STUDY DIARIES: Drug Abuse Treatment

These are some old, yet still relevant, notes taken during a lecture given at Rudolf Steiner House on 31st May 1994 by Ron Dunselman from the then ARTA Clinic in Holland. At the time the clinic was working with new forms of drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation based upon an anthroposophical approach.

(I have dug up these notes because they give an introduction to the four-fold nature of the human being as seen from an anthroposophical perspective. Something I will want to return to in later posts.)

Ron Dunselman was a psychologist and art therapist responsible for treating drug addicts at the ARTA Clinic in Holland. At the time of the lecture there were 38 residents at ARTA with 50 in aftercare. Ron started off by giving a background sketch of the initiation rituals from the ancient Asian and Egyptian cultures and how they relate to us today. He then went on to describe in detail the effects of drugs on the four-fold human constitution:

  • Physical body
  • Life body
  • Feeling body
  • The I or Ego

Ron then went on to describe the treatment regime that ARTA had developed and the implications for society as a a whole. There was then a ’round table’ discussion in which of particular note, Ron gave some recommendations for dealing with drugs issues in school.

Within the ancient Asian and Egyptian Mystery Schools, initiation rituals involved two major elements: a drink called soma, and fear. Soma was a drug that separated the soul and spirit from the physical body thus allowing the initiate to perceive themselves from the outside. These two elements both exist today when people take drugs, the drug itself and the fear brought on by taking a poisonous substance. Ron mentioned that as the threshold between the physical and the spiritual world has become less substantial in recent times, there has been a greater desire to explore the realm of spiritual experience. Today there are no initiation rituals that parallel those of bygone times. Paraphrasing Keith Moon of the Who, Ron said that one of the few ways to be a hero today is to recover from being a drug addict. This romantic view does not of course take into account those that don’t make it. Drugs are therefore seen as a method of obtaining initiatory and spiritual experiences, except that they do not require any preparatory work by the drug user and the experiences provide severely distorted spiritual perceptions.

Effects of Drugs
In presenting the effects on the body Ron drew up a four-level diagram showing the four elements of the human body with the effects due to drugs described in terms of their effect on the boundaries (A, B, C) between these four elements:

  • I (higher Self or Ego)
    • boundary A
  • Feeling Body (old name: Astral)
    • boundary B
  • Life Body (growth, metabolism, form, old name: Etheric)
    • boundary C
  • Physical Body

I shall not go into protracted explanations of these elements here since they are amply described in Steiner’s book ‘Theosophy’. Suffice it to say that the physical body is the material part we all know, that takes up space. The life body, is the part that keeps the physical body together, even though the physical cells are replaced. It differentiates us from a corpse and deals with the metabolic control and particularly the rhythmical or cyclical aspects of our body. The feeling body is the seat of our feelings, our emotions or our ‘soul’. The I is the part of us that is our fundamental individuality.

Under normal conditions these bodies, or sheaths as Ron prefers to call them, separate in the following ways. A separation between the physical and life bodies occurs when we die – boundary C. Separation between the life and feeling bodies happens when we sleep – boundary B. The feeling body and the Ego separate when we are inattentive, or running on automatic pilot – boundary A. This can occur sometimes when we have driven a car yet cannot remember the details of the journey.

Drugs can also force separations to occur between these bodies and different drugs work at the different boundaries: A, B or C, pushing the sheaths apart. Certain drugs also have the effect of forcing the sheaths together, usually at the same time as separating them, thus making the whole view rather complex.

For instance, LSD forces a separation between the physical and life sheaths at boundary C, affecting mainly the liver and the kidneys. The life body looks after all processes of growth, reproduction, formation, regeneration etc. These are all life processes which are a function of time and our life body is our time organism. A healthy sense of space (physical body) and time (life body) requires that these two sheaths interpenetrate. LSD will therefore affect this matching and produce distortions of space and time. A small garden can look like a football pitch, or ten minutes can seem like a whole day.

Hashish (marijuana) and opium affect the link between the life and feeling bodies at boundary B. They induce a dream consciousness as when asleep, though the drug user is awake. Hash is metabolised very slowly with traces still present in the brain after some 30 days. Very frequent users experience loss of memory and become confused, producing the so called ‘hash-thought’.

Alcohol and heroin work on separating the I from the feeling and other bodies at boundary A. Heroin, for instance, produces a slowing down and lack of feeling or morality, with the person acting like a zombie. Withdrawal then produces the opposite effect and the person goes into a highly active state, being distressed at any amoral actions they took while under the influence of the drug. Alcohol also dispels one’s cares, separating the Ego and making it harder to live in the other bodies. At this point, Ron described how alcohol aided the development of the I in earlier times, where it was drunk at specific times for specific purposes. The word ‘symposia’ comes from the Greek for ‘to drink together’. The miracle of Christ turning water into wine is another indication of this connection between alcohol and Ego growth in ancient times, particularly with the relationship of the Christian impulse to the development of the I. However, our physical constitution is now different and alcohol will adversely affect our Ego forces making it more difficult to bring our higher selves into our daily life. If we look at the development of the child through the stages of firstly standing upright, followed by speech, and then by thinking, we can see how all of these are affected by alcohol but usually in reverse order as our thinking deteriorates followed by our speech, and finally by us falling over if continue to imbibe!

With regard to drugs that force the sheaths together, Ron mentioned cocaine and ecstasy. Cocaine and amphetamines force the feeling body into the life and physical bodies, but the I is not included. The lungs and heart are over-stimulated and an excessive dose can cause respiratory or cardiac arrest, both being severe disturbances of the life body, not to mention the physical body. Ecstasy is also like cocaine providing the ability to dance all night, but also has another effect like hashish. The feeling body expands and mixes with that of others, thus providing the feelings of ‘togetherness’. The sense perceptions of the lights and music from the parties can persist for many months afterwards and Ron described how one of the residents would frequently need to stay in a darkened room to calm the sensory overload effects received due to ecstasy addiction.

Since drug abuse involves a disruption of the Ego activity, Ron indicated that the Ego actually takes a ‘holiday’ when drug use occurs. Growth of the Ego halts during this time and Ron was of the opinion that drug abuse occurs when a person’s development has been difficult for them, either due to being the victim of overtly abusive actions, or due to particular sensitivities to seemingly innocuous experiences. Treatment at ARTA therefore works on recapitulating the development of the person from birth onwards, albeit in a much shorter time.

Seven weeks are spent in an environment similar to that of the first 7 years of childhood. Help is given for the development of the physical and life bodies with a supporting external rhythm or routine provided. The endeavour is also to make life easy with a very caring, loving, warm and supportive environment during this difficult period of detoxification.

During the next 3-4 months time is spent on biographical therapy and other therapies that will help the development of the soul life, i.e. the feeling body. During this period the question “Do I want to change myself?” surfaces.

Ten months are then spent in the ‘adolescent’ phase, where there is more freedom, and residents may start outside work, ‘experimenting’ with life like an adolescent. Residents are then able to stay up to 2 years in the houses that are owned by a foundation set up by ARTA for after-care.

In conclusion, Ron mentioned the next element of the human being described by Rudolf Steiner above the I or Ego. This he called the ‘Spirit Self’. Ron brought our attention to a pedagogical law that says that the teacher must always be one developmental step ahead of the taught. Thus when the child is developing physically (i.e. in Kindergarten), the life body of the parent or teacher must be developing. Therefore form, organisation and rhythm, for example, are important. For the Lower School, the teacher needs to be working on their feeling body or soul life. For the Upper School, the pupils are interested in who the teacher or parent is, what they stand for, namely their Ego or I . Finally when dealing with addicts it is the Spirit Self that is important, what is basically true in a person, what relation do they have to freedom, integrity, honesty, morality, trust and love. These represent truths that need to be individualised, they need to become living in someone such that the addict can truly respect another person.

To deal with the drug problem adequately, society will need to develop, through individual freedom, these qualities of integrity, honesty, morality, trust and love. I would like to add that during the whole evening, I was impressed by the sincerity, care and love with which Ron spoke.

Two points from the discussion that ensued I shall mention here.

The first is some recommendations that Ron gave for dealing with drug addiction in schools:

  • Teach children about the plants from which drugs are produced. Children need to know where drugs come from.
  • Take ex-addicts to the school to give talks, possibly confidentially to the children. This will provide an honest description of the effect of drugs, showing how they can stop development etc.
  • Provide opportunities to talk and express feelings in an understanding environment.

Secondly, Ron described more about the importance of the Spirit-Self culture of ARTA. He particularly highlighted that residents will leave if there is any deception present between the members of the centre, whether they be co-workers or residents. He mentioned that the group work needed to develop from the foundation of the freedom of the individual. The person is free to leave, but if they stay, there are certain rules that must be obeyed. He highlighted a particular instance where although they had a successful year, residents suddenly started to leave. After some months it was discovered a co-worker had not been totally honest, having broken a clinic rule. Co-workers need to be as true as possible since it is important that the culture of integrity, trust, etc is developed and maintained.

Ron has authored a recent book:
In Place of The Self: How Drugs Work
Hawthorn Press
ISBN-10: 1903458269
ISBN-13: 978-1903458266

The original book by members of ARTA available at the time of the talk:
Rock Bottom, Beyond Drug Addiction
by Alta van den Berg et al.
Hawthorn Press
ISBN-10: 1869890116
ISBN-13: 978-1869890117



STUDY DIARIES: Dances with Cars

Since 1970 I, along with an old university friend, have wondered just why some people love speed.

In my younger years I used to race karts and until recently my conclusion had been that it was the experience of mastery – the wonderful feeling when you managed to power drift through a corner on just the right line, or that oh so elusive relaxed attention when a lap came out just right at a faster time than before.

But now I think I have found the answer, and surprisingly it has links to dance.

In a previous post I talked about how dancing, at its best, uses conscious movement to express our ‘true’ movement of thinking. Notice the use of the use of the word thinkING instead of thought, which could be construed as a fixed item rather than the mobile and dynamic activity that I am describing.

This ‘true’ movement is something some people want to express and dance is one form.

The other can also be driving or flying well.

In line with the previous post, to me it makes sense that we have an inner experience of our thinking being able to move instantaneously, and we feel good when we can manage to express it physically, whether it be with our bodies, or through a technological construct such as a car – or an aircraft. Indeed Ayrton Senna has been described as someone who could dance with the car.

So now I have a far better explanation of why I am such a petrol head, dancer and lover of flying!

But why is this post in the section of the study diaries?

If you read Scaligero or Steiner, their wisdom is predicated on developing a true experience of such a living, mobile, dynamic thinking. It is not something you can really put into words, which are fixed entities.

However it IS something we can experience.

The difficulty is that any characterization of it in fixed form, whether it be in words, pictures, or a materialistic science, will always – always – miss the point. Such expressions can dimly point to the living idea but the listener or spectator will always need to be active. They will have to re-enliven such fixed and dead forms with their own thinking in order to reproduce the living experience.

As I have said before, this is why Steiner and such authors are so hard to understand. In their writing they are purposely trying to short-circuit your analytical brain, which likes fixed constructs,  in order to try and help you move into the living experience of the idea.

STUDY DIARIES: Truth & Knowledge Commentary

I have just come across a truly masterful treatise that gives a very cogent commentary of Steiner’s epistemological dissertation Truth & Knowledge, as well as some pointers to The Philosophy of Freedom.

Having concluded that it would be impossible to précis my own study work of the text I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this paper. It is written by Ron Brady and was near publication when he died in 2003. The folks at the Nature Institute have published it in their Ron Brady Archive.

It takes the reader step by step through one of Steiner’s foundational texts and is written much more for the modern reader so is more approachable that Steiner’s original text, though you still need to keep your wits about you!

So many thanks to Ron and to the folks at the Nature Institute.

I am playing with the idea of perhaps itemising the main points in a future blog post.

STUDY DIARIES: A Tale of Two Polarities

There is something very special about Attention.

Have you ever noticed how the world around you changes when you give it your full attention? It is so very easy to go through our lives without really seeing. But what is really happening when we give the world such attention?

There is an inner dynamic to this process that Steiner talks about as a movement between a ‘going to sleep in the other’ and a ‘lighting up’ of our own thoughts, a movement that is central to understanding Steiner’s epistemology.

Next time you have a deep conversation with someone, notice how your thinking moves from a listening – where you need to subdue your own thoughts in order to think ‘into’ the other person – to a waking up in order to marshal your own thoughts so you can express them in a way related to what has already been said.

The going to ‘sleep’ in the other is an active sleep, perhaps more of an actively held dream-like state. We need to subdue our own thinking, yet keep our attention on the other person. When this process is working well we can actually think the same thought that the other person is thinking. Because of this we can come to know the world around us, rather than falling into the skeptic’s fallacy of thinking we cannot truly know anything.

I have always found the extreme skeptic attitude a self-contradictory stance: If I am told that we can never know anything about the world, how can I take such a pronouncement seriously? The statement is self-defeating by definition! Of course that is not to say that we should go to the other extreme and just take everything at face value, or on belief. As ever there is a balanced middle ground where we need to exercise judgement and fit what we perceive into our own views.

This balancing between two polarities is a major recurring theme in Steiner’s work and is a corollary of the presence of a boundary.

Once we understand this ‘thinking in’ to the other, the ‘other’ can be anything. It is relevant to all we experience, whether it be a beautiful sunset, being with a loved one, or trying to understand someone we experience as difficult. Can we develop the self-awareness to really live into what is around us, seeing it for what it is, and yet maintain our own integrity?

There is a link here to egoism, a subject that I referred to in my last post.

Egoism is an important stage in our development and to put it in very simple terms, we can identify a number of stages in the development of an ego boundary:

  1. Lack of ego boundary.
  2. A present ego boundary, or self.
  3. An awareness of our ego boundary.
  4. A conscious control of the permeability of our ego boundary.

As you might notice, the last stage characterizes what is happening when we are conversing in the way I have been describing above, and needless to say requires that we have developed the necessary self-awareness.

Boundaries can be either given, as in for instance our bodily boundary, or defined, as in when we characterize the world about us, or indeed, our own ego.

The Art comes in how we move around a given boundary, an activity that requires our very special Attention as we enter the conversation between Self and Other. This will be a theme I will return to as our study progresses.

Since my last post, Paul, my study colleague, and I have been thinking about how to précis some of the study work we have been doing over the past years. In the end we have decided this is an impossible and fruitless task. It is better that readers find their own path through Steiner’s material and let me shine a light on some possible signposts on the way that Paul and I have found useful in our own study. Additionally, given the dynamic nature of a true living thinking, it is the process as much as the content that is the important item.

I think it is more useful for me to précis our study experience from here on in and let you form your own pictures ‘organically’ through your own experience. Of course – as I have done in previous posts – I will give links to online resources of Steiner’s material as relevant.

STUDY DIARIES: Misplacing Egotism

My study partner, Paul, and I are currently thinking about the best way to précis the books we have studied over the years. This is still work in progress and I will give an update on this in a future post. The first book “Truth & Knowledge” took a good many years for us to get through so this could be a difficult process. Watch this space but follow the link to read the text.

Despite the fact that our current study book is the “Study of Man” lecture series – given to teachers just before the first Steiner school was started – our main topic of conversation for this session was Steiner’s Threefold Social Order. This is a very very tricky subject at the best of times but it has been popping up regularly in many of our study sessions so we felt we had to deal with it.

The point that came up that makes it worth posting here now is a recent insight dealing with how we are misplacing the human egotistical drive.

First let me give some background to Steiner’s Threefold Social Order. It gives a characterization of human endeavour into three primary areas:

  1. The inner spiritual or cultural sphere where we are all different.
    This is a realm of liberty where we should be completely free to follow whatever inner path we wish.
  2. The political or rights sphere where we are all the same.
    This is the realm of equality of rights, although our lives will of course play out differently.
  3. The economic sphere where we all work together.
    This is the realm of fraternity where, working with others and for others, we add value to a commodity for a consumer of that commodity.

If we misplace human drives into the wrong area then it was Steiner’s assertion that we would have problems.

In terms of my current understanding, it makes sense that we should separate the first two. This relates to the need to separate Church and State for instance, as well as realizing that even though someone may have a different culture or religion, they should still have the same political and legal rights. Also inversely just because someone is considered to have the same rights we should not assume that they should follow the same path or religion for example. The liberty relates more to an inner liberty to develop ourselves as we see fit, that is the spiritual/cultural sphere, but of course within the boundaries of leaving others free and not curtailing their rights.

Another aspect here is that although my actions may be individual, Steiner’s philosophy (called anthroposophy) posits that the impulses for truly free actions come from a unified world of spirit. Thus our free deeds will be in harmony with the free deeds of others. I will return to this idea in subsequent posts since it is dealt with more in Steiner’s book “The Philosophy of Freedom”.

I can understand the separation of culture and rights since as a modern democracy we have gone through that separation process. But the kicker here is that ANY pursuit that involves our personal inner growth is within the cultural sphere. That’s easy to see for the arts, but one of the big insights for me has been that it also involves software development! Or indeed any area in which we are dealing with the generation or creation of knowledge, i.e. any area dealing with true research. This has made sense of all the problems I have seen throughout my career of trying to marry software development to economics.

As ever with this sort of categorization, I can always feel my inner critical analytical self wanting to strictly delineate life into these areas. Suffice it to say that the reality will always have blurry edges. Although the three areas are quite distinct, each with their own dynamics and lawfulness – the difficulty arises because of course they are interdependent and every social situation will likely involve all three spheres.

As a background to our recent conversation our thinking is still a work in progress with regards to the economic sphere, but here my friend Paul recently had an insight that we felt cleared things up a lot.

Namely that our current way of working in the economic area involves a misplaced egotism.

Rather than saying we should eradicate egotism, his thought was that we should rightly place it in the cultural area. Currently it has been gracelessly shoved into the economic and rights areas and has turned an inner human need to improve oneself into a drive towards greed and power over others. Working economically means that we should be more demand-based, i.e. adding value by supplying a service or product to someone because we have the requisite skills. Currently it is too easy to get an inversion where we think it is alright to create markets and try and drive demand from the supply side, usually by appealing to consumer’s egotistic desires and fears. This is just not sustainable if we want a healthy world.

Of course there are cases where a new market is created that does truly meet a need, but that, to my mind, is still a demand led process. What has happened is that someone has bothered to listen in the right way and has actually responded to a need that may not as yet have been articulated. A lot of software development, properly done, is like this because it is a conversation between a user and a technical person, both of whom are trying to map out the area of the user’s needs, a map that is frequently unknown even to that user.

The insight that egotism has been misplaced into the wrong area, i.e. economics, makes sense of this drive towards “greed rather than need”. But rather than vilifying it, we should realize that egotism is a basic inner drive that is healthily placed when it is used for our own inner development.

I really like this because it means:

  • Accepting an egotistical drive as a valid human one, rather than wasting good energy trying to achieve an impossible ideal of eradicating it.
  • Realizing that its manifestation is only good or bad depending upon which threefold realm you use it in.

The hard part here is truly seeing how the three spheres are meshing within a given human activity and it is fair to say that it is rare that they are seen clearly. But trying to get this turnaround in thinking in the economic area would be a start.

Well, I hope that provokes some thinking.

Until the next update…

STUDY DIARIES: Background on Texts

This is a catch-up post to bring you up to date with some of the study history from the last couple of decades. Actually it is not a long list since we truly have taken our time!

The first thing to say is that we initially wanted to focus on Steiner’s philosophical written work. This was driven by a wish to start right at the beginning and, for my part, NOT wanting to go through his lectures. He took a massive amount of care with his written work, feeling that he had a deep responsibility to his readers. Obviously lectures would not be able to have that same depth of care since they were more of a living experience.

[Background Point: Steiner initially did not want his lectures written down at all since he maintained that the lectures were delivered for the particular audience. However events somewhat overtook him and some of his critics started misquoting what he had said. Thus he felt the need to have the lectures transcribed by a stenographer. I believe there are about 6000 lectures available now.]

However when some lectures have piqued my interest I have actually found it good to listen to readings of them since it gives you that auditory experience which, I think, works well with the content. However sometimes you need to realize that he was talking at a different time. See Dale Brunsvold’s site where he has produced audio recordings of his readings – which has been a great resource for allowing me to listen to lectures in the car. A real labour of love I think and deserving of a small donation towards hosting costs if you do end up using his site a lot.

However, back to the study list so far:

1: Truth & Knowledge : 1892
The very beginning. Steiner’s epistemological doctoral dissertation and a prelude to the Philosophy of Freedom.

2: Boundaries of Natural Science : 1920
A lecture series with an exploration of how Goethean Science and the Philosophy of Freedom can help us go beyond the limits of natural science to provide a healthy foundation for social science.

3: Anthroposophy Science : 1921
A lecture series that somewhat covered our favourite subject of technology and its relationship the development of consciousness.

4: Philosophy of Freedom : 1894
Also known as the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, to highlight the fact that freedom is never a finished thing but requires constant activity. This is the main foundational book to all he subsequently worked on. In hindsight we should have perhaps studied this earlier.

5: Study of Man : 1919
This is a series of lectures given to teachers of the first Steiner School in Stuttgart.

In future posts I will attempt to summarize some of the earlier study texts but some of the content is now lost in the mists of time.

The main thing that I remember is that in the early stages of our study it was too easy to just skip through the texts without really grasping them. Thus it was that we really, really slowed it down and would not move forward if we did not think we had ‘got it’.

There was many a wrinkled brow, coupled with a feeling of “I am just not getting this”, which brings me to an important question that we and many other people have about Steiner’s output:

“For goodness sake, why is it so DIFFICULT to work with?”

From where I stand now, I can say that there is a very, very good reason for this.

Steiner is not giving us finished answers. His whole raison d’etre is to help us come to a different way of perceiving the world, something that our education beats out of us. In what he writes, he is trying to give you indications about different ways of seeing things, AS WELL AS doing it in a way that challenges you to try and develop this different way of perception as you study.

Remember I talked about congruence in a previous post between his content and method? But oh dear me, it really can make it hard going at times. The way I have come to see this now is that we are literally creating extra organs of perception in our thinking, and this is a long process. It is as if we have been given all the physical senses at birth, but now we need to take our own development in hand, creating new dynamic senses in our thinking.

So no quick fixes here.

[Definition: Anthroposophy was the term Steiner coined for his approach. Literally “wisdom of the human being”. Indicating that Steiner felt that it was important to understand and develop ourselves, embracing this task consciously, since we represent a strongly co-creative force in the world.]

STUDY DIARIES : Introduction

Over 20 years ago I was a parent of 2 young kids, and we wanted to find a decent pre-school provision that was more about creativity and play rather than about cramming kids heads with facts. My wife and I found a gem of a kindergarten that was run on Steiner principles and so impressed were we that we joined with the other impressed parents and got on with founding a Steiner lower school. I even became trustee Chair at the time!

But there was more to it for me than just the education of the children. I connected strongly to the underlying philosophy that Rudolf Steiner brought to the world. He had a different take on epistemology – or the theory of knowledge – i.e. how we come to know things, that very much resonated with how I felt about the world. For the past 20 years this has resulted in me studying – on & off, though more on than off – some of Steiner’s prodigious output.

It is this that I want to start blogging about now in these Study Diaries. I have been shy about this until now – primarily because Steiner covered some fairly tricky areas, namely the generation of what he called a spiritual science and what it had to say about a spiritual world and associated beings.

So I want to start by making it clear how my path has been into his work.

Initially Steiner was an expert on Goethe’s work and hence was asked to edit the Goethe archives at Weimar in 1888. As some of you will know from my previous posts about Goethe and phenomenology, it was Goethe who began raising warning flags about the problem of over-hypothesizing , something that has become endemic in our modern scientific method and something which badly affects those of us who work with modern technology.

It was from this philosophical foundation that Steiner started his work, coming out with his seminal book: The Philosophy of Freedom, which addressed the issues of being truly free in our thinking. He named this sort of freer thinking: “Living Thinking”, and he characterized it as a spiritual activity.

It was his philosophical work that attracted me first, along with his adamant stance that no one should just believe what he said. He wanted people to listen and consider for themselves what they could take on and understand. He was deeply uncomfortable with anyone who treated him as any sort of guru, and it was this that caught my imagination since it is congruent with his wish that people remain free in their thinking. Indeed a foundation of his ideas on ethics is that human morality is defined internally, not imposed externally, but more of that later.

Thus I have always felt that I could respect the man – despite there being a lot of his output that I cannot take on or understand. And this respect is something that has not changed over those 20 years as I have learnt more.

The studying I have been doing – usually on a Friday evening – has been on a very small percentage of Steiner’s work. Though it is the quality of the study that matters, not the quantity, and there is a very definite ‘holographic’ nature to it – i.e. it doesn’t matter which part you cover you can still get to the main ideas. I have also been working with someone I met during the early years of founding the local Steiner school and we have since become close friends as we have traveled on this study path together over the last two decades. I am no longer involved with the running of the school, though my friend is, since it quickly became apparent that understanding Steiner’s philosophical thought, so radically different as it is, was going to need some focused work.

It is worth noting that Steiner touched many areas of human endeavour, I consider in a positive way, though of course there are some detractors who would contest that. Such areas have included: Education, Medicine, Architecture, the Arts, Social reform and Economics to name a few.

I have decided to start writing about this aspect of my life, and you are welcome to read along or not, but I must mention the initial disclaimer that, although I am not a religious person and do not go to church, I do think we have a spiritual aspect to our nature. Now in my experience this is not something you can prove or disprove, you either can go with it or not. If not, then perhaps these Study Diaries will not be for you.

But all I would ask is that you hold an open mind and – just as Steiner would wish – take on only what makes sense to you. Hopefully, in whatever small way, you might even find something helpful in the Diaries.

Thanks for reading.