******Now here s what I wrote last week. First, the 3 parts of the body: What we experience when we look at ourselves is our physical body; as we live in thisMessage 1 of 3 , Aug 18, 2008View Source******Now here's what I wrote last week. First, the 3 parts of the body:
"What we experience when we look at ourselves is our physical body; as we live in this body, what is called the 'etheric body' can be experienced in numerous ways--- for instance, when you look at a red object for awhile and then at a white wall, the green counter-image is an etheric experience (never mind the materialistic explanations of this for the moment).
Then, our feelings and emotions are to some degree our astral body: our impulses, likes and dislikes, inclinations of character, and so on. The lowest level of the "soul" is completely immersed in the astral experience, so that astral and soul are synonymous at the lowest level.
As we know, anthroposophy teaches there are three parts to the soul--- not separated from each other, but three levels. The lowest one, the sentient soul, is the part of the soul completely oriented to the body, to our sense-experience. We live intensely in the astral body as teenagers, and then in the sentient soul from about age 21-28 (it's related to it, a sort of higher reflection of it--- which is why Dr. Steiner said high school teachers should be young, you're re-experiencing the development of the astral body from about age 14-21 on a higher level in your twenties).
This is the part of us that lives in the pleasure of the senses. But when we begin to turn from experiencing "that"--- the outer world--- THROUGH the soul, to experiencing OURSELVES, THAT is the "gemütseele" or self-experiencing soul. (By the way, "gemütseele" shouldn't really be translated as Mind Soul or Intellectual Soul: the "gemüt" in German means feeling as well as mind: it's your entire character, disposition- -- the root of the English word "mood." "Heart-and-mind" soul is how some have translated it; it means your whole feeling of yourself as a personality- -- inner knowing of oneself, as opposed to looking outward through the senses.)
So the soul turning its attention towards the BODY is the Sentient Soul; the soul turning its attention away from things revealed through the senses and instead turning towards ITSELF is the Mind Soul. We especially develop it from about age 28-35. Then, from about 35 to 42 we especially develop the Consciouness or Spiritual Soul, where the soul now begins to turn TOWARDS THE SPIRIT. "Life begins at 40!!"
These parts are also developed by mankind in order; the Intellectual Soul Age was the age of Greece and Rome. OUR age is the one that is beginning the development of the Consiousness Soul. This is the past 500 years or so.
How are we different than the Greeks? What makes one different who develops the Consciousness Soul and how do we see it in operation? What does it mean to have the soul turn its attention towards the "spirit" instead of to the body or just to itself?
As I see it, a person who has deveoped only the sentient soul and intellectual or mind soul would be very good with the material world and very clever and ego-aware. But see, the "spirit" means what is behind BOTH the material world AND the Self. When you start becoming aware of the spirit, you no longer experience yourself just as a separate ego in a world of objects. Instead, the separateness vanishes; you know your kinship with all other Egos, indeed with all Life; and things in your world can no longer be mere objects of observation but instead are related to you, your brothers and sisters, your family---yea more, PART OF YOU. The great Greek philosophers pontificated about Virtue while watching slaves do all the work. The abolition of slavery, the arising of a movement for abolishing cruelty to animals, the environmental movement, all of these I think are signs of the consciousness soul becoming active; likewise what one could call "everyday spirituality" , seeing the spirit in everything in life, even the most trivial things, like the Quakers who have no priesthood and no religion except contemplating. The political movements and transformations of the past 500 years have been an astounding outcome of its emergence. How we can no longer ignore the suffering of others, how people all over the world feel part of the world as a whole.
Another way you could say it is that with only the intellectual soul you can be a scientist, but when you start developing the consciousness soul you have to start becoming a spiritual scientist. These things where New Age people have tried to extend quantum physics to a quasi-Hindu philosophy are a groping in that direction. Likewise the attempts to set up things like the United Nations, as ineffectual or counter-productive as they may have been so far.
So to me, it has much more to do with recognizing the spirit in other people and in Nature than with just self-awareness. Through the sentient soul we experience the body and outer Nature, through the intellectual soul we experience ourselves, but through the consciousness soul we begin to experience what underlies both Self and World... the Spirit that is the basis of Nature, and the Spirit that is the basis of ourselves."
*******Now, since Robert thinks this is different from and maybe even the opposite of what Steiner calls the consciousness soul I'll put the relevant sections of Theosophy and An Outline of Occult Science here next. Quoting Steiner is of some value, but only if people here are finding it helpful to reach a better understanding directly through their experience of life. Understanding these things requires reflection on our deepest self, the Ego, and our daily routine of perception, feeling, thinking and acting, if we're not just going to repeat the words of definitions. As always with anthroposophy, every word is important, and one can take just a single sentence and need days to work out its real meaning. The written works are handbooks to be used for study and can't be read like other books: not surprising if they really describe the soul and spirit mysteries that have baffled mankind for centuries.
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*******To deal with this subject, there are two things I find that have to be addressed because of our modern brainwashing, the soul and the ego. You llMessage 1 of 3 , Aug 19, 2008View Source*******To deal with this subject, there are two things I find that have to be addressed because of our modern brainwashing, the "soul" and the "ego."
You'll find many books, like Jung's for instance, talking about the "soul" very casually, as does Steiner. The reason why is that in many European languages such as in German, it had become commonplace in Steiner's time to use "soul" to describe our inner experience of ourselves. The body is an object in a world of objects, but what we experience THROUGH the body, our INNER world, IS THE SOUL. (It was named "psyche" after a Greek myth.)
This has been lost in America where to educated people "soul" and "spirit" are probably imaginary things only talked about in churches. "Soul" to Steiner meant your inner experience. This computer you're looking at is an object outside you, but your perception of it is an inner experience, in your soul. Think of how to one person a room is too "hot" while to another it's just fine, or how music is too "loud" to one person but the volume is just fine to another in the same room (your teenage son, perhaps ;->). Warmth and cold or loudness and softness are not just what can be measured by a thermometer or other instrument, but things you experience within you, and each of us in a different way ----sometimes VERY different, as with color-blindness.
That daily inner experience IS your "soul." Our materialist scientific age encourages us to look only at the thermometer-reading as the "real" thing and ignore the inner... although the device is just an object as well and external to us, so no more real than what it allegedly measures. So, most of us are not used to talking about the soul, where in Europe it was common and still is in some countries that haven't yet been brainwashed by Ahriman.
To study anthroposophy, it's important to re-orient oneself in this regard: your perception at this moment of the computer screen, the color of the walls of the room you're in, the temperature of the air, the sounds you hear around you --- THIS IS THE SOUL experiencing all the outer world. It is NOT the body.
Steiner mentions this at the opening of the section on the Soul Nature of Man in his first handbook of spirit-science, Theosophy:
The Essential Nature of Man
2. The Soul Nature of Man
"Man's soul nature as his own inner world is different from his bodily nature. When attention is turned to even the simplest sensation, what is personally his own comes at once to the fore. Thus no one can know whether one person perceives even a simple sensation in exactly the same way as another. It is known that there are people who are color-blind. They see things only in various shades of grey. Others are only partially color-blind. Because of this they are unable to distinguish between certain shades of color. The picture of the world that their eyes gives them is different from that of so-called normal persons. The same holds good more or less in regard to the other senses. Thus it will seem without further elaboration that even simple sensations belong to the inner world. I can perceive with my bodily senses the red table that another person perceives but I cannot perceive his sensation of red. We must, therefore, describe sensation as belonging to the soul. If this single fact is grasped quite clearly, we shall soon cease to regard inner experiences as mere brain processes or something similar....
*******The rest of which may be read here: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA009/English/GA009_c01_2.html
So we need to "un-brainwash" ourselves, to coin a word (or "Re-humanize Yourself" as Sting put it), in order to make these words on a page become something we can relate to our everyday experience. We are experiencing the soul every day and have been all our lives.
Now, imagine you knew this all your life and had been distinguishing levels of experience of your soul by careful self-observation. You'd arrive at distinct levels of soul-experience. That is the 3 parts of the soul.
But to understand our experience of them, there's another un-brainwashing I'd say is needed: about the "ego."
In Steiner's time, Freud had only begun spreading his poisonous rubbish (he was quite a sad, self-hating man BTW... look at the recent work contrasting his life and work with C.S. Lewis, by Dr. Nicholi at Harvard, for instance). By now, it's pervaded everywhere in Western life, his negative opinion of the ego. Most of us use ego as an exclusively negative word. To have an ego is bad, bad, bad, supposedly. Never mind that every invention we use was created by someone with a strong ego, every successful business is started and run by one, etc. The legacy of Freudianism is a completely negative association attached to the word "ego."
When you consider that a lot of people who may find their way to anthroposophy have dabbled with Eastern religion along the way, it's a double whammy. The legacy of Buddhism is that the ego is false, it's an unreal delusion, it's once again bad, bad, bad. If you look at the level of advancement of people in Buddhist countries, of course, you may question the wonderfulness of this teaching, but many Westerners who have been raised to hate the West or modern life go for Buddhism.
Anthroposophy teaches something quite different. The Ego is the True Self, your Being which proceeds from incarnation to incarnation. (Moreover, in relation to Buddhism, Steiner taught that in the Buddha's time it was true that we had a false ego, which was what he was talking about, but about 600 years later at the time of Christ the real Ego began to be effective in us, due to evolution--- which is something that frozen religions preserving teachings from centuiries ago do not take into account, evolution. It's for this reason that Buddhism is so evil today, like the Catholic Church--- anything frozen in time and held over becomes an evil force in later times.) The Ego is what makes Man different from animal, what gives us self-consciousness rather than only consciousness. This is one spot where you really have to turn 180 degrees away from what our society teaches us, the self-hating of the ego. We would be helpless and useless without the ego, able to help others about as much as the Dalai Lama helped his country. There is excess egotism, yes, but there is excess of anything. Just think for a moment that if you regard the ego as evil, you're saying you yourself are essentially evil and so is everyone else. Boy, what a great way to look at the world when you wake up in the morning! What a great thing to teach your kids! That'll carry them far.
You'll see how relevant this is when trying to understand the 3 parts of the soul. I'd go as far as to say that, without really understanding the Ego, any real perception of the levels of the soul is impossible, since our self-awareness is so entangled with the soul. It's all part of really understanding yourself in life.
To Be Continued...
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*******So the soul is your inner experience of your environment and your body right now, wherever you are. But animals always experience this present moment,Message 1 of 3 , Aug 19, 2008View Source*******So the "soul" is your inner experience of your environment and your body right now, wherever you are. But animals always experience this present moment, while we do not. Our memory comes from the presence of the Ego in us. Here, from "Occult Science: An Outline", Steiner writes, after writing about the physical body and the etheric body (that we experience when a limb 'goes to sleep' or when we see a colored after-image, and in other ways):
"As the physical body cannot maintain its form through the mineral substances and forces it contains, but needs to be permeated by the etheric body, so too the forces of the etheric body cannot of themselves become illumined with the light of consciousness. Left to itself, an etheric body would of necessity be in a perpetual state of sleep — or, we may also say, could only maintain in the physical body a vegetable form of life. An etheric body that is awake is illumined by an astral body.
For outer observation the effect of the astral body disappears when man falls asleep. For supersensible observation however, the astral body still remains, but it is now seen to be separated from the etheric body, or lifted out of it. Sensory observation is in fact concerned, not with the astral body itself, but only with its effects within the manifest world, and these are not immediately present during sleep.
Man has his physical body in common with the minerals and his etheric body with the plants. In the same sense he is of like nature with the animals in respect of the astral body. The plant is in a perpetual state of sleep. Anyone who does not judge accurately in these matters may easily fall into the error of attributing to plants too a kind of consciousness such as the animals and man have in their waking state. But this mistake is only possible when one's idea of consciousness is inexact. One may then aver that a plant too, when subjected to an outer stimulus, will perform movements, just an animal will do. One will refer to the “sensitiveness” of many plants, which for example contract their leaves when certain outer things affect them. But the criterion of consciousness does not lie in the fact that to a given action a being shows a definite reaction. It lies in this, that the being has an inner experience, and this is a new factor, over and above the mere reaction. Otherwise we might as well speak of consciousness when a piece of iron expands under the influence of heat. Consciousness is only there when for example, through the effect of heat, the being inwardly experiences pain.
The fourth member which supersensible science attributes to the human being, is one he no longer has in common with any of the manifest world around him. Indeed it is this fourth member which distinguishes him from all his fellow-creatures and marks him as the crown of the creation — or of that realm of the creation to which man belongs. Supersensible science arrives at an idea of this fourth member of the human being by pointing to an essential differentiation between the kinds of experience we have even within waking life.
This difference becomes directly evident when man observes that in the waking state he is on the one hand in the midst of experiences which must come and go, while on the other hand he also has experiences of which this cannot be said. It comes out most distinctly when we compare the conscious experiences of man with those of the animal. The animal experiences the influences of the outer world with great regularity. Under the influences of heat and cold it becomes conscious of pain or pleasure, and its experience of thirst and hunger is subject to bodily processes which take a regular and periodic course. Man's life is not exhausted by experiences such as these. He can develop wishes and cravings transcending all these things. For the animal, could we but pursue the matter far enough, we should always be able to indicate — within the body or outside it — the precise cause for any given action or sensation. With man it is not so. He can give birth to wishes and desires for whose origin no external cause — whether in the body or outside it — is sufficient. Everything that belongs to this domain must be attributed to a special source, which the science of the supersensible recognizes to be the I or Ego of man. The I may therefore be described as the fourth member of the human being.
If the astral body were left to itself, pleasure and pain, feelings of hunger or of thirst would come and go in it, but one thing would never come about — namely, the sense of something permanent in all these things. Not the permanent itself, but that which has conscious experience of the permanent, is here called the I. (We must form our concepts with great precision if misunderstandings are not to arise in this domain.) With the awareness of something permanent and lasting in the changing flow of inner experiences, the feeling of “I” of inner selfhood begins to dawn. The mere fact that a creature experiences hunger, for example, cannot give it the feeling of “I.” On every new occasion when the causes of hunger make themselves felt, hunger arises. The creature falls upon its food simply because the causes of hunger are there anew. The feeling of “I” comes in when the creature is not merely impelled to take food by the renewed causes of hunger, but when a previous satisfaction gave rise to a sense of pleasure and the consciousness of the pleasure has remained. Here it is not only the present experience of hunger but the past experience of satisfaction which provides the impulse.
The physical body disintegrates when it is not held together by the etheric; the etheric body falls into unconsciousness when it is not irradiated by the astral body. In the like manner the astral body would ever and again have to let the past sink into oblivion if the I did not preserve the past and carry it over into the present. Forgetting is for the astral body what death is for the physical body and sleep for the etheric. Or, as we may also express it: life is proper to the etheric body, consciousness to the astral body, and memory to the Ego. "
******* So our threefold body brings us up to the level of the animal, but our memory, our permanent sense of self, comes from the Ego. Because we have this we are more than physical body, etheric body and astral body. We have "soul" where the animal has only "astrality."
The levels of the soul are CAUSED BY OUR HAVING THE EGO. Without it, we would be only like animals.
To Be Continued...
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