Re: [steiner] The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Ch. 6
- Since no one else took Ch. 6 tonight, I'll fill in again.
Steiner started us out by saying the answer to the question of whether we
can be free or not hinges on the answer to the question, Can we actually know
ourselves? Then he showed in Ch. 2 that knowing means going beyond what
Nature passively gives to us, because we don't just observe but also think;
then in Ch. 3 that the observation of our own thinking is a different kind of
observation, because then we observe what we ourselves create and know it
from within, making this the only sure starting point, not perception. In Ch.
4 and 5 he develops his explanation of how our consciousness works in detail:
just as our senses give us perceptions, we draw concepts from the ideal world
by intuition and match these to them. Knowing a thing means combining the
concept and the perception. Human consciousness is the field on which these
In Ch. 6 he continues this: when we connect a concept to a particular
perception we make a "representation" or mental picture of it. Our mental
pictures are thus individualized concepts. "My concept of a lion is not
formed out of my perceptions of lions. But my REPRESENTATION of a lion is
indeed formed according to my perception." This points to the difference
between true thinking and the mere 'having of thought-images'.
In this chapter Steiner describes 4 levels of cognition in this implicit
Intuition--------------gives us concepts
Representation-----gives us mental pictures or representations
Observation---------gives us perceptions
Feeling---------------gives concepts life, relates our individual self to our
With this now worked out, in the next chapter he is ready to answer the
question of how limited our knowing is or is not, which completes the first
half of the book.