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Spirit/Philosophical"Spiritualism"

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  • Durward Starman
    *******I don t think the quote refers to a spiritual world beyond the spiritual ideal world of concepts and ideas. First, by spiritualism Steiner is
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 26 5:45 PM
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      *******I don't think the quote refers to a spiritual world 'beyond' the spiritual ideal world of concepts and ideas. 

         First, by "spiritualism" Steiner is referring to philosophical "spiritualism" like Berkeley's ---this of course as you know has nothing to do with mediumship and what we usually speak of today as 'spiritualism'--- a philosophy that tries to say that there's no external world of Nature but only our ideas experienced within us, the opposite of philosophical materialism that says that there is only the body and the brain and all inner experience is produced by them. (We're more familiar with the latter philosophy which infects all science and especially the Skeptic movement, but the New Age movement is filled with philosophical 'spiritualists' who deny the existence of matter or nature, many extremists in the 'Your-Thoughts-Create-Your-Reality' crowd.)

          What Steiner is saying is that we experience "spirit" (geist) first of ourselves---our inner essence--- but every plant, animal, etc., has also its inner essence or spirit (geist). Instead of going on to experience the inner essence of these beings, which we at first experience through concepts gained by intuition from the ideal world, the philosophical spiritualist denies they have ANY existence EXCEPT as ideas we think, that they're only within us. 

          Steiner, by contrast, studied material Nature in depth, such as the great descriptions by Haeckel, while doing his exercises to develop the same intuition that gives us "I"-knowledge--- and the result, he says, was what he read in the Akashic Records and wrote out in Cosmic Memory and An Outline of Occult Science as the evolution of the world from Spirit into Matter.

         So your questions at bottom would be answered thus: I experience "I"; you experience your "I"; that's an example of both of us having the same "spiritual experience". 

         As to any given individual saying he has had a "spiritual experience" ---- well, I don't know who you're referring to or what he or she says the experience was. Have to judge each one individually.

          But yes, the "I" or spirit can indeed have spirit-perceptions, and needs to draw a concept from the ideal world to match to each of these! In fact, several times Steiner described anthroposophy as having to come into the world to provide a language to guide human beings towards concepts that they would need to match their spiritual experiences now that Kali Yuga has ended and these experiences are possible again--- so, for instance, people being "born-again" by a Christ-experience could have something to understand it with rather than becoming mindless 'fundamentalists'.

      Starman
      www.DrStarman.com


      To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
      From: fairoaks@...
      Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2012 04:55:06 +0000
      Subject: [steiner] Re: Steiner Autobiography - Chapter III***

       

      To make a picture of observed objects sounds like making a mental picture. The essence of a thing in the Philosophy of Freedom would be its concept or idea. In his 1918 revisions of POF he says a couple of things about this.

      To experience the essential nature of thinking, that is, to work one's way into the world of concepts through one's own activity, is an entirely different thing from experiencing something perceptible through the senses. POF Chapter 7 Rudolf Steiner's 1918 addition

      But then in a revision of chapter 2 Steiner points to a spiritual world beyond the world of ideas.

      When we direct our cognition to the "I," we initially perceive the activity of this "I" in the development of a world of ideas unfolded through thought. Because of this, those with a spiritualist worldview sometimes feel themselves tempted, in regard to their own human essence, to acknowledge nothing of the spirit except this world of ideas. In such cases, spiritualism becomes one-sided idealism. It does not arrive at the point of seeking a spiritual world through a world of ideas. It sees the spiritual world in the idea-world itself. Its world view is forced to remain fixed, as if spellbound, within the activity of the "I" itself.  POF Chapter 2

      A concept is clear and can be expressed "in the form that can be rethought by any other thinker." How do you express spiritual experience?, especially since many seem to claim what the spiritual essence of something is, but tend to be vague or artistic, which leads to just making it up rather than science. Or do spiritual perceptions require the addition of a clear concept if they are to be understood just as other percepts require.

      I understand truthful art as a creative expression or translation of a concept, but not so much as the truth alone. 

      Tom Last




      --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, "Durward Starman " <DrStarman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: drstarman@...
      > Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 15:39:14
      > To: be23566fairoaks@...
      > Reply-To: drstarman@...
      > Subject: Re: [steiner] Re: Steiner Autobiography - Chapter III***
      >
      > ******* Translating the German word "geist" in a philosophical text into English requires a consideration of the German language vs. English. To the English philosophers, we observe objects and then we make a picture of them inside and that's "thinking" with the "mind". The German language does not have an inner-self-as-camera idea; when people translate Hegel's Phenomenology des Geist as "Phenomenology of Mind" it is really quite a distortion. "Geist" is the source both of the English "ghost" and "gist", showing it means the spirit and/or essence of a thing or being. So the essence of yourself is your spirit, but also the essence of anything else is ITS spirit. Soul, on the other hand (seele), is your inner experience of your outer life, of what is perceived by the senses, including your feelings about it all, or your "psyche" one could say --but NOT including your innermost essence that DOES the picturing and feeling (geist). So, when something goes beyond being just a mirror of external reality and feelings engendered by that, something "spiritual" appears within the "soul". It's easy and clear to say in German because of the words geist and seele, but as you can see our English mental bias makes it a puzzle to us. When in German one says what's translated as "spiritual" experience a person is saying, "like my inner experience of my deepest essential nature" which we all have; but it doesn't mean only a subjective experience because you can also experience the inner essential nature of anything. That's what we mean in English by the "gist" of a matter. -starman
      > Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: be23566 fairoaks@...
      > Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 05:38:16
      > To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [steiner] Re: Steiner Autobiography - Chapter III
      >
      >  
      >
      >
      >
      > Here are some uses of spirit in the text. Could someone explain what "spiritual" means so that this text would make sense?
      > Tom
      >
      > soul brings over something spiritual.
      > as if the spiritual had streamed over into the senses.
      > has taken on the character of the spiritual.
      > out of my observation of nature and my spiritual experience.
      > one finds that spiritual reality comes to meet this thought life.
      > The spiritual vision perceives spirit
      >
      > --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com <mailto:steiner%40yahoogroups.com> , "juancompostella" juancompostella@ wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Chapter III - ending
      > >
      > > I found these concluding remarks really important to bring to this
      > > discussion concerning how POF was born. - Juan
      > >
      > > "I was deeply stirred by the reading of Schiller's letters concerning
      > > the aesthetic education of man. His statement that human consciousness
      > > oscillates, as it were, back and forth between different states,
      > > afforded me a connection with the notion that I had formed of the inner
      > > working and weaving of the human soul. Schiller distinguished two states
      > > of consciousness in which man evolves his relationship to the world.
      > > When he surrenders himself to that which affects him through the senses,
      > > he lives under the compulsion of nature. The sensations and impulses
      > > determine his life. If he subjects himself to the logical laws and
      > > principles of reason then he is living under a rational compulsion. But
      > > he can evolve an intermediate state of consciousness. He can develop the
      > > "aesthetic mood," which is not given over either on the one side to the
      > > compulsion of nature, or on the other to the necessities of the reason.
      > > In this aesthetic mood the soul lives through the senses; but into the
      > > sense-perception and into the action set on foot by sense-stimuli the
      > > soul brings over something spiritual. One perceives through the senses,
      > > but as if the spiritual had streamed over into the senses. In action one
      > > surrenders oneself to the gratification of the present desire; but one
      > > has so ennobled this desire that to him the good is pleasing and the
      > > evil displeasing. Reason has then entered into union with the sensible.
      > > The good becomes an instinct; instinct can safely direct itself, for it
      > > has taken on the character of the spiritual. Schiller sees in this state
      > > of consciousness that condition of the soul in which man can experience
      > > and produce works of beauty. In the evolution of this state he sees the
      > > coming to life in men of the true human being.
      > >
      > > These thoughts of Schiller's were to me very attractive. They implied
      > > that man must first have his consciousness in a certain condition before
      > > he can attain to a relationship to the phenomena of the world
      > > corresponding to man's own being. Something was here given to me which
      > > brought to greater clarity the questions which presented themselves
      > > before me out of my observation of nature and my spiritual experience.
      > > Schiller spoke of the state of consciousness which must be present in
      > > order that one may experience the beauty of the world. Might one not
      > > also think of a state of consciousness which would mediate to us the
      > > truth in the beings of things? If this is granted, then one must not,
      > > after the fashion of Kant, observe the present state of human
      > > consciousness and investigate whether this can enter into the true
      > > beings of things. But one must first seek to discover the state of
      > > consciousness through which man places himself in such a relationship to
      > > the world that things and facts reveal their being to him.
      > >
      > > And I believed that I knew that such a state of consciousness is reached
      > > up to a certain degree when man not only has thoughts which conceive
      > > external things and events, but such thoughts that he himself
      > > experiences them as thoughts. This living in thoughts revealed itself to
      > > me as quite different from that in which man ordinarily exists and also
      > > carries on ordinary scientific research. If one penetrates deeper and
      > > deeper into thought-life, one finds that spiritual reality comes to meet
      > > this thought life. One then takes the path of the soul into the spirit.
      > > But on this inner way of the soul one arrives at a spiritual reality
      > > which one also finds again within nature. One gains a deeper knowledge
      > > of nature when one then faces nature after having in living thoughts
      > > beheld the reality of the spirit.
      > >
      > > It became clearer and clearer to me how, through going forward beyond
      > > the customary abstract thoughts to these spiritual perceptions –
      > > which, however, the calmness and luminousness of the thought serve to
      > > confirm – man lives himself into a reality from which customary
      > > consciousness bars him out. This customary state has on one side the
      > > living quality of the sense-perception; on the other the abstractness of
      > > thought-conceiving. The spiritual vision perceives spirit as the senses
      > > perceive nature; but it does not stand apart in thought from the
      > > spiritual perception as the customary state of consciousness stands in
      > > its thoughts apart from the sense-perceptions. Spiritual vision thinks
      > > while it experiences spirit, and experiences while it sets to thinking
      > > the awakened spirituality of man.
      > >
      > > A spiritual perception formed itself before my mind which did not rest
      > > upon dark mystical feeling. It proceeded much more in a spiritual
      > > activity which in its thoroughness might be compared with mathematical
      > > thinking. I was approaching the state of soul in which I felt that I
      > > might consider that the perception of the spiritual world which I bore
      > > within me was confirmed before the forum of natural scientific thought.
      > >
      > > When these experiences passed through my mind I was in my twenty-second
      > > year.
      > >
      > > http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c03.html
      > > <http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_c03.html>
      > >
      > > --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com <mailto:steiner%40yahoogroups.com> , "juancompostella" <juancompostella@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I am reading Steiner's autobiography, and found these remarks at the
      > > > beginning of chapter III very interesting. It is the summer of 1879
      > > and
      > > > he is eighteen years old. The family has moved just south of Vienna,
      > > and
      > > > Fichte is next to be studied intensively. Thinking, Ego, Spirit are
      > > all
      > > > together in this young man's mind. - Juan
      > > >
      > > > Chapter III - beginning
      > > >
      > > > My father had been promised by the management of the Southern Railway
      > > > that he would be assigned to a small station near Vienna as soon as I
      > > > should have finished at the Realschule and should need to attend the
      > > > Technische Hochschule. In this way it would be possible for me to go
      > > to
      > > > Vienna and return every day. So it happened that my family came to
      > > > Inzersdorf am Wiener Berge. The station was at a distance from the
      > > town,
      > > > very lonely, and in unlovely natural surroundings. My first visit to
      > > > Vienna after we had moved to Inzersdorf was for the purpose of buying
      > > a
      > > > greater number of philosophical books. What my heart was now
      > > especially
      > > > devoted to was the first sketch of Theory of Science. I had got so far
      > > > with my reading of Kant that I could form a notion, even though
      > > > immature, of the advance which Fichte wished to make beyond Kant. But
      > > > this did not greatly interest me. What interested me then was to
      > > express
      > > > the living weaving of the human mind in a sharply outlined mental
      > > > picture. My strivings after conceptions in natural science had finally
      > > > brought me to see in the activity of the human ego the sole
      > > > starting-point for true knowledge. When the ego is active and itself
      > > > perceives this activity, man has something spiritual in immediate
      > > > presence in his consciousness – thus I said to myself. It seemed
      > > to
      > > > me that what was thus perceived ought now to be expressed in clear,
      > > > vivid concepts. In order to find a way to do this, I devoted myself to
      > > > Fichte's Theory of Science. And yet I had my own opinions. So I took
      > > the
      > > > volume and rewrote it, page by page.
      > > >
      > > > This made a lengthy manuscript. I had previously striven to find
      > > > conceptions for the phenomena of nature from which one might derive a
      > > > conception of the ego. Now I wished to do the opposite: from the ego
      > > to
      > > > penetrate into the nature's process of becoming. Spirit and nature
      > > were
      > > > present before my soul in their absolute contrast. There was for me a
      > > > world of spiritual beings. That the ego, which itself is spirit, lives
      > > > in a world of spirits was for me a matter of direct perception. But
      > > > nature would not pass over into this spirit-world of my experience.
      > >
      >

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