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Re: [steiner] Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Ch. 4

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  • jeff auen
    General comments: There may be a catch here which I may not be seeing. If this paradigm is meant to be a universal model for all human beings and cognition,
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 29, 2001
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      General comments:
       
      There may be a catch here which I may not be seeing. If this paradigm is meant to be a universal model for all human beings and  cognition, what if the senses are not receiving impressions accurately and thus observations are faulty from the start. This is, of course, not the norm, but even in everyday life many factors can distort our perception of objects and processes in the world. Fatigue, lack of proper nutrition, certain illnesses, lack of sleep, recreational drugs and alcohol, and medicines, etc. all can impact the nervous system and the ability to carry the impression soul for as a percept. Since there is no concept and percept of the spiritual bodies at this point, we must take for the starting point only the body, its physiology and cognitive processes. Right? So in this case, are the sense totally trustworthy and never deceived? Even in small ways, lack of attentiveness to the external world with the senses can easily distort our impressions. This is down often when a mistake a word or object that is moving and we mix up the perception of it. If it dusk and we are driving and we see what clearly looks like a dog in the road, we instantly "see" a dog in our minds. As we approach the animal it turns out to be bunched up rag dropped from a truck. This has happened to many of us. The original perception is unclear and something in us automatically creates a image and word : dog. Was this thinking and concept making or something else?

      Jeff
       
      *******Absolutely, Steiner agrees completely with Goethe's view that the
      senses are never deceived, but rather the JUDGEMENT of what the senses show
      us quite truly is what is deceived. He never sides with that mind-diluting
      belief that what we perceive is illusion. What you touch on is the difference
      between a 'representation' and a concept. In German it's clear, because the
      former is 'vorstellung' while the latter is 'begriff'. You're a little ahead
      of the book, that's all; he gets into it in Chs. 5 and 6. The trees appearing
      to come together at the end of the avenue are not an illusion or error of the
      senses perceiving them, but of the way the raw data are combined into a
      'vorstellung' (representation or "mental picture", Michael Wilson translated
      it in his 1964 edition). This representation or picture, not what the senses
      themselves reveal, is the 'observation' which thinking in concepts must
      correct.  The error enters in the forming of the representation, not in using
      concepts to understand the observed. The 'representation' can be in error,
      while the concept is not. He says, we have to keep correcting our PICTURE (vor
      stellung) of the world----not our concept of it. We can have other
      perceptions which show that how we understood a perception we naively
      accepted at first must be in error, and then we correct the PICTURE
      (vorstellung) through thinking in concepts about it.
           Another example would be the acceptance of the Ptolemaic world-picture
      of a flat, stationary earth with the planets moving around us. To our senses
      this is absolutely true and what sensation says occurs----for example the
      Moon occulting Saturn last night, or the sun 'rising' in the East. It
      describes most of what we see perfectly. But closer observation reveals times
      when the heavenly bodies appear to move backwards, or retrograde. Those
      observations can't match the picture of the planets moving around us only,
      and led to the discovery that our earth must move relative to they. The
      latter observations could not be reconciled with the 'representation' of the
      heavens built up on the former, and only conceptual thinking solved the
      problem and corrected the picture we formed.

      Starman


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