Steiner on Storytelling

‘The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner’ is a two-part documentary on the life and work of Austrian visionary philosopher and ‘spiritual scientist’ Rudolf Steiner. Although Steiner’s work does not extend to storytelling in much detail, stories are integral to his philosophy.

Rudolf Steiner made invaluable contributions to a variety of fields from education to agriculture, philosophy to arts, medicine to religion. We can apply and benefit from Steiner’s many ideas and practices in whichever area of life we turn to. Storytelling is no exception!

As an example, Steiner’s method on biodynamic agriculture can teach us about the structure and flow of stories. Biodynamic farming recognizes the interrelatedness of all farming tasks, forever continuing in a cyclical cause-and-effect relationship. Similarly, a well-told story should organically fuse the equally important elements of storytelling to create a functioning and abundant structure.

Each scene, sequence and act should progressively compose an overarching plot, through which the protagonist works his way and eventually harvests a new equilibrium – a brand new fertile soil on which a new seed/journey can be planted/launched.

May be one day we will be blessed with a theory on the nature of stories and storytelling, based on Steiner’s anthroposophy. There we may find a fresh, straightforward, dynamic, encouraging and compassionate answer to: how to create a convincing protagonist who embarks on an original quest that merges out of a true dilemma, which is moving towards resolution through an indestructable story structure. Until then, most of us will continue to struggle through the meticulous and cold complexity of Robert McKee’s ‘STORY’.