A German Duck

Being a certain type of German, he likes to do things seriously, thoroughly, wholeheartedly.

He follows Rudolf Steiner‘s doctrine ruthlessly. He has accumulated a vast knowledge about it, which means reading about six meters of books. I have noticed that, as he progresses in his knowledge, he changes views which are always held firmly.I remarked that he seemed to choose whatever suits him at particular times. He was disgusted and claimed to be gaining new insights all the time. Each insight he advocates with fervour. No doubt in general that food is a basic instrument to help us develop our mental and spiritual faculties.

As to our diet in particular, a few years ago his attitude was for raw foods, especially raw cereal preparations and vast quantities of raw vegetables in the form of salads. When they came to see us, they could not praise enough the wholesome effect this food has. They spared no trouble to prepare for us the things they eat, especially for the benefit of the children who did not appreciate it much – what a shame.

I pointed out that I had read an article published by a prominent Rudolf Steiner follower who maintained that according to R.S. the bulk of our food should be consumed cooked. He called the writer of this article an idiot who knew nothing about Rudolf Steiner

We asked him and his wife to bring us a certain condiment we like and consider innocuous. They obliged, leaving us in no doubt what they thought about it. Who would use that, if you have all these herbs in the garden ! Herbs provide a natural flavour, as opposed to a spoonful of something out of a jar. They did not think it unnatural to freeze soft fruit in the summer and consume it in the winter. I shyly wondered, should we not eat what the seasons will yield, rather than have recourse to artificial means of preservation. However, this did not worry them.

Next time we saw them I was amazed to hear his views on food. Raw cereals are bad for us ! They can in fact ruin our health ! The proportion of raw food in our diet can be negligible, especially in winter. Eating root vegetables raw is bad for certain mental functions. Freezing soft fruit is most unnatural. Not a word about my comments a few years ago. No doubt he had never even heard them. I was painfully reminded of my own spell of food-fadism …

The right food then is the basis of our spiritual development. He was certainly willing to help anybody, foodwise and spiritually, who asked him for advice, he said, missionary zeal glowing in his eyes. He must have wondered how on earth he could help me, for I am afraid he found me rock-hard. He voiced his concern about my attitude to life : not worried enough about our future as spiritual beings, not trying hard enough to use the help offered by Rudolf Steiner. Was Rudolf Steiner the only way to salvation, I asked. This was precisely what he felt, but he did not say so; why not ? Surely he was not luke-warm about it, the worst state to be in, so he had told me, sure to be rejected by Christ. I think he is a politician, adapting his wording to the circumstances : it will not do to press people too openly, too hard – this would be counter-productive. He therefore conceded that, if we do not go through Rudolf Steiner, we have to turn to Christ directly – agreed. However, I should bear in mind that not even Rudolf S.teiner did this. One would have to be very advanced for that. Maybe, he said, I was more advanced than he, even though this would not appear to be evident !! I silently acknowledged the compliment, while he was wondering how to come back on it. In the end he expressed the suspicion that I was too weak to understand Rudolf Steiner I readily admitted this and he urged me not to stop trying. Reading any book by Rudolf Steiner without understanding a word would be beneficial for me.

I asked what would happen, if I missed my chance in this life. I had concluded from what he had previously said that I would probably have a few additional incarnations until  things were right. He looked at me seriously indeed. No ! I would not get away lightly like that. There was a danger of being thrown back into the state of an animal. I was frightened and told him that I did not like being pressed by fear; I did not think this a positive approach at all. He told me there was nothing to be afraid of, if I applied myself to the correct teaching.

The conversation turned to Wagner. We were unanimous in our admiration for this composer, even though I have not yet fully understood the spiritual implications, particularly in connection with the life this composer led. There are all these women in his life. What was their meaning for him ? He said that even a genius like Wagner, who had produced these breath-taking works, was not perfect. His ego lost control over his astral body and made him yield to base instincts. Just like Goethe, by the way. My blood was roused and I asked “what about the women involved ? good enough to serve a genius’ base instincts ?”. He shrugged his shoulders, admitting his utter indifference to this question. It was not a point of interest to him. I made a last attempt “could there be a connection between these women and the composer’s works ?”. He denied it. I did not say any more.

I tried to find out what Rudolf Steiner’s attitude to sexuality was. He was wary and refused to commit himself. He seemed in fact most flexible on this point, saying that people had to decide for themselves. How could sexuality be assessed, I wondered. It is necessary for procreation, he said. Without it, he for one would not have the good fortune of being where he is. Is there anything else to it, I persisted. After all he had made a strong statement about Wagner’s relationship with women. He seemed to hint that sexuality is there to tempt us, thus giving us an opportunity to measure our strength with an opponent who can be conquered or alternatively can conquer us.

I had enough of all this talk and left my husband to him. They had a quiet little chat, looking serious. When they joined the ladies in the living-room, I thought it was time for some music of a less serious nature and asked, if I could play a record. He said in reply “do you want to destroy our conversation ?”. I knew then that I had been marked as an “evil force” and accepted the challenge. I asked my husband, could I put on a record. He said “yes”, presumably glad to escape some uncomfortable talking, he not being a good talker himself. I played two delightful arias by Donizetti and Rossini : women singing about their relationship with men. A little frivolous, I suppose, but sung in Italian fortunately – I only told him the first line in German to give his imagination some food which he may have found indigestible. He listened seriously and afterwards declared the singing perfect. He never smiled, never laughed, never moved – I could see he thought the situation dangerous : we had to watch the “evil forces” surrounding us, and wasn’t there one sitting on the same settee with him ?

The conversation turned serious again. My husband asked him how the ever increasing number of human beings could be explained. It did not seem in keeping with the law of reincarnation. He was glad to have an opportunity for a real blow at last. He said with little suppressed enthusiasm “you embarrass me now”. Then he proceeded to exposing the various views existing on this subject, proving that they were all worthless. I was waiting breathlessly what explanation he would have to offer. He looked terribly important now, lowered his voice and said “there is a secret”. We were struck. Did he consider letting us know ? He continued that it was really pointless not to tell us, since he had gone so far. Rudolf Steiner had wanted this information to be kept a secret, but, as our friend’s wife threw in, only up to thirty years after his death. Our friend concluded there was no danger in telling it outsiders now. He paused. The light dimmed. I thought “already eleven o’clock”. He was startled and said “look, even the light is dimming”. I had problems stopping myself from laughing into his face and managed to explain that this happens every night when our neighbours’ block storage heater comes on, reducing the amount of electricity going into our house. He chose to ignore the incident and proceeded to divulge the secret, at the risk, he said, of producing laughter. This was directed against me, and he tried to pierce me with his eyes, but did not succeed. To cut a long story short, the secret revealed was the following : By the end of the century one third of mankind – but only one third – will originate in … locusts ! Locust humans; pseudo humans of a locust background; looking like humans, but locusts in reality; not spirits reincarnated, but animals accounting for a large proportion of the earth’s population. In fact he considered, there must be many locusts among us already, just looking at the politicians we have …

After this, the conversation lost in depth. My husband alarmed him by becoming frivolous, musing whether in his next life he would find the ravishing blond he was dreaming of. My comment here was that he would have to prove deserving first  by not being jealous of the brunette he was stuck with in this life. Our friend told the “evil forces “ in the room that we were relaxing now and joined in, considering a possible punishment for my husband : in his next life he might well be turned into a lesbian as a result of his present lecherous desires. My husband then played a record with a lady singing about the pleasures of “déshabiller” and tried to let our friend partake by translating the text for him. However, this was not appreciated, the friend having turned serious again. Eventually we went to bed. Upstairs I heard him speak to his wife in a raised voice.

When they arrived, they brought the winter with them. When they left, it was still very cold and he said to me “presumably the warm weather will come when we are gone”. It might well be true. If he ever reads these lines, he will no doubt think of me as a Locust.