RE: [steiner] PoF - how does thinking receive a concept by intuition?
>From: "Lee Noonan" <leeanoonan@...>*******Welcome back Lee, yes I'd say that's actually quite a bit! For the
>Subject: [steiner] PoF - how does thinking receive a concept by intuition?
>I haven't posted for a while . since the end of 2003 in fact when I was
>reading Theosophy. So I'd better introduce myself again. My name is Lee
>and I live in Botton Village Camphill community in North Yorkshire,
>with my wife , who is a 3rd year Eurythmy student, and my 8 year old son.
>I have read the first half of Philosophy of Freedom (Michael Wilson
>translation) and I have some questions.
>Just how does thinking trigger the process whereby a concept is received by
>intuition from the universal world of ideas?
>I observe a tree. I have a percept of the tree.
>I start thinking.
>My thinking receives the concept tree. How does that happen?
>I now have the real object tree = percept of tree + concept of tree. I
>know the tree
>But I wasn't conscious of the referring of the concept tree to the percept
>of the tree.
>Is my thinking using the percept as a reference to search the universe for
>the corresponding concept or is the concept and the percept given
>simultaneously and the thinking putting them back together again?
>And then I take this percept and concept and I have a mental picture of the
>I then stop looking at the tree. The mental picture remains.
>Where is this mental picture living now? In my memory?
>And then I look at the tree again, And I have a new percept of the tree.
>Now is my thinking going to get the concept from my last mental picture or
>from he universal world of ideas again? Or does the same process happen
>the first time ie I receive the universal concept and my thinking adds to
>the percept but then the mental picture is updated?
>That's probably enough for starters
benefit of newcomers, Steiner wrote philosophical works for many years
before becoming a Theosophist, and his main philosophical work was called
The Philosophy of Freedom (actually he said it shouldn't be called that in
English). Our little online group here studied it together a few years ago
for the 12 holy nights, but it's very difficult for a lot of people, he
said. I also did a summary of it which Matthew has been good enough to post
on the Internet (here: http://kcpost.net/EastMW_Anth.htm ), although one
part of the section on the Philosophy of Freedom is a bit jumbled up.
The theory of knowledge presented by Steiner has four levels: the percept
is given by the senses, while the concept is drawn by intuition from the
universal world of concepts. What's meant by that is that when we think, we
all have the same concepts, not different ones. It's easier to see this
with the usual entities used in pure thinking, mathematical and geometrical
objects. When we think the concept "triangle", we all are thinking "figure
of three lines whose inner angles add up to 180�". We first have to name the
concept when, in pure thinking, we learn geometry. Afterwards, we can
recognize any triangular object as being one. Points, lines, and planes are
pure ideas in this universal world of concepts. Thinking means relating one
pure idea to another, or the equivalent of going from one experience or
place to another in the sense world.
When we pass from relating one geometrical entity to another in pure
thinking to the relating of this activity to things we perceive, then we
convert the concept or idea into a mental image (the German "vorstellungen"
or representation), which is a concept RELATED TO a particular percept.
When Steiner talks about thinking, he means the pure thinking as in
mathematics and geometry; in ordinary everyday life, most people spend their
time having mental images, relating one representation to another. We seldom
think in pure thinking. If you think back to your experience of thinking in
high school in mathematics class, that was when you could have a clear
experience of the pure and non-material nature of thinking. Nowadays, most
people no longer have this clear experience of thinking. We "think" in
images, strongly connected with feeling. This is the fourth level Steiner
identifies, that of giving life to our ideas and mental images by connecting
them with feeling. That's not really thinking, it's more like having
reveries (mental images are what memory deals with).
So the answer to your question requires a re-experiencing of what we do
in REAL thinking. That's a very deep thing. Unless you work daily with pure
thinking, most people never connect their mental images of tables and chairs
to the hierarchy of concepts "table" or "chair" is a subsection of
"furniture", which is a subsection of " all objects made of wood." Just as
man is a mammal, which is one of 12 phyla of the animal kingdom, which is
one of the three kingdoms of life on Earth, but in ordinary everyday life we
never think of this hierarchy of reality and where we are placed in it, so
too most of us use the hierarchy of concepts every day without really
experiencing it anymore.
The gaining of every idea or concept is a drawing of that idea out of the
universal world of concepts by intuition. It's a spiritual activity that
most of us no longer experience as the non- material experience it is. But
one key to reexperiencing it is in the sequence of things you wrote above. "
I have a percept of the tree. I start thinking." Only if you WILL yourself
to think is this true. A person can simply stare at a tree and not think.
Intuition is willing your spiritual self to participate in the spiritual
world which we here have called the universal world of concepts.
That's a little bit of an answer. But since it's so intimately related to
our being, each of us has to work out the answer for ourselves, experience
it. So let's discuss it some more, I'm sure other people can contribute
something towards this.
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