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1837Re: The Fourth Dimension

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  • rickbobbs
    Sep 6, 2003
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      Dear Folks;
      Here is are a couple of quotes where Steiner clearly
      states his aversion to the concept of a 'fourth dimension'. I'll post
      more as I can:

      "...Anyone entering the spiritual world by the methods described
      above, having attained the power of touch, will know how to
      distinguish whether he merely imagined his experiences while
      exercising active thought, or whether he actually perceived by means
      of it. Even in ordinary life we can distinguish the difference
      between awkwardly burning our fingers in a flame, and picturing the
      event afterwards. There is a lively difference; the one experience
      really hurts while the other does not. In a higher domain the same
      difference exists between what we may imagine concerning the higher
      worlds, and what is really experienced therein.
      "Now the first thing a man experiences in this way is true
      knowledge.... Our past experiences, which can usually only be called
      into our consciousness in picture form, then present themselves as a
      tableau in which what is long since past, lives in the present. Just
      as persons who have had a shock through being in danger of death by
      drowning sometimes see - as admitted even by materialistically minded
      men - a psychic picture of their life on earth; such a picture
      appears to the soul of one who has rendered his thinking active. It
      begins from the time in his earth-life when he first began to think
      and continues to the present time. Time becomes space. That which was
      the past, becomes the present. A picture is before him; the
      characteristic of which is - I shall speak of this again in
      tomorrow's lecture, - that because it resembles a picture, he still
      has a sort of sensation of space; but this is only a feeling, for the
      space thus experienced lacks the third dimension. He no longer
      experiences a third dimension, only space in two dimensions; so that
      he perceives pictorially. That is the reason I call this cognition
      imaginative cognition for it works as does painting, in two
      dimensions only; it is a pictorial cognition, working in two
      "You may wonder, if I stand there and experience two dimensions,
      what happens if I go on and once more experience in three dimensions?
      "There is no difference between them. The experience of the third
      dimension falls away altogether. I shall later on have occasion to
      speak of the fact that in our age, because we are no longer conscious
      of these things, people try to find the fourth dimension, thinking
      thereby to enter the realm of the spiritual. The truth is that when
      we advance from the physical into the spiritual, instead of
      discovering a fourth dimension, the third falls away.... -so it will
      represent an advance in the inner comprehension of the world when it
      becomes known that on entering the spiritual world we do not go from
      the first, second, and third dimension into the fourth, but turn back
      to the second and, indeed, as we shall see, even return to the first.
      That is a truth. According to the external conception of the world
      prevalent in our time, which reckons numerically in a quite external
      way, as there is a first, second and third dimension, there must
      necessarily be a fourth; but this is not the case here. One turns
      back to the second dimension and the third disappears; the student
      then gains a true imaginative cognition which at first appears in his
      own self as a life-tableau, so that he surveys, at the present moment
      as it were, in mighty pictures, all that he went through inwardly
      during his earth-life." (19 Aug. 1923,in: The Evolution of the World
      and of Humanity, 1989, pp.16-18)

      "To the Imaginative and Inspirational consciousness things come to
      light here which can perfectly well be understood by the normal
      healthy human reason, but which, in our present civilisation, are
      regarded with a very great deal of prejudice. Indeed it requires a
      certain freedom from prejudice to grasp the fact that everything in
      the physical world is three dimensional, and is fundamentally
      experienced in three dimensions, and that whatever is to be impressed
      in the etheric body must pass from the plastic into the pictorial
      form, from the three dimensional into the two dimensional. For as
      soon as we enter the imaginative world we have nothing more to do
      with three dimensions, and still less with four dimensions as is
      believed to-day by certain scientists who have deviated from the main
      track; we are there concerned with two dimensions only. The reason
      why it is so difficult to conceive of what is thus experienced lies
      in the fact that in our earthly experiences we are accustomed to deal
      only with three dimensions. We picture everything in three
      dimensions, and therefore when we are required to find a transition
      into two dimensions, we say: Well; but the two dimensions are
      included in the three; the two dimensions of a surface may be such
      that the third dimension is also there.
      "This cannot be the case when we enter the Imaginative world; for
      no matter what a surface may be, there can be no third dimension
      there, it is no longer taken into account the moment we enter the
      etheric, Imaginative world. Hence mathematicians must transform all
      the equations of ether, so that they do not refer to the three-
      dimensional but to the two-dimensional world. This is merely
      interpolated for mathematicians.
      "Now if we wish to enter the world accessible to Inspiration, that
      world in which we live as egos between going to sleep and waking, we
      find it to be a one dimensional world; we are concerned with a world
      on one dimension only. The transition into that world of a single
      dimension, which presupposes that the student shall have acquired the
      quality of Inspiration, of perceiving the Spiritual world in which we
      live between going to sleep and waking, the understanding of that
      world was in all ages possessed by the so-called science of
      Initiation." (26 Aug. 1923, in: The Evolution of the World and of
      Humanity, 1989, pp.188-189)
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