A biweekly newsletter from the Anthroposophical Society in America
banner image - being more consciously human

September 1, 2021

Dear Members & Friends,

We’re back after several weeks’ break spent preparing and distributing the 10th anniversary print edition of being human. Extra copies were mailed to a number of friends who are not members, along with an invitation to join the ASA and support an inspiring and creative vision of humanity’s future. A link to the full PDF edition of the issue will be sent to everyone in a few days.

Heading into the Labor Day weekend and on toward Michaelmas, our attention is being drawn in many directions: the intense weather and drought and fires, the tangle of geopolitics and ideologies and individual life opportunities in Afghanistan, the renewed personal and public health questions made more acute by the reopening of schools, along with the challenges to the 200-year-old impulse of democratic republicanism.

Is there something that the concatenation of so many challenges asks of us?

Rudolf Steiner has a saying that advises us to know ourselves by knowing the world—and to know the world by knowing ourselves. The two gestures are combined in another favorite verse by Rudolf Steiner which reaches its pinnacle with the declaration that “My soul and the world are but one.” Powerful enough by itself, this line also seems to echo a line of Aristotle famously quoted by Aquinas: anima est quodammodo omnia: the soul is, in some way, all things.

Heading toward the half-hidden festival of Micha-el and all angels at the end of the month, can I take the whole vortex of current events into the heart of my own being? “My soul and the world are but one.”

Two big program announcements speak into this challenge:

Registration is now open for our exciting fall conference (Oct 7-10) “Building the Temple of the Heart” (which includes the annual members’ meeting or AGM). This will be a “hybrid” event, online but with opportunities to gather face-to-face in Los Angeles or Sacramento, CA, Decatur (Atlanta), GA, Chicago, IL, Durham, NC, Spring Valley, NY, or Portland, OR. Co-sponsored with the Central Regional Council, it will feature keynotes from Dr. Michaela Glöckler, Brian Gray, and Michael Lipson.

Just a week later on Oct 13, year 2 of AAC begins:

Information is up and registration is open for the 2021-2022 Applied Anthroposophy Course. Since the first year of the AAC was fully booked, give it a look soon. It is a rich offering, and participants have been very appreciative. Keynote presenters for semester #1 will be Brian Gray, Julia Polter, and Megan Durney. You can take one or all of the discussion groups when you sign up; the updated themes are pretty cool! Again this year there will be an introductory group for those new to anthroposophy. Also note that this second year is suitable for both first time and returning participants. It will be fully online.

And there is one more important note being sounded just now :

Walk-a-thonAnthroposophical Prison Outreach’s Walk a Mile in my shoes is coming up the weekend of Sept 24-26. This walk-, run-, and bike-a-thon will be held everywhere! Volunteer (or just donate) here and ask your friends and relatives to support you in making a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals. For more about APO see the website, or download their latest excellent newsletter.

There is much more below, and more we haven’t heard about, all part of this movement of “personal and cultural renewal in the 21st century” we call anthroposophy.

Like a real end of summer road trip, the photos start with the necessary (and non-photogenic) check-up of the automobile, here in Queens, NY. Below we peer at a wall in SF, a palmy night and the train station in LA, and end in DC. Not all in one summer, of course.

Auto parts store, Ridgewood, Queens, NYC


The original “belles-lettres” section of the School for Spiritual Science, entrusted to Albert Steffen, was brought back to activity in the 1990s for North America as the Section for the Literary Arts & Humanities. It has been enjoying sustained activity in recent years in the Sacramento, CA, area, as beautifully documentated at TheLiteraryArts.com  Now it is reaching out with a North American zoom meeting on September 19, at 1-2 pm Pacific time, 4-5 Eastern. Friends and members of the Section are invited for a brief overview followed by personal perspectives on the topic: “How does my life interest in anthroposophy support and inspire my practice and study of the humanities and literature? How does my practice and study of the humanities and literature inform my life interest in anthroposophy?” The panel will include Bruce Donehower (CA), Arie van Amerigen and Robert McKay (Canada), Gayle Davis (CA), Fred Dennehy (NJ). Herbert Hagens (NJ) will participate from the audience. There will be some time for general discussion. This meeting is intended as the first of a series. To receive the Zoom credentials for the event, please email Bruce Donehower at TheLiteraryArts@gmail.com


Psychology is counted among the humanities, and one can imagine a kindred spirit at work at the Association for Anthroposophic Psychology. They recently offered an online course on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and are now offering Future Dawning: Exploring Karma and Our Century. This eight-part drama-study series is offered Sept 4 & 25, Oct 9 & 23, Nov 6 & 20, Dec 4 & 11, 10am to 12:30pm Eastern time. Future Dawning, a Spiritual Fantasia on World Themes, by Glen Williamson, is a new 21st-century mystery drama written (mostly) in the style of 19th-century romantic poetry. “We look to the (outer) play, reading it together, but also dive (inwardly) into our own connections and relationality with others - the possible karmic associations with individuals in our own biography and with the current times we chose to live in. Psychological aspects of the characters and their interactions will also be highlighted.” Vincent Roppolo will facilitate, Dr. James A. Dyson (AAP core faculty) will give some orientation, Susan Overhauser PhD will explore the psychological aspects of the play, and the playwright himself (Glenn Williamson) will participate in the conversation. Learn more and register here...

Sun and Moon, top of a wall mural, the Haight, San Francisco


An important new book for the anthroposophical movement, especially in North America, has arrived: A Road to Sacred Creation: Rudolf Steiner's Perspectives on Technology; a compendium, volume 1, edited by Gary Lamb. 

“This book charts both an inner and outer course, part pilgrimage toward greater perception and knowledge, part dramatic, unfolding plot line of the future of humans and machines. Taken together, the relevant concepts, ideas, and insights of Rudolf Steiner, deftly brought into sequence and dialogue by Gary Lamb, reveal how the work to arrive at a more spiritually imbued technological future has its origins in the very core of our being, fundamentally entwined with our moral progress toward freedom and selfless love.” 

Gary Lamb is a director of the Hawthorne Valley Center for Social Research and its Ethical Technology Initiative. His technical background includes degrees in civil technology and mathematics, and employment in the fields of building construction, medical technology, and manufacturing. — Buy the book from your nearby Steiner bookstore or directly from SteinerBooks. Along with developments like MysTech and its recent conference, and the work of many individuals like Nicanor Perlas, anthroposophy is gaining a contemporary and informed relationship to the “high tech” sector whose world-changing benefits are yoked to threats to human relevance and existence.


The phrase “moral technology” has often been used as shorthand for Rudolf Steiner’s admonitions about our future with machines. He observed that physical laws are absolute in the physical world, which is where technology is deployed, and that moral laws are equally absolute in the spiritual world. As human beings awaken to our potential to bridge the two worlds, we gain freedom to bring higher purposes into the material world. Wired magazine, in an article (subscriber-only) titled “Can Tech Ethics Be Learned—or Is Society Doomed?”, observes that

...someone in Silicon Valley is surely building the next big tech company. Let’s hope, somewhere in between building and fundraising and scaling, that person takes the time to read System Error, a new book out from three Stanford University professors who teach a popular course on ethics, public policy, and tech. The subtitle of System Error is “Where Big Tech Went Wrong, and How We Can Reboot It,” and it’s clear from reading it that the authors—philosopher and philanthropy scholar Rob Reich, computer scientist Mehran Sahami, and social scientist Jeremy M. Weinstein—believe the tech industry is in need of a hard reset, not just a reboot. Or, to extend the metaphor, it needs to be restored to its factory settings. “If we accept that technology is simply beyond our control, we cede our future to engineers, corporate leaders, and venture capitalists,” the introduction reads. And the ideals at stake are “fairness, privacy, autonomy, equality, democracy, justice.”

Something about that suggests that the universal “time spirit,” known to anthroposophy as the Archangel Michael, is being heard by some in Silicon Valley.

Night view, Los Angeles


Mark Riccio writes us about a new stage in the renewal of the work of a pioneering spirit of anthroposophy in the USA.

Steve Brannon and Mark Riccio have founded the George O’Neil Group named for the author of The Human Life and practitioner of Rudolf Steiner's organic-living thinking. Their O’Neil Group Newsletter is dedicated to enlivening group study and to highlighting George O’Neil's artistic approach to working with the six subsidiary exercises, The Philosophy of Freedom, and suggestions on how to practice Steiner’s organic method of thinking and writing.

In addition, Steve and Mark are asking anyone who has original study guides, notes, or handouts from George O’Neil, to please share their copies or the originals. In the past, Mark has received wonderful gifts including O’Neil's Calendar of the Soul translation, his notes on Occult Science, and summaries of lecture cycles all composed in O’Neil’s signature style. More importantly, the members of the O’Neil Group believe that his guidelines for group study are the key to developing the brotherhood necessary for concerted action in the sphere of cultural freedom. The O’Neil Group’s members, who are from various nations and teach in different languages such as Spanish, Russian, Bulgarian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Hebrew, are committed to spreading the good word on how to conduct a powerful group study experience of Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom. [UPDATE Dec 2022: Past subscribers to the group’s email as well as new subscribers should use this link to sign up for the newsletter.] 

The first issue of the newsletter is substantial and intriguing, and includes a short biography of George O’Neil.

LA bus and Amtrak train station


Sound Circle Center in Seattle was not included in our early-summer pointer to adult education centers; among several other programs, a new cohort of its Grade School Teacher Training Course starts Sept 17th.

Lightforms Art Center’s World of Color Exhibition (Hudson, NY, through Sept 26) is “an interactive, experiential and educational experience for all ages. Four color/light experience rooms invite the visitor into a full surround color immersion.” Lightforms has invited artists who have worked with color for decades as painters, installation and projection artists: Judy Pfaff, Sampsa Pirtola and Laura Summer, Martina Angela Müller, and Daniel Mullen.

Awakening Connections; Creating Community: The Center for Biography & Social Art is pleased to offer a series of three half-day workshops over the school year for independent and charter Waldorf faculty, staff, parents, and board members. These workshops cultivate the capacity to listen deeply to each other and create caring communities. “...Biography work, both individual and institutional, is essential to helping us understand how the interaction of an individual school or person and the surrounding culture creates a particular field of action for the human soul and the soul of the institution.” Linda WIlliams, Detroit Waldorf School. Details here.

MLK Jr memorial, Washington, DC

The last photo, above, looks across the tidal basin from the FDR memorial to the MLK Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy your late summer, at home or on the road!

John Beck
Editor, being human

Anthroposophical Society in America

Quick links:

Check the event calendar for summer programs, and submit your own events).

Anthroposophical Society in America (US)
1923 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA


Neon CRM by Neon One