Introduction to Anthroposophy #4: Threefoldness
- ashley.case@... writes:
> > I am currently intested in the basics like understanding the four parts to the human being; the four incarnations of earth; the significance of Christ in Anthroposophy; nutritional implications of Anthroposophy; the four ethers; four temperaments; the notion of threefoldness vs. duality ..*******Now as to the final question, dualism vs. threefoldness. This is connected with what the Doctor called the central mystery of our time, the "Mystery of Evil". He said that in the previous Zodiac Age we had to confront the Mystery of Death, hence the image of the dying and resurrecting god was placed before us; now, we have to wrestle through to an understanding of Evil. Good and evil is central to dualistic thinking.
> > basically the foundations of an anthroposophical world
You may know that Steiner is said to have been Aristotle; and I find a thought of that old clear thinker to be a good starting-point. He said that we usually thing of a thing as good, like courage, and thus its opposite as evil, i.e. cowardice. But this is not true: cowardice is a deficiency of courage, while an excess of same is just as much an evil, foolhardiness. So the Good is not a thing with one opposite, but a state of balance between two possible poles of excess.
Thus there is nothing good which one can contrast to only one opposite, but rather there are two opposite poles of 'evil'. Excess in either direction is evil. This underlies the greatest contradictory mystery of how people doing 'good' work so much evil. There is no 'Devil' opposite to God: instead it's no accident that Steiner describes TWO primary opposing forces to Man, whom he named Lucifer and Ahriman. (Two has also been, from time immemorial, the number of Evil.)
Incidentally, for any who feel disturbed at the statement that there is no Devil opposite to God, this was said by no less a Christian than C.S. Lewis, in his "Screwtape Letters". A Being of Evil opposite to God would have to negate all the Good God is the source of; but, since God is the source of existence itself (which is Good and the source of all other goods), such a Being would have to negate its very existence itself. It could not be. (He said he believed in devils, not The Devil.)
The very structure of Creation itself is threefold: Time with its past, present and future, Space with its 3 dimensions. When men imagine reality, they can't help but see it in threes--- from the hypothetical atom with its electrons, protons & neutrons to Freud's Ego, Id and Superego.
So all dualisms represent a flawed or incomplete picture of the world. There is not One Good with One Evil as its opposite; thinking so makes one identify oneself egotistically with the Good and go on campaigns against alleged 'evils'. In doing so, one becomes oneself an evil, by not seeing the other evil pole. Or as Bob Dylan put it, when he woke up out of this dualistic thinking that causes religions to become tools of evil (and not just fundamentalist ones hijacking planes):
"In a soldier's stance I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach;
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow---
Ah but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now."
To Be Continued...