Re: compassion-Re: our materialistic culture
- Dear John and Elaine,
I hope you don't mind my sticking my two-bits in, but I would like to comment
To me "compassion" is a state of being, which means that it can manifest
partially as emotion, but also as thought and will. It is "attitude", as in the
compassionate Buddha". So the question is what is my "attitude" toward another
being? If it is "compassionate", then I will act out of the 8-fold path toward
This truth of "being" "compassionate" was part of Buddha's teaching mission.
It is also different from Love. I think you touch this mystery, John, when you
try to think of "compassion" as somehow conflicted with "science", which seems to
need a dispassionate attitude in order for objectivity to arise ("This requires
detachment and a lack of emotion.")
There is a level to "compassion", which is kind of neutral. If I am filled
with "compassion" I am not too likely to "involve" myself. I experience
something, and I have compassion regards it, but I don't necessarily act so as to
place myself in the situation. Love is different here. Love can very easily lead
to remarkable foolishness (and I don't mean love as in eros). Love leads to
involvement to the point of personal harm being possible. If you have access,
read Tomberg's meditation on the Fool, in his Meditations on the Tarot.
Now where does "spiritual science" fit in? To me spiritual science is two
things. One, the most important aspect, is found in the Philosophy of Freedom, or
for some tastes, in Theory of Knowledge. It is a method of cognition. It is new
and never before possible in the long history of the evolution of consciousness.
Only now is this possiblity offered to human beings, to learn "living thinking".
The second thing spiritual science is, is a body of knowledge, or the results
of spiritual research. To me this is of little importance. Its purpose, as best
I have managed to understand it, is to occassionally inspire someone to take up
the cognitive path, that is to learn "how".
So spiritual science is both a "how" (the cognitive path) and a "what" (the
results of spiritual research). But it is neither "compassion" or Love. These
last are qualities of being that may well determine what use is made of the "how"
and the "what", but neither is "spiritual science". Spiritual science, in the
sense I understand it, is a kind of way station. We pass throught it on the way
to other matters. It is like a tool, very useful for a time, but not of the
timeless, or the eternal, in and of itself.
If one wants to "know" the eternal and the timeless, "now", then spiritual
science gives one of the best means (the "how"), and some of the best inspiration
John Massengale wrote:
> From: "John Massengale" <john@...>
> > This time when I read your post (your 28 February reply to me) I am not sure
> > I understand your tone, your emphasis, your direction. But maybe--maybe--
> > that is not for me to understand (smile).
> > When i say that i don't understand your distinction between spiritual
> > science and compassion, and i suggest that spiritual science is fed by
> > compassion, you replye:
> >>Fed by compassion? Of course, but spiritual science is based on esoteric
> >>observation and does not always lead us to the answers that compassion
> > Why "of course, *but*? As far as i can see, there is not a
> > "but"...Compassion is all. For me, there is no spiritual science without
> > compassion, none i care to practice.
> Science and compassion are not the same thing. Compassion can alter the
> objectivity of science and lead to answers that are not scientific.
> If I have read Steiner correctly, he says that there are objective truths
> the Spiritual Scientist can observe: isn't that the basis for Spiritual
> Science? This requires a detachment and lack of emotion.
> The Catholic church says that angels have no emotions. I THINK Steiner also
> says that somewhere.
> Either that is wrong or right. If our compassion makes us think that can not
> be right (Oh that's not human! -- well, they're not human), than it seems
> our compassion may be preventing us from seeing things as they really are.
> I know it seems logical to me that higher beings would have more compassion
> than we have, but compassion is an emotion. So I have to wonder if Steiner
> isn't contradicting my belief.
> Several times in our communications, Elaine, you talk about not
> understanding the implications or about reading between the lines. The
> internet is telegraphic, but I try to write things that can be taken at face
> I hope to write something about Littleton when I get back from New York
> tonight. I hope people don't think it's too far off the subject of this
> list. It does have to do with spiritual development of the individual.
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