Just as we finished our conversation at the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store with Jon McAlice, up strode Gary Lamb who joined us for a conversation along with Seth Jordan. Gary is co-director of the Hawthorne Valley Center for Social Research, an independent “think and do” tank that combines research and practical initiatives as a means to identify and implement solutions to modern days social problems. Our friends at Think OutWord have worked with him around the themes of “Rudolf Steiner as Social Reformer and Activist” and “The Threefold Nature of the Human Being as the Basis for Social Initiative,” and we were glad to be able to catch up with him during our visit.
With an extensive background in Waldorf Education, Gary is the author of Wellsprings of the Spirit: Free Human Beings as the Source of Social Renewal and of Associative Economics : Spiritual Activity for the Common Good. He is actively involved in the movement for educational freedom and universal school choice, taking on themes of tax credit legislation and becoming more and more active politically.
When we are seeking change, Gary says it’s important to chisel what you’re saying. He is working on combating the Federal Education Reform agenda of high stakes testing and mandatory core curriculum requirements. He is exploring the idea of starting an education think tank which includes research, convening focus groups, educating the public, and advocacy. We need to move from ideas to implementation, he says. Gary has worked together with Patrice Maynard to strengthen the work with school choice.
We need to re-imagine the image of the human being, the purpose of education, and the meaning of life. To this end, we can consider the image offered in working of the College of Teachers. This is the gesture of “all for one and one for all.”
Looking outward, we can find many allies in the public schools regarding the deleterious effects of high stakes testing. The standardized tests that are being pushed at the federal and state levels are inadequate measures of growth or health in education. What are the true indicators? Where are the true educators? Those of us who value anthroposophy can play an important role of conveners of like-minded people.
Gary spoke of a study of the Reverse Ritual as expressed by Rudolf Steiner being taken up by the Social Sciences section. We can be guided to the Reverse Ritual through study together. The Reverse Ritual can lead to a resolution of karma. Finding way to implement the Reverse Ritual in our work would lend us immeasurable strength for the future.
To Gary, anthroposophy offers an understanding of the meaning of life. He first met it in university through his friend, Joel Kobran. He was drawn to the underlying unity of all that he found in anthroposophy, beginning with a study of Knowledge of Higher Worlds. We need a strategy to meet what’s coming toward us out of the future, Gary said. Our strategy needs to be multifaceted. Ahriman works in many ways.
Gary shared a quote from the poet John Burroughs who said, “I am seeking those who are seeking me.” We offer his poem, “Waiting,” below:
Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For Lo! my own shall come to me.
I stay my haste, I make delays–
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways
And what is mine shall know my face.
Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me,
No wind can drive my bark astray
Nor change the tide of destiny.
What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.
The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.
The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.
In his work toward educational freedom through an education think tank, Gary is working on a concept paper for those interested in learning more about the project. Form there, we need a group of people willing to work together.
A question Gary holds is how to be effective in the world and still be true to the nature of the whole human being. Can we understand the human being in such a way that the evolution of consciousness has a bearing on all that we do?
We need to fight the powers of evil, not each other. Gary referred to the Armour of God included in Ephesians:
The Armour of God
What it comes to in the end is this: let the intense strength of his might flow through those who want to serve the Lord. Put on the full armour of God that you may resist the well-aimed attacks of the Adversary. For our part is not to fight against powers of flesh and blood, but
mighty in the stream of time,
powerful in the moulding of earth’s substance,
against the cosmic powers
whose darkness rules the present time,
against beings who, in the spiritual worlds,
are themselves the powers of evil.
Therefore courageously take up the armour of God, that you can resist the evil on the day when it unfolds its greatest strength. You should stand firm, following everything through to the very end.
Stand fast, girded about the loins with truth.
Put on the breastplate of the higher life
which fulfils our human destiny.
Shoe your feet with preparedness
to spread the message of peace that comes from the angels.
In all your deeds continually hold
to your hearts’ vision of Christ’s presence,
with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one,
Take into your thoughts the certainty of the coming world-healing,
that it protect you as with a helmet,
and grasp the sword of the Spirit
which is the word of God which you utter.
May this armour cover you in all your supplications and prayers, may your inmost heart light up in spirit in your prayers. To this end direct your spirit-strength in all your efforts of soul and in your intercessions for all who would know Christ’s healing power.
We need to reach out. It is time to move into action. “Begin, and life will tell you whether you are going in the right direction or not. Go full out.”
The College Imagination offers inspiration for our work. We are not alone in our tasks, but supported by the hierarchies:
“Behind each one of us stands our angel, softly laying his hands upon our heads. This angel gives us strength, the forces which we need.
Over our heads hovers the circle of the archangels. They carry from one to the other what each has to give to the other. They unite our souls together. In the movements they make, as they weave from one to the other, they form a chalice, the chalice of courage.
The light of wisdom is bestowed upon us by sublime being of the archai. They do not penetrate into the circle, but, coming out of primeval beginnings, reveal themselves and vanish away into primeval distances. They penetrate into this space only in the form of a drop of a light, which for a moment fills the chalice formed by the movements of the archangels.”