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To Robert and the List: "Goethean Conversation" (was: Is the internet good for the consciousness soul?) [LONG]

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  • Durward Starman
    Starman wrote: To work with spirit-science, we have to take steps towards having direct experience ourselves. Not everyone can directly experience it all, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 17 6:46 PM
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      Starman wrote:
      >>To work with spirit-science, we have to take steps towards having direct experience
      ourselves. Not everyone can directly experience it all, but the first chapter of Theosophy is
      all you need to work with to experience the three parts of your soul directly. Then, the
      early lecture-cycles "Paths of Experience" and "Metamorphoses of the Soul", which were called
      "Cycle A" by the early anthroposophists because they're so fundamental after the written works,
      are excellent at leading you to recognize the three souls in your breathing experience and
      life experiences. We could read them together online here.
        If the discussion is, "Is the internet good or bad for people?", or "good or bad for the
      mind?", fine. But if you want to use the "consciousness soul", well, I think everyone
      would agree that people would first have to know what it IS to have any intelligent
      discussion of it, surely.<<

      Robert writes:

      I have to say that this response is puzzling and frustrating for me. First, you rejected my
      original post because it allegedly had "nothing whatever to do with anthropsophy" . Then, you
      "decline to discuss" because, you imply, I brought too much Steiner-said, but then you
      want for us to study more Steiner-said. But I already brought in the core definition from one
      of the texts you recommend, but still you scold me. This is confusing, to put it mildly.
      But, if you want to study more texts, then you could show us what Steiner-saids you mean and
      how they relate to the original question. I've outlined my approach, but you haven't really
      shown us yours. I feel that the next move is still up to you. You could go into those texts
      and show us what you think they tell us about
      the Consciousness Soul...
      *******First, Robert, the original post was filled with what I regarded as negativity and conspiracy theories (by a guy whose idea of intellectual acheivement is that he asserts that all Jewish people have been practicing their religion wrong for 2,000 years and he's going to teach them all the right way). He had nothing to do with anthroposophy, first, and second, it brings spirit-science into disrepute to associate us with such irrational types. So I said the topic might be good apart from that, but to discuss the "consciousness soul" (or any other soul, for that matter) would mean participants would have to know what those terms mean. Spiritual science asserts we have three souls, so we should first discuss, what are they? Once people are clear on that, a fruitful (and anthroposophical) discussion might follow. Without that, it would be non-anthroposophic in nature and not what this list is for, and also vague and confusing. (And what I have to try to do is not just respond to you but try to make this something that anyone interested in Steiner might participate in, that's managing a list.)
         This very subject brings us, however, immediately into the crux of spirit-science, since it's so fundamental. As you know, our modern science says there isn't even such a thing as a soul. (Issac Hayes could tell them differently even before he died, but that's another subject. ;->) So our ordinary science and education does not teach us anything about this. Therefore, how do we know about it?
         Now, prior to establishing anthroposophy, Dr. Steiner worked for 20 years teaching and writing philosophy. You mentioned the Philosophie der Freiheit (sometimes translated, against Steiner's instructions, as the "Philosophy of Freedom"), which was one of about a dozen philosophical works of his in that early period. Well, in those he established that there no are no limits to knowledge as we're so often taught. In Eastern religions it's said we know only illusions in the appearance of things to the senses and we must withdraw into the inner self only to find truth; our modern science says we have only approximate knowledge, models, of a possibly unknowable universe, and science cannot make definite statements about the "Why" of things, only operate within its limits; even our Western Christian religion teaches frequently that we can only know so much and beyond certain limits we must have faith. Steiner demonstrated this is all poppycock, and then went on to show what the unlimited self can do. Not only did he demonstrate that there is no "something out there" which is unknowable by us, but much further--- that the "spirit" is not some ephemeral something that we have faith in but IS THE POWER WE THINK WITH.
         This is the great difference between anthroposophy and religions. We start with science and go on to develop thinking to include more and more of what current science cringes from dealing with, such as the origin and meaning of Man. This also is what differentiates it from all the New Age feeling-mysticism cults. The objective thinking we do in mathematics and geometry IS a perception of spirit, a faculty capable of further development. The further development of it results in anthroposophy.
         So, "Goethean conversation" or discussion by anthroposophists rules out taking an attitude like 'Well, none of us can know this stuff but we can only quote and speculate'. That is an untruth. Rudolf Steiner was not some sort of higher being who could know things we can't; every one of us has the same ability to know. To think otherwise is a betrayal of anthroposophy. It's not a religion and we don't have to have blind faith in whatever its founder or anyone else says. Speaking with confidence about our own thinking is anthroposophical, because we know pure thinking IS the activity of the spirit in us and leads us to eternal truths if we follow it.
          Besides having confidence in your own thinking and its dealing with the reality of your life, there are some other basic things required for dealing with knowledge that comes from a higher source than most people's daily idea-worlds. The last chapter of Dr. Steiner's book, Theosophy, entitled The Path of Knowledge, contains all the principles of walking the spiritual path, amplified in his Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment; in the Path, he instructs us to stop judging things and instead open ourselves to the pure experience of them, and in the later chapters of KHW he repeats that if we're looking to learn, we don't need to learn whatever we're already in a position to judge, so if there's something we want to learn about we have to renounce our ability to judge it yet. The learner must be able to 'make of himself an empty vessel receiving knowledge'.
        Now this is obviously the opposite of taking things already known and arranging them into systems, and then speculating 'Well what if this is this, or that that?' So the facts in his written works are not to be taken and systematized: that's not their point. They are to be thought, so that the very thinking of them awakens YOUR OWN insight. They enable you to know things for yourself which the words point to. Similarly, each person here on this list has to gain their own knowledge themselves: all words published here can do is point to what they must seek within themselves and their lives and experiences.
         Also, we are here in an international sphere on the internet. Steiner wrote his books to be read by anyone, anywhere, while his lectures were given at a specific place to a specific group of people. That's why I use his written works here. He didn't want his lectures written down at all, so that only what people took up into their souls of his teaching and did something with would survive, just as it's not every word of KHW I have within me but what I've applied of its lessons over the past 30 years. The lectures are also stenographic copies which can contain errors.
          So, anyone interested in spirit-science should return again and again to the books, and study them more than lecture-transcripts. Imagine going to an advanced science lecture withour reading any of the textbooks on the topic. You can get lost easily. For example, I wrote:
           >>.. the subject wasn't supposed to be the effect of the internet on consciousness, but specifically on the "consciousness soul." Big difference.< <
      And you replied:
      >>Again, this is perplexing to me; seems like a nit-picky evasion. The Consciousness Soul is
      surely a "subset" of consciousness, and it would seem that something that affects
      consciousness in general, in the age of the Consciousness Soul, must therefore affect the Consciousness Soul...

      *******Now, this is no more being nit-picking nor evasive than if you walked into a lecture on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and began giving your opinion on it because of knowing the word "uncertainty" and were told you didn't know what we were talking about. The "consciousness soul" or "spiritual soul" is a technical term in spirit-science that refers to a definite reality which can be experienced by every individual human being. It has nothing to do with "consciousness" which is present in even the simplest forms of organic life which don't even have "soul"--- and encouraging anyone to launch into a discussion of the "consciouness soul" with whatever their opinions are about "consciousness" would be pretty counter-productive.

      *******I wrote about your defining of 'consciousness soul':
      >>This is good for a start but I'm sure anyone reading this discussion who's a beginner at
      anthroposophy would probably have a lot more questions to ask before feeling like they know
      what's meant by "consciousness soul" now. It would probably be better to start a few pages
      back in Theosophy, with what's the soul compared to the body and then the 3 parts of
      the soul. And this is so fundamental to anthroposophy. <<

      And you wrote:
      OK, let 'em ask. And if you want to answer with more Steiner-saids, that's OK too....
      *******You asked for quotes so I included some, but I didn't need to at all. Everything I'm saying in this e-mail is things I know from experience as well. Can put it whichever way you prefer. I don't only have "Steiner-saids" like some people may. If a lot of the anthroposophists you've read or met have only Steiner-saids and have not made any progress in clairvoyance and direct knowledge, well, that's a pity but not unexpected. I've met only 3 other psychics in the movement.
      Robert writes:
      -- Overall: *Consciousness Soul* is Steiner's concept; he coined it.

      ******People "coin" words for a concept, not the concept itself. The parts of the soul are found in old Greek, Hebrew, in Plato and Arstotle, etc. Steiner coined a term for what he experienced, as the Greeks named a reality "pi".
      Robert writes:
      it seems a little inconsistent, at the least, for you to scold me when I bring in Steiner-saids (and considering that the banner for this
      e-list reads: "For discussion of the works of Rudolf Steiner"). And it is especially baffling since I already brought in Steiner's core definition of
      *Consciousness Soul* and briefly discussed my experience in relation to it. You seem to think that my discussion was somehow inadequate, but you don't say exactly how and why. -- My reaction is: if you think it would be better to start a few pages back, then show us your "better"; don't just criticize and leave us guessing.

      *******I'll get to that in the next post. Yes, you're right, I judge that the brief quotation and what you said about trying to understand the 3 souls was NOT enough---- as thinking "consciousness soul" is a subset of "consciousness" showed. I could ask people here if they thought that was a sufficient basis for a discussion, but I already can see it isn't. We need more clarity.
         I felt these fundamentals were missing here first. And yes, please note this list is for discussion of the WORKS of Steiner, not just WRITTEN works. That includes: eurythmy, speech-formation, painting, agriculture, the Waldorf Schools, meditation, psychic development, occult truths, the Anthroposophical Society, the Threefold Social Order ideas,  etc. etc. And again, note what I said above about the written word and its purpose.

       I did read over your post to Mathew about the Consciousness Soul. Obviously, you did
      rely heavily on Steiner-saids, as well you should when discussing Steiner's concepts (and
      given Steiner's enlightening use of those concepts to explain human-cultural facts), but
      only implicitly, not explicitly. There was not one proper quotation in your whole post.
      *******As I said, I can look up the quotes of what I know is true or just say it in my own words. If you want it either way, just ask. It can even be an education, as there's some things I've discovered myself which I'm sure Steiner mentioned somewhere or other but I haven't read yet, and finding confirmation is always nice.



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