I went fishing . . . .
- 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
(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
-- 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
[See page 2 of "Rhythmisches Denken".]
Bondarev names these stages:
5. Wahrnehmung der Idee
7. Einheit des Individuelien und des Allgemeinen
. . . or, alternatively:
5. ideelle Wahrnehmung
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
"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 cycle is completed with the return of the
idea with which it began, to all-unity. . . .
This is the concluding, seventh element, or the
"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
". . . . 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