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Re: [steiner] The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity Ch. 10

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    Dr. Steiner in Ch. 10 writes:
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
      Dr. Steiner in Ch. 10 writes:

      << The naive man who regards as real only what he can see with his eyes and
      grasp with his hands, also needs to have motives for his moral life that are
      perceptible to the senses. He needs someone who will impart these motives to
      him in a way that he can understand by means of his senses. He will let them
      be dictated to him as commands by a person whom he considers wiser and more
      powerful than himself, or whom he acknowledges, for some other reason, to be
      a power standing above him. In this way the moral principles already
      mentioned come about through being prescribed by authority of family, state,
      society, church, or the Divinity. An undeveloped person still trusts in the
      authority of a single individual; a somewhat more advanced person lets his
      moral conduct be dictated by a majority (state, society). But it is always
      perceptible powers upon which he relies. When at last the conviction dawns
      upon him that fundamentally all these are weak human beings just like
      himself, then he will seek guidance from a higher power, from a divine Being,
      whom, however, he endows with sense-perceptible qualities. He lets the
      conceptual content of his moral life be dictated to him by this Being, again
      in a perceptible way, for example when God appears in the burning bush, or
      moves among men in bodily human form and in a manner perceptible to their
      ears tells them what to do and what not to do.
      The highest level of development of naive realism in the moral sphere is
      reached when the moral command (moral idea) has been separated from every
      foreign entity, and is hypothetically thought of as an absolute force in
      one's own inner being. What at first is sensed as the external voice of God,
      is now sensed as an independent power within man, and is spoken of in a way
      that shows the inner power to be identified with the voice of conscience.
      When this happens, the level of naive consciousness has been abandoned and we
      enter the region where moral laws become independent rules. They no longer
      have a bearer, but have become metaphysical entities, existing by themselves.
      They are similar to the invisible-visible forces of the metaphysical realist
      who does not look for the reality of things in the human soul's participation
      in this reality through thinking, but who hypothetically imagines reality as
      an addition to actual experience. Extra-human moral rules, therefore, always
      accompany metaphysical realism. Metaphysical realism cannot do otherwise than
      seek the origin of morality too in a sphere beyond human reach. And here
      there are several possibilities. If the presupposed Being is thought of as in
      itself unthinking, acting according to purely mechanical laws, as materialism
      thinks of it, then out of itself it must also produce, by purely mechanical
      necessity, the human individual and all that belongs to him. The
      consciousness of freedom can then be only an illusion. For while I believe
      myself to be the creator of my deeds, it is the material substances of which
      I am composed, together with their processes, that are at work within me. I
      believe myself to be free, whereas in reality all my actions are but results
      of the material processes which are the foundation of my bodily and spiritual
      organism. According to this point of view, it is simply because we do not
      know the motives compelling us, that we have the feeling of freedom. "We must
      emphasize that the feeling of freedom is due to the absence of external
      compelling motives." "Our actions as well as our thinking are subject to
      Another possibility is that the extra-human absolute is seen as a spiritual
      Being behind the world of phenomena. Then the impulse to action will also be
      sought in such a spiritual power. The moral principles to be found in man's
      reason will be regarded as issuing from this Being-in-itself, which has its
      own particular intentions with regard to man. Moral laws appear to such a
      dualist as dictated by the Absolute, and through his reason, man simply has
      to discover and carry out these decisions of the Absolute Being. The moral
      world-order appears to the dualist as the perceptible reflection of a higher
      order that stands behind it. Earthly morality is the manifestation of the
      extra-human world order. It is not man that matters in this moral order, but
      the Being-in-itself, the extra-human Being. Man ought to do what this Being
      wills. Eduard von Hartmann, who sees the Being-in-itself as the Godhead whose
      very existence is suffering, believes that this divine Being has created the
      world in order that through the world he will be redeemed from his infinitely
      great pain. This philosopher therefore regards the moral development of
      mankind as a process which exists for the purpose of redeeming the Godhead.
      "Only through the building up of a moral world-order by sensible, responsible
      individuals can the aim of the world process be carried through...."
      "Existence in its reality is the incarnation of the Godhead-the world process
      is the Passion of the God becoming flesh, and at the same time the path of
      redemption of Him who was crucified in the flesh; and morality is the co-opera
      tion in the shortening of this path of suffering and redemption."
      Here man does not act because he wills, but he ought to act because it is
      God's will to be redeemed. Just as the materialistic dualist makes man into
      an automaton whose conduct is merely the result of purely mechanical laws, so
      the spiritualistic dualist (that is, he who sees the Absolute, the
      Being-in-itself, as a spiritual entity in which man has no conscious share)
      makes him into a slave of the will of the Absolute. Freedom is out of the
      question in materialism as well as in one-sided spiritualism, in fact in any
      kind of metaphysical realism which does not experience, but infers something
      extra-human as the true reality.
      Naive as well as metaphysical realism, in order to be consistent, must deny
      freedom for one and the same reason, since they regard man as being simply
      the agent or executor of principles which are forced upon him by necessity.
      Naive realism kills freedom through subjection to the authority either of a
      perceptible being or of an entity thought of as similar to a perceptible
      being, or else through submission to the authority of the abstract inner
      voice which is interpreted as "conscience;" the metaphysical realist, who
      merely infers something extra-human, cannot acknowledge freedom because he
      lets man be determined, mechanically or morally, by a "Being-in-itself."
      Monism must acknowledge the partial justification of naive realism because it
      acknowledges the justification of the world of perceptions. Someone who is
      incapable of bringing forth moral ideas through intuition, will have to
      receive them from others. Insofar as a man receives his moral principles from
      outside, he is positively unfree. But monism ascribes equal significance to
      the idea compared with perception. And the idea can come to manifestation in
      the human individual. Insofar as man follows the impulses coming from this
      side, he feels free. But monism denies all justification to a metaphysics
      which merely draws inferences, and consequently also to impulses of action
      stemming from a so-called "Being-in-itself." According to the monistic view,
      man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion; it
      is free when he obeys himself. Monism cannot acknowledge any kind of
      unconscious compulsion hidden behind perception and concept. When someone
      maintains that a fellow man was not free when he performed an action, it must
      be possible to prove the existence within the perceptible world of the thing,
      the person, or the institution that made the man act; but if an appeal is
      made to causes for the action lying outside the sphere of physical and
      spiritual reality, then monism cannot enter the discussion.
      According to monism, in his activity man is partly unfree, partly free. He is
      unfree in the world of perceptions, but brings the free spirit to realization
      in himself. >>

      *******So it's just as Steiner says in Christianity As Mystical Fact:
      religions were given out to those undeveloped enough to have direct moral
      intuition. The exoteric form of religions, the external moral codes, are for
      people as they develop up to the point of seeing where the moral ideas
      originate for themselves: then they no longer follow either the outer
      compulsion of a code nor the inner compulsion of a "voice of conscience", but
      seek through thinking to penetrate to the source of both. We lived under the
      Law of Moses once; but then Mankind graduated to freedom. Christ freed us
      from the Law. But all too often it's as Pete Townshend wrote in the song "I'm
      Free" from Tommy: "No one had the guts to leave the temple."

    • Carol
      I ll chime in here on today s chapter in a few hours...sorry... carol __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send your FREE holiday
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
        I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few


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      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes: Nothing to be
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
          In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@... writes:

          << I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few

          carol >>

          Nothing to be sorry about---you've been doing plenty!

          Aren't there any others here who would like to take a shot at one?
        • Carol
          Dr. Starman, I hope you are still online because I ve got an earlybird question: In the first paragraph of Chap 11 what does Steiner mean when he says, One
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
            Dr. Starman, I hope you are still online because I've got an
            earlybird question:

            In the first paragraph of Chap 11 what does Steiner mean when
            he says, "One performs an action of which one has previously
            made a mental picture, and one allows this mental picture to
            determine one's action. Thusthe later (the deed) influences
            the earlier (the doer) with the help of the mental picture."

            If I form a mental picture of running around the room and
            then do it, is he saying that my running around the room
            generated the metal picture which I used as my motive? Don't
            think so, but hard to read it another way...


            --- DRStarman2001@... wrote:
            > In a message dated 1/3/2002 9:42:23 PM, softabyss@...
            > writes:
            > << I'll chime in here on today's chapter in a few
            > hours...sorry...
            > carol >>
            > Nothing to be sorry about---you've been doing plenty!
            > Aren't there any others here who would like to take a shot
            > at one?

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            Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
          • Carol
            Oh wait....am I a chapter ahead??????? __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
              Oh wait....am I a chapter ahead???????

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              Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
            • DRStarman2001@aol.com
              In a message dated 1/3/2002 1:44:56 AM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
                In a message dated 1/3/2002 1:44:56 AM, softabyss@... writes:

                << I would really like to read somebodies
                understanding of the first section of the author's
                additions...It seems pretty important.

                *******What Carol's referring to is this:
                <<First Addition to the Revised Edition, 1918. Difficulty in judging what is
                presented in the two preceding chapters may arise because one believes
                oneself to be confronted by a contradiction. On the one hand, the experience
                of thinking is spoken of as having a general significance of equal value for
                every human consciousness; on the other hand, it is shown that though the
                ideas realized in moral life are of the same kind as those worked out by
                thinking, they come to expression in each human consciousness in an
                individual way. If one cannot overcome seeing a "contradiction," in this, and
                cannot recognize that it is just in a living experience of this actually
                present contrast that a glimpse into man's true being is revealed, then it is
                also impossible to see either the idea of knowledge or the idea of freedom in
                their true light. For those who think of concepts as merely drawn
                (abstracted) from the sense-world, and who do not give full recognition to
                intuitions, the thought presented here as the reality must seem a "mere
                contradiction." For an insight that recognizes how ideas are intuitively
                experienced as a self-sustaining reality, it is clear that in the sphere of
                the world of ideas man penetrates in cognition into something which is
                universal for all men, but when he derives from that same idea world the
                intuitions for his acts of will, then he individualizes a member of this idea
                world by means of the same activity which, as a general human one, he unfolds
                in the spiritual ideal process of cognition. For this reason what appears as
                a logical contradiction, namely the universal character of cognitive ideas
                and the individual character of moral ideas, when experienced in its true
                reality, becomes a living concept. A characteristic feature of human nature
                consists in the fact that what can be intuitively grasped oscillates in man
                like a living pendulum between knowledge which is universally valid, and the
                individual experience of this universal element. For the man who cannot
                recognize one swing of the pendulum in its reality, thinking will remain
                merely a subjective human activity; for the one who cannot recognize the
                other swing, all individual life appears to cease in man's activity of
                thinking. To the first person, cognition is unintelligible, to the second,
                moral life is unintelligible. Both will call in all sorts of representations
                in order to explain the one or the other, all of which miss the point,
                because both persons, fundamentally, either do not recognize that thinking
                can be experienced, or take it to be an activity which merely abstracts. >>>

                ********Because many do not recognize that thinking is universal---i.e., the
                concept "triangle" thought by you is the same as every other thinker---they
                think all thought is mere opinion, individual. Scientists who do recognize
                the universality of ideas often regard all moral ideas the same way, as mere
                opinion. Steiner is saying we grasp the universal reality in thinking, but
                when we make it into a moral intuition of what to do we make it individual.
                Gandhi, for instance, tuned in to the same ancient truth of 'ahimsa' or
                non-violence as the Rishis---but then made it into a motive for action
                against the lovely British in his time and place.

                >>>As for the second part- I'm a big fan of this articulation
                because I so often read thinkers who would reject the label
                of materialist, yet who can only think in thoughts which are
                tied to sense observations and analytic thought processes...
                Carol >>

                *******Yes, and what Steiner is saying there....

                <<<One who says: "Our conduct, like our thinking, is necessitated," expresses
                a concept applicable only to material processes, but applicable neither to
                actions nor to existence; and if he thinks his concepts through, he will have
                to think materialistically. That he does not do this is only the outcome of
                that inconsistency which is so often the result of a thinking not carried
                through..... it is often not noticed that no other ideas are available than
                those which can be applied only to something material. This veils present day
                materialism, whereas in the second half of the nineteenth century it was
                plain for all to see. And present day veiled materialism is no less
                intolerant of a view that grasps the world spiritually than was the
                openly-admitted materialism of the last century.">>>

                .... is that anyone who thinks we're forced to be as our bodies make us be is
                thinking materialistically. Why? Because the Spirit is the sphere of thinking
                and acting out of that is doing free deeds--- and all such anti-freedom
                thought patterns do not recognize the spiritual.

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