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Re: [anthroposophy] Anthroposophic... soul a crack at it.

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  • jeff barney
    Hi steve, I don t usually comment here but can t help myself on this one. This is a fun one for me because all it requires is the right field of observation
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2005
      Hi steve,
      I don't usually comment here but can't help myself on this one. This is a fun one for me because all it requires is the right field of observation and an open mind. This is not to say that I have an answer any more than I have an answer about any other particular phenomenon.  I think that the way to an existentially relevant answer to your question is through conversation and so many views and hues. It is with this in mind that I offer a glimpse from my angle - only a glimpse so that others can build on it from all possible angles.
      I think of the soul as that which is stretched out in watery, sensory resonance (meaning resonating with the sensual but also sensory itself) between desire and sympathy on one pole and antipathy and judgement on the other (that the soul is in part sensory perhaps hints at what the spirit is). Judgments themselves, I think, exist outside the soul sort of like what happens on the other side of sleep or perhaps death. What occurs within the soul is thinking (different from a particular judgment), feeling (pleasure-displeasure) and willing/sympathy. To the degree that thinking imbues feeling and willing, and willing and feeling live in thought, the soul is an independent sensory organism. In this sense the soul is the muscular connective tissue that connects organs of sense and cognition. It is why, with vision for example, we see with more than our eyes.
       I think that the soul arises as a developmental entity around the time children gain a sense of balance. To have balance one must have involved an inner space that somehow equals the outer world. This is an involution that is a life long process. It is one reason why children should not be exposed to tv or computers or a predominance of right angles in architecture. All fix the child's eye and so work against depth perception and so depth of thought ; thought that permeates and is permeated by the depths of being. It seems to me that this developmental sensory organism we call the soul is born in the human frame as the sense of balance is developed in a child that learns to stand and move in the world. 
      Vertigo is the experience of being unable to meet the world with equinimity and autonomy of soul.... that is why we hurl up our insides. Perhaps inner ear infections in children right around the time they are working balance out is a symptom of the struggle of the soul to emerge/involve. Or from another perspective it is why we have the impulse to shout in church or to hurl ourselves from tall buildings; we want to fill the space with ourselves. Or from yet another perspective, when faced with self consciousness, the gulf between the self that perceives and the self that is perceived is experienced as loneliness and feelings of being lost.
      Are souls non-physical and immortal?
      The word soul can be traced back to the hebraic sawel, greek sawolo, which has made it to us as saw , soul and are cousins to sacred and glyph on one hand and heal/hear and whole on the other. To saw is to to hollow out a decisive space. Also a saw is a single story and as past tense is related to the sensory experience of seeing. Words arose as heiroglyphics of experience before language was used in the noun-intensive manner we use today. Here for me is a clue. Experience is something that we do with the body (inner ear mediates balance but is not the sense for it). Action is intrinsically physical - passive or directive. We know the body ceases and is ceasing its activity in this life. We are all dying. As much as the soul is tied to the body's activities and whereabouts it is tied to the gravity of the temporal. My question is: do you experience or sense anything beyond your bodily related sensations - any apsect that is autonomous of such locality and momentum? Meditation is the process of turning the soul; universalizing it (universe means single turning) as a free act not tied to a place or outer sensation. That is, one's experience is not tied to the temporal and so the soul turns with what is universal as opposed to that which is in a state of decay and atomization. By virtue of my I, I am universally human and yet utterly a unique being. The more the soul can be individuated the more it becomes an immortal and ineffable experience. So the upper reaches of the soul are turning into ; are in intercourse with the ineffable and this can be deepened into a redemption of the temporal.
      How are souls reincarnated?

      The same way the day is reincarnated I suppose. The sun returns, so to speak, and shines through a new but evolving atmosphere. I see the I as that which remains as ineffable as it seems. The lessons of the life lived, to the degree that they have been incorporated into this essential aspect (individualized) pass through the atmosphere of death and survive the burning away of the residue of bodily desire - perhaps until what is truly longed for is met. And then the return is the ensheathing of a body that will reconfigure in a way that helps create the sensitivities and so tensions (soul)  necessary to further the indivining if you will. I don't know about you but that pretty much sums up a typical day for me or for that matter a single thought process!

      Incidentally, I think this is also reflected in some of the more creative proponents of soul music. Beck for example has pretty much made his career a resurrection of dead ideas or cliches ("bottles and cans... clap your hands"). Another example is U2 who have donned the decadence of modern culture in order to redeem it. They involve a deepening core of meaning at the heart of their music and public discourse while consciously draping themselves in the sheaths of the moment.



      steprobemars <smarshall@...> wrote:


      I would like to learn how Anthroposophy perceives the human soul.
      To what extent is it like the Christian view of souls?
      Are souls non-physical and immortal?
      How are souls reincarnated?
      Can a soul be seen?
      What happens when a person dies?
      Do animals or plants have souls?

      Would someone help me with answers or maybe point me to where I can
      learn more. Rudolf Steiner was such a prolific author I'm just not
      sure where to begin. From the (very) little I have tried to read I
      find Steiner intellectually difficult to tackle. Is there an
      "Anthroposophy For Dummies"? 


      List owner:  anthroposophy-owner@yahoogroups.com 

      Thinking all too readily leaves us cold in recollection; it is as if the life of the soul had dried out. Yet this is really nothing but the strongly marked shadow of its real nature -- warm, luminous, and penetrating deeply into the phenomena of the world. This penetration is brought about by a power flowing through the activity of thinking itself -- the power of love in its spiritual form. (R.Steiner The Philosophy of Freedom)

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