A few quotes from "The Essential Steiner", edited by Robert A. McDermott, Floris Books, ISBN 0-86315-225-2, that I think indicate that Steiner really was thinking along the same lines as Reciprocality. Considering the roots of Reciprocality in software engineering, the bit about cheques and money in Tokyo certainly made my hair stand on end!

Never before was a cultural epoch as purely egotistic and unidealistic as our own and it will become even more so in the near future. For, at the present time, spirit has descended completely into a materialistic civilisation. Tremendous spiritual forces have had to be employed by men in the great discoveries and inventions of the new age, that is, of the nineteenth century. Just think, for instance, how much spiritual force exists in the telephone, in the telegraph, in the railroads, etc! How much spiritual force has been materialized, crystallized in the commercial relationships of the earth! How much spiritual energy it requires to cause a sum of money to be paid, let us say in Tokyo, by means of a piece of paper, a check written here in this place! Thus one may ask: Does the use of this spiritual force mean spiritual progress? Whoever faces the fact must acknowledge the following: You build railroads indeed, but they carry, practically, only what you need for your stomachs; and when you yourself travel, you do so only because of something that has to do with your physical needs.

Does it make any difference from the standpoint of Spiritual Science whether we grind our corn with a few stones or obtain it from a distance by means of the telegraph, ships, etc? A tremendous spiritual force is employed, but it is used in an entirely personal sense. What then will be the meaning of what men thus negotiate? Apparently not Anthroposophy, in other words, not spiritual realities. When the telegraph and steammships are used, it is in the first place a question of how much cotton will be ordered to be sent from America to Europe etc; in other words it is a question of something that has to do with personal needs. Mankind has descended to the profoundest depths of personal necessity, of physical personality. But just such a egotistic, utilitarian principle had to come sometime, because through it, the ascending course of all human evolution will be facilitated.

It seems to me that the Steiner that wrote this would look on the situation today not with glee, but more along the lines of Leon Trotsky's dictum, "Worse is better!". We've got the 4 megakids on Ritalin in the States, and the UK driving the top 30% of it's most employable, self motivated and so on IT workers clean out of the country - on grounds of administrative convenience (exactly as reviled in "1: M0") under Inland Revenue Rule 35. Meanwhile, materialistic science has reached a seeming periphery of the knowable, where craziness takes over.

Yet by rejigging this wholly materialistic view, it is possible to make sense of the chaos, in terms of a human comprehensible, materialistic, physical model that requires a creative causality seen backwards - something that can fairly be described as a moving Great Spirit. That is what Reciprocality proposes. No quantum "other world". No spiritual "other world". Just this one seen differently.

So if Reciprocality has merit, we have a Steiner that possessed it, as a self-consistent gestalt not connected to the materialistic science of his day. But which included a process of human evolution - from unconsidered but concrete spirituality through materialism to considered concrete spirituality - exactly compatible with the process described in "7: Magic". And if Steiner could grok the Reciprocality concepts without scientific background in 1908, why can't "6: History" contain them from 2,000 years ago?

It's all very cute, but is it real? Can we really see Steiner 100 years ago as being in possession of concepts that only the most creative of the modern engineers have had a whiff of through the wonders of beauty and form that our discipline has revealed to us? Or is it all just seeing castles in the clouds? See if you can recognise the "deep structure" in this quote:

Many mystics plunge into a world of indefinite sensations and feelings; Goethe plunges into the crystal-clear world of ideas. One-sided mystics disdain clarity of ideas and think it superficial. They have no inkling of what is experienced by men who are endowed with the gift of entering profoundly into the living world of ideas. They are chilled when they give themselves up to the world of ideas. They seek a world-content that radiates warmth. But the world-content that they find does not explain the world. It consists only of subjective stimuli, of confused representations. A man who speaks of the coldness of the world of ideas can only think ideas, he cannot experience them. A man who lives the true life of the world of ideas feels within himself the beginning of the world working in a warmth that cannot be compared with anything else. He feels the fire of the World Mystery light up within him. This is what Goethe felt when the vision of weaving Nature dawned in him in Italy.

And how about this, from his "Autobiographical Sketch":

Into this period fell - and this belongs already to the external occult influences - full clarity about the conception of time. This knowledge was in no way connected with my studies and was directed entirely from occult life. It was the knowledge that there is an evolution going in a backwards direction, interfering with that which goes forwards; the first is the occult, astral evolution. This knowledge is the condition for spiritual perception.

Two further comments. I reckon, arrogantly perhaps, that the point where the Waldorf School movement has parted company with Steiner, and so lost strength to a terrible degree, is in perceiving a contradiction between expressive self-development and the clarity which Steiner speaks of above. They have become "one-sided mystics" - like the "half-artists" I discuss in "2: The Ghost Not". This leads to the fluffy and ineffectual, albeit rather sweet, mindset of its products. Many examples of which I met because of the major Waldorf School outside Stroud, near my old home of Cheltenham in England - so I do know what I'm criticising.

Secondly, the difference between thinking ideas and experiencing ideas is the difference between having the cognitive feedback loop that leads to the higher faculties squelched by raised dopamine, or available in the mix. There's materialism for you. Steiner's spiritual perception as neurochemical phenomenon.

P.S. I hope Waldorf alumni aren't allowed to form lynch mobs... Yes, but only if they want to... I'll shut up now... ;-)