World Economy

“The Whole Earth considered as an economic organism, is the social organism.”            Lecture Series in World Economy,  Rudolf Steiner

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Reading this book I still contemplate the role of art in the threefold social order. These issues, from my perspective, have been tangentially debated in the school of art where I work, not necessarily with the perspective of an anthroposophical world view, but as a mater of contemporary process. What role does money play in the arts? To what extent, as art educators, do we prepare our students for the profession of art? How will they make money after they are graduated and how will they sustain their artistic practice? Should we as artists and educators be apologetic about the often assumed impracticality of an art degree, which is idealistic at its foundation? Since the artist is a laborer, in some degree like any other laborer, how do they participate in the the economic social organism and maintain their idealistic purpose as artists. Some of the things that were learned by the transitions from modernism to post modernism, is that art can be viewed as an extremely lucrative  commodity (for better or worse), and that funding for the arts, cannot be ultimately dependent on the government, especially if it wishes to remain free.

After a lull I have returned to write down a few more thoughts on reading Steiner’s lectures on World Economy. At the time of Steiner’s lectures, World Economy was an emerging idea, now it is an accepted, though often troubling, fact. Steiner, despite the esoteric nature of his ideas, dealt in practicalities. He stressed the idea that money must always be perceived in its relationship to nature and labor directly associated with nature, commodities from nature as worked upon by labor. Art and artists, though their materials come from nature and they are also physical laborers to some extent, are categorized with the prototypes of priests, teachers, and clerks as spiritual laborers. The fruits of their labor find value in direct relation to labor associated with nature, cultivating the land for food and hunting are the first examples of this that come to mind and while even these have aspects of spiritual labor, they are more directly associated with nature and associated with natural process, the part of us that is also of nature and by necessity needs food , shelter and clothing.

The world as we know it today, Has exploded from the examples of spirit labor, priests, teachers, clerks, and artists, to a world in which many of us, if not most are now in professions of specialization that might be classed as spirit labour. We all still rely on nature labor and the wages or compensation we earn, is in direct relation and proportion to the offsetting of labor we are not required to do to feed cloth and shelter ourselves.

Steiner does not suggest that we should return to a simpler time. On the contrary he seeks to clarify and balance these relationships, not abolish them, The same goes for the role of land, capitol, investment, loans, profit, and gifting, among other concepts associated with the then newly emerging science of economics. He was establishing the groundwork for a healthy and vital social organism that would sustain and propel the complex evolutionary processes of human development.

If we, as artists see these relationships, we cannot deny our role as spirit laborers, but also cannot separate ourselves entirely from the role of money and the need for ordinary compensation for our work.  In order to remain free, as artists and spiritual laborers, however, we have to dig deeper. Here is where a deeper understanding of the threefold social organism is essential. We as world citizens, and as citizens of our, nation, state and communities, are a part of all three spheres, the cultural, the rights, and the economic spheres. Even though we are more invested in the cultural sphere, we cannot ignore our part in the others, as whole and integrated human beings.

NH-World-economy-figure-1

Dr. Steiner had a Sense of Humor

 

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I feel and think it is important for those involved in the anthroposophical movement to remember that Rudolf Steiner had a sense of humor as well as a life before anthroposophy, like Goethe in his semi-autobiographical The Sorrows of Young Werther. After all the centerpiece of the Goetheanum includes the Spirit of Cosmic Humor (note the upper left corner of the image above). As I mentioned in the last post, I am reading Steiner’s lectures on World Economy  You would not expect to find humor there, but last night I busted out laughing at one of his many anecdotal stories. I was first introduced to the caricatures of Rudolf Steiner by Harold Christian Friedly in 2003 at an Art Section conference in Denver: RUDOLF STEINER PHYSIOGNOMIES Caricatures

The Artist

The Artist

 

Goethean and Steiner Color Theory

Baron Arild Rosenkrantz, 1870-1964

Here are links to a presentation I give on Goethean and Steiner color theory, both as a PPT presentation and as a PDF. They may also be found under Color above. I have used this presentation in some form for over a decade as a guest lecturer and in my classes. It is by no means comprehensive. There are no notes. I cannot follow notes while lecturing and have always improvised using visual clues:

Goethean_Steiner Color Theory

Goethean_Steiner ColorTheory_2D Design

World Economy, Rights, and the Cultural Sphere

Lecture Series On World Economy

worldecon_cov

I am reading Steiner’s lecture series on World Economy. It has been important to me to understand the three ideal ordering spheres of contemporary society in order to better understand the role of the cultural sphere, which art is a part of. It takes a long time for me to let things sink in. Within the cultural sphere, I participate in education, the arts and science in my own small way.

I want to understand the interrelationship of the 3 spheres of human activity. One of the reasons I took up teaching was to to try to free myself economically so that my art would not depend so much on sales, that and the feeling that I finally had something to teach that might benefit my students. I also felt I could now reenter the world as it is. Working in a historic village for 19 years hid the truth that my heart, soul and mind were modern and contemporary, despite the apparent anachronisms in my work.

I am not apolitical but politics and the realm of rights is not my main focus, though I am involved to some extent, and cannot help but be aware of current political issues. I see much of the art that is critically acceptable today as overlapping into economics and the realm of rights and politics. I am uneasy with art not playing, primarily a cultural and ultimately spiritual role in human development. However, I celebrate the present eclecticism and range of contemporary art.

I have done a few political pieces in the past. One was recently accepted into a juried exhibit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Make America Great Again”, Political Jug with All-Seeing Eye, 8 inches X 5 inches, ceramic, cone 6, gas fired, reduction stoneware, with local mesquite ash glaze and low fire decals, 2018

Here is my explanation of the piece:

“I teach in a contemporary university but have a background and reputation as a traditional potter, versed in Americana. When I was doing this piece I was thinking of our present political climate, rampant conspiracy theories reaching into the occult foundations of democracy in Free Masonry, but also of the traditions and pugilistic nature of our politics of the past, where liquor bought votes at the polling booths, and fights often broke out. Then there is the history of the all-seeing eye which includes imagery from pre-Columbian indigenous cultures, including the southeast where I am from.

So much is backwards from what we might wish for our struggling democracy. What does it really mean to be ‘great’, as opposed to the least common denominator present in clichés that, if not devoid of meaning, are merely synonymous with ‘power’ which was never really what made, or makes America great. It is also a little bit of a joke”

 

 

New Poem

I haven’t posted in over a year, the longest I have gone I think.                                          Here is a new poem:

Unbidden Light

I have no clear way to explain
This uneasy calm.

A storm passed in the night,
Left students stranded at their homes;

The number dwindles
Whom I might call.

Who will let me know
I have a place with them?

My wife tonight has pain
From neck to base of spine.

She cannot move,
So little I can do this time.

She sleeps;
Rest changes us,

Gives us a place in darkness
Soft and warm.

Stories unfold,
Parallel lives,

Crossed against this one,
A life so cruel to some.

But I – my life,
Cursed / blessed,

Or so I thought,
Little more than a child-

With all I’ve seen,
How could the world not know?

The same as I;
Love renders every wound resolved.

Love renders and resolves
Uneasy calm,

In Soft Darkness and unbidden light.

Logos Empiricus

Stephen Hawks

I am preparing for a local exhibit This month, opening April 20, 2018, at Artivivo Art Studio Owned by Teodoro Estrada in Brownsville TX. There will be Pottery Sculpture and 2D works:

“You are cordially invited to view the work of Stephen Hawks, “Logos Empiricus” at Artevivo Art Studio on Friday April 20, 2018. Exhibit reception from 6 – 9pm. Artevivo Art Studio is located at 535 E 12 between Washington and Elizabeth.” The exhibit may be viewed by appointment throughout the rest of the month.

HEBREWS 10

Logos Ruckenfigur

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” RSV

I think about this passage more than might be supposed, often garbled in my mind as it is. I had to look it up to get the right phrasing. I grew up in a congregation of believers and, without sentimentalizing it, I have not forgotten the benefits that this closeness offers.

I contemplate Steiner in the light of this passage: a fierce individual alone, alone with God, and seeking constantly to make the connections necessary for the future.

For me I think it is the fact that I have some basic character flaws, probably not uncommon but isolating none the less, contrasted with a disdain for the inauthentic which basically makes me a hypocrite at some level. To accept the fallen nature of humanity and the fallen in myself: I am constantly at war with this. What makes us free also makes us susceptible to corruption, so much so that we are born along to either reject freedom or accept corruption in our midst.

I have noticed a great increase in visibility of Anthroposophical art on the internet since I first started looking, while taking note of the debate over what this means. I am a part of this, but I am a flawed part. Then there is also the question that has to be posited: “Is the platform itself not flawed. Still, we are in the realm of freedom?” Freedom implies the possibility of failure. Of course it also embraces the possibility and the fierce conviction that we will overcome. The first obstacle is ourselves. Then there are the temptors and they are everywhere.

Demon Court

I invite the possibility of rejection taking the chance that I might make some essential connection, and make up somehow for the sin that cannot be forgiven after we have encountered the truth.

“26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 
27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. “
Crucifix Dance