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Christ and the nature of thinking

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  • Mike Helsher
    This is a discussion form another message board that I ve been reading lately. http://forums.delphiforums.com Note that this discussion is not in an Anthro
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2005
      This is a discussion form another message board that I've been reading
      lately. http://forums.delphiforums.com Note that this discussion is not in
      an Anthro forum. I hope to put forth some of these ideas to the three week
      study group that I worte about in my last post. I'd love to get feedback
      from some seasoned Steiner students, if anyone can find the time.


      Chuck wrote:

      "I am not entirely sure you have it right about modern science. There are
      two points worth discussing.

      First, in contemporary science, what we can know of "objective" reality is
      contingent upon our means and methods of observation. Indeed, some suggest
      that since our only knowledge of "reality" is that which is obtained through
      the lens of our senses and the instruments that we use to take measurements
      and test, we don't have direct knowlege of what "reality" is.


      That sounds like a very Kantian notion to me. Not that I myself am very
      versed in his writings, but I have had discussions with friends that are. We
      had a running joke about "Kant" being spelled as "Can't" because he
      basically says that we "can't" think our way out of a paper bag, in essence;
      being that our thinking is of a subjective nature, and that we "can't" know
      anything about "the thing in itself." All we have before us is a "mental
      picture" perceived by our senses. This line of thinking comes unraveled when
      we think about the senses doing the perceiving. It would suggest that our
      senses in themselves are mental pictures as well, so what we wind up with is
      mental pictures making mental pictures.

      The big question for me is "What is thinking." We use it whether or not we
      realize it every day, and we use it to determine an understanding of
      Science, Morality, God, Freedom, Love, Hate, nihilism, and on and on... But
      what is it really? and from whence does it originate?

      I think the answer to this question is always on the move, but it brings
      great understanding for me, to the phrase:

      "Not I, but Christ in me."

      I should also put a disclaimer in here somewhere, just in case: Be careful!
      I think it was Goethe that made the statement:

      "Thinking about thinking would drive one mad."


      "Second, even those who assert that these problems are not particularly
      important, acknowledge that what we can know and pin down as being part of
      "objective reality," doesn't include most of the things that most of us
      regard to be of the essence of what it means to be human. ie our moral
      values, beliefs, sense of beauty, goodness, truth, etc. These belong to a
      realm of subjectivity and contingency and are not scientifically


      I'd say that they aren't 'materialistically' verifiable. I also believe that
      a verifiable spiritual fact, that could be proved by consensual
      understanding (based on observation with our commonly understood (five)
      senses) of lets say, several thousand people, would subvert the idea of true
      individuality, and true Freedom, much like the dogma of religious (and even
      scientific) orthodoxies.

      I suspect that the true nature of thinking is both subjective, and
      objective, at the same time, and that the intellect is a wonderful tool for
      deriving some understanding, but it alone is prone to dualism, and the never
      ending "thesis and anti-thesis." We have hearts too, at least I hope that
      most of us do. I was taken aback by this little statement when I first read
      it, and I never forgot it. it is something I read by CG Jung along time ago,
      it read:

      "... What was the intellect? not a mirror but an infinitesimal fragment of a
      mirror, such as a child might hold up to the Sun, expecting the Sun to be
      dazzled by it."

      I spent some 20+ years in all sorts of Soul science groups trying to get a
      grasp on the insanity that seemed to follow me around like a shadow. Through
      many experiments and some trail and error, "the essence of what it means to
      be human" slowly came up out of the muck of ignorance, and I am left with no
      doubt as to the "reality" of suffering. Many of my friends and I came to the
      same conclusions about our shared humanity, that just can't be stamped into
      reality by the intellect, and put down on paper, with periods at the end of
      every sentence.

      There's a few quotes that I'd like to share from a book that I've been
      studying for the past few years that I think might lend to some thoughtful
      discussion. The Book is Called "A Philosophy of Freedom" by Rudolf Steiner.
      You can read it online here:


      From chapter 8:


      �The difficulty of grasping thinking in its essence lies in this: when the
      soul wants to bring it into the focus of attention, this essence has all to
      easily already slipped away from the observing soul. All that is left for
      the soul then is the dead abstraction, the corpse of living thinking. If we
      look only at this abstraction, we can easily feel drawn to the mysticism of
      feeling or the metaphysics of will, which seem so �full of life.� We find it
      strange if anyone seeks to grasp the essence of reality in �mere thoughts.�
      But whoever really manages to experience life within thinking sees that
      dwelling within mere feelings or contemplating the element of will cannot
      even be compared with (let alone ranked above) the inner richness and the
      experience, the inner calmness and mobility, in the life of thinking. It is
      precisely this richness, the inner fullness of experience, that makes its
      reflection in normal consciousness seem dead and abstract, no other activity
      of the human soul is as easily misunderstood as thinking. Feeling and
      willing warm the human soul even when we look back and recollect their
      original state, while thinking all to easily leaves us cold. It seems to dry
      out the life of the soul. Yet this is only the sharply contoured shadow of
      the reality of thinking -- a reality interwoven with light, dipping down
      warmly into the phenomena of the world. This dipping down occurs with a
      power that flows forth in the activity of thinking itself -- the power of
      Love in spiritual form �


      And this form chapter Nine:


      But how is it possible for people to live in a community if each person
      strives to assert only his own individuality? This objection is
      characteristic of misunderstood moralism. A person holding this viewpoint
      believes that a community of people is possible only if all men are united
      by general fixed moral rules. He simply does not understand the oneness and
      harmony of the idea-world. He does not realize that the idea-world which is
      active in me is none other than the one active in my fellow-man. This unity
      of ideas is indeed nothing but a result of men's experience of life. Only
      this can it be. For if the unity of the idea-world could be recognized by
      any means other than by individual observation, then general rules and not
      personal experience would be valid in its sphere. Individuality is possible
      only when each individual is acquainted with others through individual
      observation alone. The difference between me and my fellow men is not at all
      because we live in two quite different spiritual worlds, but because from
      the world of ideas which we share, he receives different intuitions from
      mine. He wants to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both really draw
      from the idea, and are not obeying any external impulses (physical or
      spiritual), then we cannot but meet in the same striving, in having the same
      intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash between men who are morally
      free, is out of the question. Only the morally unfree who follow natural
      instincts or some accepted command of duty, turn away from a fellow-man if
      he does not follow the same instinct and the same command as themselves. To
      live in love of the action and to let live, having understanding for the
      other person's will, is the fundamental principle of free human beings. They
      know no other "ought" than that with which their will is intuitively in
      accord; how they shall will in a particular instance, their power of
      ideation will tell them.

      This is worth restating form the above:

      "If we both really draw from the idea, and are not obeying any external
      impulses (physical or spiritual), then we cannot but meet in the same
      striving, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash
      between men who are morally free, is out of the question. "

      This is the razors edge, and I'm sure that it might indeed ruffle a few
      feathers, but it does indeed stem form the question of "what is thinking", I
      think. And What does it mean to think with "the power of Love in spiritual
      form"? could this have anything to do with Christ?

      Mike Helsher
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