epoch".

The name "Lemuria" comes from the name of the mythical continent "Lemuria", which at the end of the 19th century was assumed to have existed as a land mass connected with the continents around the Indian Ocean.

From an anthroposophical perspective, 100 years later now, it would probably be more proper to call this third "Earth epoch", using the terminology of current geological research, the "Pangean" stage of the Earth (including part of the time of the split up Gondwanaland / Laurasia), ending with the extinction of the dinosaurs.

At one point during this period, from the time of the initial formation of the Earth separate from the contracting Sun, up to the end of the Cretaceous period, the Moon, according to anthroposophy, was formed as a separate planetary body from the Earth. 


During conferences with teachers at the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Steiner clarified that in his view, what is called "Atlantis" in the esoteric tradition refers to what in palaeontology is referred to as Cenozoic time (Tertiary and Quaternary). (Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner, September 26, 1919, p. 51, GA 300) This is also the the view of a number of anthroposophical researchers (Poppelbaum, Bosse). (See also discussion by for example Andreas Delors. (in German))

From a systematic anthroposophical perspective, the fourth basic epoch in the common evolution of the Earth and humankind, the fourth "Earth epoch", is the time that is called, in the esoteric tradition, "Atlantis" or the "Atlantean epoch".

From a present perspective, what is referred to, in the esoteric tradition and mythology, as "Atlantis" can be understood to refer to all of the development of humanity as physical beings, parts of which are reflected in the fossil record from the Cenozoic period, that is, the Tertiary and Quaternary up to the end of the Pleistocene, ending some 8,000 years B.C.

This picture of the development of the earth was also indicated by Steiner during conferences with teachers at the first Waldorf school, founded in 1919. He suggested that the new and revolutionary theory of Alfred Wegener from 1912, suggesting that all continents at one time had constituted one large continent, which then had broken into parts which had moved to their present locations, be included in the Waldorf curriculum. Only slowly was Wegener's theory accepted in the scientific community and made the basis of the currently accepted theory of plate tectonics.

Recent radiometric dating indicates that the Tertiary and Quaternary periods up to the end of the Pleistocene, which in Rudolf Steiner's view correspond to the development of the mythological Atlantis, started some 65 million years ago and ended some 10,000 years ago. 

It also makes it clear what Steiner refers to when he wrote and spoke of the seven stages of human development during "Atlantean" (Cenozoic) time. 


In a number of lectures, Steiner refers to the human forms during the first part of "Atlantean" (Cenozoic) time as appearing like animals with regard to their external form.

In theosophy, the human forms developing during "Atlantean" (Cenozoic) time are referred to as "sub races of Atlantis", and named "Rmoahals", "Tlavatli"; "Original Toltecs", "Original Turanians", "Original Semites", "Original Akkadians" and "Original Mongols".

 The rate of evolution  - somewhat slow at first and then accelerating - indicates that the middle of Atlantis, when - according to Steiner - the skeleton of man started to calcify in a way that made it start to leave palaeontological traces can be estimated to fall roughly during the time of the beginning of Quaternary time.

The naming of the "sub races" of "Atlantis" stands out as tentative efforts during the end of the 19th century to name some of the most original ancestors during Cenozoic time of a number of later historical groups of people.


What is Steiner's view of the origin and nature of what later has been called (by Blumenbach 1795) "the five main races of humanity"?

In Steiner's view the spiritual beings, including man, constitute a sort of hierarchy of beings. In his view, the "reason" for this is that different beings have come into existence at different times, but - after this - have developed according to a pattern of similar stages of development. 

When describing them, Steiner used the terminology of the esoteric Judeo-Christian tradition. In "Esoteric Science - an Outline" (1910) he describes these stages in relation to the evolution of the cosmos including three preceding stages and our present solar system.

Normal and abnormal formation of races by the Elohim respectively abnormal Elohim/Exusiai 

The sequential human forms - at first more animal-like and not as dense, later becoming ever more humanlike and dense - from beginning to end of Cenozoic time, in Steiner's implied view constitute what he viewed as the "normal" form of race formation during "Atlantean"/Cenozoic time in the biological sense of the word. 

In Steiner's view, they constitute the basic stages in the specific formation of the human being during Cenozoic time by what in the Judeo-Christian tradition are called the Elohim in their image. 

But there also developed what later has been called "the five main races of humanity". At different times, Steiner discusses the relation between them, among other things in relation to the view that three of them constitute a more basic group of "races", Africans, Mongols, and Caucasians. 

How did they arise in Steiner's view? 

The basic implied view of Steiner is that the sequential human forms, that developed during Cenozoic time (Tertiary and Quaternary) had their origin in the Elohim, that through Cenozoic time formed man in their image. He also describes the Elohim as "Spirits of Fire". 

According to the esoteric Judeo-Christian tradition, there however also exist "higher" beings than the Elohim, called Exusiai, "Dynamis" or Spirits of Movement. In Steiner's view, they originated and started their development at an earlier time than the Elohim. 

According to Steiner, some of them have not developed in a "normal" way, but remained behind in their development. This means that they in part - according to Steiner - act as if they were Elohim, by Steiner also referred to as "Spirits of Form", and not as Dynamis, "Spirits of Movement".

While the Elohim, according to Steiner, have their centre of activity in the Sun, the (normal and abnormal) Dynamis or Spirits of Movement have their centre of activity in the different planetary spheres. 

During Cenozoic time, according to Steiner, abnormal Spirits of Movement (Dynamis) acted as if they were Spirits of Form (Elohim) and interacted with the normal Elohim in their formation of the human being in their image. 

This led to the first formation of what later has been termed the "five main races of humanity".

According to Steiner, the interjection of the abnormal Spirits of Movement, having their centre of activity in the Mercury sphere, into the activity of the normal Elohim, led to the first formation of what later has been called the "Ethiopians"or Africans as a bodily quality. 

In a similar way -  according to Steiner - the interjection of abnormal Spirits of Form having their centre of activity in the Venus sphere into the formation by the Elohim of man in their image led to the first formation of what later has been called the "Malayans" with regard to the body. For the Mongols, the corresponding abnormal Dynamis were centred in the Mars sphere, for the Caucasians in the Jupiter sphere, and for the American Indians in the Saturn sphere. 

This is how Steiner in the lecture series "Mission of Folk Souls", referred to by Staudenmaier in his paper (pp. 12, 17-19) held 10-17 June 1910 in Oslo, describes the origin of what Blumenbach in 1795 called the "five main races of mankind". In his paper (p. 18), Mr. Staudenmaier refers to the abnormal Dynamis/Elohim as "a complex array of 'Race Spirits'", but does not tell Steiner's way of understanding and describing them out of a Judeo-Christian perspective. 

According to Steiner (1909) 2, one can however only speak of "races"in the proper sense of the word during "Atlantean" (Cenozoic) time. After that, starting with the end of the last glacial ages,  they have started to lose their nature as primary quality of man, and continually from the end of the last glacial ages and up to about 8,000 A.C.E. are losing their reality as biological "race" qualities, even if they during this fading away continue to play into the development of humanity. 

In his paper, Mr. Staudenmaier describes nothing of the above with regard to the view of Steiner of the concept of "root races" as off the point as a biological concept, and also in general "race" as a fading defining characteristic of the development of human cultures and cultural epochs during post-glacial time, both with regard to the human forms that developed from beginning to end of  the Cenozoic time, and with regard to what later has been called the "five main races of humankind", except in a superficial and twisted way, though Mr. Staudenmaier since 2004 can be assumed to be aware of that much of the above is described at the site Waldorf Answers since that time.

He also in his way of using different "quotes"from the published works of Steiner does not distinguish between when Steiner refers to the theosophical concept of "root races" during his theosophical period (1902-12), when he refers to the sequential human forms developing from more animal-like to more human-like forms in a modern sense during Cenozoic time, and when he refers to the "five main races of humanity"as fading qualities during post-glacial time.

While this is not immediately clear from the isolated quotes Staudenmaier gives, some of it is hinted at by the temporal and conceptual context from which they are taken.

Without making such distinctions, Staudenmaier's way of mixing "quotes" from different contexts and times during Steiner's life is meaningless and stands out as amateurish and non-scholarly, if intended to be taken as a serious discussion of Steiner's changing and developing understanding of different aspects of the concept of "race" through the last 25 years of his life, during a historical time when the term was used in all sorts of senses, from more strict biological to loose social senses, simply referring to one or other group of people, or humanity as a whole as "the human race".


What is the origin of this long post-glacial human cultural development from the end of the glacial epochs and far into the future, in Steiner's view?

In Staudenmaier's paper, it is described as a small elite of Atlanteans, developing as "Aryans" during post-glacial time.

What he does not tell is the following:

Who was the "Atlantean" group in Steiner's view; out of which the development of the main human cultures during post-glacial times was born?

A group belonging to the "Primal Semites", developing as a fifth main human group during Tertiary and Quaternary. 

What he also does not tell is:
By whom were they led in Steiner's view, when they travelled eastwards to Asia?

By Noah, identified by Steiner and etymological research as identical with the mythical Manu, as inspirator of the original Vedic culture.

If one were to use improper race terminology for the cultures in questions, starting to develop as original "Aryan-Indians" it would be just as proper to call it a "Noaitic root race".

But Steiner does neither in developing anthroposophy separate from theosophy. Instead he just called it the fifth "Earth epoch", the "post-Atlantean epoch" or the "post-Atlantean cultural epochs".

In contrast to what may generally be thought today, the term "Aryan" or "Aryan root race" in theosophical terminology does not refer to what later was promoted by people in "White Supremacist" and Nazi or neo-Nazi groups as a perverted understanding of history and humanity, namely that "Aryans" as white people of European origin constitute the origin and essence of mankind.

Instead, the term "Aryan" originally had no connotation of superiority, but rather is a descriptive term referring not to white Europeans, but to the original mythical Asian culture which historical research identifies as the origin of the "Indo-European" cultures. The Indo-European cultures are a group of cultures characterized by speaking a language belonging to the Indo-European language family.

One of those who make this clear is Hannah Ahrendt. In her work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Ahrendt describes the origin and meaning of the concept "Aryan", given as name to the mythical culture in question by the orientalist Friedrich von Schlegel in 1808 (in "On the language and wisdom of the Indians") as cultural-linguistic, rather than racial, pointing out:

"... one cannot deduce ... that it constitutes the origin of a racial concept only because racial ideology later was particularly fond of this idea. The actual intentions of the linguists are not only - like the early anthropologists - neutral in this respect, but completely opposite those of racial ideologists in their basic intentions. It was not about separating the nations from each other through an assumption of independent racial origin, but on the contrary of uniting as many as possible with regard to a  common origin."


What does the term "Aryan root race" refer to in theosophy, and how does Steiner describe what it refers to in developing anthroposophy separate from theosophy?

In theosophy, it refers to what is described as the formation of a number of "sub races" from the end of the last glacial age and up to about now about six thousand years into the future.

In Steiner's view, it is improper to describe the period of human development it refers to as the development of a number of "races" or "sub races" (of "the Aryan root race").  Instead, they need to be understood as cultures, and cultural epochs, as they are not based on or related to biologically inherited characteristics, but to cultures, at first more developing in geographical areas and from the Middle Ages ever more developing as global cultural epochs. 

He therefore simply described them as the "post-Atlantean cultural epochs". 

In Steiner's view, the improper theosophical term refers to a long term pattern of development of such cultural epochs, that - in the view of Steiner - is what in the Apocalypse of St John are described as the "seven congregations", following a clock-wise pattern of development with regard to their origin. 

For some reason, a similar clockwise pattern can be noticed with regard to the seven congregations in Western Turkey, named in the Apocalypse of St. John. (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea).

In Steiner's basic view, each cultural epoch has about the length of a Platonic world month, appr. 2,160 years. The ones he mentions are an original (prehistoric) Indian cultural epoch, developing from about 7,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C., an original (prehistoric) Persian cultural epoch, developing from about 5,000 B.C. up to 3,000 B.C., an Egyptian - Chaldean - Babylonian cultural epoch, encompassing the cultures of the fertile crescent from about 2,900 B.C., with the first beginnings of the Old Kingdom and up to the middle of the 8th century B.C. 

The "middle", fourth cultural epoch during this "post-Atlantean"/post-glacial cultural development can be identified as a Greco-Roman cultural epoch, starting in Rome and Greece during the middle of the 8th century B.C.  It started with an ascending phase and then (after the main development of Rome from about 200 B.C. to 200 A.C.), in principle - starting to descend during the 5th century A.C. and coming to an end during the 14th century with a hundred years war between France and England. 

While the former stands out as representative of Latin culture, England stands out as one representative of the following - present - cultural epoch, a fifth "post-glacial cultural epoch" taking its first start during the 15th-16th century with a Renaissance of Greco-Roman culture of the preceding cultural epoch, but then continuing as an ever more global cultural epoch, so far much influenced out of and dominated by the cultures of Western Europe and its off-shots (England, France, U.S.-Canada, Holland, Spain and Portugal). 

In appr. 1,600 years, in Steiner's view, this our present cultural epoch "will" be followed by a global sixth post-glacial cultural epoch, developing out of cultural impulses that at present live in the Slavic area, based on relating to the spirit as something living outside man, as represented by Mongol ("yellow") culture and humanity, but also as represented by "colored" humanity in a more general way. 

In one lecture (13 Feb 1915, for a discussion of it, see below), half a year into the First World War, when battles were taking place all around the globe between peoples of different origin, Steiner describes the transition between our present cultural epoch, developing since the Middle Ages, to a following cultural epoch as a time that will display extensive battles between "white"and "colored"/"yellow" humanity. 

In his view, the battles "will" be rooted in a difference between relating to the spirit as something living absorbed into man in Western cultures, at the time referred to this as "white humankind", and a way of relating to the spirit as something living outside man, as different forms of spirits, of often a more or less malicious nature, as represented in especially Mongol culture. In his view, the way of relating to the spirit as something living outside man, as represented by Mongol culture, "will" be what - in Steiner's view - "will" constitute the basis of the cultural epoch following our present cultural epoch, from about 1,600 years into the future, and during the following time. 

In approximately some 3,800 years, if the development of human cultures continues to follow the seeming pattern it has exhibited so far since the last glacial age, "the" "Slavic" cultural epoch "will" be followed by a global world culture, developing out of what lives in the North and South Americas. The present development of the culture of the U.S., as an ever more marked mixture of people of all cultures and "races", indicates that "the" future "American" cultural epoch in a number of thousand years will be a time when "race" as it still is understood today will finally lose its meaning, as we still partly experience it as external qualities of people today. 

In 1924 3, Steiner described what in his view increasingly in the future - as he understood it - will characterize people who, in the spirit of our time, make themselves free of their bonds to nationality and "race". 

"It will be said: Where does that person come from? He does not belong to one  people, he is not from one race. He is as if he had grown out of all races and peoples."
It was to this meaning of the term "Aryan" - being a pattern of a number of sequential cultures and cultural epochs, starting with a culture inspired by Noah/Manu, and then developing as ever more global cultures out of a number of nodal areas - that Steiner pointed, even when he still employed the theosophical terminology of "Aryan root race", while he served as General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Germany.

In the process of developing anthroposophy separate from theosophy, Steiner in 1909 criticized the extensive and improper use of the concept of "race" in the theosophical tradition, describing it a childhood illness of theosophy.

This long term development of a number ever more globally encompassing cultural epochs since the Middle Ages, is what in theosophy improperly is referred to as "sub races of the Aryan root race", and that anthroposophy, as Steiner developed it, refers to as the "fifth Earth epoch" (from a long term perspective of the development of our present solar system), or "the post-Atlantean" (post-glacial) cultural epochs.


What characterizes the transitional periods between the cultural epochs, described from a long term meta-historical perspective by Steiner?

Staudenmaier in his paper (pp. 33-5) mentions one such time in Steiner's view, "the" transition from our present cultural epoch in Steiner's view, dominated by "white humanity", and born and much formed out of impulses in the West-European area, to a following cultural epoch in Steiner's view, based on the way of relating to the spirit as something that lives outside man, as preserved from the past in among other cultures the Mongol culture. 

In his paper, Mr. Staudenmaier twists Steiner's description of the battles he foresaw would take place during the transition from "the" present to "the"following "cultural epoch" in Steiner's view in some 1,600 years, implying that it in Steiner's view constitutes a part of "a long term battle of 'white humankind' against 'colored'/'yellow' humankind." 

Steiner says or implies nothing of the sort in the lecture, but simply describes the battles he foresaw would take place during the transition as battles of between "white" and "colored"/"yellow" humankind, and implying that "white" humankind would be the losing party in the battles. 

At p. 33 of his paper, Mr. Staudenmaier writes:

"In a remarkable lecture in Stuttgart in 1915, Steiner urged his audience to grasp 'the mission of white humankind' and 'predicted a violent battle of white people against colored people'" (italic and bold added by this author of these comments on Mr. Staudenmaier's paper).
What he writes seems to try to indicate, through what he writes, that Steiner considered it to be a mission of white humankind to initiate a violent battle against colored people.

He also writes as a seeming "quote" (p. 35), erroneously translated by himself from the lecture: 

"... the result will have to be that the transition from the fifth cultural epoch to the sixth cultural epoch cannot happen in any other way than as a violent battle of white humanity against colored humankind in myriad areas."
This is in line with Mr. Staudenmaier's way of untruthfully (pp. 29-30 in his paper) depicting Steiner in a 1909 lecture -- six years earlier -- as supporting the genocidal campaign by German military against native inhabitants in a German colony in South-West Africa. (For more on this, see below.)

With regard to the 1915 lecture, this is done by Mr. Staudenmaier by among other things mistranslating what he seems to quote from the lecture.

The lecture says nothing of a battle of white humankind against colored people.

Instead the lecture, that was held at a time when battles were raging in the far East between European and Japanese forces, as a seeming comment on this, that Steiner foresaw that battles would develop in 1,600 years, the far distant future, of "white humankind" with colored humankind and that they would be battles between "white humankind" and "colored/yellow humankind", in the main referring to "yellow humanity", but at no time telling that it would be initiated by "white humankind" or that it would be battles by "white humankind" against colored humankind.

Where Mr. Staudenmaier (p. 25 of his paper) translates part of the "quote", as

"... the result will have to be that the transition from the fifth cultural epoch to the sixth cultural epoch cannot happen in any other way than as a violent battle of white humanity against colored humankind in myriad areas."
the original (here on the internet) says that the battle or struggle will be a struggle:
"of white humankind with colored humankind in numerous areas". (Italic and bold by this commentator of Mr. Staudenmaier's paper)
In the lecture, Steiner simply describes a difference between "white humankind" and "yellow"/"colored" humankind in relating to the spirit as something living absorbed into man as individual consciousness, and relating to it as something much living outside man, as spiritual powers often experienced as demonic, that one needs to please or protect oneself against. Steiner foresaw this difference in relating to the spirit to be the "cause"of 'the' coming battles, in 1,500 to 1,600 years.

What Steiner tells in the lecture is also that it is important that different cultures retain and conserve attitudes of earlier times (in the case mentioned represented by the Mongols) to become a basis for cultural development of future times, and that the way of relating to the spirit as something living outside man will constitute the basis for human cultural development from that time on, not the way represented by "Western" culture.

Does Steiner in the lecture describe a "necessity of ethnic-racial conflict in the ongoing process of spiritual eugenics and race evolution", as Mr. Staudenmaier writes (p.35 of his paper) as a "task of white humankind" intended to show "colored humanity" "who's the boss"?

No, he described battles at the time, that in his view will constitute a specific, predictable transition time from a present Western dominated cultural epoch, to a following "Slavic" cultural epoch as resulting from a difference in way of relating to the spirit, and implies that "white humankind" will be the one losing the battles.

Earlier transitions between cultural epochs 

Similar struggles have taken place also during the transition from an Egyptian - Chaldean - Babylonian culture, centred south-east of the Mediterranean to a culture more centred north of the Mediterranean during the 8th century B.C., seeing the end of the New Kingdom of the Egyptians, and the birth of specifically Greek and Roman culture. 

Similar struggles also took place during the transition from "the" "Greco-Roman" "cultural epoch" to the following cultural epoch during the 14th century A.C. as a hundred years war between France, as representative of Latin culture, and England, as one representative of the following cultural epoch in which we now live, dominated by impulses born out of Western Europe, and the global imperial/colonial impulses connected with it.

"Will" the by Steiner predicted battles in some 1,600 years be part of a "necessary ethnic-racial conflict" in the -- according to Mr. Staudenmaier -- "ongoing process of spiritual eugenics and race evolution", according to Steiner?

No. They are not part of the "necessity" Mr. Staudenmaier insinuates. 

In a longer perspective they stand out as part of a long term pattern of the development of human cultures since the last glacial ages, with transitional periods between all cultural epochs characterized by crises, conflicts, some degree of chaos and transformation. 

The "mis"translation by Mr. Staudenmaier of "battles with colored humanity" as "battles against colored humanity", and

- not telling when Steiner predicted that  they would take place (in some 1,600 years, as Mr. Staudenmaier knows), and 

- that the way of relating to the spirit as something living outside man, represented in "yellow" humankind, in Steiner's view will become the basis of the future development of humanity after the predicted battles in some 1,600 years, and

- using the by himself made conscious mistranslation as implied support for the untruthful insinuation (p. 33) that the battles - in Steiner's view, according to Mr. Staudenmaier - would be part of a long term "mission of white humankind" to battle against colored humanity as part of a "Social-Darwinian necessity" untruthfully attributed by Mr. Staudenmaier to Steiner as view,

stand out as typical of Mr. Staudenmaier's way of spinning his sources as part of his repeated long term defamatory anti-anthroposophical demagoguery since 2000.

The above contradicts what Mr. Staudenmaier writes in the central note 11 of his paper:

"Anthroposophist apologias for Steiner's racial teachings sometimes claim that he abandoned the root race theory when he broke organizationally from the Theosophical Society. This claim is without merit. While Steiner rejected the cyclical format of Theosophical race theory in favor of a more forthrightly progressive model of increasingly higher racial forms, he did not repudiate the basic contours of the root race scheme."
No. What has been described tells that what Mr. Staudenmaier writes is untrue in the sense of a twisted description of the facts, and that he does not know what he is talking about, not least as he already from the start in his paper tells that he does not understand one of the most central concepts involved in any serious discussion of the concept of "race" as it appears in the works of Steiner: the theosophical concept "root race", and the difference between that theosophical concept, and the anthropological concept of "five main race of humanity", that is the other main concept of the three involved in any serious discussion of Steiner's views on the concept "race.

(The third main concept refers to the human forms that developed from beginning to end of Cenozoic time in the image of the Elohim as part of the "normal" development of mankind, parts of which still remain as paleontological findings.).

(He also does not seem to understand a discussion by Steiner in one of the works he mentions, regarding a development of an "evil race" and a "good race" far in the future, discussed as part of comments on the Apocalypse of St. John in an apocalyptic perspective, referring to what in the Apocalypse are called the "goats" and the "sheep".)

As such, his central statement at the beginning of his paper stands out as typical of his writings.

It is line with other similar eloquently, lightheartedly and untruthfully formulated comments in earlier papers by Mr. Staudenmaier, not supported by the sources he allegedly describes. To this belongs different statements by him in discussions of his first paper as solo writer on anthroposophy - "Anthroposophy and Ecofascism", published in 2000.

While he at first introduced it with a completely made up and in large parts untruthful story about the first lecture in a series, "Mission of Folk Souls" held by Steiner in Oslo 1910, when his story was demonstrated to be untrue, as a final effort to cover up for his exposed untruthfulness made up new story that tried to anchor his story in another lecture in the lecture series by (untruthfully), after yet another con story just the day before, also writing in a foot note to one of his articles:

... the heart of the book is chapter six, titled "The Five Root Races of Mankind" (Steiner's lecture in Oslo from June 12, 1910). Here Steiner reminds his audience of the racial superiority of "the Aryans, ..."
For an analysis and comment on this extreme mis-description of the lecture and the two untruths by Mr. Staudenmaier in the two sentences, see here

Regrettably, analysis shows that misdescribing and making up stories about published historical sources is one of the repeated characteristics of the writings of Mr. Staudenmaier.


One more such example in his more recent paper is the following. 

One repeated characteristic of lectures by Steiner, is that he at the beginning describes and formulates the views at the time, and the views and questions that he perceived to be questions of his audience. After some discussion of this, he then at the end tells how he himself views the subject he discusses. 

This is the case with one of the sources Mr. Staudenmaier quotes in his paper. 

At pp. 29-30 of his paper, he discusses a lecture by Steiner that has a central and puzzling line by Mephistopheles in the drama Faust by Goethe. “Blood is a Very Special Fluid”, Faust, Act I, Scene 4, as its main theme (not German colonialism at the time, as Mr. Staudenmaier can seem to insinuate in his paper). 

From the lecture, Mr. Staudenmaier quotes from the first part "To what extent are uncivilised peoples capable of becoming civilised." and formulating a probably common view at the time: "How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilized?" (p. 30 in the article).

The quote could seem to indicate that Steiner in the lecture expressed support of German colonialism and the genocidal campaign by German military against native inhabitants in a German colony in South-West Africa.

That is not the case. (The full lecture is found here online on the internet)

What he does not quote is Steiner's implied answer to the question of his time, at the end of the lecture, being intermarriage, as that promotes the liberation of man from tribal and group habits and instincts, and promotes a human development in the offspring, that is based on the individual personal experiences of the children resulting from the intermarriage, something not reflected in Mr. Staudenmaier's 'description' of the source. 

From the published source, that Mr. Staudenmaier quotes at pp. 29-30 in his paper, but that he does not describe in his paper:

"In earlier times tribes held aloof from each other, and the individual members of families intermarried. You will find this to have been the case with all races and with all peoples; and it was an important moment for humanity when this principle was broken through, when foreign blood was introduced, and when marriage between relations was replaced by marriage with strangers, when endogamy gave place to exogamy. Endogamy preserves the blood of the generation; it permits of the same blood flowing in the separate members as flows for generations through the entire tribe or the entire nation. Exogamy inoculates man with new blood, and this breaking-down of the tribal principle, this mixing of blood, which sooner or later takes place among all peoples, signifies the birth of the external understanding, the birth of the intellect.

The important thing to bear in mind here is that in olden times there was a hazy clairvoyance, from which the myths and legends originated. This clairvoyance could exist in the nearly related blood, just as our present-day consciousness comes about owing to the mingling of blood. The birth of logical thought, the birth of the intellect, was simultaneous with the advent of exogamy. Surprising, as this may seem, it is nevertheless true. It is a fact which will be substantiated more and more by external investigation; indeed, the initial steps along this line have already been taken.

But this mingling of blood which comes about through exogamy is also that which at the same time obliterates the clairvoyance of earlier days, in order that humanity may evolve to a higher stage of development; (italic by this commentator of Mr. Staudenmaier's paper) and just as the person who has passed through the stages of occult development regains this clairvoyance, and transmutes it into a new form, so has our waking consciousness of the present day been evolved out of that dim and hazy clairvoyance which [was] obtained in times of old. 

At the present time everything in a man's environment is impressed upon his blood; hence the environment fashions the inner man in accordance with the outer world. In the case of primitive man it was that which was contained within the body that was more fully expressed in the blood. In those early times the recollection of ancestral experiences was inherited, and, along with this, good or evil tendencies. In the blood of the descendants were to be traced the effects of the ancestors' tendencies. Now, when the blood was mixed through exogamy, this close connection with ancestors was severed, and the man began to live his own personal life. Thus, in an unmixed blood is expressed the power of the ancestral life, and in a mixed blood the power of personal experience."

The way from the past to the future in Steiner's view does not go via genocide or implementation of a Darwinian principle, as Mr. Staudenmaier tries to argue for as Steiner's view, but via intermarriage between people of different origins as a way of liberation from bonds to the group, into which one has been born.


In his latest paper, "Race and Redemption" Mr. Staudenmaier at the beginning depicts Steiner as someone who was strongly influenced by Ernst Haeckel, and describes this in this way in his paper (p. 4):

"Haeckel, the foremost German Social Darwinist of the era, strongly influenced Steiner's views on evolution and the relationship between biology and society."
In an earlier paper, Mr. Staudenmaier has described Steiner in a similar way as implicitly influenced by Haeckel's Social-Darwinist views:
"During his Vienna period Steiner also fell under the sway of Nietzsche, the outstanding antidemocratic thinker of the era, whose elitism made a powerful impression. The radical individualism of Max Stirner further contributed to the young Steiner's political outlook, yielding a potent philosophical melange that was waiting to be catalyzed by some dynamic reactionary force. The latter appeared to Steiner soon enough in the form of Ernst Haeckel and his Social Darwinist creed of Monism. Haeckel (1834-1919) was the founder of modern ecology and the major popularizer of evolutionary theory in Germany. Steiner became a partisan of Haeckel's views, and from him anthroposophy inherited its environmentalist predilections, its hierarchical model of human development, and its tendency to interpret social phenomena in biological terms."
He also later in his paper, in connection with his discussion of the transitional period between "the" present cultural epoch to a following cultural epoch in 1,600  years in the view of Steiner (see above) depicts Steiner as someone who preached "the necessity of ethnic-racial conflict in the ongoing process of spiritual eugenics and race evolution", and tries to support this with a twisted translation and description of what Steiner actually said in the lecture Mr. Staudenmaier uses.

For a general discussion of the relation between Rudolf Haeckel and Rudolf Steiner, see an article by Daniel Hindes, found online here. See also his discussion (pp. 35-41) of the issue in comments on Mr. Staudenmaier first solo article on Rudolf Steiner, found here.

What did Steiner have to say about the application of Social Darwinism as a social principle?

In a lecture, that Mr. Staudenmaier mentions in his paper, and describes in the following way, Steiner discusses this.

Staudenmaier (p. 9):

"In [...] "Brotherhood and the Struggle for Survival", Steiner distanced himself from Social Darwinism and boasted of Theosophy's rhetorically anti-racist orientation, portraying his own teachings as a progressive and tolerant version of esotericism."
What Mr. Staudenmaier writes does not give more than a superficial and twisted picture of the lecture, that does not argue about "racism" or "anti-racism", or mentions "race" more than once at the beginning of the lecture when mentioning the goals of the Theosophical movement at the time:
"Those of you who concern themselves even a little with our Spiritual Scientific Movement know that our first aim is to form the core of a mutual help which is founded on an all embracing love for people, without regard for race, sex, creed, or profession. "
The whole lecture then describes and supports the view that Mutual Help is the principle that most contributes and has contributed to the development of human culture, but says nothing about this being a specifically anti-racist principle, just a good one.

What does Steiner say in the lecture, found online here on the internet?

"What enhances evolution more, war or mutual help? Also the following question was raised; do those kinds survive in which the individuals constantly fight with each other or those where they help each other? It was shown in this research that it is not the fighting but the mutual help, which was the real stimulus to progress. I mentioned the book by Kropotkin called “Mutual Help in Animal and Man.” Among the ideas, which today are being put forward with regard to these questions, we find a number of relevant concepts.

What has mutual help in man's evolution achieved? We only have to look at our own ancestors in this region where we now are. One could easily imagine that hunting and fighting were the main forces for forming out the character of these human beings, but if you look deeper into history you will find that this is not true.

Just those among the Germanic tribes flourished best who developed the principle of mutual help to a high level. We specially find this principle of mutual help influencing more than anything the way material possessions were ordered in the time before and after the tribal migrations. To a large extent there was a common ownership of the land. The Communities of Villages where the people lived had common land ownership with the exception of a few things belonging directly to the household, the tools, and maybe a garden, all else was common possession. From time to time all the land was redistributed and newly divided among the people. It could be seen that those tribes became powerful which were able to bring the application of mutual help to an extraordinarily high level in relation to material goods.

If we proceed a few hundred years further we find that this principle appears again in a most fruitful manner. Mutual help, as it lived in the old communities of villages, in the old ways of life in which people found their freedom in brotherly, sisterly common life, shows particularly in the following example: If someone died all their personal possessions were burned because nobody wanted to own what had belonged to them during life.

After one broke with this principle through various circumstances, single individuals managed to gain large tracts of land and the people within these fiefdoms were forced into servitude. Through this the principle of mutual help appeared in a different form. Those who felt suppressed by the Feudal Lord wanted to free themselves from this oppression and we see in the Middle Ages a powerful movement for freedom sweeping through all of Europe. This movement stood under the sign of a universal mutual help out of which a common culture blossomed, the so-called culture of the cities, the middle of the Middle Ages.

Those human beings who could not stand the bonded servitude on the fiefdoms, escaped from the Feudal Lords to seek freedom in the growing cities. People came from Scotland, France, Russia, from all sides and brought about the free cities. Through this the principle of mutual help developed, and in the way it worked it greatly enhanced the development of the culture.

Those who had common professions and trades began to form sort of trade unions which were later called Guilds, Brother/Sisterhoods which one joined through a vow or conscious commitment. These guilds were more than just unions of craftsmen or traders. They developed out of practical life to a high moral level. Mutual support, mutual help was cultivated to a high degree in those organizations.

Many things, which no one attends to much today, were guided by the principle of mutual support. For instance, the members of such a Guild helped out if somebody fell ill. Day by day two members were called to be at the bedside of the sick one. He or she got food.

Even beyond his or her death this brotherliness and sisterliness continued. After somebody died it was considered an honor by other members of the Guild to provide in the proper manner for the burial of the deceased one and it was part of this honor to care for the well being of the widow/widower and her or his children. You can see out of what I have said what understanding of morality in common life was created. This morality was developed on the basis of a moral awareness of which modern people can hardly get a true picture."

What did Steiner have to say about the propagation of the ideal of races and nations and belonging to a clan during the first decades of the 20th century, something Mr. Staudenmaier depicts him as supporting?

Steiner, Oct 26th, 1917 (GA 177):

"It is not possible to understand the present time if one does not know what kind of reversal has occurred particularly in the last third of the 19th century. Someone still of the 14th century, speaking of the ideal of races, of the ideal of nations, spoke out of developing qualities of human development.

"But someone who nowadays speaks of the ideal of races and nations and belonging to a clan, speaks of decaying impulses of humanity. And if he believes that these so-called ideals constitute progressive ideals, when speaking of them, he is saying something that is untrue. Because through nothing will humanity bring itself more into decay, than if the ideals of races, nations and blood were to continue. 

"Nothing will be a greater hindrance for the further development of mankind than the conservation of the ideals held by earlier centuries, preserved [...] in declarations about the ideals based on nations. The true ideals for the future must be, not what is based on 'blood', but what we find solely in the spiritual world."

Beyond like in 2000 and 2001 making up new stories about Steiner also in his new paper from 2004 (a few of them described above), how truthful is Mr. Staudenmaier in his way of describing the other sources he refers to or quotes with regard to his argumentation in the article?

Come back for a number of further descriptions of what Mr. Staudenmaier writes, what the published sources he refers to actually tell, and what other sources on the issues he discusses tell.

Copyright: Sune Nordwall 2006

1 Haannaford: Race, The History of an Idea in the West. John Hopkins University Press 1996, pp. 326-7: "During the period from 1890 to 1915, race as a organizing idea claimed precedence ove all previous formulations of nation and state. Although the works of many racialist writers of the period are virtually unreadable today without elementary insight into Nieburh and Treitschke and their accounts of Western history from 1740 to 1870, they attracted vast audiences in Germany, France, Britain, and the United States, who were greatly excited by racial ideas."

2  "The concept of race in a proper sense was only useful during old Atlantis [corresponding to Tertiary and Quaternary in the view of the late Steiner]. Therefore, as we describe a real evolution of humanity, we have not used the concept of race for the post-Atlantean time [the time after the last glacial ages]. We don't speak of an Indian race and so on, as it isn't proper any  more. We speak of an Old Indian cultural epoch, of an Old Persian cultural epoch and so on.

"It would make completely no sense if we were to say that we in our time were preparing for a sixth 'race'. If we in our time still see remains of the old Atlantean differences, remaining old group soulness, so that you still can speak of a differentiation into races - what is preparing itself for the sixth epoch consists specifically in getting rid of and leaving behind that which is 'racial character'. That is the important thing.

"Therefore it is necessary, that the movement which is called the anthroposophical movement, that prepares for the sixth epoch in its basic character, takes up especially this task of getting rid of what is related to 'racial character' and unites people of all races, of all nations and in this way bridges this differentiation, these differences, this abyss, that exists between different groups of people. Because the old racial points of view have a physical character, and what will develop into the future has a spiritual character.

"That is the reason it is so urgently necessary that our anthroposophical movement is a spiritual movement, that looks at that which is spiritual and overcomes specifically that which is based on physical differences, out of the force of this spirituality.

"It is completely understandable that every movement has its childhood illnesses and that at the beginning of the theosophical movement one described what it is about as if the evolution of the Earth so to speak was differentiated into seven epochs - they were called 'main races' [here 'main races' refers to the theosophical concept of seven "root races"] - and that every 'root race' was differentiated into seven 'sub-races', and that everything would repeat itself that way for ever, so that you for ever could speak of seven 'races' and seven 'sub-races'.

"But one has to overcome this childhood illness and become clear that the concept of race ceases  to have any meaning / importance specifically in our time.

"Something else is preparing itself - something that in the most eminent sense has to do with the human individuality - the ever more increasing individualization of man. What is important is that this development of the individuality is supported in the right way, and the anthroposophical movement has to support this development of individuality in man in the right way.''

Rudolf Steiner 4 December 1909, in: The deeper secrets of the development of humanity in the light of the gospels (GA 117).

3 Rudolf Steiner: Lecture August 3, 1924. In Karmic relationships (GA 237).

For more on some of the stories by Peter Staudenmaier, see "Scholar?"

Back to main section on Peter Staudenmaier at this site..