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spirit/matter and ontology of being(s)

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  • Seth Miller
    I have two questions I am pondering - they are a bit philosophical in nature and I can t recall off the top of my head from my limited anthroposophical reading
    Message 1 of 42 , Nov 9, 2005
      I have two questions I am pondering - they are a bit philosophical in nature and I can't recall off the top of my head from my limited anthroposophical reading how the issues are approached from within spiritual science, and wondered if I could gather some insights from this group.  The issues are these:
      I recall reading in various places statements to the effect of: where there is matter there is spirit, and where there is spirit there is matter.  That is, spirit and matter are coexistent and coevolutionary in some sense.
      I also recall that spiritual science is fairly open about itself as a spiritual monism, i.e. ontologically all is spirit, and matter is in some way an expression of or derivative of spirit.
      I feel like these two statements may be able to peacefully coexist when the overall context is explicated and some assumptions are made and clarified.  But I would like to hear from any of you out there - if the universe in its entirety is ontologically tracable back to spirit, then to what does our naieve concept of 'matter' actually refer?  It must refer to some aspect of the spiritual (by definition) - and what does 'the spiritual' refer to except spiritul beings?  In other words, is it not the case that from the perspective of spiritual science, the ultimate ontological ground is that of spiritual beings in relation?  And this leads me to my next question:
      If the above is assumed, then how can we lawfully think (recognizing the limits of our thoughts, but trying to use them to their best effect regardless) of the situation with respect to the initial spiritual observation of ontologically _distinct_ spiritual beings?  That is, I have an existential and experiential knowledge of the existence of my own being as a being of spirit, but then the experience that there are also _other_ spiritual beings besides myself which are distinct from me in a peculiar way: I do not experience the interiority (subjectivity) of those other beings, although I do not initially have knowledge of whether other beings can experience my own subjectivity. 
      Given this experience (which I think is a low-level spiritual experience, even a naieve one), the question arises: how can we think about the ontology of beings (assuming that is ALL there is) with respect to the one/many problem?  Are there ontologically multiple, distinct spiritual beings?  Is the perception of the distinction between beings somehow false, and in actuality there is only ONE being?  Or is it more of a both/and situation, where there may ultimately only be ONE being, but that one being relates to itself lawfully in complex ways, giving rise (to parts of itself) to the experience that multiple beings exist (in which case the reduction of perspective from the whole to the part necessitates a view of the universe in a corresponding way: as parts)?  Or is it something else entirely?  In other words, from the perspective of spiritual science, what is the _ultimate_ ontological status of what I may (in my naieve experience) know as my own 'Self'?
      I hope these two questions are clear and I hope that you all can share your insights in this matter.
      Thank you!

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    • Maurice McCarthy
      Hi Sunny, Welcome to the list and I hope this is a good place for you. As you ll see there is not much traffic lately. Warmest Regards Maurice
      Message 42 of 42 , Dec 14, 2005
        Hi Sunny,

        Welcome to the list and I hope this is a good place for you. As you'll see there is not much traffic lately.

        Warmest Regards

        On Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 06:14:37AM -0000 or thereabouts, sunmoonchild wrote:
        > Hello all,
        > I am brand new here, and relatively new to Rudolph Steiner. ...

        > I'll be looking forward to learning more about why I was drawn here.
        > And looking forward to finding out why all I've heard of
        > Anthroposophy so far just seems to resonate for me.
        > Sunny
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