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

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    In a message dated 1/3/2002 1:44:56 AM, softabyss@yahoo.com writes:
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 3, 2002
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      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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