Yesterday Jordan Walker drove down from Marin County for the first leg of his cross-country drive. It was fantastic to host a fellow traveler as we prepare to set out on our own summer journey. He met us in conversation that challenged us to consider impulse and form, to think beyond the bounds of our own community even in our language of “we.” Who are “we?” Can we find our common humanity across traditions and forms? (Jordan shared a lift to Los Angeles with a young man of the Bahá’í Faith in whom he found an honest striving that led to a beautiful conversation for the full length of their journey together.)
Jordan has been involved with anthroposophy for a number of years. He spent the last year teaching in a Waldorf-Inspired public school, which was very difficult for him in its current form. Jordan raised essential questions, such as the healthiness of the length of the school day, the teacher/parent/child relationship, and the bold idea of schooling cooperatives. His willingness to ask the hard questions echoes the work of Jon McAlice in his striving to plumb the depths of the impulses working in our anthroposophical structures and practices. Where have forms from a particular context and time become default models? Jordan’s questions lead to a need to reconsider all of our practices in an effort to lead fully examined lives.
Jordan has a steady stream of creative forces and a sincere interest in leading an honest life, which encouraged us to meet his forward thinking directly. He lives on a boat in Point Reyes Station, CA overlooking the Tomales Bay Wetlands, where he is joining together with others in the development of Creative Compound with room for others to build their vision. He is busy with multiple initiatives, including the New Forms Project; a seasonal radio show exploring themes such as place and community; and acting as DJ for an ecstatic dance project.
The gesture of new forms rang throughout our conversations with Jordan. We feel called to look once more at long-standing traditional forms in the Society: Do our outer forms serve the inner impulse of our work? If not, can we find the courage to transform them? To transform them radically? To lead new lives? Extraordinary lives?
Jordan suggested that much of the exhaustion he witnesses has to do with tired forms, outdated forms. Folks are gripping their talons into something that is dead or dying. They are tired not just from their work, but from gripping so strongly. If we can loosen our grips and make way for the new, we might find rejuvenation. We do not need to expend any more energy holding to old forms. Jordan spoke of being inspired by the work of Joseph Beuys, an artist inspired by Rudolf Steiner but working outside the form of “anthroposophical” art. For example, Beuys worked with materials such as batteries, which store and transform energy: a fitting picture considering the picture of exhaustion or rejuvenation Jordan offered.
When we discussed the possibility of taking threefolding further out into the world, Jordan compared it to a trust fall. We all have to come in together. This picture speaks to the need for community. One person cannot create a threefold society alone. Each sphere is tied to the others in a picture of trust and mutual support.
There is a great beauty, boldness, and humility in Jordan’s way of being in the world, and we were deeply inspired by his willingness to challenge and be challenged in how we met one another. Speaking of his own capacities, he said, “I know how to be a friend.” Questions he holds in the encounter with another: “How can I be so that this impulse can occur to you?”; “How can I create a space so you can be lit up by your own idea?” Can we be living thinking?
When asked what speaks to him most out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, he responded: “spiritual research.” During his time at the Threefold Educational Center, Jordan initiated the Living Questions Research Symposium, which is now entering its sixth year. He told us about an idea that was considered for a worldwide spiritual science symposium, with researchers from all across the globe sharing from the depths of their work and various spirit traditions. This idea speaks to the forward-looking approach at the heart of Jordan’s work, with new forms being birthed forth that meet the Michaelic impulse, the spirit of our times. With his current endeavors, Jordan is going out to meet the world, embracing questions that transcend the boundaries of a fixed form.
Following our time with Jordan, we are inspired to look into the work of several other striving individuals he recommended who are active in research, such as Orland Bishop , Robert Karp, Dean Pollard, and Lisa Romero. This August, Jordan will join with Laura Summer and Nathaniel Williams of Free Columbia for a new forms installation in New York.
To get a feel for Jordan’s new forms, check out his page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-new-forms-project/119682564744680?fref=ts