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Thinking and the I-Consciousness

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
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      DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:

      << Intuition is a conscious experience of a purely spiritual content, taking
      place in the sphere of pure spirit. Only through an intuition can the reality
      of thinking be grasped.
      Only when, by observing thinking without prejudice, one has wrestled one's
      way through to recognizing the truth that the nature of thinking is
      intuitive, is it possible to gain a real understanding of the body-soul
      organization of man. Then one recognizes that this organization cannot affect
      the nature of thinking. Quite obvious facts seem to contradict this at first.
      For ordinary experience, human thinking only takes place connected with, and
      by means of, the organization. This comes so strongly to the fore that the
      true facts can only be seen when it has been recognized that nothing from the
      organization plays into thinking as such. And then it is impossible not to
      notice how extraordinary is the relation of the human organization to
      thinking. For this organization has no effect at all on thinking; rather it
      withdraws when the activity of thinking takes place; it suspends its own
      activity, it makes room, and in the space that has become free, thinking
      appears. The spiritual substance that acts in thinking has a twofold task:
      first it presses back the human organization in its activity, and next, it
      steps into the place of it. The first, the pressing back of the bodily
      organization, is also a consequence of the thinking activity, and indeed of
      that part of this activity which prepares the manifestation of thinking. This
      explains the sense in which thinking finds its counterpart in the bodily
      organization. And when this is recognized, one will no longer mistake this
      counterpart for thinking itself. If someone walks over soft ground, his feet
      leave impressions in the soil. But one is not tempted to say that the forces
      of the ground have formed these imprints from below. One will not ascribe to
      these forces any participation in the creating of the footprints. So too, one
      who, without prejudice, observes the nature of thinking will not ascribe to
      the imprints in the bodily organization any participation in the nature of
      thinking, for the imprints in the organization come about through the fact
      that thinking prepares its manifestation through the body.
      Now a significant question arises. If the human organism does not partake in
      the spiritual substance of thinking, what significance has this organism
      within man's being as a whole? Now what happens in this organism through
      thinking has nothing to do with the nature of thinking, but indeed it has to
      do with the arising of the I-consciousness within thinking. The real "I"
      exists within the being of thinking, but not so the I-consciousness. This
      will be recognized if only thinking is observed without prejudice. The "I" is
      to be found within thinking; the "I-consciousness" arises through the fact
      that the imprints of the activity of thinking are engraved upon the general
      consciousness in the sense explained above. (The I-consciousness therefore
      arises through the bodily organism. But by this is not meant that the
      I-consciousness, once it has arisen, remains dependent on the bodily
      organism. Once arisen, it is taken up into thinking and henceforth shares its
      spiritual nature.) >>

      *******Steiner put this all in another way in lectures, where he described
      the body as providing a 'backing' like the silvered backing of a mirror,
      enabling the "I" to reflect its activity back to itself. We do not THINK with
      the body, he's saying, but because we have a body our thinking becomes
      individually aware, develops an I-consciousness... and keeps this because
      it's then taken up into the self-conscious human spirit we think with.

      Starman
    • Carol
      Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me over the three years I ve studied Steiner. I remember the first time it struck me that just as
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
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        Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me
        over the three years I've studied Steiner. I remember the
        first time it struck me that just as we can not hope to find
        the reflected image in an microscopic analysis of the mirror,
        we shall not find thinking or consciousness by delving into
        brain matter...

        Carol
        >
        > *******Steiner put this all in another way in lectures,
        > where he described
        > the body as providing a 'backing' like the silvered backing
        > of a mirror,
        > enabling the "I" to reflect its activity back to itself. We
        > do not THINK with
        > the body, he's saying, but because we have a body our
        > thinking becomes
        > individually aware, develops an I-consciousness... and
        > keeps this because
        > it's then taken up into the self-conscious human spirit we
        > think with.
        >
        > Starman
        >


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      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        In a message dated 1/2/2002 1:03:40 AM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 2, 2002
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          In a message dated 1/2/2002 1:03:40 AM, softabyss@... writes:

          << Yes, this analog of the mirror has been so very helpful to me
          over the three years I've studied Steiner. I remember the
          first time it struck me that just as we can not hope to find
          the reflected image in an microscopic analysis of the mirror,
          we shall not find thinking or consciousness by delving into
          brain matter...

          Carol

          *******Great way to put it. And speaking of that, here's a recent study
          showing consciousness is not in the brain any more than a TV program is in
          your TV set.

          <<<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52232-2001Dec16.html

          Near Proof for Near-Death?

          By Shankar Vedantam
          Washington Post Staff Writer
          Monday, December 17, 2001; Page A11

          The 44-year-old man who had collapsed in a meadow was brought to a
          hospital, unconscious and with no pulse or brain activity. Doctors began
          artificial respiration, heart massage and defibrillation.

          A nurse trying to feed a tube down the man's throat saw that he was
          wearing dentures. The nurse removed them and placed them on a stand
          called a "crash car." The patient was moved to the intensive care unit.

          A week later, after the patient had recovered, the nurse saw the man
          again. The man immediately recognized the nurse as the person who had
          removed his dentures and also remembered other details of what had
          happened while he was in a deep coma. He said he had perceived the
          events from above the hospital bed and watched doctors' efforts to save
          his life.

          This account would be standard fare in a supermarket tabloid, but last
          week it was published in the Lancet, a British medical journal. It is
          the latest in a long series of efforts to either document or debunk the
          existence of "near-death" experiences, something that for the most part
          has remained in the realm of the paranormal.

          The new study, conducted in the Netherlands, is one of the first
          so-called prospective scientific studies. Instead of interviewing people
          who reported near-death experiences after the fact, the researchers
          simply followed hundreds of patients who were resuscitated after
          suffering clinical death as their hearts stopped. The idea was that this
          approach might provide more accurate accounts by documenting the
          experiences as they happened, rather than basing them on recollections
          of the distant past.

          About 18 percent of the patients in the study reported some recollection
          of the period when they were clinically dead, and 8 percent to 12
          percent reported going through "near-death" experiences, such as seeing
          lights at the end of tunnels or "crossing over" and speaking with dead
          relatives and friends.

          The researchers say the evidence supports the validity of "near-death"
          experiences and suggests that scientists should rethink theories on one
          of the ultimate medical mysteries: the nature of human consciousness.

          Skeptics, however, maintain that the Dutch researchers had not provided
          evidence to buttress any extraordinary claims; certainly nothing as
          dramatic as proof that there is an afterlife.

          Most neuroscientists believe that consciousness is a byproduct of the
          physical brain, that mind arises from matter. But if near-death
          experiences are really what those who experience them say they are, does
          that mean that people can be conscious of events around them even when
          they are physically unconscious, when their brains do not show signs of
          electrical activity?

          How can consciousness be independent of brain function?

          "Compare it with a TV" program, said Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist at
          the Hospital Rijnstate in the Netherlands and the lead investigator of
          the research. "If you open the TV set you will not find the program. The
          TV set is a receiver. When you turn off your TV set, the program is
          still there but you can't see it. When you put off your brain, your
          consciousness is there but you can't feel it in your body."

          The study, he said in a telephone interview, suggested that researchers
          investigating consciousness "should not look in the cells and molecules
          alone."

          Although the Dutch scientist said the research did not address whether
          there was such a thing as the soul or God or the afterlife, many
          remained skeptical. In an accompanying article, Christopher French,
          director of the Anomalistic Psychology Research unit at Britain's
          Goldsmiths College, said that multiple questions persisted.

          "We have understandable and natural urges to believe we will survive
          bodily death and we will be reunited with our departed loved ones," he
          said. "So anything that would support that idea -- reincarnation,
          mediums, ghosts -- present evidence of the survival of the soul. It's
          something that we would all desperately like to believe is true."

          French pointed out that some of those in the study who reported they had
          near-death experiences said in follow-up interviews that they had not
          had them, while a few who had said they had experienced nothing later
          said they now remembered them. He said that this could suggest that
          false memories were at play.

          "I don't think the study suggests anything beyond the dying process,"
          agreed Paul Kurtz, a former professor of philosophy at the State
          University of New York in Buffalo and the chairman for the Committee for
          the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

          "The out-of-body experience and light and traveling down a tunnel and
          meeting people on the other side -- in my view these are the
          psychological states that people go through as they are dying," he said.

          Both pointed out that hearing is the last sense to shut down in the
          dying brain and that victims such as the 44-year-old man may have heard
          some of the events around them and subconsciously reconstructed the
          events as visual.

          The Dutch researchers tracked 344 patients who had been resuscitated.
          They ranged in age from 26 to 92. Three-quarters were men. Most were
          interviewed within five days of being resuscitated, and the researchers
          followed up with interviews two and eight years later to test the
          reliability of the patients' memories.

          Patients' demographics, religious beliefs, psychological makeup and
          medical treatment were also documented to see who was more likely to
          report such experiences.

          The researchers found that the experiences did not correlate with any of
          the measured psychological, physiological or medical parameters, which
          Lommel said meant the experiences were unrelated to processes in the
          dying brain. Most patients had excellent recall of the events, he added,
          which undermined the theory that the memories were false.

          Finally, the people who had such experiences reported marked changes in
          their personalities, compared with those who had come near death but not
          had the experiences. They seemed to lose fear of death, and they became
          more compassionate, altruistic and loving.

          Bruce Greyson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia
          in Charlottesville who has also done research in the area, said that
          science had neither good explanations nor good rebuttals of the
          conclusions of the Dutch researchers.

          In experiments underway, he said, tiny signs were placed on the ceilings
          of hospital rooms, so that if people were genuinely having out-of-body
          experiences and hovering over their beds, they would be able to see the
          signs and provide "proof" of the phenomenon.

          While it may take a long time for such experiments to uncover a case, he
          and others said, because not all patients will be resuscitated in that
          room and not all cardiac arrest cases result in near-death experiences,
          it could provide evidence to buttress patients' reports.

          "Brain chemistry does not explain these phenomena," Greyson said. "I
          don't know what the explanation is, but our current understanding of
          brain chemistry falls short."

          © 2001 The Washington Post Company

          >
          > *******Steiner put this all in another way in lectures, where he described
          > the body as providing a 'backing' like the silvered backing of a mirror,
          > enabling the "I" to reflect its activity back to itself. We do not THINK
          with
          > the body, he's saying, but because we have a body our thinking becomes
          individually aware, develops an I-consciousness... and keeps this because
          > it's then taken up into the self-conscious human spirit we think with.
          > Starman >>
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