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5206How do we know anthroposophy is true?

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  • Durward Starman
    Aug 22 6:02 PM
      "...In principle I am interested in all aspects of esoterics - also the purely spiritual - but since I`m not clairvayant it will in the final analysis be a question of either embarking on a spiritual schooling myself or believing what one authority (eg. Steiner) or other has to say. After all, how do you know that someone like Steiner is right? He behaved exemplary: wrote "ordinary" works (Philosphy of Freedom etc), told the world about his methods used, showed his knowledge of most aspects of culture etc...but in the final analysis, how do you know that he was right when it comes to purely spiritual issues? For your own part you can always believe what you want, but it´s different when you shall explain to other people why e.g. Steiner is right and not someone else.

       ******* 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.
      > Starman

      RB: OK. I think I understand the "Philosophy of Freedom (PoF)" so I assume we would agree that thoughts exists in a common spiritual world. What I don`t understand is the next step, i.e how you know WHAT thoughts or other "things" from the spirit / soul worlds that are correct, i.e that matches the reality that they are said to match.
      *******When you perceive an object in daily life, you match a concept to it and say it's a "book" or a "plant". How do you do THAT? Have you thought it through completely?
         And I believe it would be more correct to say, rather than that "thoughts exists in a common spiritual world", that "we as thinkers participate in a common spiritual world." Thoughts are not like physical things, but rather are the immaterial objects of the spiritual activity of thinking. And I don't mean in some hypothetical mystical state of knowing, I mean in ordinary thinking.
      >>It seems that you consider higher faculties to be developed gradually (we are already on the "other side"), and that is also my impression from studying anthroposophy. But is it reliable on that level?
      ******* It's the same thing as your judgment that the green thing in a pot on your desk is a plant. You could doubt that too. But you don't.
      >>Can you really testify to other people that you know this or that from the higher worlds based on this? If so, why are all the discussions on what is correct or not, that comes from different sources? Have they not done there PoF?
      ******* If two people are psychologically free, they can only have a disagreement about any matter if one of them has not gone high enough. When we reach the highest level, we all perceive the same things. If those two people went through the Philosophy of Freedom together, they would find where one didn't go far enough.
      >>For example you, yourself, seems to believe in some of Cayce´s statements, whereas you said in one of these forums that you were sceptic to the descriptions by Anne Catherine Emmerich regarding the crucifixion of Christ. Then there were other on the forum who were totally sceptic to Cayce, and then there are those who have confidence in A-C Emmerich. Robert Powell has written at least one book partly based on her visions, so he seems to have confidence in it, although I don`t know his view on the description of the crucifixion.

      ******* If you'd mention something specific from the Cayce readings or from the mystic Emmerich I could address it. I don't know that I said I was skeptical about something specific she or Powell wrote but rather that I'm always skeptical about fervently emotional religious people and their visions. I have psychic impressions but I can stand apart from them and analyze them like a scientist. That's spiritual science.
         You said it's either a choice of embarking on the path of spiritual schooling or just having blind faith. Well, nothing is stopping you from embarking on that path. Once you are on it, your questions begin to become different than when you were standing back and not committing. For example, the anthroposophical idea of threefold man, or the four temperaments -- -- they're just ideas that you can say maybe were right but who knows. But if you work with the anthroposophical medicine and see how the three systems interact, or you become a teacher and see the four temperaments in the children, then it's no longer something that some guy said in a book. You start to see them for yourself, and I do mean SEE. You can doubt ideas, but not direct perceptions.
         In fact, remembering it's Goethe's birthday this week, he as a scientific visionary had an exchange with the skeptical Schiller about this very matter. From the study of the multitude of plants Goethe had seen the underlying structure of all plants and described it to Schiller. Schiller replied, well that's just an idea. Goethe responded, in that case I am happy to be seeing ideas with my eyes. He had overcome the dualism.
         He also wrote a nice little verse which I have it in English translation about committing to something.
      "That you can do, or think you can do, begin it!
      Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!
      Only begin, and then the mind grows heated;
      Begin, and then the work will be completed."

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