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I went fishing . . . .

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  • Robert Mason
    To all: I am forwarding some posts that I made a couple of weeks ago to the Yahoo Anthroposophical Methodology e-group.  This is a private e-group, but
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2010
      To all:

      I am forwarding some posts that I made a couple
      of weeks ago to the Yahoo "Anthroposophical
      Methodology" e-group.  This is a private
      e-group, but since all these posts are mine, I
      feel free to put them into the public domain. 
      You see, I went fishing for some criticism, but
      I didn't catch any.  Two weeks have now passed
      without even a nibble, so I am casting a wider
      net.  Perhaps from this larger readership I can
      get some responses, but I must double and
      redouble the *caveat* that I gave to the smaller
      e-group:  I might take a long time to answer any
      responses, if I answer at all.  But I do hope
      that some discussion will ensue, even if only
      very slowly.

      (I don't have much time for online
      anthroposophizing; I haven't even read all the
      posts to these e-groups that I wanted to. 
      That's just part of my big backlog of unread
      writings, which I will likely never catch up
      with.  I do wish to read the Scaligero book
      sometime, among others, but I don't know when or
      if I will get around to it, or them.)

      The subject of these following posts is the
      concept of the "7fold dialectic" [my coinage]. 
      This concept was introduced (as far as I know)
      by Gennady Bondarev, in writings very little of
      which are publicly available in English.  So
      here I cannot make assume that people here will
      know what I am talking about, and I will try to
      explain this concept a little.

      (For those who read German [most of?] these
      writings of Bondarev are online.  Perhaps the
      most succinct is "Rhythmisches Denken"
      Also on the same site is "Die Methodologie als
      Kern der Anthroposophie"
      And there is the huge, massive, brilliant tome
      analyzing *PoF*
      -- And for those few who read Russian, I don't
      know, but you might try here:
      -- There is a small group of volunteers who are
      working to make more of Bondarev's works
      [including much of the *PoF* book] available in
      English; hopefully these translations will be
      online in the not-too-distant future.)

      According to my limited understanding, Bondarev
      asserts that real, developed thinking is
      naturally sevenfolded.  The first three stages
      of this thinking comprise the familiar Hegelian
      triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but then
      the fourth stage takes a leap into another
      realm; Bondarev calls this stage *beholding*
      (*anschauen*).  And then follow the three
      further, higher stages.  Bondarev pictures this
      7foldedness thus, in his diagram of the
      "Erkenntnistheoretische Lemniskate":

      [See page 2 of "Rhythmisches Denken".]

      Bondarev names these stages:

      1. These
      2. Antithese
      3. Synthese
      4. Anschauung
      5. Wahrnehmung der Idee
      6. Individuallsierung
      7. Einheit des Individuelien und des Allgemeinen

      . . . or, alternatively:

      1. Thesis
      2. Antithisis
      3. Synthesis
      4. Anschauung
      5. ideelle Wahrnehmung
      6. Individualisierung
      7. Alleinheit

      These first three terms are practically the same
      in English; *Anschauung* is *beholding*;
      *Wahrnehmung* is *perceiving*; *Einheit* is
      *unity* (*Alleinheit* is, roughly *unity of the
      whole*); *Allgemeinen* is, roughly, *commonality
      of the whole; and thus Einheit des Individuelien
      und des Allgemeinen* is, again roughly,
      *unification of the individual and the general*.

      Here is my summary of Bondarev's ideas on this
      subject (the quotations are directly from him,
      rendered into English):


      The first three stages of thought, recognized by
      Hegel, are characteristic of "reflective"

      The fourth marks the transition to higher

      This fourth cancels and preserves, supersedes
      (aufheben) the first three.

      "In his transition from reflection to beholding,
      the human being eliminates the processes in the
      brain and begins to experience his thoughts in
      the etheric body."

      This fourth "is achieved on the basis of love
      for the object of cognition".

      In this fourth "we do not think, but we still
      remain within the thought-element. We renounce
      all thoughts, judgments, logical conclusions."

      To reach this fourth "We must do the same when
      we are considering a thought-content. We remain
      intellectually passive, dispassionate, and wait
      to see what can come towards us from a certain
      'other' side."

      "The process [of thinking] gone through on the
      fourth level is identical with the experience of
      observation. It consists in the act of ideal
      perception, to which the ideal, essential core
      of the object under examination must reveal
      itself on a higher level than its manifestation
      as concept in the element of synthesis."

      "At the fourth stage we refrain from bringing
      into movement the will which we have developed
      in the three previous stages. . . . the will
      begins to transform the organ of thinking into
      an organ of ideal perception."

      " . . .. think in 'beholding' - i.e. in
      perception, not reflecting, but receiving the
      ideas from the objects of perception - whether
      they be of a sensory or an ideal nature."

      ". . . . when the idea appears, this is already
      the fifth stage . . . . It represents a
      holistic, though not complete, manifestation of
      the ur-phenomenon . . . ."

      "This is the sixth element of the seven-membered
      cycle of morphological thinking, or of the logic
      of thinking in beholding: the individualizing of
      the idea."

      "The cycle is completed with the return of the
      idea with which it began, to all-unity. . . .
      This is the concluding, seventh element, or the
      seventh stage"

      "Of this thinking one can say that . . . within
      it ideal perception first has the character of
      universality, then becomes individualized, and
      finally the individual element finds itself
      again in the universal (element 7)."

      ". . . . to remain fully and entirely in the . .
      . conceptual and logical element and merely to
      extend the limits of the latter. In this case
      the thesis, which has passed through negation
      and has been resurrected in the synthesis,
      undergoes cancellation and preservation
      (Aufhebung) once more, after which it shows
      itself in its ur-phenomenon form in the fifth
      stage of the cycle."

      "In order to be able to move on further, from
      reflection to beholding, it is absolutely
      necessary to develop, in addition to the sense
      of thought, the sense of the higher 'I'. This is
      what preserves the subject of thinking when it
      carries out yet another negation: the negation
      of itself as an 'I' that thinks in concepts.
      Then, in pure sense activity, the higher 'I'

      "When he thinks according to the laws of
      imaginative logic (of 'beholding' thinking), the
      human being attains in its sevenfoldness an
      intermediate stage of Being, in which he can
      grasp everything in consciousness, but does not
      yet realize within himself the stages of
      supersensible consciousness."

      ". . . . from the element of All-unity the
      movement of thinking advances to a new cycle,
      whose first element leads the preceding cycle to
      an octave and is at the same time the beginning
      of a new cycle."


      Again, that is only my feeble, brief summary of
      a tremendous idea. I fear that the readers, to
      get more understanding, must read Bondarev
      directly.  I have not yet read all that Bondarev
      has written on this theme, not even all that is
      available to me in English.  But I will say for
      now that Bondarev makes a very strong, lengthy,
      profound case for his view -- and further, that
      he maintians that Steiner himself naturally
      thought and wrote according to this sevenfold
      pattern, that he (RS) did not set out to make
      his writing fit a 7folded mold.  Bondarev says:

      ". . . .Rudolf Steiner . . . . just thought, and
      as he did so he proceeded from his spiritual
      nature, which in him was different from our own. 
      It was characteristic of him to identify with
      the process of metamorphosis in thinking, just
      as it is quite normal for us to think in

      Indeed, the main objective of Bondarev's huge
      *PoF* book is to show in detail that the whole
      of *PoF* flows in this 7folded rhythm.  (This is
      not to say that Bondarev holds that the whole of
      *PoF* falls simply, neatly into 7-segmented
      "cycles"; he analyzes some parts of that book as
      being much more complicated than that.)

      -- I hope now that I have reached the point
      where my following posts will be self-
      explanatory.  Naturally, one who has assimilated
      Bondarev's own writings will likely get more out
      of my posts than one who has only read this
      short summary.  And hopefully, in any case, some
      in this wider readership will get enough "out"
      to be able to make "constructive criticisms".  I
      do hereby invite such, but I would ask that the
      critic would make clear whether his criticism
      applies to the whole concept of the 7fold
      dialectic or only to my applications of it. 

      I believe that this idea of the 7fold dialectic
      might be the most important Anthroposophical
      discovery since Steiner was alive.  Is anyone

      Robert Mason
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