Aesthetic Education

“Petrushka’s Chamber” by Alexandre Benois

At our recent meeting on December 15, 2018 we discussed Friedrich Schiller and Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of the Human Being. We began the evening as usual with The Calendar of the Soul. Then Marion presented insights from Rudiger Safranski’s book: Schiller oder Die Erfindung des Deutschen Idealismus. We discussed Schiller’s threefold idea of the State in respect to his description of the ideal Aesthetic State, and we also considered his very intriguing idea of the “play drive” (Spieltrieb) and what this might mean in respect to anthroposophy and the ideal of ethical individualism. We gave consideration to Plato, in particular the dialogue Phaedrus, in which Plato describes the role played by Beauty and the Beautiful in the path of soul remembrance — or spirit recollection, as we might prefer. The words “light”, “shining”, “balance”, and “harmony” came forward many times, in this respect. We also paid some attention to Kant’s ideas of the Beautiful and the Sublime, as Schiller (more than Goethe) found himself at home in German philosophy and used it as inspiration for his work. By the end of the evening we had a better understanding of Schiller’s contribution to the School of Michael.

Changes Ahead for 2019

We agreed at the end of the evening that we will change our focus of research for the meetings in the coming year 2019. We decided to study the English romantic poets. In early February, after Candlemas, I will send out materials for our March 2 Section meeting.

“Kitchen Talks” Beginning in 2019

As I noted in previous emails, I have been contemplating for several months whether to host a series of lectures on Romanticism, as some persons have requested. At my recent Branch lecture on Owen Barfield, I asked the friends in the audience if they might be interested in such a series of lectures — to be given at my home and limited by space to a certain number of participants. The answer was yes, and at the Section meeting recently we returned to this topic and decided as a group that in 2019 these lectures will supplement but not replace our ongoing Section meetings and that the Section meetings for the near future will be used to focus discussion on individual poems and poets in the English romantic tradition.

I will host the first lecture in this series of “Kitchen Talks” at my home on January 26 from 6:30 – about 9:00 pm. Fortunately, our kitchen remodel is finished, and we have adequate space; however, I still need to limit participation. These lectures will continue through 2019 and will occur at regular intervals to be announced. Each evening will consist of about a 45 minute to maximum 1 hour talk by me, followed by refreshments and conversation; total time expected to be 2 hours. If you are interested in attending, please let me know. I’ll open the invitation to persons outside the group, but only after I hear from our group members. The number of participants will be limited.

So, to recap, we have decided to change up our manner of working in 2019. Section meetings will complement and deepen the materials presented in the so-called Kitchen Lecture series. Section meetings will focus on English literature and Romanticism. In early February, after Candlemas, I will send out materials for our next March 2 Section meeting.


And as a reminder, the New Moon Salons will also continue in 2019. The next Salon is on the calendar for December 23, 2018. I already sent out an email invitation for this event. The Salons are artistic and social get togethers meant to foster community and love for music and literature. They complement and deepen our Section work in Fair Oaks, but they are not meant to replace those Section meetings.

In the meantime, all very best wishes for the remaining days of Advent and the upcoming Holy Nights and New Year!

“Finer feeling, which we now wish to consider, is chiefly of two kinds: the feeling of the *sublime* and that of the *beautiful*. The stirring of each is pleasant, but in different ways. The sight of a mountain whose snow-covered peak rises above the clouds, the description of a raging storm, or Milton’s portrayal of the infernal kingdom, arouse enjoyment but with horror; on the other hand, the sight of flower strewn meadows, valleys with winding brooks and covered with grazing flocks, the description of Elysium, or Homer’s portrayal of the girdle of Venus, also occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling. In order that the former impression could occur to us in due strength, we must have a feeling of the sublime, and, in order to enjoy the latter well, a feeling of the beautiful.”
— Immanuel Kant