5195RE: [steiner] Re: Correspondances and polarities in the physical world
- Aug 19, 2010Robert wrote: I also think that Steiner had hopes of there being a powerful anthroposophical society, that could be a meeting place for esoterically interested persons from different spiritual traditions. The activities would be everything from discussions, lectures, study groups, art...but also in the long run some kind of grade-based "mystery school" with ritualistic elements etc, where people seeking an esoteric schooling could find the guidance for this. Has this come about? Well, I think it may be quite different, depending on where you look, and I don´t have much of an overview. In Sweden, where I live there is - as in most European countries I guess - the traditional anthroposophic activities with education, art, biodynamic farming, medicine etc, but I don`t think that the teachings of anthroposophy is presented to the outside world in a way that will attract new people, and also that there is no good strategies for taking care of people who after all find their way to it. This is my judgement after studying how it is presented outwardly, including the websites that are in different ways connected to the anthro society / movement in Sweden...
******* As for the Anthroposophical Society/School of Spiritual Science---- for a long time, at Steiner's direction, its study material was stamped with a label that said its contents came from a source that had nothing to do with customary opinions and therefore that students would not discuss it with anyone unless they were also students in the School or had gained the equivalent knowledge in a specific way recognized by the School. So no, I don't think he wanted lots of people from so-called Rosicrucian orders, Masons, etc., descending on the Goetheanum; only if individuals recognized anthroposophy as worth far more than what they got from those other groups. In the School, we have our Mystery School whose ritual elements are inner, performed in meditation, along with the external acting-out of the Mystery Plays which pictures what you experience as you develop. And if people find anthroposophy and say, I want to work with farming or with children or with medicine, there is a Section in the Goetheanum that will assist any serious endeavors. It's on the internet now, of course. In fact, if you knew anyone wanting to work with any of these I could put him or her in touch with the right Section leader almost immediately. We were always told not to prosletyze, to seek out new members, but to allow people to find their way to us, and I think that's wise. If people aren't, I think it has more to do with the individuals than the Society.
> RB: OK, it seems that we disagree on these issues, so I don´t know if it´s meaningful to continue the discussion. I suggest we postpone this to some later time...******* OK, I'll answer your other question--- but first I'm curious why my response makes you want to drop the discussion. You said you thought Steiner wanted a powerful society with an esoteric center, and I said there is one, at the Goetheanum, and the School of Spiritual Science which anyone anywhere can join. That makes you drop the subject and just say "I disagree" with no further discussion? That's not a very encouraging sign.
> ******* This is a much more important point. It's not correct, I believe from my own direct experience, that there's what you can know and then there's "revelation", stuff that people say from something you can't experience and so you have to take on faith. The Philosophy of Freedom is a path that can enable anyone to recognize that he is already having clairvoyant experience when he thinks in pure thinking. When you say "I" to yourself you already go beyond Nature. Perhaps we can discuss this a bit more: it's the key to overcoming that dualism of "what I know/other".RB: It would be interesting to discuss this. I suggest that you start, Starman, and then the rest of us will comment.
******* This is a subject that really goes right to the heart of our movement and of anthroposophy itself. There are 100 different ways to approach this, so I'll just pick one. We human beings normally experience ourselves as centered in one point in space, in our bodies, and we feel we end at the boundaries of our skin. When we think and feel, we habitually imagine those are things going on within our skin. For the past several centuries, this has been the normal condition of mankind, and so, in our philosophy, the whole question of "How do I really know anything for certain about all those things out there?" has come to be the main question. As you may know, philosophers like Kant and so many others could not really answer this question in a positive way, so instead modern human beings are filled with doubt about their ability to know anything at all. People make rueful jokes about being stupid, about their thinking ability perhaps being worthless, even joke about whether they really exist or not. This is all pretty normal in our modern society.
Except among mathematicians and a majority of scientists, that is. That's because they use their thinking ability to successfully deal with reality every day. One of the results of this is this technology I'm using to write this and you're using to read it. The entire Internet would be unthinkable without algorithms and mathematical/logical tools that go back to the ancient Greeks. Unfortunately, as Thomas Edison said, "5% of people think; 10% of the people think they think; and the other 85% would rather die than think." So the vast majority of people have no idea of the mathematical and logical basis of the technology they use everyday, and instead use it while contradicting their actual experience of the world by constantly doubting the ability of thinking to know anything.
But our thinking proves by its success in dealing with reality that it is not something that is only within the boundaries of our skin. In its simplest form, when we do a mathematical equation or think through how the three inner angles of a triangle add up to 180°, we prove again and again that in our thinking a power is working which is the same power by which the world outside of us works.
That was Dr. Steiner's starting point in his philosophy. He found lots of nay-sayers preaching that thinking was useless and the quest for truth hopeless, but only a man who had absolute confidence that in his creative thinking he experienced truth could be his guide -- -- Goethe. So Steiner wrote books of philosophy for 20 years, trying to awaken people to this contradiction of their own selves. His major work, the Philosophy of Freedom, was entirely designed to enable a person who really thought while he read it to wake up to what his thinking power really was. It is the action of the eternal human spirit. Not the mere "having of thought images", but true THINKING. Anyone who experiences this knows that he is not limited to the space within his skin while an outside world is just something 'beyond' him.
It's not the same thing for me to simply summarize The Philosophy of Freedom as it is for a person to read it and work with it and come to these understandings yourself, but the only way we could use this medium to do that is if we took up the book and studied it over time. For now, I'll just state the main points. We think with the spirit, which is the same power that creates the entire world we experience; that's why our thinking has the power to change it, as with our technology turning night into day and summer into winter with electricity. But beyond these obvious facts about thinking we can verify with the external world, delving into what we actually do when we think shows that it is not at all something located in or limited to the brain or body. When we experience something through perception, if we can think, we seek to find the concept which matches that perception from our whole world of concepts, which is not material. This is spiritual activity, something we have to will -- -- -- if we or a creature that is not human simply stares at an object, it does not happen. We draw the correct concept from a world of concepts by an inner, spiritual faculty which Steiner calls intuition. And one of the most important concepts which we draw from the conceptual world is "I", the concept of ourselves. He demonstrates that self awareness originates in spiritual activity, and we know ourselves to be individuals because of a purely spiritual act of intuition; and throughout the remainder of his life he demonstrated what he preached, that this was only the first act of intuition of which human beings are capable: it can be developed further.
So what is the source of anthroposophy, of Steiner's knowing things? Pure intuition, but not meaning by that word what people usually mean. Its source is the same as the intuition "I AM", which we all have from about the age of three on. This is divine knowledge.
If people don't work on developing this, but instead just use their ordinary speculative knowledge comparing one thought-image to another, they will not reach the source. Then they'll believe that somebody else has some way of knowing something that, of course, is beyond them, or they'll believe that everybody is just as limited as they believe themselves to be. Someone once said, "Man is a God who has forgotten his origin and come to believe he is a beggar." That is our situation all too often with regard to our thinking consciousness. When you read a book of anthroposophy and REALLY THINK each word, you ARE experiencing what it says spiritually. This is what Steiner meant when he came to give an early cycle of lectures and said that anyone who REALLY read his book Theosophy could have given the same lectures.
He always rejected dualism, for instance the idea that there's what we ordinary people can know, and then there's something beyond that which we can only have faith in (Bible, church etc.). Now you see why. This was also expressed by the old Christian mystics and philosophers by saying things like that there is the created, Nature, and then there is man, in which a spark of the Creator is also, enabling him to rise above merely being part of the created.
Reading books or discussing anthroposophy is not of much value if we have no confidence in our thinking ability to know truth.
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