Rudolf Steiner 1910 in Mission of Folk Souls:
"In our age however, the racial characteristics are generally being overcome"

In 2000, a discussion started on the WC (waldorf-critics) mailing list, personally owned by the secretary of the small anti-Waldorf group PLANS in San Francisco, about the article Anthroposophy and Ecofascism, written by a left-wing activist, Peter Staudenmaier, connected with an Institute of Social Ecology. The article can still today, three years later (July 2003), be found published in its original form at the site of PLANS.

Like every well written story, it follows the basic rule of at first in a nut shell depicting the basic plot of the story in some form, as well as the central characters involved.


In the article by Staudenmaier, he describes this alleged plot with the introduction:
'In June 1910 Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, began a speaking tour of Norway with a lecture to a large and attentive audience in Oslo. The lecture was titled "The Mission of Individual European National Souls in Relation to Nordic-Germanic Mythology."

In the Oslo lecture and throughout his Norwegian tour Steiner presented his theory of "national souls" (Volksseelen in German, Steiner's native tongue) and paid particular attention to the mysterious wonders of the "Nordic spirit. 

"The "national souls" of Northern and Central Europe were, Steiner explained, components of the "germanic-nordic sub-race," the world's most spiritually advanced ethnic group, which was in turn the vanguard of the highest of five historical "root races." This superior fifth root race, Steiner told his Oslo audience, was naturally the "Aryan race."

While Rudolf Steiner held a lecture series 7-17 June 1910 in Norway, it was titled "The Mission of Individual Folk Souls in Relation to Germanic-Nordic Mythology", the first lecture in the series as also the whole lecture series was held in Oslo, and he among many other things spoke about the origin and nature of "Folk Souls" in the lecture series, few other details beyond the name of the lecturer, the city, year and month are true in the introduction by Staudenmaier to his article.

For the actual first lecture in the series in question, allegedly described by Peter Staudenmaier in the introduction, see here.


As can be seen when reading the lecture in question, the description by Staudenmaier is a completely made up untruthful story about its content, that has nothing to do with reality in terms of what Steiner actually says in the lecture.

Instead of saying what Staudenmaier says that he says, Steiner in the lecture gives a sketch of the nature of the beings of the spiritual world in Steiner's view, described with the terminology of the Jewish-Christian tradition, as a basis for understanding their relation to and role in the forming and fading differentiation of humanity into races, cultures and nations through human history, as Steiner understood it.

For some comments about Staudenmaier's repeated efforts to cover up for and create different smoke screens about his untruthfulness with regard to the first lecture in the lecture series, as also the lecture series in question in its totality, see here.


The profound untruthfulness of Staudenmaier's introduction to a large part also holds for the description in relation to the lecture series in its totality, that only is reflected in a perverted way in the description by Staudenmaier, twisting the picture of the lecture series into the opposite of what Steiner pointed to as central for the future of mankind, in a similar untruthful way as he distorts it in relation to the first lecture in the series.

For a closer analysis of this, see below.


When the untruthfulness of the introduction to the article by Staudenmaier, continuously published at the site of PLANS from the beginning of 2000 up to this day (July 2003) more than three years later, has been pointed out in public discussion to the Secretary of PLANS, Mr Dugan, owner of a critical and defamatory mailing list on Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, pointing to documentation at this site, demonstrating its untruthfulness, he has defended Peter Staudenmaier and PLANS' continued publication of the article with its demonstrated untruthful introduction, and unsubscribed the undersigned from the continued discussion on the list.

He also threatened everyone else who would feel inclined to tell about the documented untruthfulness of the introduction with a similar unsubscription from the discussion, arguing that telling that it was untruthful should constitute an in the view of Mr Dugan impermissible "ad hominem" (a comment on Peter Staudenmaier as a person) in the discussion.

The publication of the mentioned article and other articles by Staudenmaier is part of a constructed "Protocol of Steiner" mythology that is cultivated by PLANS, using it to incite anger and hatred, in this case in the Jewish community, as one of PLANS' tools in its campaign against anthroposophy and Waldorf education, in a similar way that the Protocol of Zion forgery was used 100 years earlier, then with the opposite goal; to incite anger and hatred against Jews.

For some comments on the self-contradictory nature of the argumentation of PLANS on this point, see here.


While it immediately and obviously is clear when reading the first lecture in the lecture series, referred to by Staudenmaier, and comparing it with what he writes about it, that it is untruthful with regard to its content, it takes some more reading and analysis to see to what extent this also holds for the lecture series in its totality.

What can be found below is an analysis of the relation between what Staudenmaier asserts in the demagogical mixed truthful/untruthful introduction to his article and the actual lecture series in its totality, held by Steiner between 7 and 17 June in Oslo in 1910.

Reading the actual lecture series reveals that it not  - as Staudenmaier untruthfully implies in the introduction to his article  - constitutes a supporting argument for what later developed with National Socialism, but that it warns against what during the coming years was to develop with Nazism as the greatest danger for the future of humanity.

The essence and culmination of the lecture series is not - as hinted at by Staudenmaier in his introduction - an idealization of a strong willed Nordic hero of the past of "pure Aryan race" as origin of human civilization and ideal for the future, but the pointing in the last lecture of the series to the the importance into the future of a developing experience of Christ as experienced by St. Paul (see below) and the cultivation of the social Christian spirit for the future as described by St. Paul (Gal 3:28 "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ.")

In this perspective, it probably is difficult to find a greater perversion of the content of the lecture series than that produced by Staudenmaier in the introduction to his article 'Anthroposophy and Ecofascism'.

In the few five sentences that constitute the introducing and summarizing 'lead story' of the article, Staudenmaier succeeds in asserting at least 6 untruths. In this respect, the article probably is unsurpassed in untruthfulness at the site of PLANS.

Staudenmaier (1):

In June 1910 Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, began a speaking tour of Norway with a lecture to a large and attentive audience in Oslo.
According to all easily available sources, the description of the lecture series as a lecture tour of Norway is untrue in the sense it probably normally is understood by most people.

In June 1910, Steiner held a lecture series in Norway. But - as far as can be determined by the overview of lectures held by Steiner in June 1910, found at;bytes=42372-53136 and the whole series was held in Oslo (Christiania), not as a speaking tour of Norway.

In discussions following the publication of the article at PLANS' site, Staudenmaier has argued that the 'lecture' that he refers to as the 'first' lecture' of the lecture series, actually held in Oslo, when realizing that his description of its content not corresponds with the actual first lecture in the lecture series, was held as something else than the published lecture series.

When realizing that he cannot document the truthfulness of this assertion either, he explains that the story introducing the article only is "an opening device" and asks that it be dismissed in judging the rest of the article, and when told that everything points to that lecture in Oslo that he asserts the existence of, separate from the lecture series, does not exist either, answers that he does not 'understand' the sentence saying this. When reminded of his request that the article be read and judged dismissing the introducing it, he has answered that he does not 'understand' what this reminder refers to either.

For more on these efforts by Staudenmaier to blow different smoke screens in public discussions of his article to cover up for the demonstrated untruthfulness that he has made into the foundation stone and introduction to his writing career on anthroposophy, see here.

Staudenmaier (2):

The lecture was titled "The Mission of Individual European National Souls in Relation to Nordic-Germanic Mythology."
According to both the original and the English translation, that also is untrue. 

The lecture series (not lecture, as stated by Staudenmaier) was entitled "Die mission einzelner Volksseelen im Zusammanhang mit der germanisch-nordischen Mythologie"; "The mission of individual folk souls (in general, not European National souls) in relation to Nordic-Germanic mythology".

Staudenmaier (3):

In the Oslo lecture and throughout his Norwegian tour Steiner presented his theory of "national souls" (Volksseelen in German, Steiner's native tongue) and paid particular attention to the mysterious wonders of the "Nordic spirit".
The context of the sentence probably gives a number of readers the impression that Steiner should have talked about the "Nordic spirit" as inspiration for the future in the sense the Nazis pointed to and idealized a hypothetical, strong willed blond and blue eyed Nordic hero of the past of "pure Aryan race" as origin of all human civilization and role model for the future.

This is not supported by the lecture series in its totality and contrary to the argumentation developed by Steiner in the series.

One of the thesis' of National Socialism was that miscegenation between people of different origin had been and was disastrous for the cultivation and development of Germans as 'racially pure Aryans'.

In the culminating final lecture (eleven) in the series, referring to a number of literary characters from nordic mythology, probably not well known to most, making it difficult to read, Steiner - contrary to the view of the importance of "racial purity" advocated by the Nazis - points to the opposite, how miscegenation and the mixture of different peoples has played a significant role in the development of humanity.

In a lecture in another context, on a central sentence expressed by Mephisto in the drama Faust by Goethe; "blood is a very special fluid", Steiner describes how such miscegenation has contributed to the disappearance of an instinctual clairvoyance, belonging to the past, and the development of an individual consciousness and self understanding, that not is based on belonging to any specific race or nation, but purely on what is spiritual in man.

He also in the lecture held 1910 points to how - according to him - a new clairvoyance would start to develop from the middle of the 20th century, that would consist in an experience of Christ as active in the world of social meetings between people, and how Nordic-Germanic mythology in the figure of Vidar points to this coming experience of Christ.

In Steiner's view, the people of Northern Europe from the middle of the 20th century would be especially sensitive to this beginning and developing experience of Christ, not as a physical human being, but in the supersensible social-etheric world, that is, that element which lives in the social human meetings between people, an experience similar to that of St. Paul at Damascus, and how it in the view of Steiner is a special task of Spiritual Science to prepare people for an understanding and awareness of this increasing new appearance of Christ, that according to Steiner will develop over the coming 3.000 years.

He also warns against the appearance of humans depicting themselves as Messiah, and points to Christ as someone who 

... does not belong to the past - however much tradition may insist upon this - but to the future. We endeavour to ascertain what is to come. We do not rely so much on historical tradition which was fundamental to the Christ Impulse at the beginning of the Christian era; we do not attach much importance to the external and historical approach. After Christianity has passed through its growing pains, it will develop further. It has gone forth into foreign lands and sought to convert the people to the particular Christian dogmas of the age. But we profess a Christianity which proclaims that Christ was active in all ages and that we shall find Him wheresoever we go ..."
"... the larger nations no less than the smaller isolated groups have each their appointed mission and have to contribute their share to the whole. Often the smallest national fragments have most important contributions to make because it is given to them to preserve and nurture old and new motifs in the soul-life. 

Thus, even though we have made this dangerous topic the subject of our lectures, it will serve to foster the basic sentiment of a community of soul amongst all those who are united under the banner of anthroposophical thought and feeling and of Anthroposophical ideals."

"What is given to all mankind must be given; it may, it is true, originate in a particular region, but it must be given to the whole of humanity. We do not differentiate between East and West. We accept with deep gratitude the surpassing grandeur of the primeval culture of the holy Rishis in its true form. We accept with gratitude the Persian culture, the Egypto-Chaldean and Graeco-Latin cultures, and with the same objectivity we also accept the cultural heritage of Europe. We are compelled by the needs of the situation to present the facts as they really are.

If we incorporate the total contributions which each religion has made to the civilizing process of mankind into what we recognize to be the common property of mankind, then the more we do this, the more we are acting in accordance with the Christ principle."

"Spiritual Science, as we shall realize more and more clearly, will bring an end to the divisions of mankind. Therefore now is the right moment to learn to know the Folk Souls, because the province of Spiritual Science is not to promote antagonism between them, but to call upon them to work in harmonious cooperation."

It is in this sense, not in the sense of an idealization of a strong willed Nordic hero of "pure Aryan race" as implied by Staudenmaier in the introduction to his article, that Steiner speaks of the "Nordic spirit" in the lectures.

Staudenmaier (4):

The "national souls" of Northern and Central Europe were, Steiner explained, components of the "germanic-nordic sub-race," the world's most spiritually advanced ethnic group, which was in turn the vanguard of the highest of five historical "root races."
The single sentence contains three more untruths respectively serious distortions by Staudenmaier. 

a./ On:

The "national souls" of Northern and Central Europe were, Steiner explained, components of the "germanic-nordic sub-race, ..
Neither in the first lecture in the series, nor in the lecture series in its totality did Steiner explain that the "national souls" of Northern and Central Europe were components of the "germanic-nordic sub-race", which was the terminology used in the Theosophical tradition. The truth, being contrary to what Staudenmaier writes, is that Steiner in the lecture series not once mentions the word "sub-races" and much less the concept of the "germanic-nordic subrace".

Instead he points to how development after the time of the mythical "Atlantis", ending with the last glacial ages some 10 000 year B.C. not can be described in terms of "races" and "subraces", but must be considered in terms of the successive development of a number of central, consecutive, ever more global cultures out of people living in geographical areas, in Central Asia, Western Asia, Northern Africa, Europe, the Western and Eastern Slavic area and the Americas, constituting nodal points in this development, that in his view will continue up to the end 8th Millennium A.C. (See also here.)

b./ On:

...  the world's most spiritually advanced ethnic group ...:
This again is a seriously distorted description of the lectures, not least as Steiner in the lectures does not even mention the term or concept "nordic-germanic sub-race".

How distorted the description by Staudenmaier is, is shown by how Steiner in lecture 2 describes the unsurpassed character of the philosophy of, not a "nordic-germanic subrace", but the first post-glacial Indian civilization, in its origin preceding our present time with some 7-9.000 years;

" ...the uniqueness of Indian philosophy [...], as creative thought expressive of the inner life, is unsurpassed by any other people, and it also explains the inner perfection of thought so characteristic of the Indian culture."
He also in lecture 8 describes how the people of ancient India had developed to a high degree in a way only reached later by "the inhabitants of all the countries lying further West":
"The peoples of ancient India had reached a high stage of evolution before they developed the 'I'. In all other aspects of evolution they had made great strides. Behind them lay a very long period of development, but they had lived through it in a kind of dim consciousness. Then the 'I' entered in - they awoke to consciousness of the 'I'. Amongst the Indians this came comparatively late, at a time when the people was already to a certain extent very mature, when they had already undergone what the Teutonic peoples still had to undergo when they had developed their ego. Bear this carefully in mind."
The degree of distortion in Staudenmaier's description also is made clear by how Steiner, in lecture 7, describes the Time Spirit of what in the view of Steiner can be understood as a present cultural epoch since the Middle Ages, centrally influenced by and out of the cultures of Western Europe, not as "the most advanced" or "superior" Time Spirit, but as belonging 
"... to the great leading Time Spirits, equally with those who were the great directing Time Spirits during the Egypto-Chaldean-Babylonian, Old Persian and Indian epochs."
c./ On:
.. which was in turn the vanguard of the highest of five historical "root races".
In the English translation of the lecture series, published in 1970, the translator mistakenly in 3 instances in the text, twice in lecture 6 and once in lecture 7 mistranslated Steiner's reference to what from the end of the 18th century up to and and during the first part of the 20th century was considered to be the five 'main races' of mankind with the Theosophical term 'root races', a term that Steiner stopped using the year before (1909) in ever more distancing himself from the Theosophical tradition.

While the term "root race" may sound as if it was a race concept in a biological sense, that is not the case. It is a theosophical term that refers to the stages of humanity from the beginning to the end of our present solar system from a spiritual perspective.

The two first "root races" even refer to the stages of humanity in the spiritual form it had - according to both theosophy and anthroposophy - from the first formation of our present solar system up to the separation of the Earth as a planetary body from the further contracting Sun, being a time when our present planet Earth did not even exist separate from the Sun in our solar system.

As to the concept "main races" in the two lectures mentioned, it is clear from the description of them in the two lectures that it not refers to the mentioned "root races" of theosophy, but to "Ethiopians" - Africans, Malayans, Mongoles, Caucasians and American-Indians that from the end of the 18th century were viewed as as the "five main races of humanity".

In recent discussion on the WC-list (July 2003) Staudenmaier, again trying to cover up for untruthfulness with which he has introduced his writings on anthroposophy, argues that the two concepts should be identical and that the mistranslation of "Hauptrassen" (main races) with "root races" not should be a translation error at all but completely correct.

For more on this misunderstanding and the meaning of the theosophical concept "root race" and Steiner's view of it, see here.

The argumentation in question by Staudenmaier demonstrates that he up to this day, three years after his first publication of the article, and repeated and extensive demagogical argumentation regarding the alleged racism of Steiner not even has understood the basic difference between two of the main concepts he argues about, with one of them; "the five races of humantiy", being the most central one in all discussions of races through the 19th and 20th century.

It casts a serious shadow over the credibility also of his efforts to actually understand and do justice to also the other concepts and quotes from widely differing parts and contexts of the works of Steiner, often lectures closely related to the historical and social context in which they were held, not least the First World War between numerous countries all around the world, in which also Germany was involved, beyond Staudenmaier's repeated and forceful demagogery about them.

Also, Staudenmaier in the discussion of his article has made clear that he had not even read the lecture series, neither in original, nor in English translation, when writing on it in the introduction to his article.

As to the five races of mankind that Steiner mentions and describes the formation of in lecture 6 in the lecture series, this formation in the view of Steiner took place, not as a normal, but as an abnormal development of humanity, including the abnormal formation of the "Caucasian race" during the time corresponding to from Tertiary up to the end of Quartenary, ending some 10.000 years B.C..

In a lecture, half a year before the lecture series allegedly "described" by Staudenmaier, Steiner describes how the concept of "races" in a proper sense in his view not can be used for the time since the end of the last glacial ages; following the time of the mythical "Atlantis", that Steiner later in general identified as the time of Kenozoicum (Tertiary and Quarternary up to the end of Pleistocene).

He also in the lecture series itself makes clear that, while the description he gives of the formation of the five main races of mankind - including the Caucasians - was as an abnormal development of humanity at the time it took place, far in the past, the characteristics he describes do not constitute man's being as a human and - as a summing up the description of the pattern of the formation of the races, when it took place with - "In our time, the racial character in general however is being overcome", something probably confirmed by the experience of most normal people, not stuck in racist prejudices of their fellow humans, and recognizing that the human being that lives in all of us is the same, regardless of external apperance.

Staudenmaier (5):

This superior fifth root race, Steiner told his Oslo audience, was naturally the "Aryan race."
Again, this is a total fantasy by Staudenmaier of the flat lie type, that probably noone expects to see in published writings from someone who repeatedly refers to himself as "historical scholar" in the way Staudenmaier does. In the lecture series, Steiner not once mentions neither "root race", nor "fifth root race", nor "the Aryans" as the "superior fifth root race".

Only once in the one lecture (six) does Steiner mention 'Aryans', referring to "the peoples of Asia Minor and Europe whom we regard as members of the Caucasian race." The main thing that he has to say about Caucasians as a "race", in a general simplified way referring to their external, physical character, as its specific way of being one-sided, is:

"The particular task of the Caucasian race is to find the way to the spirit through the senses, for this race is orientated chiefly towards the sense-world.".
The description of this one-sidedness is about as much as Steiner has to say about "Aryans" in the one lecture of the series where he once in passing mentions the term "Aryan".

Contrary to Staudenmaier's distorted assertions, Steiner in the lecture series does not promote any view of an "Aryan race" as "superior" but (lecture 5) warns against the dangers facing people who cultivate the development of clairvoyance with erroneous methods, in terms of developing an erroneous understanding of the nature of "races" and not leading to an experience and understanding of Christ, the description of which constitutes the culmination of the series in the 11th lecture, but to other experiences and views.

In the view of Steiner, the spiritual beings responsible for the (abnormal) formation of the five "main races", when it took place far in the past, including the "Caucasians" as an abnormal phenomenon, were retarded spiritual beings originally of the type that in the Jewish-Christian tradition is referred to as "Mights", or Spirits of movement.

On the danger of trying to attain clairvoyance with improper means, Steiner comments in lecture 5 of the series:

"The abnormal Spirits of Form who are really Spirits of Movement [Mights] and who appear as hideous spiritual Beings on the astral plane also have their subordinate spirits. They are the spirits that weave and live in that which is associated with the genesis of the human races, and that in man is associated with that element that we have characterized as the Earth-bound, as that element which is associated with reproduction and the like.

These beings, indeed this whole domain is one of the most  variegated and dangerous of the astral world and - this is the appropriate moment to call attention to it - it is the one most easily found by those who attain to clairvoyant vision by erroneous methods. The hosts of these spirits who are associated with the propagation of the race, who serve that purpose, are those most easily perceived. 

Many a one who has entered into the occult realm prematurely or in the wrong way has had to pay dearly for having encountered this host of spiritual beings without the harmonizing influence of the other spiritual Beings." 

In lecture 11, the final lecture of the series, he again warns:
"There will be no greater danger than the tendency to cling to the old clairvoyance which has not been permeated with the new forces, a danger which might tempt man to remain content with the manifestations of the old astral clairvoyance of primeval times, such as the soul pictures of the Fenris Wolf." (portraying the anti-Christian forces feeding on the living substance of the life body of man).
Read in the light of history, the development of "Aryanism" and the following development of National Socialism, as an outdated cult of the blond Nordic hero with ritual, half magical means, the words in the final lecture in the series, as also a warning six years earlier, pointing to what came to develop 1933-1945, long after the death of Steiner, stand out as prophetic, in a way that Staudenmaier in the "description" of the lecture series in the untruthful introduction to his article "Anthroposophy and Ecofascism" tries to make stand out as the opposite.

In its probably unsurpassed untruthfulness at PLANS' site, the introduction casts a shadow over everything else that Staudenmaier has written and continues to write on anthroposophy, not least his keeping the untruths in the article for now (2003) three years after having had the possibility to check them out against the published lectures themselves in original (distributed by probably the whole time Staudenmaier's has kept his untruths published on the internet), and - not up to this day understanding that he could have ordered the original lecture series in five minutes at a cost of some 10 bucks at - if he had been the "historical scholar" he likes to depict himself as, knowing how to find also non-American literature and actually interested in checking his writings against the original he asserts that he describes - thinking he had to go to Germany in person to find it.

As mentioned earlier, further comparison of what Staudenmaier writes with the actual primary sources, that he refers to and says he describes, indicate that the untruthfulness displayed in the introduction to his first article as solo author on anthroposophy, as also later in the article, is a repeated trait also of the later articles by Staudenmaier.

Seeing with which light-hearted carelessness Peter makes up lies about Steiner and anthroposophy, as demonstrated by his introducing description of the plot of his article 'Anthroposophy and Ecofascism', mixing it with what may or may not be more true assertions on the subject he comments on, in a way that impossible for the general reader of it to look through without closer study, and later even commenting on the untruthfulness of what he has written found on the internet with "I don't take these things nearly as seriously as you do" makes me suspicious of everything else he has written and may have to say say about anthroposophy and Steiner, and his judgments on them, down to the last comma, that no amount of seeming references can make credible, making me want to read every lecture or reference he mentions myself, before knowing what to think about it.

I think everybody else should too.

The keeping by Peter Staudenmaier of the conscious untruths in the article for so long (up to this day, July 2003, three years after it original publication) matches the conscious keeping of the admitted untruthful description of the basis of Waldorf education at the site of PLANS by the main webmaster of the site and main moderator of the WC (waldorf-critics) mailing  list; Dan Dugan, for a number of years for lack of a truthful description of Waldorf education that stood out as equally weird.

In this keeping of conscious untruths in their material at the site of PLANS, Peter Staudenmaier and Dan Dugan stand out as brothers in spirit.

Sune Nordwall
Stockholm, Sweden

Go to 
- the main page at this site on the stories by Staudenmaier
- the main page at this site on PLANS
- the main page at this site on the basic concepts
  that Staudenmaier argues about
- the main page at this site on Waldorf education