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another attempt at 7fold thinking

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  • Robert Mason
    another attempt at 7fold thinking   To all:   Many of you have read my previous posts on this theme; I am assuming that most of you have, and that I will
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2012
      another attempt at 7fold thinking
      To all:
      Many of you have read my previous posts on this
      theme; I am assuming that most of you have, and
      that I will not have to explain quite so much
      this time. (Anyway, here are my major previous
      Quite some time has passed since my last
      attempt, but I have not been entirely idle. As
      usual, I have had little time to work, and even
      less online. I still have a huge backlog of
      unread reading, which I will likely never catch
      up with. I have missed much of the discussions
      on these e-lists. And, continuing my lifelong
      trouble with *work*, I have wasted much of even
      the little free time that I have had. But I did
      resolve to make another attempt at 7fold
      thinking, and I have been working on it, more or
      less, since my last post on this theme. I did
      take a little break to review Pfeifer's book,
      but otherwise most of my outward Anthro efforts
      have been directed to this recent attempt. The
      main reason that it has taken so long is that I
      was stymied for a good, long time.
      The task that I set for myself was to try to
      answer the question: what is the correct
      (cosmically correct, objectively correct)
      relation of the government (any government) to
      abortion? -- That question, and ones surrounding
      the same subject, had already been simmering in
      my soul for many years previously, as, I
      suppose, it has been (at least) simmering in
      millions of other souls. As most of us know, it
      has been a very vexed question in contemporary
      public discourse. (I write from the USA, and I
      have always been in the USA, but I gather that
      this question is much discussed also in other
      Indeed, it is a question that (almost?) every
      government in the world must face: abortion is
      here; it is a fact of life, and every government
      must come into *some* kind of relation to it.
      Really, no government has much choice: abortion
      is a fact in the existence of mankind upon the
      earth, just as the land, the waters, and the air
      are facts -- and governments must "deal with"
      the fact of abortion, somehow.
      Lots of people don't want to think about
      abortion, much as lots of people don't want to
      think about "how the sausage was made". But
      abortion is here; it's real, and it's not going
      to just go away. So, I thought that someone has
      to think about it, and think about it in a way
      so as to get at the objective truth, not merely
      to emote and satisfy oneself. For there does
      exist an objective truth about abortion and
      about the right relation of the state to it,
      just as there does exist an objective truth
      about the relation of two-plus-two to four.
      That objective truth exists whether we like it
      or not, and one makes oneself unreal when one
      seeks to satisfy one's subjective emotions
      rather than to seek the objective truth. Of
      course, sometimes "the truth hurts", but it is
      still true nevertheless, and seeking to avoid
      that pain is in the end futile, because of the
      simple fact that the real, the true, is more
      real than the unreal, the false, and will
      outlast it. And of course, not many people will
      admit to seeking subjective satisfaction over
      real truth, but many people deceive themselves
      and "know not what they do". Real truthfulness
      requires self-awareness, and self-awareness
      sometimes hurts like a bitch. There's no
      getting around it: sometimes one must choose
      reality over pleasantness, but that's only in
      the short run; in the long run one finds in The
      True a higher "pleasure" that is more fulfilling
      than the evanescent pleasantness of avoiding
      subjective pain.
      And there's no getting around the fact that the
      whole subject of abortion is inherently
      unpleasant. It's fairly easy to see that most
      people simply don't want to think about it, and
      that's why politicians can give most people
      double-talk which they will accept.
      Nevertheless the fact remains: abortion is
      real, it's here, and governments must deal with
      it, one way or another. And whatever
      governments do or don't do, pain will result;
      there will be that pain of abortion, and/or
      there will be the pain of unwanted pregnancy and
      childbearing, and/or plenty of other kinds of
      pain. And whatever anyone proposes to do about
      abortion, it's obvious that plenty of people
      will be offended and angry about that proposal.
      It's a commonplace observation that the issue is
      "divisive", and no one with any proposal can
      please everyone; some people will be displeased
      no matter what. -- So, there's no avoiding
      unpleasantness about abortion; no matter what
      one does or doesn't do, no matter what one says
      or doesn't say, some kind of pain will follow;
      again, there's just no getting around it. Ergo,
      one would take the best course to seek the
      objective truth of the matter; despite short-
      term pain, in the long run that's the least
      painful course.
      Indeed, if one wants to "help", if one wants
      people (and the whole of Creation) to be
      "happy", one simply must be realistic; no real
      happiness can come within an environment of
      falsehood. Yes, the Truth might "hurt" in the
      short run, but in the long run only Truth can
      allow real "happiness". If one really wants to
      "help", one is bound to seek the objective
      Truth, however much it might "hurt". That's the
      way it is.
      -- Though I write from the USA, I am not
      primarily concerned with peculiarities of this
      public debate in the USA. The debate in this
      country is rather uncharacteristic, given the
      peculiarities of the polity here, of federalism
      and the "judicial dictatorship". I will not
      review here the tragicomedy of the judicial and
      political wranglings around this problem in the
      USA, since that particular story would likely
      have little meaning for most readers in most
      other countries, and since that story is not
      essential for an answer to the general question.
      I am considering the question more in general,
      for *any* government, and I presume that the
      question might have different answers for
      different governments, polities, and societies
      in different times and places. -- And again, I
      am not *here* asking questions about the
      morality or immorality of abortion in itself. I
      hope that everyone understands exactly what
      question I am asking: about the proper relation
      of governments to abortion.
      Early in my attempt I resolved not to try to
      force my thinking into the 7fold template as
      described by Bondarev. I resolved to try just
      to think through and answer the question, and
      then, afterwards, to evaluate my thinking to
      find out whether and/or how much my thinking fit
      the 7fold paradigm. But, inevitably, that 7fold
      pattern was always at least in the back of my
      mind, and I could not get it out. So, my
      attempt could not be completely unprejudiced,
      but I did try, somewhat, to let my thinking
      follow the natural course of the problem-solving
      My main concern, my primary goal, was to think
      *objectively*, not to let any of my subjective
      feelings and prejudices shape the outcome.
      Easier said than done, for sure, but if one
      really wants the truth of the matter, one must
      at least make the attempt. And especially for
      one who strives to be an Anthroposophist the
      importance and the possibility of objective
      thinking is more than a matter of vague
      idealism. I believe that I already had some
      experience of objective thinking (or, as Steiner
      might have said, thinking that transcends the
      distinction between the subjective and the
      objective), however simple and sporadic most of
      that experience might have been. Indeed, my
      experience in this regard had mostly been only
      with very simple thoughts, but even so, the real
      distinction between objective thinking and
      subjective (pseudo-) thinking was already a
      matter of . . . well, experience. But now I was
      trying to think, objectively, some very complex
      thoughts, to solve a very complex problem.
      Not surprisingly, Anthroposophical thoughts and
      methods were by then part of my make-up. I
      presumed that my attempt would somehow build
      upon Steiner's insights, but the problem was (so
      it seemed) that RS had been silent on this
      subject. He had promulgated the concept of the
      3fold commonwealth, but as far as I knew, in his
      expositions of that concept he had said nothing
      at all about abortion, even by implication. The
      dreaded cloud, STEINER-LEFT-NO-INDICATIONS, hung
      over my attempt, but that impediment also seemed
      to give the attempt more urgency. So it seemed
      to me: the world needs to have this question
      answered, but, as far as I knew, "initiation
      science" had not given the answer in public --
      and therefore someone had to do it; even if only
      one person out of the seven billion tries, at
      least someONE should try.
      "Initiation science" had indeed given out the
      concept of the 3fold commonwealth; that concept
      did not come from ordinary political discourse.
      It could not have come from ordinary discourse,
      for it could not have come from ordinary
      consciousness. It came from the consciousness
      of the True Initiate, as it could not have come
      from anyone else, for only the True Initiate has
      insight into the plans and thoughts of the Gods.
      The Gods, through the True Initiate, injected
      the 3fold concept into the Earthly political
      discussion in response to the socio-political
      crisis which came to expression in the First
      World War. And that concept was given
      exposition in terms that related most directly
      to conditions of the socio-political crisis of
      that time. But now, almost a century later, the
      socio-political conditions have changed, not
      least because the 3fold concept was not "taken
      up" and is now at least a century overdue for
      One of those changes is the widespread
      availability of the technique of abortion. And
      the political response to that development was
      at first largely suppression, which by now has
      changed to permissiveness (or even enforced
      implementation) over much or most of the
      industrialized world. But this permissiveness
      has aroused much opposition, which sees abortion
      itself as a violation of the most basic of
      "human rights", the "right to life". So, a
      social tension does exist, a socio-political
      question which needs to be answered. This
      question hardly existed in Steiner's day, and,
      as far as I know, he said nothing about it
      directly. But this question is urgent in our
      day: abortion exists, and governments, like it
      or not, must come into some kind of relation to
      But governments, it seems, are unable to solve
      this problem, even less than they are able to
      resolve the social problems to which, a century
      ago, Steiner gave them the solution on a silver
      platter, as it were. -- Not a final solution,
      but at least a healthful treatment; and thus the
      question arises as to whether they are really
      "unable" or rather "unwilling", but I will
      bypass that question for now. As to the
      impossibility of "final solutions" in the socio-
      political realm, STEINER SAID:
      ". . . . the social organism is constantly
      becoming and growing. It is not possible to ask
      how something that grows should be organized in
      order that this organization, which is thought
      to be correct, be preserved into the future. One
      can think in this way about something which
      remains unchanged from its beginnings. But it is
      not valid for the social organism. As a living
      entity it is constantly changing whatever arises
      within it. To attempt to give it a supposedly
      best form, in which it is expected to remain, is
      to undermine its vitality." [from *Basic Issues
      of the Social Question*, Chapter Three; F.T.
      Smith translation, at eLib.com]
      Governments have, by and large, more or less,
      lurched and staggered into some kinds of
      relations to the problem of abortion, but the
      real questions have never been answered, and, no
      matter how much they are ignored or "denied",
      they remain a source of unavoidable social
      So, it seemed to me that the world needs a real
      answer to this question, just as, almost a
      century ago, Rudolf Steiner, from "initiation
      science", gave the world a real answer to the
      "social question" of his day. But the problem
      was, again, that as far as I knew RS was silent
      on this subject. So, it would seem that any
      comparable answer to the present problem would
      likewise have to come from "initiation science",
      from the True Initiates of the present day. But
      here again, as far as I know, no True Initiate
      has spoken in public about this problem. Ergo
      . . . so it seemed, finding the answer was up to
      me. Problem is, I am not an Initiate and am not
      likely to become one in this incarnation; I do
      not see into the plans and thoughts of the Gods.
      But . . . since I was trying to develop the
      ability to think 7foldedly, and since I had
      already made some little progress in that
      direction (or at least so I allowed myself to
      believe, or maybe wishfully conjecture) . . .
      then, perhaps, I could solve this problem
      through more 7fold thinking. And this
      undertaking would not really be "esoteric"; it
      would not require that I become an Initiate; it
      would be merely "exoteric", the kind of
      development of thinking that must come into the
      general culture in the course of forward
      evolution, as I understand Bondarev to say.
      And so, I conjectured, if I could pursue this
      7fold thinking as far as the "perception of the
      (Platonic) Idea" of the matter, then the true
      solution to the problem would naturally follow.
      And this would be the *true* solution, not
      merely the kind of wishful, prejudiced pseudo-
      thinking that mostly fills the usual public
      discourse on this subject. For 7fold thinking
      is inherently objective, and the apprehension of
      the True Idea, the Archetype, would naturally
      lead to implications that would be above and
      beyond the merely subjective.
      Yet, as I found out before, and as I have
      related in previous posts on this theme (and
      hence need not repeat here in full), the higher
      stages of the 7fold thinking process are given
      only to the pure in heart, and I was still not
      pure in heart. But even so, the pursuit of
      7fold thinking was hardly even a choice for me
      any longer; it had just about become my *raison
      d'etre*. I *had* to go forward, and if that
      entailed being "pure in heart", then I would
      simply have to try, somehow, to be that,
      whatever it might take. I had come to the point
      in my life where I almost had no choice, if I
      were to justify my presence upon the Earth.
      As I said above, I was aware that my previous
      attempt at 7fold thinking had been somewhat
      artificial, in that I had the 7fold pattern as
      described by Bondarev always in my mind, and
      that I had probably therefore somewhat forced my
      thinking to fit into that preconceived template.
      I resolve to *try* not to do the same again,
      this time; I was just going to follow the
      thinking wherever it led in the pursuit of the
      solution to this problem. But as time wore on,
      and the longer I was stymied, and the more
      frustrated I became, I did become desperate
      enough that the solution to the problem itself
      became more important and the 7fold template
      less important. But, realistically, I must say
      that the template never entirely disappeared
      from my mind.
      I will give in this post a report on my attempt,
      first as a more-or-less sketchy and simplified
      narration of my personal struggles and
      experiences, then as an evaluation of my course
      of experience, and then as a summary of the
      The problem as I first conceived it took the
      form of the "antithesis" between the "right to
      life" of the unborn child as opposed to the
      limits on the rightful, socially healthy power
      of the state. This form arose because my socio-
      political thinking had been shaped by my
      understanding of Steiner's concept of the 3fold
      commonwealth. I conceived that, in the 3fold
      commonwealth, the rule of the political "rights
      state" would be limited by the authority of the
      parents over the child, this authority being
      granted under the "freedom" that holds sway in
      the "cultural sphere". I understood that the
      cultural sphere encompassed all child-rearing
      and so forth, but I did not know whether this
      parental authority was to be absolute and
      unlimited, whether this authority might be
      limited by some childrens' "rights" that might
      be protected by the rights-state.
      I also perceived another conflict in the long-
      term trends of socio-political evolution: there
      is the trend toward greater humane-ness,
      "decency", and less cruelty -- and there is the
      trend toward greater freedom in and control over
      human sexuality and reproduction. These two
      macro-trends collide in the socio-political
      problem of abortion.
      I further understood (from Steiner, I thought)
      the futility, or worse, of working out ideal
      schemes of socio-political betterment according
      to "abstract" wishes or principles. The
      realistic alternative, so I opined, was to
      realize and work from the deeper truth of the
      saying that "politics is the art of the
      possible": the true social philosopher must
      grasp that which is striving to come forth in
      real society, in the real world, and to devise
      practical ways of guiding those existing trends
      in the right direction. (See, for example, the
      lectures published in English as *The Challenge
      of the Times* [GA 186; Nov.-Dec. 1918]) It
      would be calamitous to try to force impossible
      ideals upon any society; the failed, bloody
      attempts at social engineering during the 20th
      century surely proved that point.
      I further gathered (again through Steiner, it
      seemed) that only the High Gods Who guide human
      and cosmic evolution really know what is
      striving to come to fruition in human evolution
      and what is therefore really possible to
      accomplish therein. And more: that only the
      True Initiates can discern those evolutionary
      purposes and thoughts of the Gods and bring
      those concepts into public discourse. Thus, to
      reiterate, the concept of the 3fold commonwealth
      came from "initiation science" and could not
      have come from ordinary discourse.
      And so: it would be impossible for a non-
      initiate, such as myself, to divine the "proper"
      course for a government to take in relation to
      the abortion question; that course could be
      delineated only by an Initiate. But, on the
      other hand, it seemed that this question is
      forced upon statesmen and legislators; they have
      to set some kind of course for the governments
      in relation to this question, simply because the
      question is unavoidable. The legislator can't
      afford to wait for the Initiate to speak.
      Therefore, it seemed to me the dilemma was
      inescapable: the solution to this question is
      impossible; still it is necessary.
      Yes, it was necessary; someone had to solve it.
      As far as I knew, no one else was doing that, so
      it was up to me. I was incompetent, but still I
      had to work with whatever tools I had. -- I
      tried to think objectively; I asked the
      question: "What do the Thoughts Themselves say
      about the question?" But I didn't get any real
      reply, only this -- the Idea (from Steiner,
      through my limited understanding) that the Gods
      will to bring about the long-range evolution of
      Man from near-animality to the status of Spirits
      of Freedom and Love, that governments may be
      necessary in the course of that evolution, that
      political arrangements in various times and
      places "should" be conducive to such evolution
      -- but also that different political
      arrangements might be conducive in different
      times and places for different peoples . . . the
      upshot being that there might be different
      "correct" answers, for different times, and even
      now for different places and peoples.
      And I really didn't know the answers, and I knew
      that I didn't know. I was really open to be
      taught by the Objective Thoughts, but I didn't
      hear any answers. I considered that, if, as RS
      said, *Phantasie* (i.e. the faculty of creating
      mental images) is the first channel of Divine
      Teaching, I still didn't "see" anything. -- So,
      my first tactic for approaching this problem was
      to try to pictorialize the question, but I
      didn't know how. How could I make a mental
      picture of such complex social tensions? These
      are not simple and observable like the growth of
      a plant, are they?
      I came to the opinion that, if I were to solve
      this problem, I could not solve it in ordinary
      consciousness; I had to move into a higher
      consciousness. And I gathered that this higher
      consciousness must be some kind of "picture
      consciousness", but I didn't know how to "get"
      the right pictures. I was floundering;
      everything I tried seemed to fail. This failure
      went on for days and weeks and months. I won't
      try to recount here all the vicissitudes of my
      "process" over all that time; that story would
      take up too much space and time. I will say
      that I made many attempts to change my
      consciousness into an objective, universal,
      visual consciousness, but that these attempts
      always failed to answer my original question. I
      did "get" some mental images; some of these
      seemed useless; some of them seemed significant,
      but I not could find enough meaning in even
      these to solve the problem that I had set for
      myself. As the weeks and months dragged on, I
      sometimes became exasperated with myself for
      having assigned myself an impossible problem, a
      problem which could be solved only by an
      Initiate. But again, I believed that the world
      really needed a solution to this problem. If
      the Initiates were silent (and they were, as far
      as I knew), then ordinary people had to solve
      the problem. It was impossible, but necessary.
      Again and again: impossible, but necessary.
      Impossible. Necessary. . . .
      So I tried. The first thing that I had to do
      was to stop my mind from running away. This was
      something that I had always had to do for inner
      Anthro work, and it had always been hard for me
      to do. Probably I was a victim of what would
      now be called *attention deficit disorder*; I
      had always had trouble concentrating and
      bringing my mind into focus, and of course these
      are the very first things one has to do in order
      to "meditate", and especially in order to
      "think" as I now intended to do. -- In those
      rare moments when I did concentrate, I tried to
      bring my mind into an "expanded", non-
      subjective, non-point-centered state, in which
      the thoughts themselves did the thinking in an
      objective, universal process. And sometimes,
      when I did that, pictures came to me. Again:
      usually these pictures were more or less
      meaningless and useless, but sometimes they did
      seems to be somewhat meaningful.
      Some of the more meaningful pictures were these:
      -- I was seeing something from ancient Greek
      times, or related to them. I saw the ruins of
      what appeared to be ancient Greek buildings,
      especially the broken columns still standing.
      Before these stood young, Classical Greek women,
      wearing the flowing gown with the high, "Empire"
      waistline, and with "done-up" hair behind the
      head. The whole scene was pleasant, light, and
      airy, with a perfect blue sky. I had the
      thought: she, the foremost woman, is the Idea,
      the Being, of the State. Then, the further
      thought: RS says that the State is, or should
      be, 3folded. And then that woman appeared to be
      flanked by two other Classical Greek damsels, to
      her sides and somewhat back. Then I had the
      thought: but what is the relation of the State
      to abortion? And there appeared a picture of a
      bestial, semi-human female head, very jowly,
      with greenish, blotchy skin, with fangs
      protruding upward from the lower jaw, and with
      long, platinum-blondish hair parted in the
      middle. And the further thought: this is the
      being of abortion; none of the picture-persons
      "told" me their identities, but I got the
      thoughts anyway. -- At that point I was getting
      uncomfortable with the whole undertaking, and I
      wanted to run away.
      But I pressed onward. A few days later I got
      back into that scene, or one very similar. The
      Classical Greek damsels were still there, with
      the background of the columns and the blue sky.
      The abortion-being had morphed into a whole
      woman, misshapen and running, or lurching, about
      somewhere "below". I was still posing the
      problem to myself: what is the right relation
      of the state to abortion? . . . and trying to be
      open and unprejudiced. Then there seemed to be
      a light streaming down on the scene from above,
      and I had the thought: all these beings that I
      see get their "marching-orders" from above, from
      the higher realms of the Gods and Their deep
      purposes. But I still didn't have the answer to
      my question.
      More than a week later I was still at it. This
      time I got a mental image of Classical youths,
      garbed in white, bringing down a huge scroll and
      starting to unwind it forward. And among these
      youths were also the ancient Grecian damsels
      from my earlier pictures. There was an ambient
      atmosphere of holiness, of bringing something
      down from the Gods. . . . This picture changed
      into a scene of a gathering of more mature men,
      bearded, in Classical robes, within an enclosure
      with Classical columns; the gathering seemed to
      be some kind of formal assembly, deciding
      something. The men might have been conducting a
      ceremony, or enacting legislation. And again
      there was a feeling of sanctity, surely not of
      today's political "business as usual", but a
      feeling of consecration, of doing something in
      concert with the Gods, or as a service for the
      Gods. The assembly seemed to be a legislature
      gathered in some kind of temple, and it was
      implicit that these legislators understood that
      they were trying to act in concert with the
      Gods. And the legislators conducted themselves
      accordingly, perhaps because they had been
      educated in the Mysteries. The contrast with
      the way that legislation is enacted today was a
      "given". (A contrast exemplified, for instance,
      by the fact that legislators now do not wear
      cultic robes but *business suits*.) -- I had the
      thought that maybe these scenes were to show the
      echoes of a real "theocracy", when human rulers
      acted in earnest holiness because they
      understood that the Gods really rule. But still
      I had no answer to my main question.
      I continued to seek that answer, floundering.
      Over a week later I was having thoughts such as
      these: Suppose that in the contemporary world a
      legislature were convened to re-form the
      government according to the 3folding principles
      as outlined by Rudolf Steiner? These
      legislators would have been "educated" in the
      modern analogue of the ancient Mysteries, i.e.
      they would have imbibed the concepts of
      Anthroposophy, and they would therefore
      understand that their task is to form a polity
      according to the holy plans and purposes of the
      Gods. And suppose that this legislature did in
      fact enact all the 3folding principles as given
      explicitly by Steiner. And then, sometime,
      these legislators would have to turn to the
      question of the state's relation to abortion, if
      for no other reason, because in the modern world
      they had no choice. THEN WHAT would they do?
      Steiner left no explicit indications on this
      question, so what would they do?
      I was back to my original question, and still I
      had no answer. I wondered whether these
      legislators would have to act according to the
      principles of *PoF*, seeking "moral intuition"
      "moral imagination". Then I pictured the
      guiding angels or supra-angels of evolution, and
      wondered whether the legislators would have to
      ask these High Beings for the answer, or maybe
      even ask Rudolf Steiner himself (carrying the
      question to him while falling asleep, as Ernst
      Katz suggested). In other words, I was still
      groping, still floundering.
      Over the next weeks and months I went down
      several different roads in attempts to make
      progress, all futile. I tried thinking the
      question through conceptually, non-pictorially;
      I tried asking "conscience"; I tried through
      feeling, through the "sense of reality"; etc.,
      etc. I tried just about everything except
      standing on my head and blowing my innards out
      my ears. All to no avail; I was stymied. More
      than once the possibility crossed my mind that I
      had "chattered" too much the last time that I
      posted a narrative of my attempt at 7fold
      thinking. (RS said somewhere that the esoteric
      student who "chatters" about his personal, inner
      experiences loses whatever incipient higher-
      cognitive abilities he might be attaining.)
      Sometimes I considered giving up this attempt
      altogether and going on to something else. The
      struggle dragged on and on: day after day, week
      after week, month after month: failure,
      failure, failure. At one time during those
      months I was very sick and it seemed to me that
      I might be dying. But I had the thought that I
      was *not allowed* to die, for I still had things
      to do in this world: for one thing, I had to
      take care of my cat; for another, I had to solve
      the problem of the right relation of the
      government to abortion. This attempt really was
      for me "vital"; it was a reason for living. --
      Well, obviously, I did not die, but the solution
      to the problem still eluded me.
      Finally (during the Holy Nights, as it happened)
      the logjam started to break. My thoughts took
      this turn: I had been believing that the world
      needs to have the solution to this problem, from
      me or from someone else. But is this really
      true: what would happen if no such solution be
      promulgated? Then the muddled socio-political
      mess that we have now would continue; and
      abortions would continue as they do now, and
      maybe more so. Then what would happen? Then,
      the higher world-order would continue as it
      always has: the Gods would adjust the outcomes
      according to karma, and justice and mercy would
      prevail. To assume that the world "needs" my
      solution is to assume that the Gods created
      badly and rule ineptly. But whether or not I
      fail in this attempt, justice and mercy will
      prevail nevertheless. -- I had further thoughts
      in this vein and others, but mainly, something
      had changed in my mood: the desperation had
      abated, and a new serenity settled in.
      I don't now recall exactly why, but I went back
      to re-read Steiner's basic writings on the 3fold
      social order. Maybe I was just ready at last to
      go back and start all over again. Steiner wrote
      about a century ago, when the most pressing
      social problem, besides nationalism, was class
      conflict, the unrest and the demands of the
      emerging proletariat. It hit me what Steiner
      was saying: that the real, driving force behind
      these demands was not really economic *per se*,
      but was the largely unconscious demand of the
      proletariat for *human dignity*.
      Of course! How could I have been so dim as not
      to have seen it all along? The driving force
      behind socio-political evolution is the "Idea",
      the Divine Ideal, of *Man*, of *the Human
      Being*. The Gods had implanted this
      ("Platonic", archetypal) Idea into primeval,
      primitive people, and it has been working ever
      since, striving to come to realization
      throughout "history", into the present. This
      active Idea has indeed been mostly subconscious
      in most people (as STEINER SAID, mankind dreams
      out its history), nevertheless it has been, and
      still is, the most powerful force driving and
      shaping socio-political evolution. Man on Earth
      is evolving toward this Ideal, and usually some
      kinds of socio-political arrangements are
      requisite for the attainment of this Ideal.
      These arrangements change according to the
      circumstances and modes of human consciousness,
      but the Ideal, the Idea, remains the same. It
      is eternal; as STEINER SAID, Man is the religion
      of the Gods. -- I had, perhaps semi-consciously,
      been looking in the wrong direction for the next
      stage in Bondarev's template of 7fold thinking:
      the "perception of the Idea". I had been
      assuming that the Idea that I needed was that of
      "the state", or "society", or something similar.
      But the Idea that I really needed, the Idea
      behind all socio-political evolution, is that of
      *MAN HIMSELF*. And Steiner had, long ago,
      practically come out and said as much in his
      basic writings on the 3fold commonwealth; so it
      was not true the "Steiner left no indications"
      about the question I was now asking. He had
      indeed "left indications"; only I had been too
      stupid to understand them.
      After this breakthrough, further thoughts fairly
      tumbled out: It would be useless, or worse, to
      try to impose some thought-out model upon
      society; the only useful and realistic course is
      to try to help what is striving to come to
      fruition actually come to be. Again, "politics
      is the art of the possible". Steiner has given
      us the concept of the 3fold commonwealth and
      shown us why this pattern is what labors to come
      to realization in modern socio-political
      evolution. In the past century, the world has
      mostly ignored his teachings, much to its
      distress. But that concept still needs to be
      put into practice, even if a century late. And
      within such a 3folded polity, the question of
      the state's relation to abortion would be worked
      out in accordance with that which is striving to
      come to fruition in human evolution: namely,
      the Idea of Man, the ideal of human dignity.
      I had been tied up with the question of whether
      the treatment of children "should" be relegated
      to the "cultural sphere" where freedom reigns or
      to the "political sphere" where rights are
      delineated and enforced. But, upon closer
      inspection, I found that Steiner never meant to
      exclude children entirely from "rights" enforced
      by the political state; for instance, he
      proposed that, in a 3folded commonwealth,
      children be guaranteed the right to education:
      "Only in a social organism of the kind described
      here will the rights administration be able to
      acquire the understanding necessary for a just
      distribution of goods. . . . Rights in such an
      organism will result from purely human
      relations. Children will have the right to
      education. . . . The right to education could be
      arranged in that the economic organization's
      administration, in accordance with the general
      economic situation, calculates the amount of
      educational income possible, while the rights-
      state, in consultation with the spiritual
      organization, determines the rights of the
      individual in this respect." [*Basic Issues*;
      Chapter Three]
      As another for-instance, Wilhelm von Humboldt,
      whom RS sometimes cited approvingly regarding
      the limits on state power, apparently did not
      mean to exclude children entirely from legal
      protection or to allow parents absolute
      authority over them. A relevant quotation:
      "Now, it clearly belongs to the State to provide
      for the security of the rights of children
      against parental encroachment; and hence to
      determine, first, a legal age of maturity. Now,
      this must naturally differ . . . .[parents] must
      be trusted not to neglect the discharge of a
      duty which lies so near to their hearts; and
      only in cases where actual neglect of this
      responsibility has occurred, or where it may be
      immediately apprehended, has the State any right
      to intermeddle with these domestic relations."
      [from *The Sphere and Duties of Government (The
      Limits of State Action)* (1854 ed.) (1792);
      translated by Joseph Coulthard]
      So, I inferred that I need not have been tied up
      with that question; the concept of the 3fold
      commonwealth does not entail that children have
      no legal-political rights whatsoever. The real
      question is: what, in a healthy socio-political
      polity, would be those rights, and how would
      they be enforced?
      I further pondered as to what course healthy
      socio-political evolution would take in relation
      to abortion, if the deep, driving force
      underlying human development were to come to
      fruition. If the Gods had implanted the Idea of
      Man into the human subconscious, and if this
      Idea worked out as the evolving demand for
      "human dignity", then what? -- It seemed to me
      fairly obvious that, if the human-hood of the
      unborn child were generally recognized, then
      abortion would be seen as a violation of that
      child's human dignity, and therefore the "rights
      sphere" would come to recognize the "right to
      life" of unborn children and protect it.
      Parental control over children within the
      freedom of the "cultural sphere" would be
      trumped by the more fundamental claim of the
      unborn child to the "human dignity" of not being
      summarily killed. The "catch" would be the
      condition that the humanity, the human-ness, of
      the unborn child be generally recognized; under
      the cultural conditions now generally prevailing
      (in the "advanced" countries) most people really
      do not know "the facts of life". The prevailing
      scientific-medical "climate of opinion" does not
      say accurately what a human being really is, and
      therefore cannot tell when human life "begins".
      The resolution of this catch could come only if
      and when spiritual-scientific knowledge became
      much more widespread than it is now . . . and
      such knowledge could become widespread only if
      and when the "cultural sphere" were to become
      much more free than it is now. -- And so, it
      seemed to me, that a real resolution of the
      abortion question could come in the socio-
      political realm if and only if the polity were
      first 3folded according to Steiner's
      "indications", at least approximately.
      I concluded that Steiner had indeed given the
      answer to my original question, by implication:
      The deep, unconscious wishes of mankind demand
      social 3folding (at least in the "advanced"
      world). Such 3folding is not only practical, it
      is inevitable, in the long run anyway. Once the
      polity is more or less 3folded, then the deep,
      driving demand for "human dignity" will come to
      realization in manifold ways. One way will be
      that the human-hood of the unborn child will be
      generally recognized, and thus will be protected
      by the "political sphere" as a matter of
      "rights". -- It all seems so simple once it is
      understood that the fundamental force behind
      "history" is the Idea-of-Man striving to come to
      I had the nagging worry that not only does the
      Idea of Man live in the mass human subconscious,
      striving to come to fruition, but also that
      there lurk in that mass subconscious many dark,
      anti-human drives, inculcated there by the anti-
      gods. Indeed, rather obviously, if the Idea-
      Ideal of Man were the only force working in
      human evolution, then "history" would have been
      and still be a pleasant "walk in the park".
      Again rather obviously, something else also is
      at work. That "something else" must be the
      explanation for the fact that no polity has been
      3folded in the century since the concept was
      given, and I worried that, even in a 3folded
      polity, those dark drives might win over the
      Divine Idea. I wondered whether any easy
      optimism were justified. -- But I pondered such
      Steiner-saids as this:
      "To despair because one does not believe that a
      sufficiently large number of people, even in the
      present troubled circumstances, can find
      understanding for such [social 3folding] ideas
      even if sufficient energy is dedicated to their
      dissemination, is to despair of human nature's
      susceptivity to purposeful and health-giving
      "This question, whether one should despair or
      not, should not be asked -- rather only this
      other: How can ideas which instill confidence be
      explained in the most effective possible way?"
      [Steiner: *Basic Issues*; Chpt. Three]
      Thus, I reasoned that one should try to have
      faith in human nature, and that, as Manicheanism
      teaches, the Good is primary, and the Evil has
      only a secondary, derivative existence . . . and
      that, in any case, despair is useless; that the
      only useful course of action is to go forward
      with positive work. As STEINER SAID:
      "Spiritual insight that penetrates to the
      essence of human-nature finds there motives for
      action that are immediately good in the ethical
      sense as well. The impulse toward evil arises in
      us only because in our thoughts and feelings we
      silence the depths of our own nature."
      [*The Renewal of the Social Organism*: Social
      Future 3: "Culture, Law and Economics"]
      That's where I left this last question hanging.
      I will now pose the question: how far, if at
      all, did the attempt that I just narrated follow
      the pattern of "7fold thinking"? And the
      further question naturally follows: does, or
      can, the overall result of my attempt solve the
      problem in a way that fits the 7fold template?
      According to Bondarev, the natural metamorphosis
      of thinking has an archetypally sevenfold
      1. thesis
      2. antithesis
      3. synthesis
      4. beholding (*Anschauen*)
      5. perception of the Idea
      6. individualization of the Idea
      7. unity of this individual and the general
      I did find and wrestle with a seemingly
      unsolvable conflict, though I could, and still
      can, hardly say which side of this conflict is
      primary (thesis) and which side is secondary
      (antithesis). This conflict is readily apparent
      to an observer of social and political events in
      the USA, and, I suppose, in much of the rest of
      the world. I had already imbibed from Rudolf
      Steiner -- somewhat, given my limitations -- the
      concept and the correctness of the 3fold
      commonwealth, and I had to consider this
      conflict within that mental framework.
      Therefore I formulated these socio-political
      "antitheses" as the conflicts between "the
      'right to life' of the unborn child as opposed
      to the limits to the rightful, socially healthy
      power of the state" -- and also between "the
      trend toward greater humane-ness, 'decency', and
      less cruelty" and "the trend toward greater
      freedom in and control over human sexuality and
      The first of these antitheses is more-or-less
      conceptual, a difficulty in understanding the
      implications of the concept of the 3fold
      commonwealth. The second antithesis is a clash
      within the long-term movement of socio-political
      evolution; this clash is apparent even without
      reference to the concept of the 3fold
      commonwealth. I conceived, according to my
      understanding of Steiner, that any real solution
      to the conceptual conflict must be in harmony
      with some real resolution of the socio-political
      evolutionary conflict.
      It now does seem to me that my attempt did
      follow Bondarev's template, at least this far; a
      real antithesis is brought to the fore of
      consciousness, calling for a resolution.
      3 [SYNTHESIS]:
      Did I ever find a "synthesis" within the
      ordinary (Hegelian) framework of dialectic? -- I
      now don't think that I even tried very much; I
      pretty much assumed all along that these
      antitheses were irresolvable within ordinary
      consciousness, and that any resolution could be
      found only within a higher consciousness. To
      me, as an observer of contemporary discourse, it
      seemed that the debate over this question just
      goes on and on, with no end in sight; for every
      line of reasoning there is some equal counter-
      reasoning. Something could always be said for
      both of the conflicting "sides" of the argument,
      and, I suppose, compromises could be made.
      Indeed, as far as I know, some socio-political
      compromises have been made, at least in
      countries where the "democratic" political
      process is allowed to work.
      Regarding the conceptual antithesis, I did find
      that there is no absolute exclusion of children
      from the "rights" of the political realm of the
      3fold commonwealth. And I still, now, believe
      this conclusion to be correct. But it is
      nonetheless, within ordinary consciousness, an
      open question at to exactly how far those rights
      might extend into the realm of parental
      authority (within the "cultural sphere"), and as
      to exactly how far those "cultural" limits might
      stand around parental authority. -- That seems
      to me to be about as much of a "synthesis" as
      can be found within ordinary consciousness, and
      that's not enough to answer my original
      Regarding the conflict in the long-term trends
      of socio-political evolution, again, I don't see
      any real synthesis. There might well be
      compromises made, but it seems that such
      compromises must remain inconsistent, temporary,
      and fluctuating. I don't see any real solution
      coming within the ordinary political process;
      the conflict remains raw and bleeding, and it
      won't go away -- however much some people might
      wish to avoid the problem.
      According to Bondarev, the "synthesis" brings
      *einer Aussöhnung der Gegensätze*, literally "a
      reconciliation of the antitheses" [from
      "Rhythmisches Denken"]. *Reconciliation*
      denotes some kind of settlement or harmonization
      of differences. Can such a "settlement or
      harmonization" be found in this case at this
      stage of the dialectic? -- I don't think so;
      that's exactly why this problem is so vexing,
      and that was a big reason why I chose *this*
      problem as a subject for 7fold thinking. The
      problem seems to be insoluble within ordinary
      consciousness, and a leap into higher
      consciousness seems necessary.
      4 [BEHOLDING]:
      And this is the stage of 7fold thinking where
      the crucial transition into a higher realm of
      thinking is made. As I previously mentioned,
      STEINER SAID that "in fantasy the force which
      helps the spiritual world in all its aspects to
      break through into the individual man"; here
      *fantasy* means the faculty of creating mental
      images. And, as I understand Bondarev, he means
      by *beholding* (*Anschauen*) the perceiving of
      mental images relating to the thought-stream
      under consideration. Did my attempt reach this
      stage of the 7fold process?
      I think that it did. I did "get" mental images
      which seemed to relate directly to the problem
      under consideration. Especially there was the
      picture of the three Classical Grecian damsels
      who seemed to represent the threefold
      government. And there was the picture of the
      misshapen hag who seemed to represent abortion.
      More, above these there was a light and the
      angelic, god-like Beings overseeing this Earthly
      scene. But to me these were mostly
      representative pictures; I did not see in them
      enough meaning to indicate a solution to the
      question I was asking. As far as I could see in
      these pictures, the "state" might ignore
      abortion, or enjoin it, or prohibit it, or
      whatever. Thus, these mental images did not
      answer my question.
      Some of the mental images seemed to point to the
      *mood* in which the problem should be
      approached, but still did not delineate a
      specific solution. This mood was already
      suggested in the pictures of the god-like
      Beings, and came to the fore in some of the
      further imagery. The pictures of the scroll
      being "brought down" and of the "Classical"
      legislators were imbued with a sense of
      reverence and sanctity; the contrast with the
      prevailing mood of the usual political process
      was glaring. These pictures seem to "teach"
      that a real solution to this vexing socio-
      political problem could be found only by
      statesmen who understood their work to be a holy
      service to the Gods and for the objective good
      of human-cosmic evolution, a work that could not
      be done from the usual political attitude of
      self-seeking and petty emotionalism. But still,
      no specific answer was given as to the exact
      solution of the problem at hand.
      I think now that the answer to the immediate
      question must be: Yes, I did reach the stage of
      "beholding", but that "beholding" in itself is
      not enough.
      This was the place where I was stuck for a long,
      long time. I tried and tried to move forward,
      and I couldn't. For weeks and months the
      failure continued, but somehow I kept trying.
      Finally, I went back to re-read Steiner's basic
      work on the 3fold commonwealth. Of course I had
      already read it years earlier, more than once,
      but the continuing failure had made my attitude
      fluid enough for me to go back and start over
      again. While I was reading, it finally dawned
      on me that Steiner was saying that the driving
      force behind socio-political evolution is the
      demand, largely unconscious, for "human
      dignity". For example:
      ". . . . all the turmoil in the social organism
      results from the feeling that existence is
      unworthy of human dignity." [*Basic Issues of
      the Social Question*, Chapter Two]
      The examples could be multiplied. -- I probably
      need not repeat hear all that I said above; I
      quickly saw that that behind this demand lies,
      deep in the human soul, the Idea-Ideal of *Man*,
      of *the human being* as a creative archetype,
      implanted long ago within the newly-created,
      semi-animalistic human beings by the Gods. And
      I quickly saw further that this Idea is primary
      and that the Ideas of "the state" and so on are
      derivative, flowing from the necessity of the
      primary Idea coming to the fore over the long
      haul of human evolution. Surely *this* Idea of
      Man must be the Idea that I needed to perceive
      (according to Bondarev's template) in order to
      solve my chosen problem through 7fold thinking?
      But, if so, then why didn't I "see" it somehow
      in my meditative thinking; why did I have to
      read about it in plain, prosaic text? -- I'm
      guessing, but maybe the answer lies in what
      Steiner said about the need to find out by
      ordinary means what had already been discovered
      in extraordinary consciousness; to quote:
      ". . . . in the spiritual world there is a
      definite law, the significance of which we will
      make clear by an example. Suppose that in a
      certain year some properly trained clairvoyant
      had perceived this or that in the spiritual
      world. Now imagine that ten or twenty years
      later, another equally trained clairvoyant could
      see the same thing even if he had known nothing
      whatever about the result obtained by the first
      clairvoyant. If you were to believe that this
      could happen, you would be making a great
      mistake, for the truth is that a fact of the
      spiritual world that has once been discovered by
      a clairvoyant or by an occult school, cannot be
      investigated a second time if the would-be
      investigator has not first been informed that it
      has already been discovered. . . . Therefore,
      already known facts in the spiritual world can
      be perceived only when their import has been
      consciously grasped as communications already
      made. This is the law that establishes for all
      epochs the foundation of universal
      brotherliness. It is impossible to penetrate
      into any domain of the spiritual world without a
      link having first been made with what has
      already been fathomed by the Elder Brothers of
      humanity. The spiritual world sees to it that
      nobody can become a law unto himself, saying, 'I
      am not concerned with what is already there. I
      shall investigate only for myself.' None of the
      facts communicated in spiritual science today
      could be perceived by individuals, however
      highly developed and advanced, if they had not
      been previously known. Because a link must be
      there with what has already been discovered, the
      theosophical movement had also to be founded on
      this basis." [*Rosicrucian Esotericism*, "Soul
      in the World around Us"; 4th June, 1909;
      Budapest; GA 109]
      I was not trying to be "clairvoyant", but
      perhaps what I was attempting was at least a
      kind of sem

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