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4137Re: [anthroposophy] Back on track

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  • Joel Wendt
    Jul 16, 2002
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      On Tue, 2002-07-16 at 09:46, evlogite wrote:

      > I, for one, am interested in the Prokofieff book by Gordienko. I
      > haven't read, much less seen a copy-- and would find it a great
      > benefit if someone would give a synopsis of its main points.
      > Going a little further, I would similarly like to see the Tomberg
      > book by Prokofieff discussed and also the topic of why it's so
      > difficult for new work to be accepted into the body of
      > Anthroposophy and why there have always been factionalism. Is
      > it merely the inability of certain streams to work together? Does
      > it play itself out downstream in forums such as this? Is it worth
      > reconciling? What is the ultimate prize that we all hold dear?

      No problem, I've been looking for a discussion of the actual book
      (rather than various kinds of "gossip", as you say), for quite a while.

      G's [Gordienko's] thesis is pretty straight forward. She begins by
      reminding us that anthroposophy is meant to be a science, and that means
      critical review of work ought to be welcomed and be the standard. That
      critical review is not welcomed or the standard is one of her points,
      for she feels that SOP [Sergi O. Prokofieff] would not have the status
      he has if his work had been thought about with clarity in the beginning
      of its being offered.

      One of the things that she does is carefully quote SOP over and over
      again [from a variety of his writings] as to how he seems to see and
      state his version of the "evolution of consciousness". She then
      contrasts this with Steiner's elaboration of the same theme. She shows
      through this process that SOP either eliminates completely (or radically
      down plays it) the stage we are presently in (Consciousness Soul) and
      substitutes the Spirit Self (the next stage). He does this both
      explicitly and in terms of how he uses various restatements of what
      these terms mean.

      Parallel to this she examines SOP's biography, from his own words, and
      shows how he began his spiritual development (in his late teens) before
      he had finished incarnating (we do this about age 21), with the
      consequence that he didn't really have an authentic experience of the "I
      am" in his own life, which is why he fails to see the centrality of the
      development of the "I am" during the stage of the evolution of
      consciousness we call the Consciousness Soul Age.

      She also quotes him extensively, where he describes his own spiritual
      experience and it is clear that this experience is not the result of the
      development of "living thinking", but rather something more in line with
      a kind of "deep mystical feeling".

      From this we can get the picture that SOP is basically a Russian mystic,
      who developed his clairvoyance (if it could be called that) during that
      period of life when one is full of rich and deep feelings, skipping over
      then the disciplining of the thinking out of the forces of a fully
      incarnated "I am". Recall that his first publication was at about age
      26 (Rudolf Steiner and the New Mysteries, if my recollection serves me),
      a phase of life in which no one in our time should be trying on the
      mantle of an initiate (Marie Steiner criticized Tomberg for taking on
      this mantle at age 33, insisting that RS showed the correct way by
      waiting until he was 42).

      As to SOP's book on Tomberg, The Case of Valentin Tomberg, I found it
      quite interesting when I was reading Gordienko's book that my reaction
      to SOP's anti-Tomberg screed was precisely in line with G's
      conclusions. Basically what I said to friends, at that time - some 4
      years ago, in response to the Tomberg book was that SOP clearly had no
      experience of the Consciousness Soul, and had written the book entirely
      out of the Intellectual Soul and to the Intellectual Soul. If one
      understands, experientially, the Consciousness Soul, then one does not
      proceed by the form of argument, much like an academic (our universities
      being the present day debris of the intellectual soul). The
      Consciousness Soul convinces itself of what the truth is out of its own
      thinking, and any appeal to authority is contrary to this impulse. So
      when we write to the Consciousness Soul we offer anecdotes of our own
      experience and facts in the form of pictures, leaving the reader to
      his/her free choice as to how to incorporate what has been offered.

      This is not to say we do not "reason". There is a difference between:
      1) making an argument, such that a plus b equals c, and therefore the
      reader should agree, our argument being the final word (how SOP
      approaches his Tomberg book); and, 2) arranging facts in such a natural
      order that they lead to something that just as naturally follows, if the
      facts are correct. In the latter case we show the reader something of
      the logical path we ourselves have followed, inviting them to
      participate in the journey.

      Gordienko's book not only has this quality, and it is also a spiritual
      experience (a most remarkable personality wrote this book). In writing
      this book Gordienko takes us on a journey of initiation, because the
      questions she puts to SOP's work, we also apply to ourselves. We find
      ourselves reading this book and thinking: Could my world view withstand
      this careful and complete level of examination?

      Let me expand upon this a bit. Gordienko was a brilliant Russian
      scientist, as well as anthroposophist. She had one of those minds that
      shines light whenever it thinks. So, in her book she just isn't writing
      a polemic against SOP, as much as showing how we need to think (in terms
      of questions asked and internal logic required) about any world view,
      any set of elaborate and related concepts. Moreover, she doesn't use
      her own world view as the contrasting measure to SOP's, but Steiner's,
      with which she is very familiar (and which of course we are also well
      acquainted). When we read this text then, we live in this light and
      cannot but help to shine it upon our own thinking. It is really a
      remarkable and quite educational experience.

      warm regards,
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