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4888Re: think piece: Is the Internet good or bad for the Consciousness Soul?

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  • Mathew Morrell
    Aug 17, 2008

      One of the elements that drew me to Anthroposophy is that it is 100% extroverted.  That is to say, the purpose of Anthroposophy isn't to create more abstraction in the world—i.e. to philosophize—but to apply spiritual principles externally to the physical world. 

      Anthroposophy heals the earth of its afflictions, not through philosophy and abstraction, but through real applications of spiritual science. 

      True expressions of Anthroposophy would be biodynamic agriculture, Anthroposophical medicine, Eurythmy, Woldorf education, Creative Speech (Chekhov Method), Social Finance, Goethean Science, etc. 

      The abstract ground of Anthroposophy lies within the sphere of Theosophy, I believe—although I'm no expert in these matters. 

      I would consider Theosophy, from what I've read, to be 100% introverted; it contains no practical, worldly aim.  Rather, its purpose is to provide a pure stream of Western esoteric knowledge, from which Anthroposophy draws upon in its manifold applications. 

      The two branches are deeply related.


       

       

      --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, Durward Starman <DrStarman@...> wrote:
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      > 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.
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      > 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.
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      > 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.
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      > We all experience the soul directly and need only correctly interpret our experience of it, as I've tried to indicate repeatedly.
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      > More some other time.
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      > -starmanwww.DrStarman.com
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      > To: steiner@...: robertsmason_99@...: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 12:15:27 -0700Subject: [steiner] Re: think piece: Is the Internet good or bad for the Consciousness Soul?
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      > [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 evolution..."]To Starman, who wrote: >>Well, see, I'm afraid I must decline to discuss spirit-science things on that basis, because, as I see it, that's not having a spiritual-scientific 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 knowledge yourself. Robert writes: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.Starman wrote:>>But we all HAVE direct experience of the soul, 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? Robert writes:But I wasn't just "speculating"; I did *start* to show the "colors", both in my experience and in a wider context.Starman wrote:>>To work with spirit-science, we have to take steps 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 online here. >>If the discussion is, "Is the internet good or 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.<<Robert writes: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.Starman wrote:>>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", subconscious urges.<<Robert writes: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?Starman wrote:>>This is good for a start but I'm sure anyone reading 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 anthroposophy.<<Robert writes: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 Rudolf Steiner").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.Starman wrote:>>Sure, and I think that grounds the conversation 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.<<Robert writes: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.Starman wrote:>>But the subject wasn't supposed to be the effect of the internet on consciousness, but specifically on the "consciousness soul." Big difference.<<Robert writes: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 with only the intellectual soul you can be a scientist, but when you start developing the consciousness soul you have to start becoming a spiritual scientist.<<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 why.Robert Mason
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