Toward an anthroposophically-inspired university in Australia
Seed ideas from Rudolf Steiner and Wilhelm von Humboldt
Part of the mission of the Education for Social Renewal Foundation (though its corporate trustee Archeus Social Ltd) is to assist the creation of a university in Australia inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner. Such a university must surely come into existence on these shores; it is as necessary for social renewal in our time as the Rudolf Steiner schools.
Archeus Social Ltd. and the Education for Social Renewal Foundation can make a contribution in the following main ways:
helping to prepare for the creation of the university by considering different aspects which could become founding principles.
in the future potentially playing a role by passing on tax-deductible donations through our land/building and scholarship funds.
if there is an ongoing and significant level of financial sponsorship then two different ATO funds could be set up within the Foundation to provide tax deductibility – a Higher Education Institution fund and/or a Public Fund for the Establishment of a Public University (if the university in question is not going to be a private university).
Click here is to see our preliminary mission statement for a new university.
An interactive journal
This is the start page of a “journal” which will develop over time. It is intended to stimulate discussions and present considerations on different dimensions of the project. It does not set out to provide a blueprint but only to put forward ideas and pose questions. When we reach the point at which a new university is being shaped, such considerations will be useful.
We will take key statements from Rudolf Steiner on universities and also Wilhelm von Humboldt who was the founder of the University of Berlin (1810), considered to be the first modern university. Members of the board of Archeus Social Ltd. will provide a commentary to the quotes. There will be thought given to practical matters related to current conditions and possibilities in Australia.
We welcome readers to email us any relevant quotes from Steiner or Humboldt.
Rudolf Steiner and the university
Steiner gave many indications concerning university education over several decades of lecturing and writing, particularly at the end of his life when many young university students came toward him. He was often critical of the conventional academic approach, and talked about the necessary of a new form of tertiary education. He himself achieved a doctorate with a dissertation on the philosopher Fichte.
Behind all his indications was this concern: to advance beyond the intellectuality of the “doctor” ideal in education and instigate what he calls the educational ideal of the universal human being, related to a “living” form of thinking which belongs to the whole human being – the thinking, feeling and willing. This is the thinking developed through Goethe’s way of science. People around Steiner tried to create a university – partly in response to a partition signed Year 12 of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart who said they wanted to attend a university which was as “human and natural” as the school they were attending. This effort a century ago to found an anthroposophically-inspired university did not succeed due to post-WW1 inflation.*
*Rudolf Steiner, Human Values in Education, Lecture 10
FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF ARCHEUS SOCIAL LTD.
The company’s charitable purpose is to advance the education of the public based on the Educational Philosophy of Rudolf Steiner including by acting as trustee of public funds established:
….. for the purpose of establishing a tertiary institution or institutions in Australia based on the Educational Philosophy of Rudolf Steiner.
Educational Philosophy of Rudolf Steiner includes Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical principles and the idea of the threefold social order.
Topics of interest
Student culture &
Lectures & seminars-click
Wilhelm von Humboldt and the university
Rudolf Steiner and Wilhelm von Humboldt are linked in a significant way – through Goethean science. Wilhelm von Humboldt could be called the first Goethean scientist – other than Goethe himself. During 1794 and 1795 he worked on a daily basis with Goethe, studying anatomical specimens. Later he applied Goethean methods in anthropological and linguistic research, and to the study of history. Steiner, in his early twenties, was asked to be the first editor of Goethe’s scientific writings. He stated in his autobiography that everything he developed in the form of spiritual science had its foundation in Goethean science.
When Humboldt developed the founding principles of the new University of Berlin in 1810 the practice of Goethean science was not part of the methodology – the time was still not ripe. His innovations were already radical for his time, particularly in the way research now became as important as teaching.
For Wilhelm von Humboldt, a modern university rested on four pillars: 1) the integration of teaching and research, including the obligation to foster the creation of knowledge as well as its preservation and transmission; 2) the complementary principles of Lehrfreiheit (freedom to teach) and Lernfreiheit (freedom to study); 3) the demand for Einsamheit (solitude) and Freiheit (freedom) in the in the autonomous pursuit of truth; 4) the introduction of the seminar system as the backbone of a community of teachers and students.