Re: Zander/P. S. ?
- Thanks for responding.
I'm struggling to collect my thoughts on such a big topic, as I'm fighting through a bit of a cold at the moment. I think that the criticism of Marx has always been that he inverts the ideal/spiritual to become its opposite - from Wiki my eye lights upon " they produce only themselves, while man reproduces the whole of nature" as a typical example. This takes the idealist microcosmic embodiment of the macrocosm and points it down to the earth. But what I notice most of all is that you don't mention much about epistemology. This was a crux for Steiner, and space, the senses and the outer world were what defined the 'material' (or physical) for him (I provide a few illustrative quotes at the end of my post). In summary, to understand Steiner's, and I hope the anthroposophical view, on what 'materialism' means I think that it helps to focus on what 'matter' is. That's on the one hand. OTOH your perspective may be more in alignment with that in the social sciences - is 'materialism' something that has much interest for academe these days? I think that I've laid out my own perspective before - it pretty much follows that of Steiner, though was one I'd formulated before I came across his work - but to provide a reminder: I take materialism to be the belief that the real is material. I take the material to be that which is revealed to us by our normal senses. Is this a view that you find at all familiar or that provides a resonance for you?
"There is a certain inherent difficulty for our human power of knowledge and understanding when we speak of the physical bodily nature of man on the one hand, and the soul-and-spirit on the other. Man can gain ideas about the physical and bodily with comparative ease, for it is given to him through the senses."
"But the difficulties begin at once when man endeavours to relate the world of things physical and bodily with the world of soul and spirit. Indeed for those who try to grapple with such questions philosophically, shall we say, the search for this relationship gives rise to the greatest imaginable difficulties. They know that the physical and bodily is extended in space. They can even represent it spatially. Man forms his ideas of it comparatively easily. He can use all that space with its three dimensions gives to him, in forming his ideas about things physical and bodily. But the spiritual as such is nowhere to be found in space."
"Some people, who imagine they are not materialistically minded though in reality they are all the more so try to conceive the things of the soul and spirit in the world of space. "
On The Dimensions of Space, 1922
"And when in the future, man desires again to ascend to the external spiritual world hidden behind the veil of the sense-world, and is not willing to stop short at the external and material, he must penetrate through the sense-world into the spiritual world and must allow himself to be borne to the light by the `Light Bringer.'"
East in the Light of the West, 1909
"f you recall what was said in the lecture yesterday, it will be clear to you that, fundamentally speaking, the appearance of materialism I do not say the materialistic conception of the world, but materialism itselfhas its very good sides. The harm occurs when materialism is made the basis of a conception of the world. As a method for investigating the external phenomena of the physical world, materialism is good; it is a good instrument for investigating the mineral world in Earth-evolution."
"Viewed in this light, the method of materialism assumes great significance; but it must remain "method", a method for investigating the physical, material world.":
Occult Movement in the 19th Century, 1923
"Since that time the human ego has increasingly come into prominence and with it human egotism, and with egotism, materialism. Everything that the ego had absorbed and acquired was gradually unlearned and forgotten. Human beings now were compelled to limit themselves to what the ego could observe and to what the physical sensory system was able to give to the ordinary intelligence. "
Principle of Spiritual Economy, 1909
"Why did these people become materialists, that is, why would they admit only the outer, that which is given in material existence? Because they were afraid to descend into the depths of the human being."
"What sense-observation learns to know in man, and what the materialistic conception of life would consider as the one and only element in man's being, is for spiritual investigation only one part, one member of his nature: it is his Physical Body."
The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy, 1904?
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "cinnamon94@..." <cinnamon94@...> wrote:
> I am not sure how to respond but the wikipedia page on materialism sums up a lot of what I would say.
> For the most part, I am just talking about perspectives that take material conditions as the essential place to begin your philosophical, scientific or practical work. Are you familiar with Marx's idea of the species-being? When I first encountered it I just couldn't stop reading. It has really stuck with me this idea that human beings, by necessity, have to transform the physical world and in that process they make and even transform themselves. There is something very true in that for me. I think perhaps that is why when I came to understand the relationship of Lucifer and Ahriman I liked that too. I haven't read a lot and I doubt that I would get deep into it but this idea of 'trying not too float off' but also 'not failing take off' really resonates for me. (That's my working characterization BTW. I hope it is basically right?!) If anything, I think I may be a pragmatist. Both of those ideas, the species-being and Lucifer/Ahriman, are like quick touch stones that I can use when I want to think about how I am doing. Sometimes, BIG IDEAS like justice, love, and morality are too much for everyday life.
> The wiki page says the following: Materialism typically contrasts with dualism, phenomenalism, idealism, vitalism and dual-aspect monism. Its materiality can, in some ways, be linked to the concept of Determinism, as espoused by Enlightenment thinkers. It has been criticized as a spiritually empty philosophy."
> I am not sure where one might classify the anthroposophic view on materialism? I see pieces of a few that might fit. What do you think?
- --- In email@example.com, "cinnamon94@..." <cinnamon94@...> wrote:
>Actually, Steiner didn't reject the material, that is, consider it maya as in non-existent. Rather, that the error is to consider matter the *only* reality, when it's a condensation of spirit. So the real reality (what?) is the spirit, matter being a offspring, as it were.
> Yes. This is indeed a very large topic but one that I would greatly like to "work on." I'm not sure I am up for it at the moment, either!
> You say: "I take the material to be that which is revealed to us by our normal senses." This is true for me too. In social science applications that basic idea then takes on a greater abstract form to talk about things related to the social world. It does seem to me that Steiner spent most of his time talking about it in terms of the physical world or materialism as a general worldview. But even then it mostly comes across to me as a critique of the positivism of his day. Maybe there is less emphasis on the social "material" of life because he seemed to think the social would improve via individuals improving themselves?
> I feel all over the map here. My comparatively shallow reading of Steiner's work is showing.
Steiner dedicated several years of his life and much effort to the "social question". See: http://southerncrossreview.org/Ebooks/ebbasicissues2.htm - and many lectures.