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The fiery hell of insanity, God help us

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  • Mathew Morrell
    Were Steiner acquainted with Van Gogh s art work (to my knowledge, he wasn t) he could have used these canvases to visually demonstrate the idea of pure
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2006
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      Were Steiner acquainted with Van Gogh's art work (to my knowledge, he
      wasn't) he could have used these canvases to visually demonstrate the
      idea of "pure experience." Pure experience is reality without our
      perception. It is nature "an sich", in its self. Before
      consciousness organizes reality into shapes and patterns, it exists
      within itself as an endless multiplicity of shapes, forces, colors,
      sounds. Van Gogh's wheatfields seems to hover in this endless
      multiplicity, right at the edge of consciousness, at the instant
      before our eye hardens the landscape into stiff, hyper-objective,
      abstract forms. Spiritually they're worth volumes of text.

      The idea of "pure experience" was articulated in Steiner's work, "The
      Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception." Here he
      describes "pure experience" as a kind of virginal state of reality
      untouched by the organizing force of the intellect. At the time he
      wrote "Theory of Knowledge" he was not involved with theosophy; he
      was in academia, so he describes the idea of "pure experience", not
      in occult terms, but in the fairly rigorous language of philosophy.
      Unfortunately, this language is rather difficult for the layman to
      understand without exerting considerable discipline, which most of us
      seem unwilling to do considering the fact that Steiner's
      philosophical works are his least popular, even among his die hard
      follower. In later works he would use art to simplify his philosophy.

      Van Gogh is categorized as a subjective artist, because his art lacks
      realism. Yet he was so masterful at describing and analyzing his
      states of subjectivity that his paintings aren't self indulgent.
      They're objective, self-revelations of inner states. He's after
      universal truth, but he arrives at truth through his feelings. His
      emotions reached white-hot intensity as he painted his wheatfields in
      the rolling French countryside, so that they were ablaze with color;
      his stalks of corn rose like blades of fire from the lush hillsides.
      In his Olive groves paintings and with his cypress trees he creates a
      light unknown in the Renaissance Age, wholly un-natural and un-
      founded, composed of subtle green and silver hues mixed with deep
      golden tones, seen only in imaginary states of consciousness, never
      in nature.

      Obviously Van Gogh lived in a spiritually charged atmosphere, one
      imbued by prayer and meditation, and empowered by the hell of
      insanity.

      In his deep brown hues, where one could see the individual brush
      strokes, another un-known color merged with the brown-siennas--- and
      the effect is both dazzling and horrific. Together they formed a
      strangely transparent atmosphere hinting of spiritual illumination at
      the height on mental agony. In Cornfield with Crows we see birds
      flying above the hill like dark angels floating on long, outstretched
      wings. The brush work swirled like etheric vapor---thick and dense in
      the corners, then brightening in slow degrees becoming a fiery glow
      within the paintings' aura, which was touched off with indescribable
      gold nuances.

      Most contemporary works of art belonging to the supernatural genre
      emit a superficial feeling of a new age fantasy. But Van Gogh's work
      does not. His art was painted exactly as if it existed, as if his
      subjects were submitted to the focused gaze of an Initiate. Objects
      in his paintings seem to gather into themselves and to so utterly
      absorb the supermal colors that even the simplest of objects---old
      boots, the faces of peasants, even chairs---are ablaze with Love,
      Light and Glory.

      Van Gogh's art is "pure experience", redeemed from the fiery hell of
      insanity.
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