WHAT IS MY BIG TOE MADE OF?

The following excerpt is from page 11 of Rudolf Steiner’s book AGRICULTURE, which is a collection of all the lectures and discussions given in June 1924 upon which Biodynamics is based.   I chose to include the unbroken section so that you the reader can get a true picture of Steiner’s beliefs.

           “People nowadays don’t even know how human beings and animals are nourished, let alone plants.  They think nourishment consists in our eating the substances that are around us.  First these go into the mouth, and then into the stomach.  Then some of them are deposited in the body and some of them are excreted.  Next the deposited portion is used up and also gets excreted, after which it is again replaced.  People conceive of nutrition in the most superficial fashion.  But the fact is that the foodstuffs taken in through the stomach do not build up our bones, muscles, and other tissues – they only build up our head.  Everything that enters the body by way of the digestive organs, and is then metabolized and distributed, only provides materials to be deposited in the head, in what belongs to the nerve-sense system.  On the other hand, the substances we need for building up our limbs or our metabolic organs – the long bones in our legs or arms, or our intestines, for instance – those substances do not come from the food taken in by way of our mouth and stomach; instead they are absorbed from our whole environment by means of our breathing, and even via our sensory organs.  Within each human being, the following process is continually taking place:  What is taken in through our stomach streams upward and is put to use in our head, while what comes from the air and the rest of our surroundings is taken in through our head – our nerve-sense system – and then streams downward to build up the organs of our digestive system or our limbs.  So, if you want to know what kind of substance your big toe is made up of, you must not look to your food.  On the other hand, if you ask where the substance of your brain comes from, then you do have to look to your food.”   Bolding and italicizing added,     If this isn’t  hippie, dippy, wacky commune back to the Earth zeitgeist what is?

 Steiner’s own words couldn’t make it any clearer that his beliefs and reasoning are both fictional and fraudulent and yet this is the basis of Biodynamic farming, which is growing with an ever increasing number of wineries proudly proclaiming that they are Certified Biodynamic grape growers.    BTW, Steiner never explains the origins for his unorthodox beliefs.  He never says that his beliefs are because of this research or that experiment that he conducted he has come to these beliefs; because I believe he never did any and created them out of whole cloth.

 To those of you who believe in Biodynamic farming, please explain and/or defend Steiner’s utterly unique view of biology. 

Stuart Smith

5 Responses to WHAT IS MY BIG TOE MADE OF?

  1. Mike Tommasi says:

    Joly also states that a biodynamic wine can never oxidate (this is straight from his website). Funny from a man whose wines are almost always oxidated to some extent. Often this oxidation adds to the character of the wine. However Joly’s wines are very variable, I have tried several, including some well aged ones, and they range from truly spectacular to highly ordinary. It would help if he took some time off his guru-tours and spent more time in the vineyards.

  2. Amber says:

    Some good stuff. If you haven’t yet, I would recommend reading some Nicolas Joly’s work on Biodynamics. He is a true believer in every sense of the word and his writings are just as bit other there (just with slightly less archaic language).

    Like this beauty from Joly’s “Biodynamic Wine Demystified” pg 104-105 where he explains how the ground silica buried in the cow horn “functions” like the silicon microchip in your computer

    “It acts as a link or medium, a sort of receptive antenna, to certain forces which radiate from the solar system.

    This powder, subsequently removed from the horn again, is imbued with very particular energies, frequencies and information. The word ‘information’ may alarm some people, and yet everyone knows that quartz or silica is used in information technology as a medium of information, or alternatively can be ‘charged’ to make our watches or other equipment function.

    In our particular case the charge or information is given by nature via the horn and earth in which it is buried, this time during the summer as the preparation is destined to stimulate the leaves and photosynthesis. This is very simple isn’t it?”

  3. Morton Leslie says:

    I can’t completely explain the brain-big toe difference, certainly not by the blood-brain barrier; but we do know that Steiner was an intensely spiritual man. He believed that spirits appear and act as forces that operate on inorganic objects to give them life.

    To Steiner, spirits had three components: plant, animal and human. If you could do what Steiner claims to have done for himself, you could open a pathway to all other spirits who have ever existed in the univers, past or present. As Steiner related to his followers, he could look deeply inside his own spirit and see that human beings evolved from primitive beings that lived on the surfaces of the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Mercury. (No, I am not making this up.)

    It should be apparent to everyone that Steiner’s beliefs were far from the mainstream and so the “big toe” phenomenon is in line with his other teachings. Most important to Steiner, his beliefs were in conflict with the urban, secular intellectuals of the German high society to which he aspired. His peers and contemporaries, most of whom were from more privileged backgrounds than Steiner’s poor origins, scoffed at his beliefs. With scientists like Einstein around shaking up thought about time and space, you can see how Steiner thought their scorn unfair to him. I think this may have driven him to promote unorthodxy. This may be why he formed his own parallel “scientific” positions and looked for a new audience of illiterate,rural peasants to whom he taught the difference between the brain and the big toe.

    That’s the only way I can ‘splain it.

  4. El Jefe says:

    “I’m gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn’t always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Sergeant Hulka.” – Bill Murray in “Stripes”

    …which is a more cogent statement about big toes than the Steiner quote above! Thank you for starting this blog.

  5. I remember reading some of Steiner’s work when I was researching occult philosophy years ago. A brilliant guy and very creative, way out of the box. I’m amazed that people today still take him seriously though regarding details. People that far out on edge tend to get a couple of things amazingly right, eventually, and a lot of things way wrong. Knowing which is which is important. Folks need to be especially careful with writings of people like that, they can be very compelling even when they are wrong. And I think you have to admit that they are often rather clever, which is why they can be so dangerous.

    Interesting idea for a blog. Why is it so important do defend Steiner’s biodynamic farming, why is it so dangerous? I mean beyond the fact that the theory behind it is probably untenable, given Steiner’s idiosyncratic thinking.

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