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Sorry Chapter 1 again

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  • Sarah Ford Elliott
    Being somewhat of a novice in all this, and having 4 young children to look after, I m somewhat behind in these discussions, but I just wanted to see whether I
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 28, 2001
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      Being somewhat of a novice in all this, and having 4 young children to look
      after, I'm somewhat behind in these discussions, but I just wanted to see
      whether I had grasped the meaning of chapter 1 in a nut shell...

      Am I right in thinkng that Steiner is saying that, whilst many Philosophers
      consider that man is not free because we are victims of our drives, because
      we are capable of thinking about and recognising those drives (and by virtue
      of that doing something about them) we are able to exercise free will. For
      example, if I crave chocolate I am capable of recognising that and knowing
      that it is because my body needs certain fats and chemicals and can choose
      to get more healthy fats from other sources and take Chromium supplements.

      When i was at University there the "Selfish Gene" ideas were very popular -
      that everything we do is governed by our drive to pass on our genes as
      effectively as possible - even if we don't realise it. I always reacted
      against this and knew (intuitively?) that it was wrong. That man acts from
      a higher rationale, rather than simply our biological drives. It strikes me
      that this is saying much the same thing.

      Would someone be kind enough to tell me if I am barking up the right tree?!

      Yours,
      Sarah Ford Elliott
    • D F
      I liked your examples and I think you are getting Chapter one, from my little perspective. The only thing I would say is that IN CHAP ONE Steiner is not yet
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 28, 2001
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        I liked your examples and I think you are getting
        Chapter one, from my little perspective. The only
        thing I would say is that IN CHAP ONE Steiner is not
        yet saying that thinking make freedom possible, but he
        is saying that we can not begin to ask about free will
        until we have examined the nature of thinking. At
        this point, he is open to the idea that in our
        exploration of thinking we might find that it does not
        relate to reality at all or that there is no reality
        at all or that we just can't know about that...but
        first we must explore our own experience of thinking
        without prior assumptions...

        This is just my take, but I'm glad your pulling
        through, kids and all!

        Carol


        --- Sarah Ford Elliott <sarah.fe@...> wrote:
        > Being somewhat of a novice in all this, and having 4
        > young children to look
        > after, I'm somewhat behind in these discussions, but
        > I just wanted to see
        > whether I had grasped the meaning of chapter 1 in a
        > nut shell...
        >
        > Am I right in thinking that Steiner is saying that,
        > whilst many Philosophers
        > consider that man is not free because we are victims
        > of our drives, because
        > we are capable of thinking about and recognizing
        > those drives (and by virtue
        > of that doing something about them) we are able to
        > exercise free will. For
        > example, if I crave chocolate I am capable of
        > recognising that and knowing
        > that it is because my body needs certain fats and
        > chemicals and can choose
        > to get more healthy fats from other sources and take
        > Chromium supplements.
        >
        > When i was at University there the "Selfish Gene"
        > ideas were very popular -
        > that everything we do is governed by our drive to
        > pass on our genes as
        > effectively as possible - even if we don't realise
        > it. I always reacted
        > against this and knew (intuitively?) that it was
        > wrong. That man acts from
        > a higher rationale, rather than simply our
        > biological drives. It strikes me
        > that this is saying much the same thing.
        >
        > Would someone be kind enough to tell me if I am
        > barking up the right tree?!
        >
        > Yours,
        > Sarah Ford Elliott
        >
        >


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      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        sarah.fe@virgin.net writes:
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 28, 2001
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          sarah.fe@... writes:
          << Am I right in thinkng that Steiner is saying that, whilst many Philosophers
          consider that man is not free because we are victims of our drives, because
          we are capable of thinking about and recognising those drives (and by virtue
          of that doing something about them) we are able to exercise free will. For
          example, if I crave chocolate I am capable of recognising that and knowing
          that it is because my body needs certain fats and chemicals and can choose
          to get more healthy fats from other sources and take Chromium supplements.
          When i was at University there the "Selfish Gene" ideas were very popular -
          that everything we do is governed by our drive to pass on our genes as
          effectively as possible - even if we don't realise it. I always reacted
          against this and knew (intuitively?) that it was wrong. That man acts from
          a higher rationale, rather than simply our biological drives. It strikes me
          that this is saying much the same thing. >>

          *******I'd say absolutely, Sarah.
        • jeff auen
          Sarah, If I may add, there seems to be more to it than drives and rationality . So called instinctual drives or cravings are not something we create but are
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 29, 2001
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            Sarah,
             
            If I may add, there seems to be more to it than "drives and rationality". So called instinctual drives or cravings are not something we create but are somewhat independent of us. If one craves chocolate, in thought and language we link "I" with the craving and image of chocolate but if we simply stand back in thinking and observing we can be an "I" and have the chocolate craving within the contents of experience and we can observe it as such. Its more like cravings "appear within thinking" rather than "I am it" but we often use this designation.  This may sound like semantics but it can be helpful to re-language the common usage and see it differently. Without resorting to metaphysics, since that presumption is not discussed directly in PoF, we often act and think from higher reason but often not so. Something in us is quite automatic which includes drives and impulses. Thinking and language as an everyday experience is a case in point. We don't create anew each internal sentence but words and sentences just happen and are expressed. And sometimes we say nonsense or unintelligible things to ourselves and others. Where does this come from within the soul if all is rationally based? Certainly not from clear thinking.
             
            Jeff
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Friday, December 28, 2001 4:19 PM
            Subject: Re: [steiner] Sorry Chapter 1 again

            sarah.fe@... writes:
            << Am I right in thinkng that Steiner is saying that, whilst many Philosophers
            consider that man is not free because we are victims of our drives, because
            we are capable of thinking about and recognising those drives (and by virtue
            of that doing something about them) we are able to exercise free will.  For
            example, if I crave chocolate I am capable of recognising that and knowing
            that it is because my body needs certain fats and chemicals and can choose
            to get more healthy fats from other sources and take Chromium supplements.
            When i was at University there the "Selfish Gene" ideas were very popular -
            that everything we do is governed by our drive to pass on our genes as
            effectively as possible - even if we don't realise it. I always reacted
            against this and knew (intuitively?) that it was wrong.  That man acts from
            a higher rationale, rather than simply our biological drives. It strikes me
            that this is saying much the same thing. >>

            *******I'd say absolutely, Sarah.


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          • D F
            Hey, Sarah, you still reading or have the kids become your permanent percepts these last few days? Understandable. PoF is one path, but I guess 4 kids can
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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              Hey, Sarah, you still reading or have the kids become
              your permanent percepts these last few days?
              Understandable. PoF is one path, but I guess 4 kids
              can take you to the same place...

              warmly,

              Carol

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            • D F
              This is My problem with My working with PoF. I always end up thinking about concepts as singularities; I suck the life out of them and imagine them as pieces
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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                This is My problem with My working with PoF.

                I always end up thinking about concepts as
                singularities; I suck the life out of them and imagine
                them as pieces which fit right onto percepts,
                forgetting that when I come across a percept of water
                and connect the concept water I haven't done anything
                yet really. I need to remember that there are
                thousands of concepts which can be brought to bear on
                that percept. Imagine the kinds of things that went
                through Steiner's mind when he saw water. I haven't
                read a twentyith of his works and I've seen him
                describe water countless ways. All of these
                descriptions are conceptual aspects of the percept and
                I so easily forget that.

                Concepts bring us into the inner aspect of nature.
                This inner aspect is alive with images, metaphors and
                connections...

                I want to remember this when I read. I also think
                that the style and choice of words which PoF was
                written in in 1894 make it easier for me to kill the
                idea of concepts.

                Someday I hope to bust through the mechanical style of
                the book and experience the inner richness which I
                believe it is pointing us towards. Perhaps, after
                that, I will be able to describe the book in a living
                manner. I think that is what I miss in most accounts
                of PoF- they come across very accurate, but
                exceedingly deadened. I'm enjoying chapter 5 of
                Jesiah Ben-Aharon's "The New Experience of the
                Supersensible" for it's absolutely alive presentation.

                Has that book been discussed much on any Steiner
                lists?

                Carol

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              • Carol
                I keep banging into the same question whenever I read Steiner speak about the world we come up against before we bring our concepts to it. Look at the opening
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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                  I keep banging into the same question whenever I read
                  Steiner speak about the world we come up against
                  before we bring our concepts to it.

                  Look at the opening sentences of Chapter 8...

                  "...The world faces man as a multiplicity, as a mass
                  of separate details. One of these separate things,
                  one entity among others, is man himself. This aspect
                  of the world we simply call the given, and inasmuch as
                  we do not evolve it by conscious activity, but just
                  find it, we call it percept..."

                  Does Steiner think that we ever come across the world
                  absent of concepts? I always ask whether this is a
                  thought experiment intended to help locate,
                  artifically (as in Truth and Knowledge), the division
                  between our activity of thinking and the percepts we
                  work with, or is it an actual observation which we can
                  make? If I just open my eyes and still my thoughts is
                  that the world of only percepts which he is talking
                  about?

                  Carol


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                • Carol
                  I keep banging into the same question whenever I read Steiner speak about the world we come up against before we bring our concepts to it. Look at the opening
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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                    I keep banging into the same question whenever I read
                    Steiner speak about the world we come up against
                    before we bring our concepts to it.

                    Look at the opening sentences of Chapter 8...

                    "...The world faces man as a multiplicity, as a mass
                    of separate details. One of these separate things,
                    one entity among others, is man himself. This aspect
                    of the world we simply call the given, and inasmuch as
                    we do not evolve it by conscious activity, but just
                    find it, we call it percept..."

                    Does Steiner think that we ever come across the world
                    absent of concepts? I always ask whether this is a
                    thought experiment intended to help locate,
                    artifically (as in Truth and Knowledge), the division
                    between our activity of thinking and the percepts we
                    work with, or is it an actual observation which we can
                    make? If I just open my eyes and still my thoughts is
                    that the world of only percepts which he is talking
                    about?

                    Carol

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                  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
                    In a message dated 12/30/01 11:12:11 PM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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                      In a message dated 12/30/01 11:12:11 PM, softabyss@... writes:

                      << I keep banging into the same question whenever I read Steiner speak about
                      the world we come up against before we bring our concepts to it.
                      Look at the opening sentences of Chapter 8...
                      "...The world faces man as a multiplicity, as a mass of separate details.
                      One of these separate things, one entity among others, is man himself. This
                      aspect of the world we simply call the given, and inasmuch as we do not
                      evolve it by conscious activity, but just
                      find it, we call it percept..."
                      Does Steiner think that we ever come across the world absent of concepts? I
                      always ask whether this is a thought experiment intended to help locate,
                      artifically (as in Truth and Knowledge), the division between our activity of
                      thinking and the percepts we
                      work with, or is it an actual observation which we can make? If I just open
                      my eyes and still my thoughts is that the world of only percepts which he is
                      talking about?
                      Carol >>

                      *******I would think it refers to how the world hypothetically looks to us as
                      small children, before we have connected any concepts to our perceptions. But
                      that's only theory too, as a child from a young age has a concept of itself
                      already by age 3 or 4; so what we think a human being's early experience of
                      the world is like may be off from the reality. It's not what you would see if
                      you stilled your mind because you would still have the concept of yourself.
                      I'd treat it as a thought exercise, imagining what the world WOULD BE
                      like if we could confront it with no concepts and not having previously
                      connected any concepts to our perceptions---pure perception, as opposed to
                      pure thinking.

                      Starman
                    • jackstrange11
                      ... thought, Steiner separates percept and concept in a thought experiment. It is difficult for an adult to experience the world as pure perception, but we may
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 30, 2001
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                        --- In steiner@y..., Carol <softabyss@y...> wrote:
                        > I keep banging into the same question whenever I read
                        > Steiner speak about the world we come up against
                        > before we bring our concepts to it.
                        >
                        > Look at the opening sentences of Chapter 8...
                        >
                        > "...The world faces man as a multiplicity, as a mass
                        > of separate details. One of these separate things,
                        > one entity among others, is man himself. This aspect
                        > of the world we simply call the given, and inasmuch as
                        > we do not evolve it by conscious activity, but just
                        > find it, we call it percept..."
                        >
                        > Does Steiner think that we ever come across the world
                        > absent of concepts? I always ask whether this is a
                        > thought experiment intended to help locate,
                        > artifically (as in Truth and Knowledge), the division
                        > between our activity of thinking and the percepts we
                        > work with, or is it an actual observation which we can
                        > make? If I just open my eyes and still my thoughts is
                        > that the world of only percepts which he is talking
                        > about?
                        >
                        > Carol
                        > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I think that in order to recapitulate his
                        thought, Steiner separates percept and concept in a thought
                        experiment. It is difficult for an adult to experience the world as
                        pure perception, but we may recognize the poorness of concepts that
                        we bring to the percepts and realize that there's greater and more
                        unifying concepts that we have yet to unite with the percepts. So
                        although its hard to envision a complete absence of concepts, we may
                        recognize the absence of higher concepts.

                        Pure perception remains elusive because our concepts join the
                        percepts with tremendous speed. When we glance at a tree, concepts
                        rush in at the speed of light or else we would experience disjointed
                        impressions of shapes and color and spatial relations. Without
                        concepts we would never know tree. A blind person who can suddenly
                        see may experience this and perhaps infants or young children. If we
                        are suddenly plunged into a totally unfamiliar enviroment(bottom of
                        the sea?)or if we become suddenly blind and have to take more
                        information through a little used sense organ, then we may experience
                        the same.

                        If we just open our eyes and still our thoughts, we cannot really
                        shake the concept tree, but if we shut off the internal dialogue, we
                        may begin to see new, non verbal concepts flowing into the things. I
                        think that this is more of an enhancement of concepts to greater
                        unity than an absense of concepts.

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                      • sncherr
                        ... I believe you re getting caught up in the act of perceiving. A percept, according to RS, is just (in Southern) that thing over there that I m lookin at.
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 31, 2001
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                          > --- In steiner@y..., Carol <softabyss@y...> wrote:

                          > > Does Steiner think that we ever come across the world
                          > > absent of concepts? I always ask whether this is a
                          > > thought experiment intended to help locate,
                          > > artifically (as in Truth and Knowledge), the division
                          > > between our activity of thinking and the percepts we
                          > > work with, or is it an actual observation which we can
                          > > make? If I just open my eyes and still my thoughts is
                          > > that the world of only percepts which he is talking
                          > > about?
                          > >
                          > > Carol


                          I believe you're getting caught up in the act of perceiving. A
                          percept, according to RS, is just (in Southern) "that thing over there
                          that I'm lookin' at." Once that percept encounters our
                          organization--bang--it's a mental picture. There's really no way
                          around it. However, that never means the two are the same thing.

                          Sarah (another one..older..empty nest..yeah!)
                        • Sarah Ford Elliott
                          Yes I m afraid I m going to have to study PoF at a slower pace! I can always refer back to the emails though - it is really useful to read other people s
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jan 1, 2002
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                            Yes I'm afraid I'm going to have to study PoF at a slower pace! I can always
                            refer back to the emails though - it is really useful to read other people's
                            ideas, also to know what are the best books to read because they are all a
                            bit bewildering at first!

                            Still if it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't have encountered Anthroposophy -
                            somehow I managed never to come across it until we looked at a Steiner
                            School for my eldest daughter. Now I am doing the teacher training course
                            and really looking forward to the time when I can become a class teacher. I
                            also have homework to do for the course.

                            I'll keep plugging away though!
                            Cheers,
                            Sarah
                          • DRStarman2001@aol.com
                            In a message dated 1/1/2002 4:43:21 AM, sarah.fe@virgin.net writes:
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jan 3, 2002
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                              In a message dated 1/1/2002 4:43:21 AM, sarah.fe@... writes:

                              << Yes I'm afraid I'm going to have to study PoF at a slower pace! I can
                              always
                              refer back to the emails though - it is really useful to read other people's
                              ideas, also to know what are the best books to read because they are all a
                              bit bewildering at first!

                              Still if it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't have encountered Anthroposophy -
                              somehow I managed never to come across it until we looked at a Steiner
                              School for my eldest daughter. Now I am doing the teacher training course
                              and really looking forward to the time when I can become a class teacher. I
                              also have homework to do for the course. >>

                              *******Of course it's a different thing going through it for these twelve
                              nights. We're going to take up Theosophy on the RudolfSteiner101 list after
                              Epiphany----NOT at this pace---and that might be helpful to you in Waldorf
                              training. We took up that book in the first semester when I had mine.

                              Starman
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