4884RE: [steiner] Re: think piece: Is the Internet good or bad for the Consciousness Soul?
- Aug 17 1:57 PM__*******,Well, this is a pretty good example of what's wrong with so-called 'anthroposophical' discussion on the other lists, and why I don't waste any time there. When I have the time to correct all the errors here and explain the many things that require it, I may do so, but I don't think others on the list would be helped by it to understand our subject better, or be very interested in it.
Abstract thinking and regarding spirit-science as words in books is of very limited use in grasping even the most elementary things in it. It has to be grasped out of your life. Such direct experience is always possible if we don't bar our path to it.
For instance, saying "consciousness soul" is "Steiner's concept" is like saying the Pythagorean theorem belonged only to Pythagoras and you'd have to quote him to understand it. This is false.
We all experience the soul directly and need only correctly interpret our experience of it, as I've tried to indicate repeatedly.
More some other time.
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 12:15:27 -0700
Subject: [steiner] Re: think piece: Is the Internet good or bad for the Consciousness Soul?
[Robert had written:
"The thrust of my question wasn't about my own
experience of the Consciousness Soul, though
this is a related question. I was mostly,
vaguely, groping toward a question about the
Consciousness Soul in contemporary world
To Starman, who wrote:
>>Well, see, I'm afraid I must decline todiscuss spirit-science things on that basis,
because, as I see it, that's not having a
spiritual-scientifi c discussion at all. The
German anthroposophists are sick of "Herr Dr.
Steiner hatt gesage" ("Dr. Steiner said...")
and I think justifiably so, but that's all you
have if you aren't working towards direct
But I am working toward direct knowledge. You
asked me about my experience, and so I told you
about it, briefly. And I briefly outlined my
understanding of the Consciousness Soul in
society, relating Steiner's concepts to the
generally known facts. The Steiner-saids are
not all that I have, but surely Steiner's words
must be taken into account: *Consciousness
Soul* is his concept, after all.
>>But we all HAVE direct experience of thesoul, so why should we start speculating
without coming to understand what we're talking
about first? What good would discussing the
'effects of something on colors' be if you
couldn't see colors?
But I wasn't just "speculating" ; I did *start*
to show the "colors", both in my experience and
in a wider context.
>>To work with spirit-science, we have to takesteps towards having direct experience
ourselves. Not everyone can directly experience
it all, but the first chapter of Theosophy is
all you need to work with to experience the
three parts of your soul directly. Then, the
early lecture-cycles "Paths of Experience" and
"Metamorphoses of the Soul", which were called
"Cycle A" by the early anthroposophists because
they're so fundamental after the written works,
are excellent at leading you to recognize the
three souls in your breathing experience and
life experiences. We could read them together
>>If the discussion is, "Is the internet goodor bad for people?", or "good or bad for the
mind?", fine. But if you want to use the
"consciousness soul", well, I think everyone
would agree that people would first have to
know what it IS to have any intelligent
discussion of it, surely.<<
I have to say that this response is puzzling
and frustrating for me. First, you rejected my
original post because it allegedly had "nothing
whatever to do with anthropsophy" . Then, you
"decline to discuss" because, you imply, I
brought too much Steiner-said, but then you
want for us to study more Steiner-said. But I
already brought in the core definition from one
of the texts you recommend, but still you scold
me. This is confusing, to put it mildly.
But, if you want to study more texts, then you
could show us what Steiner-saids you mean and
how they relate to the original question. I've
outlined my approach, but you haven't really
shown us yours. I feel that the next move is
still up to you. You could go into those texts
and show us what you think they tell us about
the Consciousness Soul, and then maybe your
ideas about how the Internet affects it.
>>See, that's an example of "Dr. Steiner said".It's misleading because the German word he used
was translated as "instincts". He knew that
human beings have no instincts. An instinct by
scientific definition is a COMPLEX behavior
opattern that is UNLEARNED, and naturally
occurs in ALL normal members of a species---
like the web-pattern of a spider or the salmon
swimming back upstream to spawn. By that
definition, we human beings have no instincts.
We have URGES, but our behavior to satisfy them
is all LEARNED. I'm sure he meant "urge",
In my dictionary (Webster's 7th collegiate) the
first definition of *instinct* is:
"a natural aptitude, impulse, or capacity"
. . . then the second one (a) is more like the
scientific usage you indicated, but (b) is:
"behavior that is mediated by reactions below
the conscious level".
No, I don't agree that's too much Steiner-said,
and I think that the translator's choice of
*instinct* was well within the standard usage.
You might well explicate by pointing out that
RS was not speaking strictly in the scientific
sense that you described, but I see no good in
getting "anal-retentive" about it, and
especially not when the dictionary backs up
the translator. And BTW, *learned behavior*
is a tricky, dangerous concept in the
scientific context; if you're not careful
about it, that concept could pull you into
the deterministic suppositions of materialism.
And still the question remains: how does the
Internet (and technology in general) affect
this instinctive, "outer" Consciousness Soul?
>>This is good for a start but I'm sure anyonereading this discussion who's a beginner at
anthroposophy would probably have a lot more
questions to ask before feeling like they know
what's meant by "consciousness soul" now. It
would probably be better to start a few pages
back in Theosophy, with what's the soul
compared to the body and then the 3 parts of
the soul. And this is so fundamental to
OK, let 'em ask. And if you want to answer
with more Steiner-saids, that's OK too. But it
seems a little inconsistent, at the least, for
you to scold me when I bring in Steiner-saids
(and considering that the banner for this
e-list reads: "For discussion of the works of
And it is especially baffling since I already
brought in Steiner's core definition of
*Consciousness Soul* and briefly discussed my
experience in relation to it. You seem to
think that my discussion was somehow
inadequate, but you don't say exactly how and
why. -- My reaction is: if you think it would
be better to start a few pages back, then show
us your "better"; don't just criticize and
leave us guessing.
>>Sure, and I think that grounds theconversation a bit. But they say you have ADD?
How on earth could you write such a long e-
mail? I've known people with ADD, they can't
write something like this---sometimes, can't
even read a book at all. Doesn't seem that bad
in your case.<<
You don't know how long and how much effort it
takes me to write a post like that (or this
one). And I surely have had trouble reading
books. Didn't finish many reading assignments
in high school, but I could still slide by.
But I couldn't slide by that way when I got to
the university. I might find myself having
scanned and turned 50 or 100 pages without my
conscious mind being involved at all; it was
somewhere else; didn't remember anything that I
had just "read". As you might imagine, I
didn't last long at the U.
And there is no "they". I use the term *ADD*
because it seems to pretty much fit my life-
story, according to the book *Scattered Minds*
by Gabor Mate. Also I fit many or most of the
criteria for ADD listed in that book. -- But
I’m 60 years old now, with all that learning-
experience, and much meditation behind me --
attempted, at least.
And you don't know how many projects I'm
leaving on the back burner because I got
interested in Hoffman's ideas. A trail of
unfinished projects behind in one's life-path
-- that's another symptom of ADD.
>>But the subject wasn't supposed to be theeffect of the internet on consciousness, but
specifically on the "consciousness soul." Big
Again, this is perplexing to me; seems like a
nit-picky evasion. The Consciousness Soul is
surely a "subset" of consciousness, and it
would seem that something that affects
consciousness in general, in the age of the
Consciousness Soul, must therefore affect the
Consciousness Soul, at least in a general way
in the wider culture. And maybe even in an
individual way for those who are working on the
inner aspects of their own Consciousness Souls.
-- Overall: *Consciousness Soul* is Steiner's
concept; he coined it. I don't see how we
could understand the term without going into
some Steiner-saids, at least for starters. And
Steiner did use that concept to shed light on
facts of history that are generally known. One
need not rely on the Steiner-saids in a
dogmatic way; one can take the generally known
facts of history and see how they are explained
in an enlightening way by Steiner's concepts.
And likewise, one need not be dogmatic about
the Steiner-saids concerning the inner aspects
of the soul.
Strangely, it seems that you do something that
your *bête noire* Joel Wendt does: trying to
put down other people when they bring in a
Steiner quote, when all the while you are
bringing in plenty of Steiner-saids of your own
when they suit your purpose. Could some Wendt
have rubbed off on you, or do you react against
him so strongly because he personifies
something negative within you?
And I did read over your post to Mathew about
the Consciousness Soul. Obviously, you did
rely heavily on Steiner-saids, as well you
should when discussing Steiner's concepts (and
given Steiner's enlightening use of those
concepts to explain human-cultural facts), but
only implicitly, not explicitly. There was not
one proper quotation in your whole post. Now,
I don't mean to get "all anal" and nit-picky,
but this does raise questions of substance:
where does Steiner end and Starman begin, and
where Starman end and Steiner begin? You did
say some things that seem to me to be very un-
Steinerian; for instance:
>>When you start becoming aware of the spirit,you no longer experience yourself just as a
separate ego in a world of objects. Instead,
the separateness vanishes . . . .<<
>>Another way you could say it is that withonly the intellectual soul you can be a
scientist, but when you start developing the
consciousness soul you have to start becoming a
I don't know how those statements could be
consistent with Steiner's concept, but if you
think that they are, you could quote the
relevant Steiner-saids and try to show the
relation to your formulations. As it is, I
can't tell whether you conceive such statements
to be in agreement with Steiner, or whether you
are deliberately opposing Steiner. If you are
deliberately opposing Steiner's ideas, it might
help if you would say so explicitly and tell us
Robert MasonPost to email@example.comSearch the archives of the group at:
Recommended books by Rudolf Steiner at:
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