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Steiner about knowledge

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  • Lutz Baar
    Three sorts of knowledge (from ch.22, Story of my life, by Rudolf Steiner) How the ordinary conceptual knowledge, which is attained through sense-observation,
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 11, 2003
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      Three sorts of knowledge

       

      (from ch.22, Story of my life, by Rudolf Steiner)

       

      How the ordinary conceptual knowledge, which is attained through sense-observation, is related to perception of the spiritual, became for me, at this period of my life, not only an experience through ideas as it had been, but one in which the whole man participated. The experience through ideas – which, however, takes up within itself the real spiritual – has given birth to my book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (PoF). Experience by means of the whole man attains to the spiritual world in its very being far more than does experience through ideas. And yet this latter is a higher stage as compared with the conceptual grasp upon the sense-world.

       

      In the experience through ideas one grasps, not the sense-world, but a spiritual world which to a certain extent rests immediately upon this.

       

      While all this was seeking for experience and expression in my soul, three sorts of knowledge were inwardly present before me. The first sort is the conceptual knowledge attained in sense-observation. This is acquired by the soul, and then sustained within in proportion to the powers of thought there existent. Repetitions of the acquired content have no other significance than that this may be well sustained. The second sort of knowledge is that which is not woven of concepts taken from sense-observation but experienced inwardly, independently of the senses. Then experience, by reason of its very nature, becomes the guarantor of the fact that these concepts are grounded in reality. To this realization that concepts contain the guarantee of spiritual reality one attains with certitude by reason of the nature of experience, just as one experiences in connection with knowledge through the senses a certainty that one is not in the presence of illusions but of reality.

       

      In the case of this ideal-spiritual knowledge one is not content – as in the case of the sense-knowledge – with the acquisition of the knowledge, with the result that one then possesses this in one's thought. One must make this process of acquisition a continuous process. Just as it is not sufficient for an organism to have breathed for a certain length of time in order then to metamorphose what has been acquired through breathing into further life processes, so also an acquiring like that of sense-knowledge does not suffice for the ideal-spiritual knowledge. For this it is necessary that the mind should remain in a continuous interchange with that world into which one has entered through knowledge. This takes place by means of meditation, which – as above indicated – arises out of one's ideal insight into the value of meditating. This interchange I had sought long before this revolution in my thirty-fifth year.

       

      What now came about was meditation as a necessity for the mental life; and with this there stood before my mind the third form of knowledge. This not only led to greater depths of the spiritual world, but also permitted an intimate living communion with this world. By force of an inner necessity I was compelled to set up again and again at the very central point of my consciousness an absolutely definite sort of conception.

       

      It was this: If in my mind I live in conceptions which rest upon the sense-world, then, in my direct experience, I am in position to speak of the reality of what is experienced only so long as I confront with sense-observation a thing or an event. My sense assures me of the reality of what is observed so long as I observe it.

       

      Not so when I unite myself through ideal-spiritual knowledge with beings or events of the spiritual world. Here there enters into the single perception the direct experience of the status of the thing of which I am aware continuing beyond the duration of observation. For instance, if one experiences the human ego as the inner being most fundamentally one's own, then one knows in the perceiving experience that this ego was before the life in the physical body and will be after this. What one experiences thus in the ego reveals this directly, just as the rose reveals its redness in the act of our becoming aware.

       

      In such meditation, practiced because of inner spiritual necessity, there was gradually evolved the consciousness of an “inner spiritual man” who, through a more complete release from the physical organism, can live, perceive, and move in the spiritual. This self-sufficing spiritual man entered into my experience under the influence of meditation. The experience of the spiritual thereby underwent an essential deepening. That sense-observation arises by means of the organism can be sufficiently proven by the sort of self observation possible in the case of this knowledge. But neither is the ideal-spiritual knowledge yet independent of the organism. Self-comprehension shows the following as to this: For sense-observation the single act of knowing is bound up with the organism. For the ideal-spiritual knowing the single act is entirely independent of the physical organism; but the possibility that such knowledge may be unfolded at all by man requires that in general the life within the organism shall be existent. In the case of the third form of knowing the situation is this: it can come into being in the spiritual man only when he can make himself as free from the physical organism as if this were not there at all.

       

       

       

    • Pacbay
      Now, can you restate so that it is comprehensible in direct English. ... From: Lutz Baar To: steiner@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, January 11, 2003 11:32 AM
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 11, 2003
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        Now, can you restate so that it is comprehensible in direct English.
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Lutz Baar
        Sent: Saturday, January 11, 2003 11:32 AM
        Subject: [steiner] Steiner about knowledge

        Three sorts of knowledge

         

        (from ch.22, Story of my life, by Rudolf Steiner)

         

        How the ordinary conceptual knowledge, which is attained through sense-observation, is related to perception of the spiritual, became for me, at this period of my life, not only an experience through ideas as it had been, but one in which the whole man participated. The experience through ideas – which, however, takes up within itself the real spiritual – has given birth to my book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (PoF). Experience by means of the whole man attains to the spiritual world in its very being far more than does experience through ideas. And yet this latter is a higher stage as compared with the conceptual grasp upon the sense-world.

         

        In the experience through ideas one grasps, not the sense-world, but a spiritual world which to a certain extent rests immediately upon this.

         

        While all this was seeking for experience and expression in my soul, three sorts of knowledge were inwardly present before me. The first sort is the conceptual knowledge attained in sense-observation. This is acquired by the soul, and then sustained within in proportion to the powers of thought there existent. Repetitions of the acquired content have no other significance than that this may be well sustained. The second sort of knowledge is that which is not woven of concepts taken from sense-observation but experienced inwardly, independently of the senses. Then experience, by reason of its very nature, becomes the guarantor of the fact that these concepts are grounded in reality. To this realization that concepts contain the guarantee of spiritual reality one attains with certitude by reason of the nature of experience, just as one experiences in connection with knowledge through the senses a certainty that one is not in the presence of illusions but of reality.

         

        In the case of this ideal-spiritual knowledge one is not content – as in the case of the sense-knowledge – with the acquisition of the knowledge, with the result that one then possesses this in one's thought. One must make this process of acquisition a continuous process. Just as it is not sufficient for an organism to have breathed for a certain length of time in order then to metamorphose what has been acquired through breathing into further life processes, so also an acquiring like that of sense-knowledge does not suffice for the ideal-spiritual knowledge. For this it is necessary that the mind should remain in a continuous interchange with that world into which one has entered through knowledge. This takes place by means of meditation, which – as above indicated – arises out of one's ideal insight into the value of meditating. This interchange I had sought long before this revolution in my thirty-fifth year.

         

        What now came about was meditation as a necessity for the mental life; and with this there stood before my mind the third form of knowledge. This not only led to greater depths of the spiritual world, but also permitted an intimate living communion with this world. By force of an inner necessity I was compelled to set up again and again at the very central point of my consciousness an absolutely definite sort of conception.

         

        It was this: If in my mind I live in conceptions which rest upon the sense-world, then, in my direct experience, I am in position to speak of the reality of what is experienced only so long as I confront with sense-observation a thing or an event. My sense assures me of the reality of what is observed so long as I observe it.

         

        Not so when I unite myself through ideal-spiritual knowledge with beings or events of the spiritual world. Here there enters into the single perception the direct experience of the status of the thing of which I am aware continuing beyond the duration of observation. For instance, if one experiences the human ego as the inner being most fundamentally one's own, then one knows in the perceiving experience that this ego was before the life in the physical body and will be after this. What one experiences thus in the ego reveals this directly, just as the rose reveals its redness in the act of our becoming aware.

         

        In such meditation, practiced because of inner spiritual necessity, there was gradually evolved the consciousness of an “inner spiritual man” who, through a more complete release from the physical organism, can live, perceive, and move in the spiritual. This self-sufficing spiritual man entered into my experience under the influence of meditation. The experience of the spiritual thereby underwent an essential deepening. That sense-observation arises by means of the organism can be sufficiently proven by the sort of self observation possible in the case of this knowledge. But neither is the ideal-spiritual knowledge yet independent of the organism. Self-comprehension shows the following as to this: For sense-observation the single act of knowing is bound up with the organism. For the ideal-spiritual knowing the single act is entirely independent of the physical organism; but the possibility that such knowledge may be unfolded at all by man requires that in general the life within the organism shall be existent. In the case of the third form of knowing the situation is this: it can come into being in the spiritual man only when he can make himself as free from the physical organism as if this were not there at all.

         

         

         



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      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        Three sorts of knowledge (from ch.22, Story of my life, by Rudolf Steiner) How the ordinary conceptual knowledge, which is attained through sense-observation,
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 12, 2003
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          Three sorts of knowledge
          (from ch.22, Story of my life, by Rudolf Steiner)

          How the ordinary conceptual knowledge, which is attained through sense-observation, is related to perception of the spiritual, became for me, at this period of my life, not only an experience through ideas as it had been, but one in which the whole man participated. The experience through ideas – which, however, takes up within itself the real spiritual – has given birth to my book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Experience by means of the whole man attains to the spiritual world in its very being far more than does experience through ideas. And yet this latter is a higher stage as compared with the conceptual grasp upon the sense-world.

          In the experience through ideas one grasps, not the sense-world, but a spiritual world which to a certain extent rests immediately upon this.

          While all this was seeking for experience and expression in my soul, three sorts of knowledge were inwardly present before me. The first sort is the conceptual knowledge attained in sense-observation. This is acquired by the soul, and then sustained within in proportion to the powers of thought there existent. Repetitions of the acquired content have no other significance than that this may be well sustained. The second sort of knowledge is that which is not woven of concepts taken from sense-observation but experienced inwardly, independently of the senses. Then experience, by reason of its very nature, becomes the guarantor of the fact that these concepts are grounded in reality. To this realization that concepts contain the guarantee of spiritual reality one attains with certitude by reason of the nature of experience, just as one experiences in connection with knowledge through the senses a certainty that one is not in the presence of illusions but of reality.

          In the case of this ideal-spiritual knowledge one is not content – as in the case of the sense-knowledge – with the acquisition of the knowledge, with the result that one then possesses this in one's thought. One must make this process of acquisition a continuous process. Just as it is not sufficient for an organism to have breathed for a certain length of time in order then to metamorphose what has been acquired through breathing into further life processes, so also an acquiring like that of sense-knowledge does not suffice for the ideal-spiritual knowledge. For this it is necessary that the mind should remain in a continuous interchange with that world into which one has entered through knowledge. This takes place by means of meditation, which – as above indicated – arises out of one's ideal insight into the value of meditating. This interchange I had sought long before this revolution in my thirty-fifth year.

          What now came about was meditation as a necessity for the mental life; and with this there stood before my mind the third form of knowledge. This not only led to greater depths of the spiritual world, but also permitted an intimate living communion with this world. By force of an inner necessity I was compelled to set up again and again at the very central point of my consciousness an absolutely definite sort of conception.

          It was this: If in my mind I live in conceptions which rest upon the sense-world, then, in my direct experience, I am in position to speak of the reality of what is experienced only so long as I confront with sense-observation a thing or an event. My sense assures me of the reality of what is observed so long as I observe it.

          Not so when I unite myself through ideal-spiritual knowledge with beings or events of the spiritual world. Here there enters into the single perception the direct experience of the status of the thing of which I am aware continuing beyond the duration of observation. For instance, if one experiences the human ego as the inner being most fundamentally one's own, then one knows in the perceiving experience that this ego was before the life in the physical body and will be after this. What one experiences thus in the ego reveals this directly, just as the rose reveals its redness in the act of our becoming aware.

          In such meditation, practiced because of inner spiritual necessity, there was gradually evolved the consciousness of an “inner spiritual man” who, through a more complete release from the physical organism, can live, perceive, and move in the spiritual. This self-sufficing spiritual man entered into my experience under the influence of meditation. The experience of the spiritual thereby underwent an essential deepening. That sense-observation arises by means of the organism can be sufficiently proven by the sort of self observation possible in the case of this knowledge. But neither is the ideal-spiritual knowledge yet independent of the organism. Self-comprehension shows the following as to this: For sense-observation the single act of knowing is bound up with the organism. For the ideal-spiritual knowing the single act is entirely independent of the physical organism; but the possibility that such knowledge may be unfolded at all by man requires that in general the life within the organism shall be existent. In the case of the third form of knowing the situation is this: it can come into being in the spiritual man only when he can make himself as free from the physical organism as if this were not there at all.

          pacbay@... writes:
          Now, can you restate so that it is comprehensible in direct English.


           
          ******* There's nothing so incomprehensible there, I'd say. The first sort of knowing is what we all have when we know what we perceive. The second is attained through thinking about thinking, pure thinking in ideas rather than thinking about mere appearances of the senses, as in mathematics, geometry, etc.  It is a consciousness that remains constantly operating once it is enkindled in a man, Steiner is saying.  But although a single operation of it is not dependent on the body ("triangle" or "rational number" not being experienced by the body), yet this continuous consciousness is only attained by being in an organism. When in meditation one's consciousness is strengthened to the point that it remains conscious of itself when leaving the body, then the spiritual being is knowing spiritual content entirely free from the body. The experience of one's own thinking, of the dream state, the dreamless sleep state, etc., is completely transformed on a regular basis. Many mathematicians and philosophers reach the second but do not proceed to the third. Its cultivation is "initiation".

          Dr. Starman
          http://www.DrStarman.net
        • Pacbay
          Good restatement and my point exactly. I understood the first quote but how many others scratched their heads or used a quick delete button. ... Now, can you
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 12, 2003
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            Good restatement and my point exactly. I understood the first quote but how many others scratched their heads or used a quick delete button.
             
             
            -----
            Now, can you restate so that it is comprehensible in direct English.


             
            ******* There's nothing so incomprehensible there, I'd say. The first sort of knowing is what we all have when we know what we perceive. The second is attained through thinking about thinking, pure thinking in ideas rather than thinking about mere appearances of the senses, as in mathematics, geometry, etc.  It is a consciousness that remains constantly operating once it is enkindled in a man, Steiner is saying.  But although a single operation of it is not dependent on the body ("triangle" or "rational number" not being experienced by the body), yet this continuous consciousness is only attained by being in an organism. When in meditation one's consciousness is strengthened to the point that it remains conscious of itself when leaving the body, then the spiritual being is knowing spiritual content entirely free from the body. The experience of one's own thinking, of the dream state, the dreamless sleep state, etc., is completely transformed on a regular basis. Many mathematicians and philosophers reach the second but do not proceed to the third. Its cultivation is "initiation".

            Dr. Starman

            http://www.DrStarman.net

            Post to steiner@egroups.com

            To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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            Search the archives of the group at:
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            Recommended books by Rudolf Steiner at:
            http://www.esotericlinks.com/steinerbooks.html



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