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an attempt at 7fold thinking

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  • Robert Mason
    (The reader will encounter a possibly confusing mixture of tenses.  This mixture derives from the way in which the following text was conceived and written. 
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2011
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      (The reader will encounter a possibly confusing
      mixture of tenses.  This mixture derives from
      the way in which the following text was
      conceived and written.  I first thought through
      the basic sequence of ideas [up to a point],
      making only sparse notes at the time.  I later,
      two months or so, started to expand and "write
      up" these thoughts, trying to make them
      readable.  As I was doing the write-up I was
      thinking through the thoughts again, sometimes
      modifying them.  The past tense usually
      indicates what I was doing and thinking the
      first time around; the present tense usually
      indicates what I was thinking during the write-
      up.  Sometimes the present tense indicates an
      attempt to bring the past process into the
      present for the reader.  And sometimes the
      present tense indicates something that I was
      thinking the first time around but still
      considered to be true during the later write-up. 
      The sixth [somewhat] and especially the seventh
      stages I pretty much conceived and thought out
      during the write-up. -- Robert Mason)

      (Most of the quotations are from the eLib.)

      >>1 -- THESIS:  Rudolf Steiner in his teachings
      on agriculture (which came to be called the
      "Bio-Dynamic" [BD] method) recommended the use
      of "preparations" which depend upon
      manipulations of slaughterhouse products, e.g.
      bovine horns, internal organs, etc.<<

      >>2 -- ANTITHESIS:  But such methods are
      atrocious; they involve, and require, the
      deliberate, methodical infliction of pain and
      death upon animals which are under human control
      and are threatening no-one.<<

      This antithesis is a reaction, a thought, that
      immediately comes to my mind and won't let it
      go.  It appears at first that Steiner was just
      flat wrong, morally wrong, in his actions,
      however "right" he might have been about the
      effectiveness of such agricultural methods.

      That was my reaction, not the only one, but one
      that is prominent in my mind and continues to
      bother me, no matter how much respect I have for
      Steiner's abilities and deep knowledge.  But if
      I do not rest with that reaction, if I press
      forward and try to *think* about this problem,
      then I must follow where the thoughts themselves
      lead.  And as my self-imposed assignment, I am
      trying to think 7foldedly, as that form was
      described by Bondarev. 

      The third stage of thinking, according to
      Bondarev (as with Hegel) is the "synthesis" of
      thesis and antithesis.  So I ask myself:  What
      can be said for and against both of these two
      particular opposing thoughts under consideration
      here, and what thought (or thoughts) might
      result from the interworking and combination of
      these thought-forces?

      A first thought that came to mind:  Rudolf
      Steiner was well aware, better than I, of the
      depth of the pain and suffering of animals, and
      of the far-reaching consequences of cruelty to
      animals.  Yet, he did, in this instance,
      recommend practices that entail cruelty to
      animals.  If I presume, as I do, that Steiner
      was a pretty smart guy, a morally upright one,
      and one with a highly-developed self-awareness,
      then I must presume Steiner had some overriding
      considerations that led him to advocate the BD
      methods even though they entail some cruelty to
      animals.  So, I must ask myself what those
      considerations might have been.

      Maybe:  the real, practical choice that Steiner
      faced was to let the soil die, agriculture fail,
      and consequently civilization go to ruin -- or
      to do what was necessary to save agriculture --
      and that the one thing that was both available
      and necessary was the BD method, with all that
      entailed.  So maybe:  RS had to consider that
      the suffering, including that of animals, would
      have been greater if agriculture and
      civilization failed than if BD methods were
      widely used -- and that consequently RS chose
      the path that, in the real world, entailed less
      pain and suffering for animals than the amount
      entailed by BD methods.  And maybe RS had to
      consider that animals were being slaughtered
      anyway, that he had no way of stopping that --
      and that the slaughterhouse products used in BD
      were really by-products that were not being
      otherwise used and that would not increase the
      economic demand for slaughter?

      But the thought also arises:  maybe it would
      have been better to let agriculture and
      civilization collapse than to participate in the
      atrocities of animal "husbandry" and slaughter? 
      Maybe civilization deserved to fall if it could
      be saved only through such atrocities?  Maybe
      that fall really wouldn't have been the "lesser

      Yet again:  I presume, judging from his
      "fruits", that RS was a wise, far-seeing man,
      and that he could calculate the "lesser evil"
      far better than I can; really, I can't calculate
      it at all.  I hypothesize that RS had his
      considerations, and I must wonder what they

      And RS must have "seen" things to consider that
      I can't see at all.  Such as:  the true nature
      of the experience of the animals.  Indeed, I
      hardly even know what an animal is, really; I
      know of the "group spirits" only from Steiner; I
      don't see them or communicate with them myself. 
      Etc., etc.

      And yet again, I must presume that RS knew more
      and thought more deeply than I can.  This line
      of thought isn't really answering any questions
      for me; it is only impressing upon me the extent
      of my ignorance in comparison to Steiner's

      -- So I want to try a different approach, to
      find a way to move forward.  I go back to the
      original problem; I take another look at the
      "antithesis" than embodied it.  It depended upon
      the concept of the "atrocious".  I ask:  what
      does that mean and why does it seem to be in
      opposition to Steiner's actions?

      I observe that I don't have a clear *concept* at
      all; I don't know where the "opposition" comes
      from; it isn't conscious for me.  It seems that
      the opposition is mainly emotional; it is a
      *reaction* that comes from the subconscious.  It
      is hardly even a thought; it is mostly an
      emotion of horror; the word *atrocious* is
      mostly a cover for the emotion.  If I try to
      think through, objectively, why the supposed
      "thesis" and "antithesis" should be in
      opposition, I hardly know how to begin.  So it
      does seem that the problem for me was, in the
      first place, more one of feeling than of

      I might try to consider what the BD methods and
      their necessarily entailed pain for some animals
      are, objectively, for the whole world.  But I
      don't know even how to begin to answer that
      question.  I can't calculate such things; I am
      in ignorance.  But I'm likewise ignorant about
      almost everything, and I don't get so worked up
      about most of those.  So, again, it seems that
      my original "problem" was more emotional than

      Still, it must be at least partly cognitive:  I
      am in puzzlement; I don't understand something. 
      This non-understanding is a cognitive problem,
      and I can approach it only by trying to think it

      The dictionary (Webster's) defines *atrocious*
      as "extremely wicked, brutal, or cruel".  Purely
      descriptively:  slaughter, and all that leads up
      to it, if indeed "brutal" and "cruel"; *wicked*
      is more an ethical term than an emotional one. 
      So it does seem that the process of BD preps
      does entail "atrocities", but this mere
      description hardly amounts to an "antithesis" of
      the thesis under consideration.  The
      antithetical nature derives not from a
      description, but from something like an
      emotional or moral revulsion.

      Is it that somewhere in the back of my mind
      lives the question, or assertion, that Steiner
      was doing "evil" by advocating the BD preps that
      required slaughterhouse products?  *Evil* and
      *good* would seem to be objective, cognitive
      terms, but if I try to say what they mean, to
      define them, I can hardly do so, except to
      define them by equally obscure terms, such as
      *right* or *higher*, etc. -- I simply wasn't
      asking a clear question, or stating a clear
      "antithesis"; some kind of "opposition" was
      struggling to come up from my subconscious, but
      it was not clear exactly what the "opposition"

      -- At this point my mind reached an impasse.  It
      would be embarrassing, and probably tedious, to
      relate here all the ways my mind floundered and
      all the directions in which it groped while
      trying to find a way forward.  Suffice it to say
      for now that I had reached an impasse; this was
      about as far as "reflective" thinking could get
      me.  I could come up with a lot more "thoughts",
      but I couldn't really move forward toward a
      solution to the original problem.  So, perhaps,
      the "synthesis" that I had reached might be
      formulated as follows:

      >>3 -- SYNTHESIS:  I had not asked a clear,
      cognitive question in the first place; I had
      mostly reacted emotionally and in conceptual
      and/or moral befuddlement.  I must presume that
      RS was better able than I to raise the kind of
      objections to the BD methods that I might raise,
      but the fact is that he did nevertheless
      recommend the BD methods, and so I must presume
      further that he had some overriding
      considerations which I don't know about.  And
      indeed I don't *know*; at best I can only
      "speculate" and "presume" -- at this level of

      So:  I want to make progress on this problem,
      therefore I want to move to a higher level of
      consciousness.  Bondarev says that the next
      level in the thought-process is "beholding". 
      And I desperately want to get beyond this
      impasse; it seems that the only way I might move
      forward is to get into this state of
      "beholding", but how?

      Bondarev says about "beholding":  it marks the
      transition to higher consciousness, and to reach
      it "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."

      More, in "beholding" "we do not think, but we
      still remain within the thought-element. We
      renounce all thoughts, judgments, logical

      This, to me, seems to imply that maybe I'm
      "trying too hard", that I can't "go out and get
      it" but must wait until "it" comes to me, if it
      comes to me -- I must be passive and receptive,
      but still conscious.

      "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."

      And still more, this "beholding" is not quite
      "thinking" as I ordinarily do it; as the word
      itself suggests, it is a kind of "seeing", a
      perceiving, an observing:

      " . . .. [to] 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."

      "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."

      But this passivity cannot be merely a dull
      inertness; it must be somehow suffused with
      reverence, with "love":

      [Beholding] "is achieved on the basis of love
      for the object of cognition".

      -- Bondarev is getting at something, and it's
      not enough for me only to read about it, or
      "understand" it in an theoretical way; I want to
      *do* it, and I'm desperate enough to try, to
      "learn by doing", even if I fall on my face in
      the effort.

      Therefore:  I tried to "behold", in picture-
      consciousness, with reverence; waiting, praying
      for insight to come *to* me, rather than trying
      to "think it through" for myself conceptually. 
      I was trying to make, or rather pay attention
      to, mental pictures without creating them
      myself.  Even if the pictures might have seemed
      to be meaningless, I tried to pay attention to
      them without making my own judgments and
      conceptualizing.  Then, maybe, hopefully, the
      meanings would find their way into the pictures?

      -- I visualized, with the question in mind,
      making myself ready to "see", then watching as
      the pictures came to me:  old men with long,
      white beards; a star over a steeple; a giant
      squirrel and other animals watching me;  Rudolf 
      Steiner seemed to be present; and myself
      kneeling, asking reverently, yearning for
      guidance and Truth -- then, I was seeing the
      scene as from above, soaring, with ethereal,
      expansive feelings . . .

      . . . then the thoughts came:  Maybe the
      consciousness of the animals is not so Earth-
      bound as I might suppose?  Maybe they (or the
      group spirit-egos?) experience the atrocities
      from without?  A later thought:  Maybe the
      animals experience slaughter as does a human
      trauma victim in so-called "dissociation"?

      More thoughts followed, rushing on:  I don't
      really know how the animals experience things;
      maybe I wrongly project human, earthly
      experience onto the animals?  Maybe really "the
      mind is kind" to them?  Maybe RS knew this and
      took it into consideration?  And maybe my "job"
      here is to practice "Goetheanism", to "picture
      without judging"?

      A lot of thoughts flowed, with a lot of
      *maybes*.  More questions and no definite
      answers.  But it does seem that a corner has
      been turned; something new had been injected
      into my internal "debate".  There was a change
      in viewpoint; I was seeing from a different
      "angle", and I was feeling the whole quandary

      Perhaps all this is a kind of "beholding"?  I
      did indeed "see" something, but its meaning is
      far from clear.  The most meaning I can get is
      just a "new" possibility:

      >>4 -- BEHOLDING:  Perhaps the animals do not
      experience slaughter as painfully as I might
      suppose.  Perhaps "they" (the group-spirits
      really) experience the trauma in "shock",
      somewhat as a human trauma victim in
      "dissociation" does:  looking on from "outside",
      serenely even, not quite "within" the pain. 
      And, as Steiner says, the animal Ego isn't ever
      really "in" the body as a human Ego is,

      This is hardly a solution to my original
      problem, just a glimmer on a possible solution. 
      But I did feel that, at last, I had made a step
      forward . . . maybe to "beholding"?  (I wonder
      whether Bondarev would agree.)  And so then I
      did have more hope that I might be able to think
      through this problem with the kind of 7fold
      thinking that Bondarev says is the natural,
      fully-developed mode of thinking.

      Thus, I allowed myself to hope, to try to move
      forward to the next stage, which Bondarev says
      is the "perceiving of the Idea".  But how?

      Bondarev, it seems to me, does not make a clear
      distinction between this "beholding" and
      "perceiving"; he says, for instance:

      "We set up conditions under which we will
      'behold' the content of the synthesis. Like the
      object of a laboratory experiment, we subject
      this content to conditions under which it can
      reveal its secret more readily and quickly than
      is the case with analytical, logical thinking. 
      And when the idea appears, this is already the
      fifth stage the fifth element of that new
      logical cycle in which we are striving to ascend
      from reflection to the supersensible perception
      of the ideas. . . . It represents a holistic,
      though not complete, manifestation of the ur-
      phenomenon . . . ."

      As far as I can tell, the distinction between
      the forth and fifth stages is fuzzy, at best --
      but it does seem clear enough that Bondarev
      means by *idea* the "Platonic Idea", that is,
      the "archetype" that includes, even creates, all
      its "instances".  According to Steiner (in
      *Theosophy*, III.3) in the "Spiritland" live the
      Platonic Ideas as "thought beings" which are the
      "archetypes" for all things in the physical

      ". . . . the thought that makes its appearance
      through a human brain [is] related to the
      [thought] being in the spiritland that
      corresponds to this thought. . . . In this
      [spiritual] world are to be seen, first, the
      spiritual archetypes of all things and beings
      that are present in the physical and soul
      worlds. . . . As soon as the clairvoyant rises
      out of the soul world into the spirit world, the
      archetypes that are perceptible become
      'sounding' as well."

      With such considerations in mind, I had the idea
      that to move from the fourth to the fifth stages
      of the 7fold dialectic I would have to "listen"
      and "hear" as well as "look" and "see".  But I
      was disheartened by the thought that this
      problem under consideration must involve a
      multitude of Ideas, even immeasurably profound
      Ideas behind all Creation.  I found this thought
      to be somewhat confirmed by Steiner, thus:

      "Often innumerable archetypes work together in
      order that this or that being in the soul or
      physical world may arise."

      I felt that I had a daunting task before me; 
      the problem was so deep, so complicated that I
      almost quailed before it.  But I was so
      desperate that I somehow pressed forward. -- I
      reviewed and recapitulated the four stages that
      I had already worked through, and, with as much
      concentration as I could muster, waited
      receptively for whatever might "come".  And
      then, eventually, with, as it were, a "ringing
      in the ears" I "saw" mental pictures, among them
      an Oriental Buddha statue.  That particular
      picture led to thoughts:

      "The Buddha taught the Noble Truth about
      suffering and its origin:  that suffering is a
      consequence of DESIRE.  So the question arises: 
      'Where does desire come from?  etc.' -- Possible
      answer:  desire is what moves animals; it is the
      essential thing that makes animals and plants
      not-yet human; animals (in themselves) are moved
      not by free will and reason, but by compelling
      force, i.e. desire.  Without desire there would
      be no animals in the first place; the demand
      that animals not suffer is therefore the demand
      that animals not exist?"

      -- Such thoughts as those immediately followed
      from the mental picture of the Buddha statue. 
      It seemed to me that this event might have been
      the turning-of-the-corner into the fifth stage
      of the 7fold dialectic:  perception of the Idea. 
      (I doubt that the "ringing" was anything very
      meaningful; I have heard such ringing many times
      before.  Probably the most that it meant was
      that I was withdrawing into myself and paying
      attention.)  Apparently, the root "archetype"
      behind this whole complex question of the
      justification of the use of slaughterhouse
      products for the BD preps (that is, the main
      archetypal Idea among the many creatively
      involved and working together) is that of desire
      being the effective, essential cause of
      suffering?  And that Idea was most famously
      proclaimed by the Buddha.

      One might explore, by ordinary means of research
      and "reflection", how this Noble Truth might be
      the overarching Reason behind the suffering of
      animals, and hence the solution (how?) to the
      problem about the BD preps. -- I came up with
      such "research material" as this:

      The Buddha's Four Noble Truths are well enough
      known.  Steiner states them thusly
      (*Metaporphoses/Soul One*: Lecture 8: "Buddha
      and Christ"; 2nd December, 1909; Berlin; GA0058
      [from the eLib]):

      ". . . . the four noble truths, as the Buddha
      called them, are:
        Knowledge of suffering
        Knowledge of the causes of suffering
        Knowledge of the need to end suffering
        Knowledge of the means to end suffering"

      Knowledge of suffering:  "Birth is suffering,
      old age is suffering, illness is suffering,
      death is suffering. All existence is filled with
      suffering. That we cannot always be united with
      that which we love — this is how Buddha himself
      later developed his teaching — is suffering.
      That we have to be united with that which we do
      not love, is suffering. That we cannot attain in
      every sphere of life what we want and desire, is
      suffering. Thus there is suffering wherever we

      Knowledge of the causes of suffering:  "If there
      is suffering everywhere in the world then man is
      bound to encounter suffering as soon as he
      enters this world of suffering. Why does he have
      to suffer in this way? The reason is that he has
      an urge, a thirst, for incarnation in this
      world. The passionate desire to pass from the
      spiritual world into a physical-corporeal
      existence and to perceive the physical world —
      therein lies the basic cause of human

      Knowledge of the need to end suffering: 
      "Release from the sufferings of existence — that
      is what Buddhism puts in the foreground, above
      all else. . . . 'true existence' can be achieved
      only if a man passes beyond everything he
      encounters in the outer sense-world. . . .
      Buddhism is a religion of release from existence
      . . . . Buddhism sees release from earth-
      existence in terms of rising to Nirvana . . . .
      Buddhism can see its Nirvana, its state of
      bliss, as attainable only by withdrawing
      from the ever-repeated cycle of lives on earth .
      . . Buddhism, tells us that the world is a
      source of suffering and that we must get away
      from it into another world, the quite different
      world of Nirvana."

      Knowledge of the means to end suffering:  ". . .
      . there is only one way to gain release from
      suffering: to fight against the thirst for
      existence. And this can be done if we learn to
      follow the eight-fold path, in accordance with
      the teaching of the great Buddha. This is
      usually taken to embrace correct views, correct
      aims, correct speech, correct actions, correct
      living, correct endeavour, correct thoughts, and
      correct meditation. This taking hold of life in
      the correct way and relating oneself correctly
      to life, will gradually enable a man to kill off 
      the desire for existence, and will finally lead
      him so far that he no longer needs to descend
      into a physical incarnation and so is released
      from existence and the suffering that pervades

      Of course, these Noble Truths are mainly about
      human suffering, but to me it seems that they
      also apply to animals insofar as they are
      creatures that suffer:  they suffer because they
      are led by desire.  The Eightfold Path might not
      be possible for them, but the root cause, the
      archetypal Idea, of their suffering is the same
      as for people.  (Most of us, I presume, already
      know the Eightfold Path as the Anthroposophical
      way of developing the sixteen-petalled "lotus
      flower", not as a means for avoiding
      incarnation.  But I think that a discussion of
      this [these] path[s] would be off the subject
      here; it seems to be mostly irrelevant to the
      suffering of animals.)

      -- But *why* is suffering an inevitable
      consequence of desire?  Not only the Buddha, but
      also Steiner spoke profoundly on "the origin of
      suffering".  In an effort to understand *how*
      the Noble Truths about suffering might be a clue
      to the Platonic Idea behind my original problem,
      I consult some of what Steiner said about the
      "origin of suffering".

      Fortunately, we have what seems to be a good
      stenographic transcript of a significant lecture
      that Steiner gave on this subject.  Remembering,
      of course, the standard *caveat* about such
      uncorrected transcripts, I proceed.  The lecture
      I mean is:

      "The Origin of Suffering"; 8th November, 1906:
      Berlin; GA0055 -- some relevant excerpts:

      "The origin of suffering is found where
      consciousness arises out of life, where spirit
      is born out of life."

      "Only from Consciousness does Self-consciousness

      "Consciousness, or conscious spirit, is that
      force which out of death, which must be created
      in the midst of life, eternally makes life arise

      "Out of pain consciousness is born."

      "All that gives rise to consciousness is
      originally pain."

      "Consciousness must result from destruction of

      "In what does this fine destruction [by light of
      living tissue in a simple organism] (for it is
      destruction) manifest? In pain, which is nothing
      else than an expression for the destruction."

      "Consciousness *within matter* is thus born out
      of suffering, out of pain."

      ". . . . pain at the basis of all conscious

      "If the living could not suffer, never could
      consciousness arise. If there were no death in
      the world never in the visible world could
      Spirit exist."

      -- So, it seems to me that Steiner's first
      "noble truth" about suffering is that "pain" is
      necessary if and when consciousness arises
      within the physical world.  If no pain, then no
      consciousness.  Perhaps for us this truth is
      more "uncomfortable" than "noble"?

      Usually we want pleasure and don't want pain. 
      But a further "uncomfortable truth" is that, in
      general, pleasure can exist only if pain has
      existed first:

      "If pain arises in life it gives birth to
      sensation and consciousness. This giving birth,
      this bringing forth of a higher element, is
      reflected again in consciousness as pleasure,
      and there would never be a pleasure unless there
      had been a previous pain."

      "Creation is based on desire and pleasure.
      Pleasure can only appear where inner or outer
      creation is possible. In some way creation lies
      at the base of every happiness, as every
      unhappiness is based on the necessity of

      If, from unwise compassion, we want a world that
      has pleasure and happiness but has no pain and
      misery, then we are demanding the impossible. 
      So, if we have a "desire for existence" (in the
      physical world), then, whether we know it or
      not, we thereby demand that pain should exist. 
      And if we desire pleasure and happiness (in the
      physical world), we likewise, in effect, demand
      that there should be pain and misery.

      -- And more:  Steiner's "noble truths" continue: 
      not only pleasure, but all that is "higher" in
      human life -- love, knowledge, purity -- can
      exist only if suffering has first existed:

      ". . . . in some way suffering is connected with
      the highest in man."

      "Just as we create a higher consciousness out of
      the pain stimulated through an external ray of
      light and overcome by us as living being, so a
      creation in compassion is born when we
      transform the sufferings of others in our own
      greater consciousness-world. And so finally out
      of suffering arises love. For what else is love
      than spreading one's consciousness over other

      "In an initiate nothing must be inter-linked
      unconsciously; he is a compassionate man out of
      freedom and not because something external
      compels him to be. That is the difference
      between an initiate and a non-initiate."

      "Knowledge flows from our suffering as its

      ". . . . out of suffering grows knowledge."

      ". . . . the origin of purification, the lifting
      up of human nature, lies in pain."

      The immediately aforementioned "truths" of
      course apply to mankind more directly than to
      animals.  But the animals do also have, even if
      not so much the "higher" soul-qualities, 
      consciousness, and they "earn" this
      consciousness only through pain:

      ". . . . the words: In all Nature sighs every
      creature in pain, full of earnest expectation to
      attain the state of the child of God. — You find
      that in the eighth chapter of Paul's Epistle to
      the Romans as a wonderful expression of this
      foundation of consciousness in pain. Thus
      one can also understand how thoughtful men have
      ascribed to pain such an all-important role. I
      should like to quote just one example. A great
      German philosopher says that when one looks at
      all Nature around one, then pain and suffering
      seem to be expressed everywhere on her
      countenance. Yes, when one observes the higher
      animals they show to those who look more deeply
      an expression full of suffering. And who would
      not admit that many an animal physiognomy looks
      like the manifestation of a deeply hidden pain?"

      So, the Buddha's "Noble Truth" about the cause
      of suffering does indeed apply to the animals --
      and perhaps even more so than to people, for, as
      Steiner teaches, mankind is able to attain the
      "higher" qualities only because in evolution we
      have "pushed down" the animals.  A fuller
      treatment of this line of thought might take
      this discussion too far afield, but I take the
      important point here, in the context of
      "Buddhist" truths, to be that Earthly
      consciousness, even and perhaps especially,
      animal consciousness, must be founded upon pain
      and suffering.  This is *the* inescapable "fact
      of life".

      Now, to continue the consideration of the "Noble
      Truths":  the next is "Knowledge of the need to
      end suffering".  The crucial point that Steiner
      makes about this particular "truth" is that the
      original Buddhism advocated the avoidance of 
      suffering through the prevention of Earthly
      incarnations (and through uninterrupted life in
      "Nirvana") -- while, in contrast, (esoteric)
      Christianity encourages Earthly incarnations and
      accepts the suffering that they entail.  I
      resume quoting from Steiner's "The Origin of

      "Thus the spirit of Buddhist teaching aims at
      diverting attention from the visible in order to
      get beyond it, and it denies the significance of
      anything visible."

      "While Buddhism sees release from earth-
      existence in terms of rising to Nirvana,
      Christianity sees its aim as a continuing
      process of development, whereby all the products
      and achievements of single lives shine forth in
      ever-higher stages of perfection, until,
      permeated by the spirit, they experience
      resurrection at the end of earth-existence."

      "For Christianity starts from a recognition that
      everything in an individual life bears fruits
      which are of importance and value for the
      innermost being of man and are carried over into
      a new life, where they are lived out on a higher
      level of fulfillment."

      "[In Christianity] The incarnations are not to
      cease in order to open the way to Nirvana; but
      all that we can acquire in them is to be used
      and developed in order that it may experience
      resurrection in the spiritual sense. Herein lies
      the deepest distinction between the non-
      historical philosophy of Buddhism and the
      historical outlook of Christianity."

      ". . . . Buddhism never truly connects . . .
      [Earthly incarnations] with any idea of
      historical development."

      In sum, Steiner sees (and by implication
      accepts) the Christian view that Earth-life (and
      by implication suffering and pain) have value
      that would be wrong to discount and neglect. 
      This Christian view does not (it seems to me)
      disagree so much with the Buddhist view about
      the causation of suffering and its avoidance,
      but with Buddhist values and ethics.  In
      essence, the Buddhist negates the value of
      material Creation, while the Christian affirms
      it.  (This is only my rough approximation of
      Steiner's "noble truths"; the lecture really
      deserves to be read in whole.)

      Throughout his "esoteric teaching" in public,
      Steiner said much about the reasons why the Gods
      created the material world, too much to treat
      here fully.  Basically, to my understanding, the
      existence of a material, Earthly world is
      necessary for the attainment of goals that could
      not be attained without a material world.  Thus,
      the existence of the physical world is "good",
      and the undervaluation of the physical world is
      "bad", a rejection of the good work of the Gods. 
      The central value of the material world is that
      it is the necessary scene for the attainment of
      "manhood" in the deepest sense. -- I'll give
      here just a couple of Steiner-saids, out of many

      "Here on earth, we have as religion everything
      that transcends man; in the spiritual world, we
      have the Ideal Man himself as religion.  We
      learn that the various Beings of the various
      spiritual hierarchies permit their forces to
      work together in order that man may gradually be
      produced in the world, in the manner described
      in my book, Occult Science.  The aim of the
      creative activity of the Gods is the Ideal Man. 
      That Ideal Man does not really come to life in
      physical man as he is at present, but in the
      noblest spiritual and soul life that it is
      possible through the perfect development and
      training of aptitudes which this physical man
      has within him.  Thus a picture of Ideal Man is
      ever present to the mind of the Gods.  This is
      the religion of the Gods.  On the far shore of
      Divine existence there rises before the Gods the
      temple which presents the image of Divine Being
      in the form of man, as the highest divine work
      of art, and the special thing is that while man
      develops in the spirit-land between death and
      rebirth, he gradually matures so as to be able
      to see this temple of humanity, this high ideal
      of humanity."  (*Inner Nature of Man*: Lecture
      2: "The Vision of the Ideal Human Being"; 10th
      April, 1914; Vienna; GA 153)

      "That is precisely the mission of Earth-
      evolution! The purpose of Earth-evolution is
      that there may be implanted into the
      evolutionary process as a whole, powers which
      could otherwise never have come into existence:
      Wonder, Compassion and Conscience. . . . It is
      so superficial and foolish when people say: 'Why
      was it necessary for man to come down from the
      worlds of Divine Spirit into the physical world,
      only to have to reattain them? Who could he not
      have remained in the higher worlds?'; Man could
      not remain in those worlds because only by
      coming down into the physical world of Earth-
      evolution could he receive into himself the
      forces of wonder, love or compassion, and
      conscience or moral obligation."  ("The Mission
      of the Earth"; *Earthly and Cosmic Man* VI)

      -- I'll try to precipitate from the foregoing
      discussion a statement of the "archetype", the
      Platonic Idea, behind the suffering of animals,
      suffering that is necessarily involved in the
      making of BD "preps".  Here is the fifth stage
      of Bondarev's schema of the thought-process,
      such as I am able to attain this stage now.  For
      me the crucial seed was the mental picture of a
      Buddha statue, a picture that seemed to come in
      response to my questioning.  And this mental
      picture seemed to me to have relevant meanings 
      as I have related immediately above.  The sum of
      these "meanings" in this context seems to me as

      >>5 -- PERCEPTION OF THE IDEA:  Animals do
      inevitably suffer in Earth-life; such pain and
      suffering is necessary on Earth for both Man and
      animals.  This Earth-life and its entailed
      suffering are consequences of "desire", or
      "thirst for existence".  Buddhism teaches the
      cessation of suffering through the extirpation
      of desire and the avoidance of Earthly
      incarnation.  But Christianity sees such
      avoidance as a denial of the true value of
      material Creation and affirms Earth-life, and
      hence accepts its necessary pain and

      -- The next stage of Bondarev's 7fold dialectic
      is the "individualization of the Idea".  In
      trying to bring my attempt to this stage I asked 
      myself:  "How is this Idea (the Noble Truths,
      etc.) individualized in this case?"  I reasoned
      that, since my thought-problem, my "antithesis",
      arose in relation to Rudolf Steiner's teachings
      on agriculture, the "individual" in this case is
      Steiner himself.  So, with the goal of finding
      out how this Idea was individualized in Steiner,
      I came up with the scheme of trying to "back-
      engineer", as it were, Steiner's own process
      through which he came to give those agricultural

      I recalled (from various readings) that in 1924,
      and the preceding years,  Steiner was faced with
      an ethical decision.  The story is told, in
      part, in Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's preface to an
      edition of Steiner's "agriculture course".  Some

      "In 1922/23 Ernst Stegemann and a group of other
      farmers went to ask Rudolf Steiner's advice
      about the increasing degeneration they had
      noticed in seed-strains and in many cultivated
      plants. What can be done to check this decline
      and to improve the quality of seed and
      nutrition? That was their question."

      "A second group went to Dr. Steiner in concern
      at the increase in animal diseases, with
      problems of sterility and the widespread foot-
      and-mouth disease high on the list. Among those
      in this group were the veterinarian Dr. Joseph
      Werr, the physician Dr. Eugen Kolisko, and
      members of the staff of the newly established
      Weleda, the pharmaceutical manufacturing

      "Count Carl von Keyserlingk brought problems
      from still another quarter. Then Dr. Wachsmuth
      and the present writer went to Dr. Steiner with
      questions dealing particularly with the etheric
      nature of plants, and with formative forces in

      "Shortly before 1924, Count Keyserlingk set to
      work in deal [sic] earnest to persuade Dr.
      Steiner to give an agricultural course. As Dr.
      Steiner was already overwhelmed with work, tours
      and lectures, he put off his decision from week
      to week. The undaunted Count then dispatched his
      nephew to Dornach, with orders to camp on Dr.
      Steiner's doorstep and refuse to leave without a
      definite commitment for the course. This was
      finally given.

      "The agricultural course was held from June 7 to
      16, 1924, in the hospitable home of Count and
      Countess Keyserlingk at Koberwitz, near

      "[Steiner] said to me, 'Spiritual scientific
      knowledge must have found its way into practical
      life by the middle of the century if untold
      damage to the health of man and nature is to be

      Thus, in the early 1920s, Steiner was virtually
      besieged by people asking "Parsival questions"
      about agriculture, and he knew that the
      situation was indeed dire, in ways both more
      obvious and less obvious:  for the Earth's
      healing and for human ability to realize ideals
      in action.  During the Agriculture Course
      Steiner stated the problem starkly -- for

      "[If BD pest-control methods were not used] . .
      . agriculture would go from bad to worse in
      civilised countries. Not only intermittent
      periods of local starvation or high prices would
      occur, but these conditions would become quite
      general. Such a state of affairs may well be
      with us in a none too distant future. We have
      thus no other choice. Either we must let
      civilisation go to rack and ruin on the earth,
      or we must endeavour to shape things in such a
      way as to bring forth a new fertility. For our
      needs to-day, we really have no choice to stop
      and discuss whether or no such things are

      This shows that Steiner had a clear, deep
      understanding of the world-emergency connected
      with the sad state of agriculture.  Moreover, he
      had profound understanding of the dire
      consequences of cruelty to animals; a relevant

      (from "Karma and the Animal Kingdom';
      *Manifestations of Karma*; LECTURE 2:)
      "Thus the animals have the astral body in common
      with us, and are therefore able to feel pain.
      But from what has now been said we see that they
      do not possess the power to evolve through pain
      and through the conquest of pain, for they have
      no individuality. The animals are on this
      account much more to be pitied than us. We have
      to bear pain, but each pain is for us a means to
      perfection; through overcoming it we rise
      higher. We have left behind us the animal as
      something that already has the capacity to feel
      pain but does not yet possess the power to raise
      itself above pain, and to triumph by means of
      it. That is the fate of the animals. They
      manifest to us our own former organisation when
      we were capable of feeling pain, but could not
      yet, through overcoming the pain, transform it
      into something beneficial for humanity. Thus in
      the course of our earthly evolution we have left
      of our worst to the animals, and they stand
      around us as tokens of how we ourselves came to
      our perfection. We should not have got rid of
      the dregs if we had not left the animals behind.
      We must learn to consider such facts, not as
      theories, but rather with a cosmic world
      feeling. When we look upon the animals we should
      feel: 'You animals are outside. When you suffer,
      you suffer something of which we reap the
      benefit. We men, however, have the power to
      overcome suffering while you must endure it.
      Having received suffering we have passed it on
      to you, and are taking to ourselves the power to
      overcome it.' If we develop this cosmic feeling
      out of the theory, we then experience a great
      and all-embracing feeling of sympathy for the
      animal kingdom. Hence when this universal
      feeling sprang from the primeval wisdom of
      humanity, when mankind still possessed the
      remembrance of the original knowledge which told
      each one by a dim clairvoyant vision how things
      once were, there was preserved with it sympathy
      for the animal kingdom also, and this to a high
      degree. This sympathy will come again when
      people accustom themselves to take up Spiritual
      Science, and when they again see how the karma
      of humanity is bound up with the world
      karma....It was natural that one should cease to
      feel the connection between man and animal; and
      in those parts of the earth where it has been
      the mission to hide the spiritual knowledge of
      this connection, replacing it by a consciousness
      concerning itself only with outward physical
      space, man has paid in a strange fashion his
      debt to the animals. He has eaten them. These
      things show us how world conceptions are
      connected with the human world of perception and
      feeling. The latter are the consequences of the
      former and as the conceptions and ideas change,
      the perceptions and feelings of humanity also
      change. Man could not do otherwise than evolve.
      It is due to this that he had to push other
      beings into the abyss so that he could rise
      higher himself. He could not give them an
      individuality which compensates karmically for
      what the animals have to suffer; he could only
      give them pain, without being able to give them
      the karmic compensation. But what he could not
      give them before, he will give them when he has
      come to the freedom and selflessness of his
      individuality. Then he will consciously
      apprehend the karmic law in this realm and will
      say 'It is to the animals that I owe what I have
      now become. As the animals have fallen from an
      individual existence to a shadow existence I
      cannot repay to them what they have sacrificed
      for me, but I must make this good, so far as is
      possible, by the treatment I extend to them.'
      Therefore with the progress of evolution there
      will come again through the consciousness of
      karma a better relationship between man and the
      animal kingdom than there is now, especially in
      the west. There will come a treatment of the
      animals whereby man will again uplift those he
      has pushed down....."

      And Steiner tells us that the karmic
      consequences have already started and will
      continue into the far future, in ways that must
      be surprising and gruesome to the ordinary human

      ". . . . in the course of evolution man has
      always inflicted pain on the animals, that he
      has killed the animals. One who learns to know
      the Karma of human life often finds it highly
      unjust that the animal, which does not
      reincarnate, should suffer, should bear pain,
      and even, in the case of the higher animals,
      should go through death with a certain
      consciousness. Should no Karmic compensation
      take place here? Naturally, the human being has
      to make a Karmic compensation in Kamaloka for
      the pain which he inflicts on animals, but I am
      not speaking of this now; I am speaking of the
      compensation for the animals. Let us make one
      thought clear: If we consider human evolution,
      we see how much pain man has strewn over the
      animal kingdom and how many animals he has
      killed. What do these pains and these deaths
      mean in the course of evolution? . . .

      "These animals on which pain has been inflicted
      will arise again, though not in the same form;
      but that which feels pain in them, that comes
      again. It comes again in such a way that the
      sufferings of the animals are compensated, so
      that to every pain its complementary feeling is
      added. These pains, these sufferings, this
      death, these are the seed which man has sown;
      they return in such a way that to every pain its
      contrary feeling is added in the future. To use
      a concrete example: When Earth is replaced by
      Jupiter, the animals will not appear in their
      present form, but their pains and sufferings
      will awaken the forces for the feeling of pain.
      They will live in men, and will embody
      themselves as parasitic animals in men. Out of
      the sensations and feelings of these men, out of
      their pains, the compensation will be created.
      This is the occult truth, which can be stated
      objectively and unadorned even if it is not
      pleasant to the man of today. Man will one day
      suffer this, and the animals will have, in a
      certain well-being, in a pleasant feeling, the
      compensation for their pains. . . .

      "Why are men plagued by beings which are really
      neither animals nor plants, but stand between
      the two, by bacilli and similar creatures, which
      feel a well-being when man suffers? They have
      brought this upon themselves in earlier
      incarnations through inflicting pain and death
      on animals. For the being, though not appearing
      in the same form, feels this across time and
      feels the compensation for its pains in the
      suffering which man must undergo. Thus all the
      pain and suffering in the world are positively
      not without consequences. It is a seed from
      which proceeds what is caused by pain,
      suffering, and death. There can be no suffering,
      no pain, no death, without causing something
      which springs up later on."
      (from the lecture of 17th April, 1912;
      Stockholm; GA 143:  "The Three Paths of the Soul
      to Christ"; Lecture II)

      And more:  cruelty to animals has severe effects
      upon the soul-spirit of the perpetrator. 
      Consciousness of these effects makes the
      perpetrator into a black magician; even if he be
      unconscious of these effects, serious
      consequences remain.  And these effect reach
      even into the whole evolution of the Earth:

      (*Foundations of Esotericism*; Lecture XIX:)
      "When an animal is tortured, the amount of pain
      inflicted on it recoils immediately on the
      astral body of the human being. Here certainly
      it is reflected as its opposite; hence the
      sensual pleasure in cruelty. Such feelings bring
      about a lowering of the human astral body. When
      a person destroys life, this has for him a
      tremendous significance. [Gap in text ...]. In
      no way can one so readily assimilate destructive
      astral forces as by killing. Every killing of a
      being possessing an astral body evokes an
      intensification of the most brutal egoism. It
      signifies a growing increase of power. In
      schools of Black Magic therefore, instruction is
      first given as to how one cuts into animals.
      Cutting into a definite place, accompanied by
      corresponding thoughts, induces a certain force,
      in another place it induces another force. (What
      corresponds to this in the case of the White
      Magician is meditation.) Something comes back to
      the physical plane when it is accompanied by
      physical thoughts; without thoughts it comes
      back to the Kamaloka plane."

      (*Foundations of Esotericism*: Lecture XX:)
      "Something else that we can meet with in astral
      space is the black magician with his pupils. In
      order to train himself to become a black
      magician, the pupil has to go through a special
      schooling. The training in black magic consists
      in a person becoming accustomed, under
      methodical instruction, to torture, to cut, to
      kill animals. This is the ABC. When the human
      being consciously tortures living creatures it
      has a definite result. The pain caused in this
      way, when it is brought about intentionally,
      produces a quite definite effect on the human
      astral body. When a person cuts consciously into
      a particular organ this induces in him an
      increase in power. Now the basic principle of
      all white magic is that no power can be gained
      without selfless devotion. When through such
      devotion power is gained, it flows from the
      common life force of the universe. If however we
      take its life-energy from some particular being,
      we steal this life-energy. Because it belonged
      to a separate being it densifies and strengthens
      the element of separateness in the person who
      has appropriated it, and this intensification of
      separateness makes him suited to becoming the
      pupil of those who are engaged in conflict with
      the good powers. For our earth is a battlefield;
      it is the scene of two opposing powers: right
      and left. The one, the white power on the right,
      after the earth has reached a certain degree of
      material, physical density, strives to
      spiritualise it once again. The other power, the
      left or black power, strives to make the earth
      ever denser and denser, like the moon. Thus,
      after a, period of time, the earth could become
      the physical expression for the good powers, or
      the physical expression for the evil. . . .

      "There are black adepts who are on the way to
      acquire certain forces of the earth for
      themselves. Were the circle of their pupils to
      become so strong that this should prove
      possible, then the earth would be on the path
      leading to destruction."

      (from * An Esoteric Cosmology*; "The Astral
      World"; Lecture IX; 2-6-1906:)
      "The black magician has the urge to kill, to
      create a void around him in the astral world
      because this void affords him a field in which
      his egoistic desires may disport themselves. He
      needs the power which he acquires by taking the
      vital force of everything that lives, that is to
      say, by killing it. That is why the first
      sentence on the tables of black magic is: Life
      must be conquered. For the same reason, in
      certain schools of black magic the followers are
      taught the horrible and diabolical practice of
      gashing living animals with a knife at the
      precise part of the body which will generate
      this or that force in the wielder of the knife.
      From the purely external aspect, there are
      certain points in common between black magic and
      vivisection. On account of its materialism,
      modern science has need of vivisection. The
      anti-vivisection movements are inspired by
      deeply moral motives. But it will not be
      possible to abolish vivisection in science until
      clairvoyance has been restored to medicine. It
      is only because clairvoyance has been lost that
      medicine has had to resort to vivisection. When
      man has regained conscious access to the astral
      world, clairvoyance will enable doctors to enter
      spiritually into the inner conditions of
      diseased organs and vivisection will be
      abandoned as worthless...."

      -- This discussion establishes clearly that,
      again, Steiner had a deep, profound
      understanding of the effects of cruelty to
      animals.  But he was faced with the ethical
      decision of how to answer the questioners
      besieging him about agriculture, while he had a
      also had great understanding of the desperate
      state that agriculture was then in -- and still
      more -- while he had great insight into the
      calamitous consequences of a continuing failure
      of agriculture.

      He was faced with the question of whether to
      intervene, and, if so, how?  And he did also
      have profound discernment about the whole
      complex of questions surrounding the
      cosmological causes of suffering, so profound
      that he was able to pinpoint the mistake that
      the great Buddha made in his teachings of the
      "Noble Truths".  Adding here to the previous
      quotations, I illustrate this mistake by some
      incidents that Steiner told about the "lost
      years" of Jesus.

      (from *The Fifth Gospel*; translation: Frank
      Thomas Smith:)

      (Lecture IV; Oslo, October 4, 1913:)

      ". . . . [the Zarathustra] Jesus heard that the
      Buddha [in vision] said something like this: 'If
      my teaching, as it is, is completely fulfilled,
      that all men on earth must be like the Essenes.
      But that cannot be. That was the error in my
      teaching. The Essenes can only progress if they
      separate themselves from the rest of humanity;
      other human souls must be there for them. The
      fulfillment of my teaching would mean nothing
      but Essenes. But that cannot be.'"

      ". . . . Jesus of Nazareth had observed
      something noteworthy. When he came to a place
      where imageless Essene gates were, Jesus of
      Nazareth couldn’t pass through those gates
      without again having a bitter experience. He saw
      those imageless gates, but for him there were
      spiritual figures on the gates. To him appeared
      on both sides of those gates what we have
      learned to know from many spiritual scientific
      explanations under the names Ahriman and
      Lucifer. . . ."

      "One day after an important conversation in
      which many sublime spiritual themes were
      discussed, as Jesus of Nazareth was leaving
      through the gates of the Essenes' main building
      he encountered the figures who he knew were
      Lucifer and Ahriman. He saw them fleeing from
      the gates of the Essene monastery…and a question
      entered his soul, not as though he asked it
      himself, but a strong elemental force instilled
      in his soul the question: Where are Lucifer and
      Ahriman fleeing to? For he knew that the
      sanctity of the Essene monastery had caused them
      to flee. But the question remained: Where to?"

      (Lecture 5 ; Oslo, Norway; October 5, 1913:)

      "Then he [Jesus-Zarathustra] spoke [to his
      mother] of the third important thing, which had
      come to him during his visionary talk with the
      Buddha: Not all people can be Essenes. Hillel
      was right when he said: Don’t separate yourself
      from society, but live and work within it. For
      what am I if I am alone? That’s what the Essenes
      do though; they separate themselves from the
      people, who are then necessarily unhappy. Then
      he told his mother about his experience after an
      intimate conversation with the Essenes. As he
      was at the gate leaving, he saw Lucifer and
      Ahriman running off. Since that moment, my dear
      mother, I knew that the Essenes protect
      themselves by means of their way of life and
      their occult teachings to the extent that
      Lucifer and Ahriman must flee from their gates.
      But they send Lucifer and Ahriman to others in
      order to be happy themselves."

      -- This seems to me to be the crucial point, for
      the present discussion, of what Steiner reveals
      as coming from the interactions of Zarathustra-
      Jesus with the Buddha and with the Essenes:  The
      original teachings of the Buddha were wrong, as
      the Buddha Himself later recognized, to advocate
      a withdrawal from "normal" society (and *mutatis
      mutandis* from Earth-life), for such a
      withdrawal by the relatively "enlightened" only
      leaves the remainder of society (and the Earth)
      in a worse state, and easier prey for the
      Opposing Spirits; in order to really help
      society and the Earth-life the relatively
      enlightened must "get their hands dirty" by
      involving themselves in "normal" Earth-life.

      So:  In the early '20s Rudolf Steiner was faced
      with an ethical decision.  He was being asked
      for help with agriculture.  And he understood,
      better than his supplicants, the dire state of
      modern agriculture and the grim consequences of
      that dismal situation.  More, he had knowledge
      of methods which would improve agriculture, but
      these methods would entail, even perhaps only
      tangentially, some cruelty to animals.  And
      still more, he had deep, deep understanding of
      the horror of such cruelty and its far-reaching
      consequences.  Yet, he also had profound
      understanding of the "noble truths" about pain
      and suffering in Earth-life, and of the Buddha's
      original mistake of promoting withdrawal from
      Earth-life as a means of ending suffering. --
      Thus, it would not only be impious, but also
      ignorant and/or unintelligent, for anyone to
      criticize Steiner for being inattentive or
      inconsiderate of the entailed animal pain
      involved in his BD methods.

      I took this situation that Steiner faced as the
      relevant instance of the "individualization of
      the Idea":  how did the individual Rudolf
      Steiner realize the Idea (i.e. the Noble Truths
      about suffering) in practice?  (That is, in the
      "practice" of revealing and advocating the
      methods that raised my original conflict of
      thesis-antithesis.)  I sought to "get inside"
      Steiner's mind and "back-engineer" his decision,
      trying in my mind to consider such great
      knowledge as Steiner had, as illustrated by the
      quotations above.

      But to do this from the outside (of Steiner's
      mind) it seemed to me, would ultimately be just
      speculation; to really answer it I needed to get
      an "inspiration" from "the other side".  I
      needed a revelation, a grace from Steiner
      himself -- or I thought that I needed at least
      his consent to speculate on this theme.  I
      thought that I needed to have not only the kind
      of compassion for the animals that I supposed
      (or would have liked to have supposed) to have
      instigated my "antithesis"; Steiner already had
      more of that than I had, and deeper, more
      painful and poignant understanding too.  I
      needed to have compassion for Steiner himself;
      he must have suffered greatly with his ethical
      decision:  heroic pain (the "pearls" of his
      wisdom) endured, suffered, voluntarily and
      profoundly.  His suffering was deeper and more
      in need of compassion than that of most people,
      if only because he is seen as a "great" man and
      not as "needy" as ordinary people.  I surmised
      that Steiner was wiser because he suffered more
      ("wisdom is crystallized pain":  the "pearls") -
      - and therefore his pain should be approached
      only with reverence.  The muddy feet of impure
      hearts cannot tread this holy ground; his ways
      are higher than our ways.  But my feet were
      muddy and my heart was impure; those were the
      unavoidable facts.  Still, under the
      circumstances, what could I do but try anyway
      and plead for mercy?  Maybe my asking would be
      acceptable only on the condition that any
      information that I gained would be given out to
      other people for their betterment?

      -- I was stuck at that point almost a week,
      trying to have a breakthrough and not getting
      it.  I had plenty of mental pictures, but none
      seemed especially meaningful.  Finally, I had
      the mental picture of Rudolf Steiner, in his
      black garb, just looking at me with those eyes
      of his, but I didn't gather any conceptual
      communication from him.  And so I came to the
      thought that I was on the wrong track.  Later, I
      came to surmise that this thought came to me
      because somewhere in the back of my mind was
      simmering Steiner's discussion in Chapter Nine
      of *PoF*:  The free human being does not work
      out whether an action is good or bad; it will be
      good if it finds it right place in the world;
      bad if not; he does the action because he loves
      it, because he has found a moral label, a
      particular moral principle, a moral intuition;
      etc., etc.

      So, perhaps Steiner was silently looking at me
      to say:  "It's up to you.  My decision was mine
      only, based on my situation and my individual
      moral intuition.  Your decision is yours only;
      it must be based on your situation and your
      individual moral intuition.  The same goes for
      anyone; that's what 'moral individualism'
      means." -- ???

      Anyway, after deeming that I was on the wrong
      track I decided to pose the question
      differently:  "If anyone grasped the Noble
      Truths about suffering and who bore in mind
      Steiner's elucidations and corrections of them,
      how would he relate to the ethical questions
      surrounding the BD preps and their entailed
      suffering of animals?"  Steiner himself, I
      presumed, took into account all such as I have
      quoted, and, for all I know, may have had other
      reasons also -- but I wasn't seeing into
      Steiner's mind, and I didn't have leave to
      speculate further about his ethical decision. 
      So I asked the question relating to any ethical
      decision for anyone who had *that* kind of
      information at hand.  And I suppose that this
      *anyone* would refer to myself first and

      Asking myself the question in this way, and
      thinking it through conceptually, not waiting
      for mental pictures as "gifts from the other
      side", I got such thoughts as the following: --
      No agriculture is completely harmless; even a BD
      agriculture without the preps from slaughter
      would cause pain to some creatures:  plowing
      their fields, clearing their forests, keeping
      them from eating the crops, etc.  [Steiner also
      recommended the making and use of "peppers" from
      killed living organisms.  (See Appendix 2
      below.)  And he defended this practice with
      considerations much along the same lines as
      those I have indicated in the present
      discussion.  And, though I do not go deeply into
      the question here, I surmise that it could be
      treated in much the same way as I am treating
      the main question above.]  Indeed it seems that
      *any* life on this Earth must cause some pain,
      some harm to some creatures.  It seems that no
      Earth-life could be *absolutely* harmless.  (???
      Compare that Jains' prayer [see Appendix 1
      below])  Seemingly, the only way to be
      completely harmless would be to withdraw from
      the Earth altogether, to not incarnate.  But
      even for those very few who might be capable of
      such withdrawal (most of us still have much
      Earthly karma to work out), the question
      becomes:  "What then happens to the Earth if I
      withdraw from it?  The earth would then be
      deprived of the good works that I might bring
      in, and the field would be left more open to
      those who might not be so well-intentioned. 
      Remember RS's story of Lucifer and Ahriman
      fleeing the 'gates of the Essenes'?  The rest of
      the world is worse-off because of the Essenes'
      withdrawal into (relative) harmlessness.  So, it
      seems that if one is to have real, more
      effective compassion for the Earth, then one
      must get one's hands dirty and get involved in
      Earth-life, with the inevitable guilt that this
      entails."  (???  Is this true:  does the noble
      truth about the cause of suffering imply that no
      one could live harmlessly???)  -- So:  The
      Buddha seems to effectively deny the goodness of
      Earth-creation and its goals; he withdraws, 
      Steiner, as a Christian, affirms the Earth-life
      and goals as "good" -- and gets his hands dirty,
      gets involved, and tries to move the evolution
      toward the better, even though some harm is done
      in the course of working for the greater good
      (e.g. BD preps and plowing) and in the process
      of moving Earth-evolution forward, toward the
      Gods' goals.  (?? Suffering and pain are not
      necessarily "bad", but allow the creation of the
      greater good??)

      -- And I thought further:  Such questions touch
      upon the Holy Mysteries, and can be considered
      only with the deepest earnestness (raised to the
      Nth degree) and with deep sorrow and grief, in
      knowing and compassion for the pain to those
      creatures hurt.  And for the Initiate, even more
      so, for he has knowledge of the profound, far-
      reaching  consequences of inflicting pain.  One
      simply cannot approach such questions in the
      usual frame of mind; but only with the deepest
      reverence and seriousness and selflessness.  The
      fact is that one cannot *think* as one pleases,
      but has the sacred task of following the
      thinking wherever IT leads.  A revolution in
      ones' soul is required; one cannot proceed
      further while being "the same person" as one
      used to be.  (??? Must one "hit bottom" before

      (As a rough and ready definition of *harm*:  the
      infliction of undeserved pain and/or damage --
      and for animals, it seems, no pain could be
      deserved, for animals are not free moral

      Later, I considers some follow-up questions:

      But is it true that no life on Earth could be
      *absolutely* harmless? --  As far as I can
      reason, the fact that Earth-life in general
      necessarily entails suffering does not logically
      imply that no human life on Earth could be
      harmless; for all I know, some very advanced
      people might be able to live in such a way as to
      cause absolutely no harm to any creatures. 
      (It's hard to imagine how; really, I can't
      imagine it.) -- But as a practical matter, I
      don't see how people with anything like the
      abilities that are normal now could live without
      causing some harm, somehow.  Perhaps the
      Essenses approached such a way of life, but even
      they, I presume, must have caused some harm to
      some creatures, even if only because the Essene
      houses must have denied space to various small
      creatures, and because their agriculture might
      have denied free range to some creatures.  And
      even their ability to have lived so relatively
      harmlessly must have depended upon the fact that
      that region had previously been cleared of
      dangerous animals.  And so on.  But, the
      paradoxical fact was also, as Jesus-Zarathustra
      divined, that their very harmlessness, in the
      way it was lived out, did do harm to the greater
      society, in that Lucifer and Ahriman had that
      society as more of an open field for their
      activities.  And Jesus Christ, did enter into
      that wider society; He "came eating and
      drinking", and so participated, even if
      peripherally, in the ambient harmfulness --
      though, as we are told, He remained without sin.

      But the real, practical situation in the world
      today is this:  People need to eat, and to eat
      they need, at a minimum, agriculture of plants. 
      Most, probably, could get along without eating
      meat if they tried, but many or most people are
      not even at the stage of development that they
      want to try.<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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