Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Anthroposophy, Goetheanism, Spiritual Science...
- Dear Juliana,
You ask good questions in fairly good English. Let's hope I can
give as good an answer.
Anthroposophy starts with thinking. Steiner's original books were
about thinking and knowledge. The clairvoyant research comes later.
Thinking is not static and the same for everyone. Steiner
discovered that Goethe thought in a new way instinctively and wrote a
book about it: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.
The world presents us with different phenomena, such as inorganic
phenomena, organic phenomena and spiritual phenomena.
Inorganic phenomena is mostly what Natural Science understands best
- chemical changes etc. When we get to life phenomena or organic
phenomena, this is a bit harder. Natural Science tries to apply the
same thinking to organics as it did to inorganics. Steiner suggested
that we follow Goethe when we look at organics and apply a different -
an organic thinking to the living.
Most folks in anthroposophy tend to think that this organic thinking
or qualitatively characterizing picture thinking can only be applied to
sense perceptible living forms - plants and animals. I have discovered
that social forms also have "organic" qualitative aspects - that is they
are "living" in their own way, and that we can also think them
Quantitative thinking concerning inorganics is thinking "about".
Qualitative thinking concerning organics (anything "living" in the
broadest sense) is thinking "with". This new kind of thinking recreates
in the imagination (the qualitative characterizing picture thinking) the
"gesture" of its object, whether a plant form, and animal or a social form.
From this thinking "with" we can go on to a thinking "within" and
then to a thinking "as".
This is thinking concerning spiritual phenomena, and we first
practice this when we think in regard to our own inward soul phenomena
in the practice of introspection. Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual
Activity (also called The Philosophy of Freedom) is the book that shows
how to do this.
Let's take up another theme, and relate this to the above. Steiner
describes the human being as having an ego (or warmth) body, an astral
(or desire) body, an etheric (or life) body and a physical body.
Thinking "about" can comprehend the physical body. Thinking "with"
can comprehend the etheric body. Thinking "within" can comprehend the
astral body, and thinking "as" can comprehend the ego body. Comprehend
in this sense means to come to direct knowledge of at least significant
aspects of the object of that type (about, with, within and as) of
thinking. The "idea" belonging to the object of the thinking comes into
the thinking according to our ability to practice the different forms of
thinking, which unfold over time progressively in the soul life through
developmental spiritual exercises and character development (moral trials).
So the progression is: ordinary or inorganic thinking; followed by
goetheanistic or organic thinking, followed by spiritual thinking.
There is a lot more that could be said, but I just wanted to give a
brief sketch of the relationship between goetheanism and spiritual
science as I understand it, and which seemed to interest you.
> Maybe we could start a new point...
> I have a doubt. I was thinking a lot about this some time ago, then
> I've found a text of Wolfgang Schad that helped me a lot ("What is
> Once (a long time ago) I've asked an anthroposophist if there were
> some spiritual research here in my country. Then he pointed to a
> person that I know personally and this person was indeed working with
> goetheanism and not with spiritual science. I think these things are
> not so clear yet (but I do not know how is this in other places).
> With the text of Schad I've started to realize that goetheanism
> starts in natural world and goes to the spirit (alive cognitive
> activity) and Spiritual Science starts in the spirit and goes to the
> practical work. They would be two sides that come from totally
> different places and go to the same point (and they both of course
> can be done for one single person, it is necessary only to take care
> to use the right method to the right fenomena). Would be
> Anthroposophy a sinthesis of these two ways? So, Anthroposophy would
> be not only Spiritual Science (strictu sensu), but Spiritual Science
> and Goetheanism...
> Or am I confused?
> More: Could we say that, somehow, one way is more 'platonic' and
> other more 'aristothelic'? (but just as tendencies, not taking this
> in a rigid way...)
> Well, sorry about my ugly english, I can read very well but I can't
> write properly.
> Warm regards for all