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percepts-concepts-Re

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  • luciferius2002
    Hi Elaine, I am moved by the way you connect your inner work to the phenomenas of the world. Thank you for sharing this. Keep the good work up. To live and let
    Message 1 of 10 , May 24 1:34 AM
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      Hi Elaine,

      I am moved by the way you connect your inner work to the phenomenas
      of the world. Thank you for sharing this. Keep the good work up.

      To live and let live...

      Regards, L

      --- In anthroposophy@y..., "elaineupton2001" <elaineupton@h...> wrote:
      > Hello carol and L. and all interested in this thread (which started
      > with L. to me, elaine).
      >
      > Thanks for the discussion (lively and immediate) of "reality
      making"
      > by how we form percepts from concepts or vice versa. I like your
      > questions to me, L.--When Steiner or anyone says "archangel", etc.
      > (or what carol mentioned as "Old Moon", for example), do I have a
      > vague fuzzy idea, an abstraction, or what?
      >
      > Good question. Good comment, carol, on Goethe's UrPflanze.
      >
      > I have no answers just now. I think it is interesting, and I am
      even
      > grateful, that you all and others find these things important (as
      per
      > Steiner's seminal Philosophy of Spiritual Activity/aka, Philosophy
      of
      > Freedom). However, I confess that this is not quite where I go, at
      > least not yet. Maybe I am retarded in these matters.
      >
      > What I prefer is hands on--to get into the soil, earth, plant a
      > garden, watch a flower grow. In the flower I see stars, and I learn
      > to see the workings of the moon, for example. In the limbs of a new
      > born baby, I learn to see the Cosmos. I am not saying I have
      arrived
      > at a full seeing, but I do slowly do exercises that help me.
      >
      > What I find good is exercises like those Steiner offers in HTKHW
      (How
      > to Know HIgher Worlds)--the exercises like observing something
      living
      > then something dying. Or observing a thinking into a seed. Or
      > listening to a voice, deeply listening, and coming to know the
      > persons' soul through that voice. ETc. These are the things I
      pursue.
      > I am not sure where the concept ends and the percept begins, or
      vice
      > versa...and at this point, don't really much feel moved to find
      out.
      > Maybe later in my life or in another life.
      >
      > What else moves me is the fact, for example, that right now in
      World
      > History there are amazingly generous and forgiving people in the
      > newly formed democratic nation of East Timor, the first democratic
      > nation of the millenium. When I read what these people have
      suffered
      > for the last three decades and read how magnanimous they are, I am
      in
      > awe, am inspired, and want to strengthen my practice of non-
      > judgementalness, standing in awe and wonder, deep listening, deep
      > interest in the Other (which steiner defines, and I agree, as
      Love).
      > This is part of Temple Building, part of the return of the Christ
      in
      > the Holy Spirit, in the being of Anthropo-Sophia. This is what
      moves
      > me.
      >
      > So, percept and concept? Surely these matters are important, but I
      > think I approach them from a vantage different than the one you are
      > following so far in the discussion. Yet, still, I appreciate that
      you
      > are discussing this and questioning, prodding, me.
      >
      > With gratitude,
      > elaine
    • elaineupton2001
      Hello L., carol, any and all of this thread, Here s a thing that happened to me on the way to more pers and cons (percepts and concepts). I was sitting at the
      Message 2 of 10 , May 28 12:58 PM
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        Hello L., carol, any and all of this thread,

        Here's a thing that happened to me on the way to more pers and cons
        (percepts and concepts). I was sitting at the table having a
        discussion with my partner while we ate lunch. On the table were a
        beautiful bunch of white day lilies, with red-pink centers. For days
        I had been looking at these lilies and also remembering (vaguely)
        what the great Georgia O'Keeffe said about flowers (something like:
        it takes time to know a flower, to befriend a flower). The lilies
        brought me joy everyday and I especially enjoyed lunch time when they
        were so near us on the table, amid the good food and the candlelight
        and the pleasant hum of our lunch conversation.

        Then, it occured to me that I wanted to draw the lilies! But I am not
        (so far) very good at drawing perspective, and the lilies had so much
        depth, so much depth of color in the pink-red centers, and also the
        petals bent and turned so gracefully. I wondered how I could ever
        draw that kind of perspective.

        My partner said she would also have difficulty, but suggested I just
        look closely at what was in front of me and forget that it was a
        flower or a lily and just draw what I saw, without trying to make it
        be something like a "flower." In other words, she said, forget the
        concept "flower" or "lily" and just draw what you see before you, as
        it appears, just see, or just perceive.

        I argued, I cannot do that! I know it is a flower (or what we humans
        agree to call a flower) and so I cannot just draw what I see and
        ignore that it is a flower.

        Yes, well, you can, was the reply. That is what is meant in the
        famous book of lessons called "Drawing on the Right Side of the
        Brain." Get rid of the concept. Be in the "right brain", the artist's
        brain, so to say.

        Well, I tried that and lo and behold, with some difficulty, but with
        a measure of success also, I drew what i saw and it was quite
        graceful, curving and had depth (to a degree--I mean there was
        promise in what I drew, not so much promise that it was a fixed
        flower exactly as that before me, but a thing of grace and depth, of
        curves and such). Now, I realize that even terms like "grace"
        and "depth" are also concepts, so I do not entirely get rid of
        concepts, but at least there is a progression here, more toward
        perceiving.

        I know that some "anthroposophic" art teachers and painters (or those
        who are anthroposophically inspired) talk about painting as working
        with the colors, with the textures, the grain of the paper and such.
        What comes out may be a thing we conceptualize as "birth" or
        the "Madonna and child" or such, for example, but that was not how it
        started. It started with working with the colors and seeing certain
        things that colors will do under certain conditions. Now even to
        think of these conditions and grain of paper and brush stroke and
        such still involves conceptualization, but again, less so than if one
        decides one is painting, for example, the Madonna and Child.

        So, what I am saying is that there is something here about what the
        Buddhists, perhaps, call "original mind", or "beginner's mind." This
        is almost a child's mind, where concepts are not so fixed and
        something new can happen, a kind of openness. In the Christian
        tradition this might be found in Christ's words, "Except ye be as
        little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven." Or, "suffer
        the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is
        the kingdom of Heaven." The artist's vision is a bit of the kingdom
        of heaven.

        Now, how did Goethe work? What is Goethean observation? I think it is
        related here to what I am getting at. One pays close, very close
        attention, beyond one's own notions of things and what they are and
        should be. This is a matter of degrees, of course, degrees of
        progress in achieving this close observation, this listening
        stillness, where the thing speaks on its own terms, "the thing in its
        thinginess," "Das Dinge an sich" (in itself). This deep listening,
        deep observing, deep interest, can be applied to anything and anyone,
        and constitutes, Steiner tells us, an act of Love (see Morality
        Lectures on St. Francis of Assisi). This can be applied to
        therapeutic work with others, to negotiations for peace among
        peoples, to gardening and farming, to raising a child, etc. etc.

        So, I say to myself, let me not too quickly rush to concepts! (Yet,
        the ability to conceptualize, eventually, is also important, I feel.).
        Each--per and con--has its place.

        Blessings,
        elaine
      • luciferius2002
        Hi Elaine! It feels like good old times to recieve a letter like yours. Thanks. As Danny pointed out, I am in it to ask questions, rather than having answers.
        Message 3 of 10 , May 28 3:53 PM
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          Hi Elaine!

          It feels like good old times to recieve a letter like yours. Thanks.
          As Danny pointed out, I am in it to ask questions, rather than having
          answers. Are you in the mood for a little small talk, child to child,
          with "not so fixed concepts" on concepts?

          Let me pick some sentences to see clearer how you look at things.

          Elaine: "On the table were a beautiful bunch of white day lilies,
          with red-pink centers. For days I had been looking at these
          lilies..."

          L: What will happen with those lilies after some weeks? Won't the
          disappear, as well as lilies in the field? What will stay of the
          lilies and show a new appearence in a year or so? It won't be THESE
          lilies, but lilies. Would you hold it against me if I call this
          surviving aspect concept?

          Now, which is the "real" lilie, Die Lilie an sich? If the
          word "concept" makes you freeze, could we rephrase it: The lilie is
          dressing itself in springtime. What do you think?

          Elaine, earlier: "Then, it occured to me that I wanted to draw the
          lilies! But I am not (so far) very good at drawing perspective, and
          the lilies had so much depth, so much depth of color in the pink-red
          centers, and also the petals bent and turned so gracefully. I
          wondered how I could ever draw that kind of perspective."

          L: Where does this "perspective" and "depth" come from? It sounds
          like it is the main thing about the lilies. But is it really part of
          the percept? Doese your senses see the perspective, or could it be
          your thinking, that adds the third dimension? What do you think?

          Elaine: "So, I say to myself, let me not too quickly rush to
          concepts! (Yet, the ability to conceptualize, eventually, is also
          important, I feel.).
          Each--per and con--has its place."

          L: Lets not rush to concepts! I got this adwise from Danny too, to
          start by exercising (thought control), holding back thoughts and
          judgements on the phenomenas. It is hard to do, thats why it is given
          as an exercise. But maybe it is not counteracting to reflect on what
          to call a percept and what to call a concept, as well as what to call
          observing and what to call thinking - and their relationships -
          first, so that we know what to exercise. What do you think?

          Regards,
          L
        • elaineupton2001
          Thanks, L., for your questions on pers and cons and the lily . Yes, it is hard not to have concepts, like depth and color and such, so I agree that when I say
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 3, 2002
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            Thanks, L., for your questions on pers and cons and the "lily".

            Yes, it is hard not to have concepts, like depth and color and such,
            so I agree that when I say I see depth, etc. I am also forming or
            picking up concepts. Maybe percepts are just simpler concepts??? I
            don't know.

            I think for me the point is (so far) to seek to see Das Dinge an
            Sich, apart from my biases and habits and sympathies and antipathies,
            to see the Thought that is Thinking in the Thing, so to say, how the
            Thing is a gesture, a living being, with a kind of language or
            expression, or, as I said, gesture, that has a relationship to me and
            to the world, and the Thoughts are Thoughts in the thing, so that my
            aim is , as Steiner once put it, not to "think *about* the thing",
            but to "think *within* the thing", to think the Thinking of the thing.

            What awkward language (smile)!

            The practical result here, as Steiner and Goethe teach us, is that I
            will stop going around thinking erroneous thoughts, stop imposing my
            biases, stop thinking out of tune with Thinking, and start tuning in
            to Thought, the spirit beings that are in things. This can be applied
            to thinking about "lilies" or about people or about world conflicts,
            etc.

            Be well,
            elaine

            - In anthroposophy@y..., "luciferius2002" <luciferius2002@y...> wrote:
            > Hi Elaine!
            >
            > It feels like good old times to recieve a letter like yours. Thanks.
            > As Danny pointed out, I am in it to ask questions, rather than
            having
            > answers. Are you in the mood for a little small talk, child to
            child,
            > with "not so fixed concepts" on concepts?
            >
            > Let me pick some sentences to see clearer how you look at things.
            >
            > Elaine: "On the table were a beautiful bunch of white day lilies,
            > with red-pink centers. For days I had been looking at these
            > lilies..."
            >
            > L: What will happen with those lilies after some weeks? Won't the
            > disappear, as well as lilies in the field? What will stay of the
            > lilies and show a new appearence in a year or so? It won't be THESE
            > lilies, but lilies. Would you hold it against me if I call this
            > surviving aspect concept?
            >
            > Now, which is the "real" lilie, Die Lilie an sich? If the
            > word "concept" makes you freeze, could we rephrase it: The lilie is
            > dressing itself in springtime. What do you think?
            >
            > Elaine, earlier: "Then, it occured to me that I wanted to draw the
            > lilies! But I am not (so far) very good at drawing perspective, and
            > the lilies had so much depth, so much depth of color in the pink-
            red
            > centers, and also the petals bent and turned so gracefully. I
            > wondered how I could ever draw that kind of perspective."
            >
            > L: Where does this "perspective" and "depth" come from? It sounds
            > like it is the main thing about the lilies. But is it really part
            of
            > the percept? Doese your senses see the perspective, or could it be
            > your thinking, that adds the third dimension? What do you think?
            >
            > Elaine: "So, I say to myself, let me not too quickly rush to
            > concepts! (Yet, the ability to conceptualize, eventually, is also
            > important, I feel.).
            > Each--per and con--has its place."
            >
            > L: Lets not rush to concepts! I got this adwise from Danny too, to
            > start by exercising (thought control), holding back thoughts and
            > judgements on the phenomenas. It is hard to do, thats why it is
            given
            > as an exercise. But maybe it is not counteracting to reflect on
            what
            > to call a percept and what to call a concept, as well as what to
            call
            > observing and what to call thinking - and their relationships -
            > first, so that we know what to exercise. What do you think?
            >
            > Regards,
            > L
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