Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

top-down Path

Expand Messages
  • Robert Mason
    To Bart: Here s something that I just sent to someone off-list who asked me about the best way to begin the study of Anthroposophy. You can take this as a
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      To Bart:

      Here's something that I just sent to someone
      off-list who asked me about the best way to
      begin the study of Anthroposophy. You can
      take this as a continuation of my last post
      to you. Of course I don't know you
      personally; I'm trying to give a *general*
      answer to the quesion.

      RM
      ***
      That's a tough question. I don't know you;
      don't know your background or your personal
      interests. -- Well, in general, the "basic
      books" are the place to start. (Steiner
      insisted that anyone reading his published
      lectures could not rightly judge them unless he
      [the reader] had already learned about the
      basic concepts of Anthroposophy. This *caveat*
      is often published in the front pages of the
      cycle-books. However, a relative few of his
      lectures -- such as the "Workmen Lectures" were
      given to non-Anthroposophists, and I would
      think that the diligent beginner could handle
      these easily enough.) The basic books are
      generally considered to be *Theosophy*, *Occult
      Science*, *Knowledge of Higher Worlds*, and
      *PoF*. (Sometimes *Christianity as Mystical
      Fact* is also listed; but IMO this isn't as
      "basic" as the others.) These four are the
      kind of books that are rightly read sentence by
      sentence, even word by word -- and re-read many
      times over many years.

      *Theosophy* isn't a bad one to start with,
      though I might read the last chapter first; IMO
      the last chapter is the most important and the
      most evocative. The words in that chapter
      fairly leap from the pages and straight into my
      heart; I have the feeling that I am being told
      something that deep, deep down I have always
      known at the core of my being. (Orwell said
      that the best books are those that tell you
      what you already know.) A slight word of
      caution: The descriptions of the path of the
      spirit between lives are very generalized;
      Steiner is telling what should happen for most
      people if all goes well. In practice, in
      individual cases, there is much variation; RS
      makes this point clear, by examples, in the
      many detailed descriptions in his lectures
      about the life between death and rebirth. --
      Perhaps an easier-to-read book that might be
      helpful (as a companion to *Theosophy*) is the
      lecture-cycle published in English as
      *Anthroposophy, an Introduction*. Here RS is
      covering much of the same ground (not all of
      it) in a less "abstract" and more personal way.
      For instance, he describes the experience of
      intensified thinking going into the higher
      stages of knowledge more as the human being
      feels them.

      *Occult Science* is, in a way, a continuation
      and expansion of *Theosophy*. RS adds a long
      chapter on occult cosmology and a more detailed
      exposition of the Path of Knowledge. Helpful
      here might be his other book *Cosmic Memory*,
      which gives a less detailed and maybe easier-
      to-read cosmology.

      *KoHW* is devoted to a fuller exposition of the
      Path of Knowledge. Steiner gives much
      information about the qualities that the
      student should acquire, and he describes many
      exercises, but all this can be surprisingly
      general and non-specific, to the point of being
      perplexing. In other places he does gives more
      detailed instructions as to how the exercises
      might be carried out, but IMO these latter
      instructions might not be as universally
      applicable. Elsewhere, he did remark to the
      effect that in *KoHW* he was generalizing so
      that the Path described would be true of
      everyone, but that in practice there are (in a
      sense) at least as many Paths as there are
      students: each individual is unique, and in
      actuality none will follow *exactly* the same
      Path as others. Perhaps such a consideration
      may leave one feeling a little lost, but RS did
      also say that he does, in a real sense, also
      act as a personal Teacher for each of his
      readers. He even said that he will follow and
      help though all their future lives anyone who
      has read even as much as one sentence of
      *KoHW*. (A sobering thought, and a bracing
      one.) -- A short and apparently unfinished
      continuation was published as *The Stages of
      Higher Knowledge*. This book is just as
      "basic", and IMO should in effect be taken as
      part of the same book.

      *PoF* is generally considered to be Steiner's
      basic philosophical-epistemological work.
      (Though his other "basics" certainly contain
      philosophy and epistemology that is hardly even
      hinted-at in *PoF*.) This book in itself was a
      world-historical event, marking a crucial
      turning-point in the whole evolution of human
      consciousness. It is written in the context of
      19th-Century Teutonic academic philosophy and
      contains nothing overtly "esoteric". It was
      written years before RS stepped forward as a
      public teacher of occultism, apparently even
      before he made the decision to "go public".
      (However, he did revise it thoroughly later in
      his career.) He did make a remark to the
      effect that all of Anthroposophy is contained
      in *PoF*, though IMO he was likely being
      deliberately provocative: the Anthroposophy is
      very deeply hidden indeed. -- In the same vein
      is *Truth and Knowledge*, a slight expansion of
      Steiner's PhD thesis. This is a close
      companion to *PoF*; here the epistemology is
      even more basic and concentrated, though there
      is perhaps even more "academic" context. (Also
      somewhat in the same vein is an earlier work,
      *A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's
      World View*. However, I wouldn't recommend
      this book for beginners, since it does present
      problems of exegesis. RS never revised it
      fully; toward the end of his life he added some
      remarks, including the warning that if he were
      writing the book in his maturity he would say
      many things differently. But he did say that
      his views on the essential nature of knowledge
      had not changed; thus the reader must puzzle
      out exactly what is "essential" and what might
      be said differently, even how the mature RS
      would have said it. This is a heavy load for
      any reader, but especially for a beginner.) --
      A very concise exposition of these themes can
      be found in the last chapter of mature
      Steiner's book *The Riddles of Philosophy*. In
      this chapter he explains the quantum leap from
      philosophy to Anthroposophy, and in the process
      describes how thinking "condenses" experience
      as it grows into the higher stages of
      cognition. This chapter will repay close
      reading and re-reading.

      -- These books can be hard work, and Steiner
      deliberately made them so, for deep reasons.
      The work that the reader is forced to do in the
      reading constitutes in itself steps on the
      Path.

      Of course, there is much "secondary literature"
      by other Anthros out there (some might even
      presumptuously, IMO, give their own exercises
      for self-development). One might be tempted to
      substitute such books for Steiner's, for they
      might seem more accessible. IMO this could be
      a serious mistake; in general, no one explains
      Steiner better than he explains himself, and no
      one is more qualified to speak on these
      subjects. (At least no one, that is, who has
      stepped forward in public.) -- Other authors
      (and personal acquaintances) might be helpful
      by pointing out things and stimulating one's
      thinking, and maybe by giving encouragement --
      but still, the "basics" are basic.

      -- Some people, apparently, skip the basics and
      go directly into work that derives from
      Anthroposophy. For example, Hugh Lovel has
      taken Steiner's work on agriculture and
      advanced it greatly. (Maybe HL has studied the
      basics; I don't know, but I haven't seen a
      direct sign of it.) People with special karma
      might accomplish unusual things, but for most of
      us, we could hardly become real "students" in
      Steiner's sense without being grounded in the
      fundamentals.

      IMO!

      Student to student,

      Robert M





      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
      http://mail.yahoo.com
    • Joel Wendt
      What Robert wrote on PoF is basically accurate, as far as it goes. The problem comes when people who don t practice this book try to write about it - the lack
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        What Robert wrote on PoF is basically accurate, as far as it goes. The
        problem comes when people who don't practice this book try to write
        about it - the lack of practice creates a fundamental ignorance that
        makes what they do say miss the mark sometimes in rather tragic
        fashion. I've added some material to make the below more in line with
        the truth.

        warm regards,
        joel

        Robert Mason wrote:

        >*PoF* is generally considered to be Steiner's
        >basic philosophical-epistemological work.
        >(Though his other "basics" certainly contain
        >philosophy and epistemology that is hardly even
        >hinted-at in *PoF*.)
        >
        This parenthetical expression (Though his other "basics" certainly
        contain philosophy and epistemology that is hardly even hinted-at in
        *PoF*.) makes no sense. I'd like to see Robert give some examples of
        "philosophy and epistemology" not contained in PoF, but only expressed
        elsewhere.

        >This book in itself was a
        >world-historical event, marking a crucial
        >turning-point in the whole evolution of human
        >consciousness. It is written in the context of
        >19th-Century Teutonic academic philosophy and
        >contains nothing overtly "esoteric". It was
        >written years before RS stepped forward as a
        >public teacher of occultism, apparently even
        >before he made the decision to "go public".
        >(However, he did revise it thoroughly
        >
        I'm not sure by what Robert means by "thoroughly" here. He gives the
        impression that later versions of PoF are in some ways substantially
        different from earlier versions. Again, I'd like to see the evidence of
        this.

        >later in
        >his career.) He did make a remark to the
        >effect that all of Anthroposophy is contained
        >in *PoF*, though IMO he was likely being
        >deliberately provocative: the Anthroposophy is
        >very deeply hidden indeed.
        >
        On the contrary, here we get to the nub of the whole matter, for PoF is
        "Anthroposophy" in whole. Start with the First Leading Thought:
        "Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spiritual in man to the
        Spiritual in the Universe." Here is where the the Movement went badly
        awry, for most everyone began to assume that Anthroposophy was a content
        (the lectures and books) and not a method. Anthroposophy is a Path of
        Cognition, the Way of the New Clair-thinking, which Steiner discovered
        and pioneered. It is how we go about finding our way to intercourse
        with the Spiritual World (from the spirit in man to the Spirit in the
        Universe). The method (Anthroposophy) produces the content
        (anthroposophical Spiritual Science). That is why we get this
        construction - "anthroposophical" as a modifyer of the term Spiritual
        Science.

        People who study the content acquire understanding. People who learn to
        practice the introspection modeled on the methods of natural science
        (PoF), learn how to produce knowledge "content" out of themselves.

        > -- In the same vein
        >is *Truth and Knowledge*, a slight expansion of
        >Steiner's PhD thesis. This is a close
        >companion to *PoF*; here the epistemology is
        >even more basic and concentrated, though there
        >is perhaps even more "academic" context. (Also
        >somewhat in the same vein is an earlier work,
        >*A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's
        >World View*. However, I wouldn't recommend
        >this book for beginners, since it does present
        >problems of exegesis.
        >
        This seems to me to be total b.s. on Roberts part. I don't think he
        knows anything at all (except from the outside) about A Theory of
        Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World View. Here is my essay on this
        quite important book: "The least read, most important book, Steiner ever
        wrote"
        http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lrsew.html

        >RS never revised it
        >fully; toward the end of his life he added some
        >remarks, including the warning that if he were
        >writing the book in his maturity he would say
        >many things differently. But he did say that
        >his views on the essential nature of knowledge
        >had not changed; thus the reader must puzzle
        >out exactly what is "essential" and what might
        >be said differently, even how the mature RS
        >would have said it. This is a heavy load for
        >any reader, but especially for a beginner.) --
        >
        >
        Here we get the tragic misdeed of so many - the warning (Fear This!) as
        in "heavy load". Robert, not having traveled here, doesn't really know
        how much work it really is, only that he did want to take it up. So his
        weakness becomes given to us as something to fear. And who in us
        encourages fear, and enjoins us to spread our fears (as in the Beware
        messages on this list)? The ahrimanic double.

        >A very concise exposition of these themes can
        >be found in the last chapter of mature
        >Steiner's book *The Riddles of Philosophy*. In
        >this chapter he explains the quantum leap from
        >philosophy to Anthroposophy, and in the process
        >describes how thinking "condenses" experience
        >as it grows into the higher stages of
        >cognition. This chapter will repay close
        >reading and re-reading.
        >
        >
      • Joel Wendt
        For those of you who might have known him, I have just heard that Harvey Bornfield (Earlyfire) died this last Sunday. His is a remarkable spirit, and I expect
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          For those of you who might have known him, I have just heard that Harvey
          Bornfield (Earlyfire) died this last Sunday. His is a remarkable
          spirit, and I expect we can call upon him even now and on into the
          future, in meditation and in the realm of night work and sleep.

          Blessings to you Harvey, you will be missed

          joel
        • Lee A.
          Does anyone have photo of Harvey that can put into the archives? Perhaps an email to his surviving relatives will stimulate this. It will make it easier to
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            Does anyone have photo of Harvey that can put into the archives? Perhaps an email to his surviving relatives will stimulate this. It will make it easier to contact him.
             
            Lee

            Joel Wendt <hermit@...> wrote:
            For those of you who might have known him, I have just heard that Harvey
            Bornfield (Earlyfire) died this last Sunday.  His is a remarkable
            spirit, and I expect we can call upon him even now and on into the
            future, in meditation and in the realm of night work and sleep.

            Blessings to you Harvey, you will be missed

            joel


            Yahoo! Photos
            Got holiday prints? See all the ways to get quality prints in your hands ASAP.

          • golden3000997@cs.com
            What happened???? Does anyone have any more information! I am in shock! Christine
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              What happened???? Does anyone have any more information!

              I am in shock!
              Christine
            • Joel Wendt
              all I know is that he had a heart attack. j.
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 10, 2006
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                all I know is that he had a heart attack.

                j.

                golden3000997@... wrote:

                > What happened???? Does anyone have any more information!
                >
                > I am in shock!
                > Christine
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                > YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS
                >
                > * Visit your group "anthroposophy
                > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy>" on the web.
                >
                > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > anthroposophy-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > <mailto:anthroposophy-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>
                >
                > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                > Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>.
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                >
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.