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The Art of God

- an actual Theory of Everything -


by Joel A. Wendt

A challenge to the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang, by offering A Theory of God and its details
as a fully accurate and realistic Theory of Everything




2nd Edition, published by Joel A. Wendt April 15th, 2011

cover art:

The stone was found for the purpose of being painted by the author. The symbol on the stone is Hopi, and means to them, according to various sources: "Together with all nations we protect both land and life and hold the world in balance.”  A  slightly different (somewhat additional and alternative) meaning is described near the end of this book.  See also: the Songs of the True White Brother.

other books and booklets* by the author

*the content of many booklets are included in certain full sized books

Uncommon Sense: The Degeneration, and the Redemption, of Political Life in America

On the Nature of Public Life: the Soul of a People, the Spirit of a Nation, and the Sacrifices of its Leaders

*Counter-Moves: finding victory in the War the Rich are making upon the Poor.  This essay is included in the book Uncommon Sense

Hermit’s Weblog: everything your mother never told you about how the world really works

*Bicycles: a children’s Christmas Story that is also for adults

*the Natural Christian: Many people today are Christian in their hearts, and declare that while they are not religious, they are spiritual. Institutional religion has no meaning for them, and this little booklet is for them. This essay is included in the book New Wine.

the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character, and the future of Christianity, both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis

New Wine: foundational essays out of a Science of the Spirit, in support of the coming living metamorphosis of Christianity

American Anthroposophy - an introduction: a celebration of the American Soul’s unique ability to contribute to the future of Anthroposophy, and to the future of world culture

Dangerous Anthroposophy: a collection of essays providing a critical analysis of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement, as well as introductory materials for a new (organic) social science. This analysis is directed at helping the Society and Movement develop further in the 21st Century

*Living Thinking in Action: A fifty page booklet created as an introduction to one view of the primary inner activities underlying the new cognitive mystery. This was demonstrated by Rudolf Steiner during his life, and written about in his books: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; and, The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity). Both of these essays are included in the books: American Anthroposophy, the Way of the Fool, New Wine and The Art of God.
Sacramental Thinking: a collection of recent and old essays on the spiritual nature of thinking - including the essays in Living Thinking in Action.

The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount: discussions of the nature of the double or doppelganger, also sometime called: the shadow.

Biographical Necessity: confessions of a social philosopher ... and an occasional fool. Slightly over 100 pages of more than anyone will really want to know - a very strange life.

*The Misconception of Cosmic Space as appears in the  ideas of modern Astronomy: A 29 page booklet that concerns what happens if we substitute in the solution of the problem of parallax, the more modern Projective Geometry for the older Euclidean Geometry. This essay is included in the book New Wine and in the book The Art of God

American Phoenix - an apocalyptic novel.
The Pharaoh Foundation: a gate to my latest works.
The Rising of the Sun in the Mind: an app-like webpage for self development, at the Dawn of the Third Millennium.



dedication

to two people

To Linda LaTores, who is to me the incarnation of the Goddess of Kindness, for without her generosity and grace this book would certainly not have been written (and yes, we do now live together, at River House, her beautiful home on the Assabet River in Concord) ... I first met her at a meeting in Concord, MA, where I was expressing to the individual, who put together the meeting, my dismay that there were no toilet facilities near at hand, something a man my age must always seek out ... Linda, overhearing, offered me (a complete stranger), the use of the bathroom in her home, to which she drove me immediately, after which she returned us both to the gathering ... then there is her recent testimony as a witness in a criminal case ... the prosecutor would ask a question, and while she was starting to answer, the defendant’s attorney would object, at which point Linda instinctively would say: “I’m sorry”, as if the objection meant she had done something wrong.  Kindness always thinks if something is not right, it should be responsible to make things better ... She is also, among her lesser graces, well versed in Vedanta, Shamanism, Christianity, and living in the Now.


[I no longer hold Ben-Aharon in the same esteem as suggested below.  The reason is complicated, but I do not have the time to do more than offer a caution here.  See my review of his book on the Event: Tragedy, Comedy and Whimsy in Anthroposophia-Land - a contemplative review of the book: The Event in Science, History, Philosophy & Art]

To Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, easily one of the wisest individuals on the planet, whose books fascinate me, and with whom I find myself more and more wanting to engage in furious argument ... his book on The New Experience of the Supersensible is occasionally so abstract, it is nearly unreadable (but, unfortunately, worth the effort at deciphering); and whose book America’s Global Responsibility, seems to contain in the background undertow of its thought, some kind of ancient and terrible Jewish Mother injunctions radiating too frequently all manner of guilt on just about every American, all the while being for the most part tragically factually true; while his book The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century will eventually be recognized as one of the first authentic Gospels (Good News) of the true Second Coming of Christ ...

To both, my deepest thanks ...

Table of Contents (as it were)

(This vortex-like structure is very fluid and in constant movement, such that we will come around to the same general conceptual area over time, seeking with each new experience a deeper examination.  In a way a kind of new conceptual vocabulary has to be prepared, such that over the period of the different experiences, all will hopefully become more and more useful.  Simultaneously, as we build new concepts, we will in the same gesture have to dismantle others.

Page numbers are not given, although I can understand why someone might want them.  They are in part technically a problem in internet self-publishing because of the conversion of an rtf. file to a PDF document, which conversion alters the paging considerably.   But the main reason is that this book is not written like a scholarly work it all.   It is written to be experienced, and the reader is free to organize that experience in any way they see fit, and should not be confined to any arbitrary scheme of mine.  The titles below simply represent where in a certain mood I felt like delineating a change of theme, and these titles then have more of a relationship to artistic musical and poetic notation then any more academic or conventional system of order.

Once more, as regards the vortex metaphor: the upper boundaries of a vortex are wider, and the speed of circulation slower for those objects caught up in that aspect of its nature.  As the vortex-tornado deepens it narrows almost to a point, where the velocity and force which is active there is at its maximum.  So also then with the journey through this book - a gradual intensification is intended in terms of the application of this books nature on the processes of the reader’s mind.)

- dedication

- introduction

- beginning with a theory of God

- the Shaman sees Wholes

- back to our pursuit of a theory of God

- the Idea of God

- the shape of the social political world of humanity

- some limits to natural science

- a transition

- the questions of Why and Time

- the Mystery of Evil as aspects of How and Why

- some thoughts on the necessary, yet temporary, superficial nature of these discussions

- God in Time and Space

- the totality of the order of the macro-social world as an Embodiment of the Word

- further limits of the present truth-structures in natural science

- the problem of human freedom

- the conflict itself has meaning

- ... and make an evolved synthesis of the previous thoughts

- a slight shift of emphasis

- time, space and spiritual causality

- the Theory of Evolution, its limits and biases

- the bones ... an alternative explanation

- ... some aspects of a real science of the mind

- the appearance of the free moral individual in human social-political life

- interlude and recapitulation

- additional aspects of the nature of thought and thinking

- social life, in the biography, as a creative invention - the self-conscious spirit as an artist in life

- evidence and proof of God, as well as some proposed experiments and tests ... or, the now we’ve got him section,’cause he is never ever going to be able to do that

- indirect evidence of God

- direct evidence of God

- a new path to the spirit, elaborated in three parts:

1) The Misconception of Cosmic Space as appears in the Ideas of Modern Astronomy

2) The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness  Soul

3) In Joyful Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship

introduction

In this book one of the ideas we might come to understand is how it is that a theory is a kind of story.  Whether it is the Theory Evolution, or a Theory of God, both are stories.  This book then will be the story of an alternative theory to the one currently dominating scientific thinking.  As an aspect of that story there will also be a kind of anti-story - a deconstruction of certain aspects of the dominant scientific story (theory).  Keep in mind that only certain parts of what Natural Science teaches will undergo deconstruction.  Natural scientists do know a great deal about world, - they just do not  know Everything, and certain aspects of what they believe they know they have gotten completely wrong.

P.S. The reader should best understand this book as a social science text ... that is I am here being as fully scientific as is possible about the social.  The primary aspect of my science concerns thinking and the mind - that is the how or method by which one goes about using human cognitive capacities.  The secondary aspect concerns the application of that how - of that method of thinking and the mind as applied to the question of the real nature of human macro-social and political existence.   This last produces a content.  The book arises primarily from method or how, and then secondarily as a content or what.  At the same time because of the complicated nature of these processes (methods) and themes (contents), and their natural interdependence, the whole has to be artistically expressed in the form of something woven together, as they can in fact not be separated.  One can distinguish them, but they are, in their essence, an undivided whole. 

As a consequence, in order to see deeply into the human psychology underlying our shared social existence it is essential to know intimately one’s own inwardness in a scientific fashion.  Emerson puts it this way in his lecture to Harvard in 1837: The American Scholar: "For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds...”

*   *   *

Yes, I do find the present approach to a TOE, or theory of everything, to be weak and almost, but not quite, useless.  Its flaws are simple.  It arises from a long term process in mathematical and theoretical physics which has more and more excluded what it was not willing to take account of (known in the field as reductionism), such that even at the beginning of the 20th Century Sir Arthur Eddington was to say something like: We are on a path to knowing more and more about less and less.  It is theoretical physics that has crawled inside the conceptual black-hole of pure and obscure mathematics, as if somehow with numbers alone one was going to be able to explain and understand the hunger for rational Science (the search for the True), the need for devotional Religion (the search for the Good) and the endless human creativity of Art (the search for the Beautiful).  Numbers, by themselves, will never be able to define or explain the nature of the striving human spirit, however much devotion certain thinkers give to reaching such a goal.

Think about it.  Say you get a paper on the latest TOE, and it consists of pages of obscure mathematics, followed by another paper where a mathematically inclined theoretical physicist attempts to explain to the layman what all this stuff means.  To me it is all like some new, yet still vain, priesthood selling their mysterious (only we can really understand it, and you should believe us because we are really really smart and you are very very dumb) snake-oil potion about how the world works.  Trust us, they say.

Sure.

What a purely mathematical Theory of Everything also does is to pretend that human beings aren’t involved (and haven’t been involved far before the Age of Science) with seeking meaning.  In crawling into some obscure symbol system only meant for a few, these folks just throw in the toilet almost all of human history, as if only their abstract thinking was to have valid meaning.  They are in essence imposing their personal meaning on the rest of us, and insisting we should buy it.  Me, I’m of the view that whatever a real and actual theory of everything is going to be like, it ought to be written in words most everyone can understand on their own; and it ought to include all that meaning stuff of which human history and civilizations are made.  No mysteries, just plain straight talk.   I’m going to try to do that here.

Various details of this physics-only-thinking flawed approach will be laid out in the main text.  But for the moment, consider the shaman, at dawn, sitting in the open air contemplating what he sees.   He sees the world whole.  There are no parts, just the one-thing - the World of the Creator, which includes himself and every feeling and thought he will ever have.  Even his eventual death is to be part of the whole, which potential speaks to him that there is more mystery in his heart than there is knowledge of facts in his head.

He breathes, he sees, he touches the earth with his hands, and also touches the sky with his eyes.   His heart is always filled with wonder, even though he has been to college and has a J.D. in Law.  He knows well the world of abstract thought, and is not unfamiliar with classical philosophy.  He reads popular science magazines and science fiction.   He also talks to some of the invisible aspects of the Divine Mystery, and they talk back to him.

Early, in his self-education, he one day looked at his hands and understood the responsibility that went with having them, for the Spirit of God meant for those very hands to be His instrument, in the same way He meant for the shaman’s head and heart to be an instrument of the Divine Mystery.  Not only that, - in no way was he, the shaman, meant to be passive concerning this.   The Divine Mystery did not want obedience at all, but rather in giving the shaman self-conscious freedom had meant exactly that.   You decide what to do with these gifts: of head and heart and hands - you decide.

On what may seem to be another planet, in a galaxy far far away ... recently various individuals of the New Atheists persuasion have been writing on the Internet that there ought to be a proof of God ... and, given the tendency of the New Atheists to rely on materialistic (all is matter, there is no spirit) science, it is odd to find them asserting that things be proved.   This matter-fascinated science in a lot of cases offers evidence, but seldom proves - instead it mostly theorizes.   Obviously in the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, thermodynamics etc.) we can evoke mathematics with its particular rigor, and find in many places the appearance of mathematical proof in some minor fields of the totality of the enterprise of this still immature version of a Way of Knowledge we name science.  Because of this fact, the demand for proofs by some of the New Atheists can be understood, although this demand is based on a very superficial idea of what this new Way of Knowledge - this science - actually does.

What I am saying, to be blunt, is that the demand for proof among many New Atheists is a kind of unsophisticated understanding of what science actually does (and is capable of doing in its present iteration), and these folks ought at the least strive to understand better the system of thought (the paradigm) on which they so strongly rely.  This little book hopes to address these questions in more detail, and with some degree of rigor.

By way of background, let me refer to a small essay, Does God Exist?, that is on my website Shapes in the Fire.  This essay mainly deals with whether that question (Does God Exist?) is even a good beginning question and how little the current disputants actually know about the history of this type of riddle (and its relatives), for it is not  new.  Not only is this question’s past history significant, but the modern dialog in various academic disciplines on this riddle is far better than what routinely passes for observations on blogs and other mostly amateur considerations of these kinds of philosophical dilemmas, among many of those who style themselves: New Atheists.

Particularly sad is the kind of thing that happens on television shows such as Bill Maher’s Real Time.  The superficiality of the anti-religious ranting there is so blatant and juvenile it is almost absurd.

In that essay I wrote, in part: All the same, where are we Now, with this question: “Does God exist?”   Well that depends upon what we mean by God and by exist, does it not? It also concerns questions of desire and determinism, and questions of the fundamental nature of stuff. What do we mean by matter? What do we mean by spirit? Does our idea of God exclude the human being? Is God outside us or inside us, or both? What is the real nature of the Divine Mystery? Something unknowable to scientific thinking and then totally and only dependent upon Faith? Or something quite knowable, and thus dependent upon developing the skills, crafts and arts by which such a kind of knowledge (knowledge of God) becomes possible.

In a sense, without meaning to be particularly critical of any person, the dialogs between any number of those who identify themselves as New Atheists and the Christian (or other religious) apologists they engage with, on most blogs, other Internet conversation sites and on cable TV, is more like something between 1st and 2nd graders in a school yard, than college-educated graduate students, knowledgeable in the relevant fields of interest.  Positions are taken and then defended that in a more aware scholarly environment would not be taken or need to be defended.

To be clear: while a few of the dialogs are mature and well informed, most are superficial and simply expressions of one individual’s immature biases.  This is to be expected.  The basic matters being thought about require some effort to master in any depth or detail.  Mostly people don’t have the time.  Even here, in this book, I do not have the time to do a survey of the best dialogs.  However, given the nature of the approach I will be taking, I hope those engaged in those mature dialogs will recognize that the direction followed below justifies stepping past their quite valid work, and exploring whatever new directions might be useful.

I will also be writing about an essay concerning problems with the Theory of Evolution, written before his untimely death by a practicing philosopher of science, from whose remarkable work we can come to understand two basic issues: the first is about the actual weaknesses of the Theory itself; and, the second is a real discussion of what a Theory has to manage to contain in order to satisfy the underlying issues of philosophical inquiry (such as logical arguments, testability etc.).  The name of that essay is Dogma and Doubt, by Ron Brady, and it too can be found on the Internet.  I’ll use it as a bridge to the final section of the book, which will concern in more detail the matters of evidence and proof.

A genuinely good question is: Is there Evidence of God?   This keeps us in line with basic processes common to present day natural science, and encourages then a particular and disciplined style of thinking in order to address that question.  However, in order to proceed along those lines of thought it first becomes necessary to elaborate a theory of god, which would of necessity have to include an idea of god.  There can be, and is presently, more than one such theory and more than one such idea (mostly in fields of theology and philosophy).   Anyone conversant with religious thinking knows full well there are multiple and different ideas of god, so recognizing this fact is a good place to start.

One of the problems one runs into in surveying the better discussions of these issues is in fact the Idea or Theory of God which is there expressed, generally in some classical form, often going all the way back to the arguments of the Scholastics.   For example, God is often first defined in a rather elaborate and magnificent fashion: all powerful, all knowing, ultimately mysterious and so forth.  Then on the basis of such definitions we try to logically arrive at some sense of how it is that our real and human life experiences (such as the problems of evil and freedom) are encompassed by this supposed magnificent Being.  The problem with this approach will become apparent as we proceed with the main text.  In essence, such an Idea of the magnificence of God is inadequate as a starting point for any investigation of this profound Mystery, that one might carefully make in the Age of Science and in a systematic fashion.

I wrote in the early 1990‘s an essay that approached a few of those issues from certain limited directions: The Idea of Mind - a Christian meditator considers the problem of consciousness.  In that essay I briefly traced the directions of natural science regarding the nature of mind, which direction seem largely based on a not really justified assumption.  Here are some typical remarks by natural scientists on this subject, which I had discovered at that time:

...it has long been recognized that mind does not exist somehow apart from brain...” (The Mind, Richard M. Restak M.D. pp ll, Bantam Books, 1988) [emphasis added]; and, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings - what we sometimes call mind - are a consequence of its anatomy and physiology and nothing more.” (The Dragons of Eden, Speculations of the Evolution of Human Intelligence, Carl Sagan, pp.7, Ballantine Books, 1977).  [emphasis added]

Here is a leading neurophysiologist, who is still practicing today:

"It is old hat to say that the brain is responsible for mental activity. Such a claim may annoy the likes of Jerry Falwell or the Ayatollah, but it is more or less the common assumption of educated people in the twentieth century. Ever since the scientific revolution, the guiding view of most scientists has been that knowledge about the brain, its cells and its chemistry will explain mental states. However, believing that the brain supports behavior is the easy part: explaining how is quite another.” (Mind Matters: How the Mind and Brain interact to Create Our Conscious Lives, Michael S. Grazzanica Ph.D. pp 1, Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1988) [emphasis added].  Also in Mind Matters, Grazzanica, having already likened brain to a mechanism, then says paradoxically: “A thought can change brain chemistry, just as a physical event in the brain can change a thought”.

My question for Grazanica is: What does he think causes the thought which changes the brain chemistry?

Now these quotes are a couple of decades old.  Their importance is due to the fact that they come from a time when the “common assumption of educated people”, that mind would be explained as a result of the matter in the brain, was still acknowledged.  Most of today’s scientists of consciousness routinely forget that such an assumption ever existed.  In their view, this (mind and brain are one thing) is a fact that can be now taken for granted.  I recently read an otherwise fine article on brain physiology that said, kind of as an aside: “All behavior is caused by the brain”.

Further on in the main text below the central logical and empirical problems of such assumptions will be made more clear, for natural science is full of them.

Yet ... there is more than one kind of shaman ... the scientist in his laboratory, ... although he does not think of himself as a shaman, there is much that is familiar in his laboratory to that which a 17th Century Alchemist  would have had.  Tables everywhere covered with gear.  Retorts, test tubes, means to make fire (bring heat to bear), a microscope.  Books, reports, experiments in process.  Space in which to contemplate the secrets of the universe.  Absent, perhaps, is the overt religious approach common to that era, although many scientists today do see the objects of their work with an attitude of awe and wonder.  Further, we should note another oddity - that far too many modern scientist/shamans routinely never leave that laboratory for the actual world, whether of nature or human societies, that their disciplines contemplate.  They read and write papers and go to conferences - they talk a lot to each other.  Is that enough?

All the same, we are in more modern times, which includes such books as those by Sam Harris (The End of Faith), Christopher Hitchens (god is not Great) and Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), therefore it will be my effort with this book to deal with some of the questions raised in those books.  I do this because these are common resources, and in order for this work on The Art of God to have some discipline and order, it seems best to use materials already in play, and generally known to many interested in (whether for or against) the New Atheist paradigm.   Keep in mind that many scholars consider the above books weak in many ways.  However, we do need to deal with some of their issues, because these are the issues common to most of the New Atheists and those who oppose them, both of which persuasions’  thinking this book seeks to address, for reasons soon to be apparent.

Also keep in mind that I don’t disparage the attitude of the New Atheists, or their more popular guides (such as, Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins), because part of their central observation is quite valid: A lot of contemporary religious ideas and practices, when set against what science actually knows, and what science believes it knows (two different states of mind, by the way), fail at a demand for logical rigor.  It would seem that the battle over ideas and meaning that began with the Copernican Revolution is not quite over.

Yet, as will be demonstrated below, there exists truly modern religious, or spiritual, thinking that is quite able to meet the demands of the Age of Science; and which approaches the situation not as a battle - not as a question of either/or - but rather fully honors science and simply wants to extends its Arts into more mature and viable directions.

One last point, and a very important point at that ... this kind of work can’t be done if one’s approach is that such a significant question, as a proof of God or evidence of god, can be treated as if we were going to a fast food restaurant for a quick and ill-prepared meal.  First of all such an attitude is disrespectful of all those who have gone before and treated these questions seriously - which includes basically the whole history of philosophy, much less modern disciplines such as the history of ideas or philology.  This is one of the hallmarks today of the weakness of the New Atheist movements - they think these questions are simple, and that to ask for proof of God is even to ask a reasonable question in the first place.  Real and useful human knowledge is arrived at by hard, disciplined, detailed and thorough work, not just by having an opinion or a bias we want to justify and then move beyond.

The views of people who come to the themes in this book, and want to be superficial, should be ignored, after which they should be told to do some homework, such as read a couple of dozen other books first (or as will be seen below: go to or rent a bunch of movies, for the vision of artists has a lot to teach us).

Partly what this last means is that while I will try to add to our understanding of these questions, it is, as mentioned above, simply not my intention to do an full academic survey of the whole field, something for which I am not qualified in any event.  In what follows, this, however, should be understood:

The author of this work has direct experience (knowledge) of the Divine Mystery, something more common today than some might realize.  I write of this not to claim any authority, however, but rather simply to confess a predisposition to having a certain point of view, given the reality of my life experience.   One can read details about this in my other writings, particularly these two books: the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character, and the future of Christianity - both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis; and, American Anthroposophy - a introduction: a celebration of the American Soul’s unique ability to contribute to the future of Anthroposophy, and to the future of world culture.

In certain instances below, where particular problems are, of necessity, more briefly discussed, I will refer to the above books rather than repeat here in full what is there provided in greater detail.

While I will also be referring to many other authors, I will in particular refer to the writings of Owen Barfield.  For a primarily English speaking or reading audience, he is (in my view) the deepest thinker on all of the central questions of our time as regards the real underlying problems appearing in the seeming war between science and religion.  No writer that I have ever read, and this includes Rudolf Steiner, grasps certain of these matters with the same delicate and subtle reasoning power as does Owen Barfield.

 

About Rudolf Steiner something further needs to be elaborated, as it is a fact that Barfield (and myself) are students of Steiner (at least in the sense of being inspired by his life and works).   Steiner (1861-1925) asserted in the maturity of his life that he was a scientist of the super-sensible - of the Spirit.  He approached his visionary and inspired encounters with the Divine Mystery as something that could be done in a scientific fashion.

In doing this he recognized that he could not give to others direct knowledge of such matters, but still held himself to the ideal of natural science, which was that he could, at least, communicate to us an understanding of that which he researched.  He was very systematic in this endeavor, for he began his life’s work with three books on the philosophical problem of knowledge itself: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; Truth and Knowledge; and, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.

He then went further, in that he taught how to become a person able to do research in the realm of the spirit.  During his life he produced over 30 written texts, countless essays, and gave over 6,000 lectures.  This work is enormous, daring, unconventional, and even alarming in some of its implications.  The Goetheanum, a Temple to this kind of human spiritual striving, which was created during WWI by an international group of artisans in Dornach Switzerland, was burned to the ground over the Christmas season of 1922-23, and Steiner was himself poisoned the following Christmas season (1923-24), which so debilitated his total organism that he was to die, prematurely, at age 65, on March 30th, 1925.  Like I said, the work was/is alarming and some acted out their alarm.

Whether and to what degree his work can be and is being replicated and otherwise supported by actual evidence, will be a subject for the later parts of this book.

A great portion of the problem connected to the distinction I am making between these two men, however, has to do with language and culture.  Steiner wrote and spoke in German, and unless we are adept at reading German, we are always tied to the natural limits of translations, and the reality that his many translators do not always agree (or perhaps have not even fully understood what he meant).   Moreover, Steiner wrote and spoke very much within the historical and cultural context of Central Europe on the bridge from the 19th Century, whereas Barfield, writing as an Englishman, is nearer to the essential nature of the American Way of seeing the world, and that American Way of seeing the world is the historical and cultural context out of which this present book, on The Art of God, has been written.  Barfield lived from 1898 to 1997, 99 years,  essentially the whole of the 20th Century, and is therefore not only adept at English, but also more our contemporary than was Steiner.

Readers should keep in mind that my efforts to refer to Barfield or Steiner (or others) will be weak.  Deep thinkers are often subtle in their presentations, and many are the nuances that adorn their work.  Do not take my representations of any other thinker’s ideas as completely correct in any sense.  That is not possible, and the reader of this book is advised to go to the original sources in all cases, rather than depend upon my presentation.  My references are merely a finger pointing and are not intended to portray other’s works in the true way that is due their genius.

Finally: The work below is meant to be original.  I don’t intend to repeat the work of others, although I will on many occasions borrow the work of others where relevant.  Most of what is below will be new thoughts, even to serious scholars of the underlying subjects.  The situation itself actually demands it.   The Age of Science is important to humanity, and is not to be set aside in order to save traditional and ancient religious expression, or even traditional scientific expression.  God is, in fact, not found in religions.   God is found where He/She has always been.   Humanity’s religions are just brief glimpses of spiritual reality - postcards from travelers whose impressions often can only be temporary and incomplete, for they are written in, and limited to, the language conventions of their time.  The Age of Science requires that today’s visitors to God’s Realms make far different and more modern kinds of art, in their efforts to unveil these Mysteries.

The basic how of doing this involves working not by analysis and seeking the smallest parts of everything, but instead by synthesis - seeing wholes - working from the macro nature of human existence.   However, since the primary tools for this journey are thinking and language, we have to keep these constantly in mind as we make our way.

One last observation, perhaps a bit humorous: there is, within the discussions of the validity of the Theory of Evolution, the suggestion that it essentially believes that a tornado could go through a junk yard and assemble a 747 airplane - the argument being that randomness and chaos are given far too much magical power in the Theory.  The reader might look at this book then as a kind of slow moving tornado launching itself into their conceptual life.

My intention, however, is different.  I don’t want to replace what you already think.  I only want to disturb it a bit, to unsettle it.  Make you reconsider it, whether you think of yourself as religious, scientific, atheist, agnostic, humanist, artistic - whatever.  To hold rigidly to any point of view is to become a fundamentalist, and essentially paralyze your own mind.  If this book can work against tendencies to such arid inward deserts of our own making, then it has served its purpose very well.  To go with the physical climate change now disturbing our planet, maybe we also need some climate change in our intellectual and cultural life.  A good sweeping out of all dead thought can do wonders for everyone.

*

The world suffers from much, most of which is caused by human beings.  This suffering cannot be alleviated as long as natural science persists in its vain belief that it knows everything, and in particular that it knows that the world is made only of matter, without any presence of spirit at all.   This is worse than foolishness, for it is essentially a denial of the scientists own true nature.

The religious, as well, bear much responsibility for our shared troubles, by their not only clinging to ideas which are in conflict with what science does know, but also by using the arid and death-oriented fundamentalism of their beliefs as justification for violence and inhuman actions.

It is far past time, for both the fundamentalists of science and of religion and of art, to grow up.

*

Oh, and by the way, the reading of this text is not meant to be easy.  Everyone has their own point of view and sets of concepts they apply to the various questions being discussed here.  The reader’s own mind will, in many instances, resist what is being written, or instinctively misinterpret it in order not to face the existential conflicts certain ideas might involve.  As well, new concepts are hard sometimes to digest - to get our mental limbs around.  It is entirely possible the reader should frequently put the book down, only to return to it later, and maybe even back up on occasion so as to not fail to “get” what is being offered.

beginning with, a Theory of God

Out of respect to the Age of Science, I intend to begin with approaching the situation in a like fashion to the processes of Natural Science itself: that is by putting forward A Theory of God.  No theory is useful, however, except it has certain qualities.  We could, for example, have a theory that the moon is made of green cheese, but have all kinds of reasons for finding this theory unsatisfactory; just as there are those who find the Theory of Evolution unsatisfactory for various reasons.  Part of that problem has to do with this term: empirical.

The consensus seems to be that science should be empirical, which means its facts are to be derived from experience, observation and experiment.  A great deal, which is included in modern scientific theories, can be experienced or observed or be the subject of an experiment.  What a theory does then, however, is take those facts which can be experienced, observed and experimented with, and extend them through our thinking beyond that which is empirical.  A theory is trans-empirical, and generally seeks to answer far wider questions than those connected to the quite specific nature of the original experiences, observations and experiments.

A Theory then is not empirical, but rather a creature of the human mind.  We reason and imagine it out of the empirical stuff of experiences, observations and experiments.  This is not always a flaw - we should strive to wonder into existence answers to fundamental human questions of meaning.  Knowing these problems has resulted in the creation of certain disciplines, such as the philosophy of science, linguistic analysis and the post-modern thought called deconstructionism, as well as other examinations of those processes by which we take observable facts and turn them into explanatory theories regarding that which we cannot see, or put to the test of an experiment.

For example, most of the ideas we have regarding Darwinian evolution, natural selection, speciation, the big bang, dark matter, and so forth, come from the process of theorizing (reasoning and imagining), not from empirical experience, observation and experimentation.  Let me give a concrete example so that this is clear.

A lot of the empirical data connected to evolutionary theory is found in what is called the  geological record.  We can go out into the world and see what is there.  Because we can see it, and do various kinds of tests on it, all that data is essentially empirical.  What the geological record means, however - that is, how do we interpret its ultimate scientific significance - is not empirical, but is rather the creation of human interpretive thinking.

The same set of empirical facts can be given a different interpretive meaning if the mind of the scientist just expands its inward horizons to actually wake up to its real potential.  To fill out this conception, let me give a possible alternative interpretive thinking-image to the one concerning the geological record with which we are more familiar.   First, for those aware of certain details of modern evolutionary theory regarding the geological record, let me remind the reader of one of the most popular ways to speak of this is what is called punctuated equilibrium

This means that the Theory is that evolution proceeded by many very long term (beyond glacial) processes, interrupted by moments of what are called: extinction events. Equilibrium refers to these long term beyond-glacial processes, and punctuated refers to the extinction events, which interrupt the beyond-glacial process with periods of very very rapid changes.   So when we read such terms as Paleozoic and Mesozoic, we are reading about periods of equilibrium.   When we are told the story (theory) that the age of the dinosaurs ended with a asteroid hit, we are getting a theory of an extinction event or one of the punctuated moments.

Here is something from my book: the Way of the Fool, in the Eighth Stanza (slightly updated) lets call it:

the Shaman sees Wholes:

Let me summarize the record.  Layers of rock cover the earth.  These layers have a kind of order, which is seen (thought, as in believed) as telling us something of the past.  According to this interpretation, as earth evolution proceeded, these layers built up, and by examining them in reverse order we believe we know something of the geological and biological history of the planet, for some of the rock which we call fossils bear a kind of imprint of the biological.  These layers are not continuous, however, but are broken up by periods in which there is so much chaos - so much lack of highly organized forms, that we have no reliable concept of what happened during that period of time represented by that mostly chaotic layer.

The fossil, which is rock-like, implies the existence of what was previously organic material.  The fossil is no longer organic, although sometimes bones can also be found.  Keep this in mind ... that a lot of the matter found in the geological record is a residue of something that was once living.   The real nature of what was then living we invent through our thinking - these inventions (the shape and living form of the dinosaurs, for example) are not empirical.

This also means that the geological record is discontinuous - broken up by periods in which what happened left little or no evidence in the sense of highly organized form, except and unless we read the chaos as evidence itself.  The more highly ordered layers themselves also have certain general characteristics, of which the main one is that the biological forms, implied by the fossils and the bones, that begin that organized layer are also the biological forms that end that layer (this is called in paleontology: stasis).  This means that for the most part each layer (or period) gives fossil and bone evidence of the same basic organisms in the end that it had in the beginning.

The massive changes that can be seen in biological forms between one highly organized layer and the next highly organized layer are separated by an intervening layer of what is essentially chaos (mystery).  There does exist the residue of biological organisms in this intermediate layer, but these are very tiny and not at all like the complex forms normal to the other layers.

Lets make a picture of these processes of change.  We have a layer that has the remains of highly complex biological forms in it, which forms it more or less begins and ends with, and then a layer of tiny biological residue chaos, and following that another layer of remains of highly complex biological forms, which while they don't significantly change from the beginning of the layer to its end, are radically different from that layer prior to the chaotic layer.  If we step outside the geological record, does anything in modern life follow a similar pattern?

Yes!

In the change from caterpillar to butterfly we have first a well formed structure (the caterpillar), then a period of chaos (the still living formless mass in the chrysalis), and then another well formed new structure (the butterfly).

So we could look at the geological record as showing us periods of highly organized form, followed by periods of essential formlessness, followed again by periods of new highly organized form - namely the well understood biological process we know as metamorphosis.  What this suggests is that the whole geological record is itself a kind of solidified memory of a long sequence of ordered organic changes - one metamorphosis followed by another.

[One of the implications of this is that even what we call rock - not just fossils and bones (look, for example, at those kinds of rocks called colloidal) was itself first biological - first organic.  This means that the organic is not built up out of dead matter, but the dead matter was produced by the living processes of the Earth.  We already see such a process in the human embryo, where the skeleton (the hardest parts) only comes into existence from the living - that is, these hardest parts of the human being are then the result of a process in the living, rather than their causal precedent.  Could this same not be true of the Earth, namely that: The solid rock or bone-like Earth is a consequence of something that was previously alive?]

Now metamorphosis is a biological process in which the organism moves from one form, through chaos, to another form as part of its own natural order.  If the geological record is an ordered sequence of a number of  stages of metamorphosis, then it is fundamentally continuous from the beginning to the present - that is: the totality of the geological record is itself the end product of the actions of one single organism (existing on a planetary scale) undergoing one metamorphosis following on another, which as it progresses extrudes from its living nature some bone-like material which it leaves behind.  The Earth is living, and as it has grown and developed it has created its own skeleton.  The lifeless does not produce the living, the living leaves behind the lifeless.

Next, we have had an assumption (no evidence) that consciousness doesn't arise until the biological forms achieve a certain complexity.  This is not an observed phenomena by the way, but rather a concept imposed upon the phenomena.  Part of the justification for this is another assumption, which believes that all biological form has left a record of itself.  We also have no basis for thinking that all biological form has left behind fossils.  These assumptions spin the meaning that can be derived from the geological record in a certain preconceived direction.

In point of fact, consciousness by its very nature would never leave a record, since it is not material.  The reality is that we have no idea, from the geological record, of in what way (or not) that consciousness participated.  We have only assumed it away.

I am not arguing above that this is the “correct” view, rather I am only demonstrating that we can read the geological record in a different way than is currently the consensus, such that today we can have an entirely different basic idea of the meaning of the geological record than the usual one.   At the same time, the present-day theories (meanings) have already entered into the popular mind, and have become there systems of belief.  Some students of this social process call this system of scientific beliefs the creation of a kind of religion that has to be called scientism

Let me repeat this.  Most of what is thought (as in believed) to be scientific and empirical is in fact theoretical (trans-empirical).  It is a system of ideas developed out of empirical facts, but which is on its own not empirical.  In the popular mind these theoretical ideas are believed to be true in the same way empirical facts are true.  This belief in the truth-nature of theory is widely recognized, from a psychological point of view, as being religious in nature (scientism), not scientific.

back to our pursuit of a theory of God

Owen Barfield, in his book Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry, describes human beings as having three basic kinds of thinking (I am a bit oversimplifying his ideas, leaving aside the discussions of collective representations and the unrepresented): figuration, theorizing and reflection.  For example, not all theories are scientific - office gossip can be a theory of who is doing what with whom.  Reflection is more introspective - we ruminate upon something.  Figuration is the hardest to initially appreciate, although quite obvious once we get the hang of it.

When we have reached the age of going to school, we generally have acquired a great deal of language according to our native tongue.  As we move through life we will be able to name many aspects of our ordinary experience, such as this is a book, that is a chair, now we run, now we sit still.  We have then a capacity to name all manner of aspects of our experience, both inner and outer, and use language to communicate about them to others.  Every time we identify with our mind some aspect of this ordinary, mostly given, experience, we are engaged in the kind of thinking Barfield calls: figuration.  The mind supplies, with almost no effort, the names of what things are, and sometimes even what they mean.

Just gaze about the room where you are reading this.  Move your eyes in a wide circle.   Everything is familiar, yet are you consciously forming the thought or the name of all these objects?  You recognize them, with this thinking-figuration, but as there is no need to name them, figuration is mostly semi-conscious.  Whereas theorizing and reflection are both a much more conscious kind of thinking.

What things mean can be different what from things are.  A coffee cup that we received as a gift when we left a certain job is both a coffee cup and a sentimental object.  What it is and what it means to us are not the same.   What the geological record is to our senses, and what it means to our thinking, are also not the same things.

This is even more true of ideas and concepts.  As we grow into our lives we become attached to our beliefs and favorite ideas.  They are not just there as a representation of some aspect of our experience of the sense world; they are in our mind connected to how we value them.  For example, while I may have an understanding of what certain religious ideas of Islam are, yet I am not a Muslim, so they do not mean the same thing to me that they mean to one who believes in them.

Consider a couple of typical Islamic phrases: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) and “In Sha Allah” (if Allah wills).   By providing the ordinary translation, I have somewhat explained the idea - its’ definition, so to speak.  But when a human being uses these terms, they can mean something more that just that intellectual idea.  I say “can” mean, because like any phrase it can be what Rudolf Steiner called: empty.  That is, the “empty" phrase is spoken, but it is absent any real and existential feeling connection to our experience.

A Christian could say “God is Great” and “if God wills” and mean essentially the same thing in the definitional sense.  What these statements  can mean, when felt, is that the Divine Mystery of the world (God or Allah is great) overwhelms me - I stand in wonder of it.   And as to “if Allah wills” or “if God wills” - this can mean that I choose to be obedient to what fate or destiny puts before me as challenges in life.  When the phrase is not “empty”, but rather is filled with feeling and meaning, then we can begin to see the importance of the expression of religion in individual lives.

Fundamentally religion is about the meaning of existence in a way natural science generally cannot be.   Moreover, many use the conceptions of natural science intentionally to try to defeat religious and spiritual meaning.  It is not enough to them to hold to the views of scientism, but they try to insist that others believe what they believe, all the while insisting that there are no beliefs in science at all.

A superficial new atheist will attack this concept elaborated above, holding that an idea (such as is in these statements) is correct or incorrect in its relationship to the general beliefs of science, such as regarding the truth value of the Theory of Evolution.   Those believing in God in some way, according to this view, who do not believe in Evolution are idiots.
The unseen problem here is that it is not the idea that bothers religious people, but rather the meaning of existence which the Theory seems to force upon them.  Religious people see a
meaning in existence, and among their relationships with other human beings, that science (in its guise as the purely rational) cannot provide.  This is why many scientists are still religious believers.

To a degree this feeling relationship can also be true of scientists and those who might call themselves New Atheists, but who are not scientists.  These latter generally have a belief in some form of scientism, and their relationship to a scientific theory (its idea) will often be different from that of a practicing scientist.  What the Theory of Evolution means will not be the same, although both may have the same or similar understanding (idea).  This is why we can see in scientism the passion that many feel for what lives there in those explanations of reality; and, why in the passion of the scientist for his work, another equally significant relationship - this time to the work of seeking the truth.

As a social phenomena, the rise of the New Atheists mostly has to do with a shift of trust as to which disciplines give the most satisfactory and meaningful explanation of the world.  Traditional religions are losing that trust as more and more individuals are raised into the scientific style of thinking common to being educated under the influence of the culture of Western Civilization; and, as more and more practitioners of religions engage in clearly anti-social and anti-rational actions.   As a social observer, however, my point of view is that this is mostly a valid change - this shift of trust.  It is at the same time a confusion, for the thinking beneath this shift of trust makes some mistakes.

Owen Barfield points to this problem in his book, Worlds Apart, where he has a character say:

Every kind of knowledge, including science, is valuable. But all kinds of knowledge are not valuable in the same way, or for the same reason. There are many different kinds of knowledge, and one kind is the kind which we require to enable us to control our material environment and make it serve our purposes. You can call it knowledge of things if you like. But there is also another kind of knowledge - knowledge about man and about the values which make him man and the best way of preserving them; knowledge about his relationship to God and God’s creatures. The mistake you make - the mistake nearly everyone makes - is to assume that the first kind necessarily includes the second.

In a like fashion the relationship of individuals to the idea of God will not be the same.   They will often not have the same idea, nor will it mean the same thing.   Some people, whose thinking about such kinds of subjects is a bit naive, will believe that an idea and its meaning are the same, but there they will be assuming that the meaning of an idea is about its lexical (dictionary) definition.  I am using the term meaning here to speak of the felt relationship (value) of the thinker to the idea, not to the definition-nature of the content of the idea.

The relationship of a New Atheist to the type of Idea of God, in say Christianity in general, is not the same as the relationship of a believer in this same Idea of God.  The way of valuing an idea, and the nature of understanding the meaning of the idea are quite different.  The Christian Religion’s explanatory power is mostly over certain questions that the current Theory of Everything or the Theory of Evolution don’t even ask.  Not understanding these very subtle matters in our various ways of thinking about existence, causes the two main sides of the science vs. religion debate to frequently not even be able to talk to each other.   They talk at each other and past each other, but not to each other.

In the light of these empirical observations of some of the different kinds of thinking, and their relationship to the content of various ideas and as well their meaning to individuals, we are now ready to look at the proposed new Idea of God itself.

In order to have a Theory of God, we have to have an Idea of God.   Readers of this text should be prepared to exercise some inner discipline, so as to be able to discern their own approach to these questions.  To give a bit of a preview: I can pretty much guarantee that both the Idea of God and the Theory of God, to be presented in the following pages, will not satisfy most religious people and most scientifically educated people.   This is because the Idea and the Theory to be presented here will be quite different from what readers are used to finding in texts of this kind, and/or this Idea and Theory are different from what the reader already thinks and means about these questions in his or her own mind.

Of course, many people will find any Idea of God offensive or wrong, simply because they can’t conceive that such a thing is possible.  This is actually not a very rational approach, and becomes what Steiner called: a negative superstition.   By this he meant a superstitious belief that something doesn’t exist.   The belief is superstitious because it is not founded on any effort to know the truth - the truth is irrelevant.  If someone genuinely is willing to seek the truth, then the question of the existence of God has to remain open, as it is simply not possible to know a negative.  How would you know it?  How would you prove it?

Factually, this should not come as a surprise, because to have a genuine Proof of God, in the sense of an actual Theory of Everything, will require a whole new approach - one that is quite systematic and rigorous as is called for concerning any kind of knowledge in this scientific age. 

the Idea of God

Traditionally the Idea of God includes an aspect of Creation.   God is the name many give to that which created the what-is.  The reader should now try to form an idea of all-that-is.   This will not be easy, but will also not be really difficult if we don’t get hung up on the situation, in part because we have some bias we want to save.  The matter at issue is, in part, whether we will trouble ourselves to temporarily (hypothetically and theoretically) think what I am asking the reader to think, or whether the reader will be unwilling to let go for the moment their already held conceptions on the matter and insist on thinking something different.

Whatever else we want to think or say about the matter, we really need to start with what is right in front of us - the things we share about which we know - our shared human existence on the Earth.

Consider this first task to be a kind of experiment in thinking.  We just sit back and reflect on all that exists, for which we have names in our languages.  You could go through a dictionary and just flip the pages by, and appreciate that most everything that has a name (not just nouns, but verbs etc) is an object that exists.  Let me list a few:

Gas, gum, grind, go, peak, up, left, only, of, world, science, religion, star, child, fun, dance, tease, silly, joy, pain, art, the, ugly, truth, and so forth.

Some names refer to things, as in physical objects.   Some things come from what we call Nature.   Some other things come from what human beings have done with Nature.   Some things are qualities, not quantities.   For example, I have five apples (five being a quantity).  I can also have five rotten apples (rotten being a quality).   There are also actions: go, grind, dance.   There are also relationships: of, only, up “and so forth.”.  Some terms can be both a thing, such as a star in the sky, and at the same time a characteristic or quality, such as a star in a movie. 

Some words, which we call parts of speech, seem not to be things, yet just in being “parts of speech”, such as “the”, they are things - they are parts of language.

Now I am going to use a term: the Creation.   I mean to include in the meaning of that term (in the sense of its definition) all-that-is.   We can argue that certain things do not exist, and we can argue that their fundamental reality is not what we see.   For example, we could say that a tree doesn’t really exist, but only the atoms or quantum particles that make up the tree.  We could also say that I don’t actually “see” the tree and that I don’t, myself, actually exist.   Some hold that there is no self, and that the self is only an illusory property of that form of matter which we call the brain.

One can argue almost anything.  One can doubt almost anything, and one can believe almost anything.  Most of us live our lives as if living involved real things of meaning and purpose, such that we do not play at word games in order to, as do some in argument - play the devil’s advocate.  I include in the Creation those things we feel as important and as having human meaning, otherwise there is no point to speech and we all might just lie down and die.  Even the professional doubters do not do that, so perhaps when we hear the play of the devil’s advocate, we can just see what is actually there: a human being behaving as a hypocrite.  What I mean by that is that their playing the devil’s advocate argument is not how they live their life.  It is only a made up game to resist the direction or implications of a discussion - which direction and implications they do not like.

For those readers mature enough to hold the view that it is worthwhile to engage in intelligent discourse on fundamental questions, let us now proceed.

One of the matters argued in the present is whether there is a Creator of the what-is, however we define this what-is.  Other matters argued concern the Past and the Future, the what-was and the what-yet-might-be, so to speak.  The religious have their creation stories and the scientists their creation stories.  Both have apocalyptic stories as well (end times for the Christians, and heat death for the so-called rational).  It is, however, a clear fact that this deep Past (or Future) is not now, nor has it ever been, empirically observed via the human sense organs as they exist today.   No one living in the present has seen the Big Bang, and while we have a book telling the story of Genesis, all we have is that story, and no way (presently) of knowing or observing what it was that the teller of that story knew or saw.

Keep in mind that materialistic science (all is matter, there is no spirit) only came into existence in the last couple hundred years.  In the early days of the natural philosophers, they still expected to find God.   Newton was an alchemist, and Kepler an astrologer.   The full abandonment of any need to include God did not immediately, or automatically, follow the Copernican Revolution.   In fact, an honest reading of scientific history reveals that part of the motive of many scientists was not a pure search for the truth, but a need to get out from under the social force (thumb) of the Roman Church on human thinking.  Science, in opposing God as an idea in the 18th and 19th Centuries, was also being oppositional to the dominant thinking of the time - freedom of thought was desired even more than the truth.

To repeat and make more clear ... The Big Bang is an idea, or theory, created by the mind.   What is empirical is lights and different kinds of radiation coming from the sky that are photographed and otherwise measured very carefully.   The ideas of astronomical science are probably at least 90% theoretical, rather than empirical.   It is a human created paradigm, not an observed fact.  For details see my near to last last theme in this book, the essay: The Misconception of Cosmic Space as Contained in the Ideas of Modern Astronomy: and as contained in the understandably limited thinking embodied in the conceptions of the nature of parallax and redshift.

While we have already begun using these terms, I want at this moment to directly point them out and suggest the reader keep in mind their differences: belief, understanding and knowledge.  We are describing knowledge as empirical - that is something that can be experienced, observed and experimented with.  Beliefs, on the other hand, are a set of ideas which are the opposite of empirical, and generally could be described as theoretical in the widest and wildest sense of that term.  Understanding, like the other two, is really a state of mind - it is mind which knows and mind which believes.  In a way understanding is of the bridging-middle between the two seeming opposites.  We can understand a belief and understand some empirical knowledge, but in each case it is unnecessary for us to share the same state of mind (and/or experience) of the believer or the knower.

One can get deeper into such inner observations of these operational aspects of the mind, c.f. Barfield’s What Coleridge Thought, which contains the following set of ideas as representing distinct aspects of Coleridge’s idea of mind: sense, fancy, understanding, understanding, imagination, reason.  Note Coleridge’s use of two different kinds of understanding.

Sense, is of the senses, but is that state of mind that notes what is sensed.  Fancy is the easy to make mental pictures rooted in the senses - that is pure figuration without much concrete theorizing or reflection.  This produces beliefs.  Imagination and reason are aspects of theorizing and reflection, which with care can give us knowledge, when rooted in the empirical.  The two understandings reflect that aspect of mind which notes meaning, but can be turned in two different directions.  There is the meaning we give to the beliefs produced by sense and fancy, and there is the meaning we give to knowledge produced by imagination (theorizing) and reason (reflection).

I don’t expect the reader to master these observations and their related ideas.  I only point this material out to suggest the depths one can go into in the study of the operational principles of their own mind.

For example, I can listen to a religious person explain their belief, and perhaps understand its idea.  I can listen to a scientist explain his empirical investigations and perhaps understand the ideas he has about those.  In neither case am I directly related to the meaning of the holder of a  religious belief or to the holder of an experience of the scientist.  My awareness (understanding) is derivative and secondary, when compared to their experiences and beliefs.  If I want non-derivative beliefs, understandings or knowledge, I have to produce that myself.  In a little bit when we get to the pre-thought thought, we will better appreciate the significance of the derivative process.

Also keep in mind that processes of education and acculturation teach us the dominant paradigm (general point of view) of the time and place in which we live.  We have not directly proven to ourselves that certain scientific facts exist.  We are taught them in our schools, and a whole lot of the meaning of the words we use today contains the underlying ideas.   It took materialistic science, as a dominating world view, five hundred years to reach its current preeminence.   The peoples of the world had far different ideas in the past, and it is only a kind of ignorant bias that presumes we know better than those who have gone before.

Take for example the doctrine of the elements: Fire, Air, Water and Earth.   When most science teachers tell the story that this old view has been supplanted, they haven’t actually grasped the real nature of those more ancient conceptions - their original meaning has escaped them.   The qualities fire, water, air and earth, and the related relationships dry, moist, hot and cold, as well as the role of the uncreated chaos that produced them are today no longer understood or appreciated.  They have not been invalidated as true descriptive conceptions of the nature of the world - they have just no longer been understood.  We moderns having just approach the same reality from a different direction, have in the process discarded them (Kepler was concerned about this, remarking that the advancement of science was in danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater in its urge to abandon whole hog all prior ideas about reality).  See Ernst Lehrs’ remarkable Man or Matter, for a serious discussion of these problems.

The appreciation of such subtle distinctions will become very important as we proceed.   To return to our theme ...

At the very least, both kinds of stories/beliefs (religious and scientific) exist, and I mean to include them in the term: the Creation.  This means that a part of the Creation is all the ideas that have appeared as a product of the human mind, including ancient ideas.  We can have (and will next have) an interesting discussion of how this is so, given the belief in natural science of the disconnect between the subjective mind and the so-called objective reality.   All the same, human beings have had ideas for at least almost all of the time we have had the capacity to speak.  Language and ideas seem to go together, which they certainly do today.  Whatever their nature, all our various ideas are being included as also part of the Creation, in this discussion of the Idea of God, the Creator of the what-is.

An additional problem for both points of view (the religious and the scientific) is space and time.  What ancient religions thought about time and space is radically different from what science teaches today.  But because we assume they had the same kind of consciousness we have today, we believe their ideas to have been irrational.  These (the reality of space and time) I also include inside the term: the Creation.  Later we’ll get to hows and whys, but for right now (and while endeavoring to be systematic), I am simply trying to elaborate different aspects of the totality of the what-is and give this what-is the general name: the Creation.

This is not a completely new approach to those who take up philosophical-like disciplines, but the reason it is not fully new is because its earlier versions have proved to be a sound and useful practice.  Having, however, mentioned different kinds of aspects of the what-is, of the Creation, I would like to next suggest some important distinctions or categories.   For example, there are, as we have just observed, what might be called things and what might be called ideas.  Things can include physical objects which we experience, but if we see someone “running” is that action not also a thing?

Now I don’t want to get all hung up on categories per se.  I am going in a somewhat different direction.

Let us take what we call the physical object: tree.  I can observe a particular tree.  I can also turn away from the particular tree and have a memory picture of it in my mind.  I can carry this mental picture away from the locus of the tree and recall it anytime I want.  Does the memory picture, or mental picture, exist?  Does it exist in the same way the tree does?

Are sense experiences then the same as mental experiences?  Some might like to argue that they are not, but then we get caught up in a very peculiar problem, for the theory of evolution and the big bang theory are entirely mental pictures - that is they are complicated ideas.  We might assume the material past conforms to these theories, but we have no empirical evidence whatsoever that they in fact do.  Our genuinely empirical sense perception is blind to both the far Past and the far Future.

Yes, we have writings from the Past where discussions about these problems (the Greek philosophers, for example) was held, but the further into the Past we go, the less we can say that even past iterations of human beings empirically saw what we see today.  Later, when we get to the discussion of the evolution of consciousness (coming soon), this situation will worsen.

Certain French post-modernists speak of something they call: the event.  What I believe they are referring to is what one spiritual teacher of mine called: the Great Moment.  People drawn to certain Eastern cultural thought speak of: the Now.  For the French post-modernists (at least a few of them) the event is related to the meaning of the self - for it is this self which appears to apprehend the event (the Now, the Great Moment), or to be the event, or to transcend the event (take your pick - we can wander in fields of thought here that become less and less concrete for most of us).  To come back to earth from this important, yet odd, abstract digression ...

We run into the same basic riddle when we consider the ideas about what we call the mind that we have created out of such fields as neuroscience and cognitive science.  There is a huge gap between our empirical sense perceptions of the brain and the ideas we create as regards what those sense experiences mean.

Recall from the introduction the material on the assumptions of the students and scientists of consciousness regarding the idea that the brain cannot be distinguished from the mind.  These following terms were underlined in the four quotes: recognize; fundamental premise; common assumption; and believing.  All four are mental states of the scientific community concerning the nature of mind in relationship to the brain, but shared attitudes are not empirical facts (except within a sociology of science).

To be more plain: that a large number of individuals (for example, scientists) hold a certain thing to be true does not make it true.  True empirical facts are not voted into existence.  The popularity of certain ideas has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not they are true.

The fact that we use instruments to enhance our sense experience also doesn’t change the fundamental nature of our experience.  The dials on an instrument are just another kind of sense experience, while the meaning of the reading of the dials on the instruments remains fully a function of our ideation and the nature of our mind.

This leads us back to this question: Is thought (an idea) real, in the same way a sense object is real?

Owen Barfield began his book Saving the Appearances by contemplating the nature of the experience of the rainbow.  It doesn’t exist in the sense world in the same way as do the water droplets and the sunlight from behind us that creates the visual experience that arises in our mind of a rainbow.  We clearly believe we see the rainbow, but it is not physically there in the same way as the water drops and the light.  With the rainbow Nature has done a kind of Newtonian experiment inside our eye.  The rainbow is in our mind, but not in the world the same way a tree is.  Some might try to say that the tree, being a function of quantum movements of very very small particles or states of energy, is like a kind of rainbow, except for the fact that when I walk toward the rainbow (and change my relationship to the sunlight) the rainbow disappears - in fact I can walk through this colored mist.   I cannot walk through a tree.

Emerson had this to say in his essay Nature, written when he was 33 in 1836: Nature is a thought incarnate and turns to thought again as ice becomes water and then gas.   The world is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping into the state of free thought.

Rudolf Steiner wrote in his book A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception, at age 25, fifty years later in 1886: Thought is the last of a series of processes by which Nature is formed.

It is a traditional view of present day natural science that there is a disconnect between our thoughts and the world we experience through the senses.  Thought is subjective, and the sense world is objective.  We therefore need the scientific method to protect us from the errors that can arise because thinking is subjective.

Not only that, but our senses are weak.  What the eye, by itself, sees is not what the microscope or the telescope helps the eye to see.  Much of science is derived from instrumentation.  We, for example, know subjectively hot and cold via our senses, but only with a thermometer have we become able to measure (reduce to a number) hot and cold.  Yet, measure does not change the meaning nature of our experience of hot and cold - ask any child discovering these qualities of existence directly.

Darwinian evolution, in its origin as a theory, arises in a single subjective consciousness (Darwin himself), but becomes (we believe) scientifically rigorous though our ability to replicate in the minds of others both the underlying empirical observations, and the original thoughts of Darwin.  Scientific theory is fundamentally a collective act of many minds.  It persists because there arises an agreement as to its persuasiveness.  If that agreement fades, then we get a change of paradigm.

Barfield, Emerson and Steiner (and others, including myself) are of the view that the experience of thought is not subjective, except to the extent this experience is the result of a lack of rigor and discipline in the production of the thoughts we have about thoughts, and the thoughts we have about the act of thinking (almost a kind of neo-platonism, but not quite once one gets the hang of it).  Most people (and this includes most scientists), however, don’t reflect upon their own inner states with sufficient discipline to notice what can be observed there.   The depths of this particular problem we will come to in slow stages.

For our developing view then, I want to include in the Creation - in the what-is - thought, as well as material substance.  Keep in mind, however that coming to a definite conclusion as to the existential nature of thought is not so easy as it is to come to a sense experience of matter.  I can’t put my hand through a wall, but my mind can see through (penetrate) an argument, sometimes with great ease.

The important matter the reader should keep in mind is just to what degree they consider their own thoughts to be objective representations of the reality of the world.  When Sam Harris writes his book The End of Faith (and Christopher Hitchens his god is not Great, and Richard Dawkins his The God Delusion) they are acting as if their subjective thinking has universal objective value for all the rest of us (otherwise why write a book in the first place).   I suppose because they are practicing scientists (Harris and Dawkins) and believers in science (Hitchens) that somehow that makes their thinking about the world, and the religious people of that world, more reasonable than the thinking of others.   As we may be beginning to see, this turns out not to be the case.

It would seem that Harris and Hitchens and Dawkins would have to agree, to some extent, that the what-is - the Creation - must include thoughts and the thinking power to produce them, unless they want to be hypocrites.  They can’t really argue that thought is universally subjective and then at the same time expect that their thought is somehow more rigorous and more scientific.  In fact, one of the curious aspects of their works is how much time is devoted to finding fault with religion, and doing so in a context in which it is implicitly assumed that the existence (or not) of God is validated or invalidated according to whether  or not we can dismantle the logic of a particular religion.

As noted above, God is not found in religion.  God is where God always is, and the religion is only a construct of human beings elaborating their personal relationship to God at a specific time and place in history.  Defeating a  religious idea does not defeat the question of whether or not God exists.

Yet we are right to ask (to return to our theme): What are the actual differences between thought and matter?

Matter is seen, although thought seems not to be seen in the same way (which fact has become an interesting problem in linguistic analysis and deconstructionism).   The neuroscientist does see something through his instruments as he measures the brain, but the ideas he produces about the meaning of his experiments, he only sees in his own mind.   The reader of these pages only sees the meaning they create when they read (an activity of the mind).  The page contains nothing the eye can see but coded marks on a page (language).  If I am a good enough writer, and the reader a good enough reader, what I see in my mind the reader may learn to see in his own mind.

Thought is invisible, matter is visible.  Sometimes we give the name spirit to that which is unseen.  We call a person spirited who is lively, although what animates them we do not see (we only see their animation).  The sudden inspiration of a thought can cause someone to rise and exclaim: “I’ve got a great idea!”.  Our cartoons depict someone with a new idea as having a light bulb go on over their head.  Smart people we call “bright”.  Certain kinds of intelligence we call “in”sight.

In the movie Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood character, when he is silently contemplating the consequences of what he has done and what he might yet do to resolve these problems, is asked by the neighbor’s son what is he doing, and then says: “I’m thinking”.  The son might have grasped this fact on his own, given that Eastwood is standing very still, and his eyes are not focused on any particular sense object.  All the same, reflective thinking doesn’t always take place when we are silent, and such matters of our inner reality are often far more complicated.

Emerson wrote a book at the end of his life: A Natural History of the Intellect.  Those who appreciate what he meant by such terms, know that by Natural History  he meant science, and by intellect he meant the activity of the human spirit.  The book’s title then also means: A Science of the Spirit.   Rudolf Steiner called great aspects of his work: Spiritual Science.

Many readers of this book you hold in your hand may know something of what are called today: distributed networks or distributed computing.  The total result of the work of any distributed system of computing is far more significant than the work of any single computing node.

I want then to suggest here, that part of our modern Idea of God needs to include the concept that the Divine Intelligence is, in a like fashion, distributed.  Spirit manifests in everything.   All kingdoms of Nature (the human, the animal, the plant and the mineral) manifest various kinds of aspects of this distributed wisdom.   We as thinkers, and knowers of thought, contribute to the whole.   If we believe civilization is fundamentally progressive (and it certainly seems to be at least in a technological sense), then that total intelligence (spirit) arises from the combined activity of human minds, and is not only not material, it is observably superior to the material.  Thought and thinking inhabits and uses the material, but is not necessarily caused by or limited to the material.

Technological innovation (led by thought) takes hold of matter and transforms it.

Immediately in response to this idea, we come again upon the accepted modern scientific consensus that the mind is only matter and is only the result of processes in the material brain.  Just keep in mind that it is mind itself that produces this conclusion.   Without thinking about the results of neurological examinations and other methods of perceiving brain activity, there is no theory that the causal element is only the physical brain.  The causal element is not observed - it is assumed.

Also keep in mind that this consensus of causality was assumed for most of the 20th century.  It remains unproven.  Not only that, it remains really unexamined, because as an assumption its worth has never been carefully critically considered (at least in main-stream science).  With the explanatory success of Darwinian evolution, these non-empirical ideas of the past have taken hold of modern scientific consciousness to such a degree that one cannot actually practice science (or teach science) and hold any other view.  For example, to place the idea of spirit into biology (much less chemistry and physics) is to violate a very large intellectual taboo (see Barfield’s book Speakers Meaning for a discussion of such taboos).

The fact is that if present day thinking, of the meaning of what is observed via instruments of the operations of the brain, was to free itself from its assumptions, all the evidence of spirit is already there.   The only obstacle is what is called, in a fully modern mind-science in the cultural West: the pre-thought thought.

Let me tell a story to illustrate the concept of the pre-thought thought.

Tom goes to a cocktail party with his friend Sam.  As they enter the main room of the party, Tom sees an attractive woman across the room, and asks his friend if he knows her.   Sam says yes, but she is not available, and in fact the man talking to her is her boyfriend.  Later during the party Tom finds himself standing next to the woman, and she flirts with him a little bit.   Tom would like to respond, but notices that across the room the man, that Sam told him was her boyfriend, is watching them.  Tom, thinking this could be a problem, does not respond to the flirting and goes home alone.

The fact was Sam didn’t know what he was talking about.   The girl was single, and the man talking to her was her gay neighbor, who always looked out for her at parties, worried about who she might hook up with.  She was genuinely interested in Tom and that is why she was flirting with him.   He, however, carried the taboo connected to what Sam had said (not wanting to interfere in an existing relationship) and so didn’t understand the opportunity presented to him.

Since he already thought he knew what was going on, his pre-thought thought (his assumption) prevented him from actually thinking about the real nature of the experience he was having when the girl was flirting with him.

This is the condition of neuroscience today.  It can’t see the meaning of what its experiments reveal, because the assumption, that all is matter and there is no spirit, blinds it to what is factually present in the observations.  The solution to this is to expand the elements of the experimental experience to include a deeper appreciation of the thinking of the observing scientist, for that thinking has to be better understood and included in the totality of the experiment.  As well, the dialog between the experimenting scientist, and the experimental subject, must also be included for just here lies the causal reality behind much that goes on.  The meaning of that dialog plays a crucial role in the causal elements of the experiment.

Just as the physicist now has to recognize the significance of the observing consciousness in his experiments, the neuroscientist must now begin to recognize the real meaning of the participation of his own, and his subject’s, consciousness in his experimental work in human biology.  In my little booklet The Natural Christian, this is worked with in some detail, although embedded in a wider context.

As we are here still working with laying out the right systematic (scientific) Idea of God, to that which has been said above I need to now add further considerations.

It is important to look at the totality of the world, not just at matter as natural science has emphasized for far too long a time.   Matter is easier to work with, given that it can be counted and measured  - that is it can be reduced to quantities.   Social-political reality is much harder, for it consists everywhere of qualities for which a mathematical representation is nearly impossible.  Charting velocity and direction changes on a pool table is much different from appreciating the dynamics of the living biologies of the world.   And these both are different from coming to knowledge of the underlying moral questions involved when someone enters a voting booth.

Witness Karl Rove’s expectation based upon his polling data, that the Republicans would win the House and the Senate in the 2006 by-election in America.  Rove is a genius at using numbers for analyzing social-political processes, but his numbers lacked an appreciation of the moral human spirit that participates in the decision to vote, with the results that in spite of his (Rove’s) beliefs, the House and the Senate went to the Democrats in that election.

The social-scientist, with his fascination with statistics, is an interesting kind of shaman.  The whole he seeks is made up of a lot of momentary opinion masquerading as real long term attitudes.   Yet, he knows, as the pollster knows, that the form of the questions warps the nature of the answers.

What is required, in order to deal with qualities and the living, is a new kind (Way) of thinking - what in the depth spiritual discipline fostered by Rudolf Steiner in the cultural West is called: organic thinking.  As to the moral nature of human existence, an even more difficult aspect of this new thinking is called for: pure thinking.  Number analysis of human behaviors is a dead end.

Some perhaps relevant quotes from Albert Einstein will help illuminate the importance of these questions: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”  “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”   "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

One reality is, however, that not everyone can do this new thinking yet, although many have a good instinct for it.  Even so, everyone can understand what the new thinking produces.  In other places in my writing will be found details about this new thinking, for example, in my little booklet: Living Thinking in Action, I have the last two essays which also end this book.  In what comes next I will try to illuminate certain structural or shape aspects of the social-political world of humanity in a way that everyone can understand.   The shape or order in which human life expresses itself on a macro scale is an essential aspect of our unfolding Idea of God, which Idea is necessary for us to have a workable, testable, Theory of God.  Remember, our Idea and Theory of God has to include all-that-is - the Creation, which means it also has to include the observable order in the macro-social world.

A purely mathematical and obscure Theory of Everything, even if somewhat explained by a popularizer of science, does not really even attempt to explain macro social events and processes.  In a way it is a snake eating its own tail.  The assumption is that the never observed empirically Big Bang is the causal antecedent of all of the what-is.  The TOE of mathematical physics assumes it can accurately provide a general description of the relationships of all those assumed fundamental forces from that time.  It is an assumption trying to eat an assumption.

What have we said so far in our more modern Idea of God?  God has created all that-is.  Within this that-is we include thought and matter, and the history of matter and the history of thought as well.  In our idea of creative spirit we consider God as distributed, not isolated outside of the Creation, but somehow embodied within it.   Thinking itself is undergoing evolutionary processes as well - ordinary thinking can lead to organic thinking and that to pure thinking.

Let us now consider some details of the shape of human existence as these will make more concrete (for our understanding) the right Idea of God - one which is systematic and empirical (scientific) in its essential nature.

the shape of the social/political world of humanity

The first visit to this theme will barely scratch the surface ...

All human life, as we ordinarily understand it, takes place in a narrow spherical band of physical existence, for which the lower boundary is the thick and dense material earth - the rocks and subterranean caves and water courses, below which we believe lies a magma mantel on which rest and shift the tectonic plates.  The upper boundary is the level of the light filled almost airless atmosphere at which point it becomes impossible for human beings to breathe.  In between these two boundaries all human beings unfold their biographies - the story of their lives between birth and death.  Because of the presence of the human consciousness, with its yet mysterious inward nature latent in thinking, there is also a third boundary - a non-physical and presently dark boundary between our self-consciousness and the world of spirit, which in Western cultural spiritual literature is sometimes called: the threshold.

Natural Science proceeds today with the working assumption (mentioned above) that the human subjective inwardness is not able to know objectively the world which appears to us via the physical senses.  Without this Science (according to its assumptions), we would have no knowledge of the real nature of rocks and trees and plants and animals, including ourselves.  Our senses are inadequate (needs the support of instruments) and our thinking is too subjective.

At the same time, there are other characteristics to human existence, which must be taken account of, should we wish to have a Science that is inclusive of all existence (remember from above the notion of the what-is - which I am choosing to name: the Creation).   A true Theory of Everything has to actually account for everything.

Each human being has their own time of birth and death.  In between those bookends of physical existence, each human being has their own unique biography.  While there are many superficial similarities, we have in the 20th Century more and more become able to see, through the vehicle of international films, just how different is each individual life (c.f. Slumdog Millionaire).

If we examine the details of the individual human inwardness, without even penetrating fully to the yet unknown truths hidden there in the open in thinking, we come to realize the following:

There are complex layers to our inwardness, such that we are born into different languages, cultures, histories, religions, and family and community networks.  If we give just a little weight to what is called nurture - that is the effect of the circumstances of life on our essential being - we can easily notice that each biography at this level is also unique.  For example, none of my particular friends, family and acquaintances are the same as any other human being’s.  The influence on us, from those individuals that surround us, is itself unique in its totality.  Certainly siblings have the same parents, but the actual nature of the relationship, between each individual parent and each individual sibling, is unique to that particular relationship.  Didn’t one of the Smother’s Brothers always say: “Mom always liked you best”?  While we laughed, it didn’t make the statement untrue.

Granted we all have a physical nature (more or less the same DNA and general bodily structure and form), nonetheless life circumstances are in each case unique and individual.   Simply the division into different sexes starts to make more and more complicated each life.   When we add in combination the differences of language and culture, the level of uniqueness grows.   When we add as well into the total mix the particular historical time and place, this differential aspect expands further.   When we add the differences between our own personal relationships, and the changes in life that occur over the time of the biography, we soon must realize that the adult human individual is a creature that has almost nothing of its essential nature in common with any other human being on the planet.

Social forces, such as peer pressure and family and cultural demands, seek to make individuals compliant to their - the social’s - inherent structure.  Even so, all modern literature and art (novels and films, for example) recognize that today the story of each over time becomes more and more unique.  The individual, everywhere in the world, struggles to assert its sense of its own individuality against all that tries to force sameness.

Years ago I had an occasional job taking tickets at a theater showing the Midnight Movies.  People would buy tickets outside and then wait in line for us to let them in.  As a consequence 500 or more people would pass by me quickly as they entered the theater.   I was constantly struck by the fact that none of their faces ever looked the same.  We even have as a joke now that not only do all blacks supposedly look the same but all white people as well.   The reason this is funny is because we all know how easy it is for us to distinguish members of our race from each other, but not the members of other races from each other.  What role does figuration play in that social phenomena?

And, given the nature of our invisible world of thought, we all are aware that there is what seems to be a mental (spiritual) territory that is private, as against all social compliance factors.   We may have to behave in certain ways in order to move within our circumstances, yet inwardly we maintain a realm of freedom of thought that we insist not be violated.  Everyone can self-observe their own individual thoughts, feelings and impulses of will, which upon reflection will reveal clearly all that I have been writing above.  Not only are we not the same, we more want to be our individual nature than we want to be like others.

The whole field of modern psycho-therapy* is awake to these issues and observations, and the painful desire of adolescence to be accepted means to be accepted for who they are, not for how they are like others (although ever so many of our behaviors are directed toward imitation-seeking acceptance).  If we were to trouble to “read” our memories of pre-adolescence leading to and through adolescence, we would come upon a process by which we created our outer personality - the face we present to the world.  We seek, in friendship for example, places where we do not have to wear that outer face, and within which we can be more like who we really think we are.

*[For a very deep discussion of this from the standpoint of a history of language and of the evolution of consciousness, read Barfield’s History, Guilt and Habit.]

Certain cultures, such as Japan, are very conscious of these differences between the public and the private.  Some cultures place these distinctions into their very language, there being different levels of intimacy, for example, in German between sich and du - two forms of the term “you”, the latter more familiar.

Even the prisoner in his cell, though confined in body, retains what appears to be the private world of personal thoughts and fantasies.  I say appears here, because if we investigate this territory carefully, we will find it has qualities far different from those we presently assume to be there.  What is interesting as well are the words of a sage (who was a student of prisons): we are all doing time, whatever our outward circumstances.  Should you not understand this, just think of people who consider  themselves to be stuck in their jobs, or marriages and so forth.  Everyone does time in this sense - with only the nature, of the type of, the seeming prison being different.

I pointed out above the idea of today, in order to help us also appreciate that modern conditions are not the same as those in the more recent past.  The general observations pointed out in these last paragraphs appear to be less true as we go into this past.  Owen Barfield, again in Saving the Appearances, points to what he calls: the assumption.

There is a common cultural assumption, of both the cultural East and West, which believes that the nature of our consciousness today, in its more general characteristics, was the same in the past.  We believe, for example, that the mind of an Old Egyptian priest is of the same general order as the mind of a Catholic priest today.  We have novels and movies which suggest the same potential human base motives, the same way of religiously seeing the world, the same apprehension of the world of the senses, and the same tendency to having a private life of the mind.

What Barfield points out is that once you question this assumption, and actually examine the factual evidence, it falls apart.   There is no evidence that consciousness, in its general characteristics, is constant over time.  All the evidence is to the contrary.  Those who work with this question use the terminology: the evolution of consciousness.

Whatever one decides about the material evolution of our physical bodies, it is clear that consciousness itself evolves as well.  Barfield makes some important general observations, and let me put a few of them forward to sort of round out our ideas in this regard.

The evidence for this is found in the history of meaning and the changes that all languages undergo in the ordinary course of their own development.  Changes in language and in the meaning of words are a kind of mirror of changes in consciousness (a record of the evolution of the human spirit, burned into language, not unlike the laying of the geological record in earthly matter).  For details, read Barfield’s Poetic Diction, Speakers Meaning, and as well his History in English Words.  In Saving the Appearances, he provides the following general scheme of the more obvious aspects of the evolution of consciousness: Original Participation, the On-looker Separation, and Final Participation.

By the way, one can find confirming details in these books by others: Man or Matter by Ernst Lehrs (in part a history of modern science); Art and Human Consciousness by Gottfried Richter (a history of Art); and, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind by the physicist Arthur Zajonc.

Barfield uses the term participation, in part because the Scholastics used this term constantly.  They were on the bridge between the last days of original participation and the on-looker separation.  During the phase of consciousness we are calling original participation, human beings experienced themselves as inside the world - as part of it.  All their language conventions recognize this.   Individuality was less present, and people thought of themselves more as part of a family (John’s son) or a location (de-Chardin) than they thought of themselves as an individual.  The writer Michael Dorris, in his book on fetal alcohol syndrome The Broken Cord, writes that in what he claims to be his native tongue (Lakota Sioux), one cannot say: I hit you, but only we hit us.

Richter, above, points out that as the on-looker separation emerged from the previous form of participatory consciousness, perspective first appears in painting, and that when it does it appears everywhere.  Before that painters did not seem to “see” the three-dimensional world at all, for their consciousness was too much of the world, and not yet fully outside it.   Zajonc writes of how the Greeks actually saw different colors than we do, apparently connected to how they felt about what they saw, rather than with the kind of pure abstract seeing that is common today.

All the same, Barfield’s investigation of languages gives us the most details, and the greatest depth far into the past.

With the on-looker separation which begins around the 14th-15th centuries, natural philosophy (the precursor to natural science) begins to emerge, and thinkers begin to ask those different kinds of questions about their experience of the world of the senses that would ultimately lead to the Copernican Revolution.  There is no modern scientific inquiry without the simultaneous change in the evolution of consciousness that began to appear at that time - the change to seeing the world as a separate object, and not as something in which I was embedded in a fully participatory way.

Let us look once more at the threefold structure of the world, with its dense lower border below, its more airy undefined border above, and its mysterious inner border within human consciousness.

If we survey human existence from the outside, using our imaginative capacity (our picture-thinking capacities), we might perceive (with that thinking, more than with the sense organs), that the world is highly differentiated according to language, culture, wealth, geography, and so forth.  We use these ideas constantly, but don’t really notice their general significance (meaning) in the structure or shape of the world.

To get a good sense of this, watch the film The Kingdom, the story about an FBI team that has to go to Saudi Arabia to investigate an act of terrorism.   Whatever the value of the tale, the observations of the staggering differences in culture and way of life are well portrayed.

We speak of the cultural West and the arising of Science.  We talk about a clash of civilizations.  We fight wars in places where the social rules are radically different.  For example, international business tends to find common ground on their social-intercourse surfaces, but regional and national-cultural differences in how one goes about business are quite varied and important (for example, routine bribery, or highly developed haggling over a price, in many places is normal in a way that is not at all common in the USA).

We actually can get confused while we all (whatever our birth language) try to speak English (certain limited aspects of which are called Globish, by some contemporary thinkers), because the details of cultural influences often don’t cross the meaning-barrier of what otherwise seems a common tongue.  For example, a Japanese businessman will almost always say “yes”, and will frequently mean “no”, because to not say “yes” is impolite, and that he is really saying “no” his cultural peers would automatically understand through other kinds of “signals” (such as the “way” he is being polite or bows, so that those to whom he is speaking are always able to “save face”).

Okay, some readers will now say, but so what?

Remember we are here dealing with the what is - with the Creation.  We have now added to our understanding of the world the fact that the individual biography is embedded in a complex and unique set of circumstances, that is completely different from any other biography.   We have also come to understand that the underlying invisible aspects of consciousness and self-consciousness undergo changes over time (evolution).  Further, it is also obvious that cultures and languages not only are very different, but also change over time.

If we bring all this together (synthesize it), we will see that there is an interactive relationship between historical and cultural change, and changes in consciousness.  Neither is producing cause.  Both combine together to make a more dynamic whole.  The invisible inner psycho-spiritual elements and the apparently outer material-like social structural elements seem to influence each other.

Further, we need to keep in mind (as previously pointed to), what is a cliche in the cultural East, that all that happens, happens in the Present, in the Now.  Even though we mentally grasp time in a way so as to include the Past (mostly for its causal relationship to the Present) and to include the Future (mostly for its visionary anticipatory aspects that lead us onward in time), we never ever leave the Moment - the event.

The attention of our mind on the Present varies, however.  When we are focused on the work day getting over, time seems to expand.  When we are chronically busy, time seems to run away from us.  Most of us know these experiences.

Past and Future are then aspects of consciousness and self-consciousness.  At the least they are ideas related to experiences, about which we may reflect on our sense (our appreciation of the meaning) of things.  The what-is - the Creation - takes place only in the Present.  Try as we might, there is no escape from this fact.  Mentally I may worry about tomorrow, or be sad about the past, but I can go nowhere but the Present.  People working with the science of addiction, such as AA and the 12 Steps, know that you can’t engage a geographic or temporal cure - you can’t go someplace else, because it is always you that is there, whether it is a physical place or a moment in time.  Tomorrow I will stop smoking, when I move to New York for my new job, is just a lie we tell ourselves in the Present.

For another example, it is in the Present that I form the idea of my next meal, and toward which experience I can develop a kind of wonderful inner anticipation.  If I want my next meal to be different, I need to deal with the idea of it that arises in the present.  The anticipatory idea of a future event is a real experience.  It has its own pleasures or fears and anxieties.  The actual event, when it arrives in the Present, will not at all be like what was anticipated.  Americans were not welcomed everywhere with open arms after we invaded Iraq, and the anticipated oil revenues from the war never paid for the war (as was promised by insiders in the Bush administration on the lead up to the war).

Our political shamans worship strange gods, and serve in Temples devoted to wealth and power.  They seek magical changes in social reality, but in fact are not very good at this striving at all.  Mostly, like the fake shamans in some movies, they dance their dance and practice their voodoo, while extracting from us wine, women and song.  Yet, in the end they actually produce nothing of what they promise.

The social-political world is moved from within - from the world of our consciousness and self-consciousness.  It has no laws outside what takes place within this invisible world.  Yes, we do currently assume that biology (the nature of matter in the brain) is determinative, but that horse doesn’t fly once we really appreciate that we brought that idea already formed to the encounter where there is a scientific investigation of consciousness and self-consciousness.  It is a pre-thought thought, and therefore leads to flawed conclusions.

On a larger scale, we assume in the theories of the Big Bang and of Darwinian Evolution, that consciousness and self-consciousness arose only late in the day during the last stages of our assumed material-biological evolution.  We’ve already seen now that the assumption regarding an absence of an evolution of consciousness is false.  What makes us think that consciousness and self-consciousness had no antecedents in deep time at all?   We certainly do not seem to possess empirical evidence that this is the case, one way or the other.

Barfield, once more in Saving the Appearances, shows that what language reveals is that the self-conscious thinking consciousness was experienced in the past as outside of our own being.   The Greeks, for example, spoke of their inspiring genius as a spirit outside themselves - a personal muse in a world of muses.  Barfield then notes how with ongoing changes in language we can come to see that this inspiring genius no longer is experienced as outside us, but now is inside us - is who we essentially are.

In Speaker’s Meaning, Barfield goes further, and shows that what we call the Age of Myth, the time when human beings spoke of the Gods and other currently invisible beings as representing creative powers in the world of their what-is, - this Age of Myth could only be descriptive of actual experience, because languages in their youth are incapable of being metaphorical.  The Age of Myth corresponds to a time in the development of languages in which language is only capable of being literal - of giving names to actual experiences.   This is a tree, that is a running dog, above me in the Sky is an angel speaking to me of God.

What Barfield means, in Saving the Appearances, by Original Participation, is what is remembered in different cultures of the time in which human beings had regular ongoing intercourse with divine Beings.  Australian aboriginals called this the “dreamtime”.   Hindu Vedantists speak of the Yuga’s, the different ages of the deep past where is remembered in the Golden or Sata Yuga, a time when Gods walked the Earth with man.  In the Hebrew and Christian Bible (the old Testament) this time is described from that point of view (type of consciousness) in the books of Genesis.

Over the course of human history, different names have been given for the Divine Beings (or Being) responsible for the what-is - the Creation.   There is no reason to assume that each name is representative of different Beings, when the more likely conclusion is that each name is a different name for the same Being or Beings - different because of the differences in culture and time in which that particular name was given.

At this point then I’d like to alter our conventional Idea of God in the following direction.

There is a Creator.   The Creator has been known by many different names, and one of those names is Christ-Jesus.   Christians don’t have the correct Idea of God, believing in a way, as do most religions (based on immature human thinking and beliefs) that they own their God in the same way they own their belief system.   The Creator is theirs, belongs to them, and how they define this Being is so crucial to their (human and weak) approach to things, that it is just fine to kill each other over these differences.

The New Atheists are correct to critically examine the thinking in various religions that find justification for violence and war in their differing Ideas of God.  The New Atheists are not correct to assume that these lame, all too human Ideas of God, actually are representative of the real nature of God.

God can’t be owned by human beings.  All ideas of God, even those presented here in this book, are but temporary approximations arising in various human languages over the millennia.   This view is quite similar to a balanced view that scientists have of their work - they see their work at its best as an approximation of truth and reality that shifts its ground (paradigm) from time to time.  I would also offer that God - the Creator of the what-is - is to a degree described correctly by Natural Science, to the extent that Natural Science correctly describes and understands the what-is.  True empirical science can’t discover facts actually in conflict with a true Idea of God; nor, can a true Idea of God be in conflict with the actual empirical discoveries of Science.

To deepen our practical understanding here, let us take a look at certain weaknesses in the human endeavor to describe and understand the natural world - which process we have been calling: Natural Science.

some limits to natural science

At the time I am writing this, there has been published the most recent book by the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking: The Grand Design.  He basically says there is no need for a God to explain reality, because modern theoretical physics does just fine.  Would that this was true.

Modern theoretical physics has gotten lost in a maze of its own design.  It has made several assumptions, which it can’t justify, and if one knows of Godel’s Theorems, we know that there are severe limits to what can be stated by, through and about the natural number system.  As pointed out far above, the naive New Atheists (naive in the sense they don’t really understand the nature of the science they rely upon), want very much to lean on mathematics for its assumed solid foundations for the elaboration of scientific knowledge.  Godel has shown, however, that foundation isn’t there in the way most habitually think it is there.

The general public then is often given, via popular writings in books and magazines, a kind of theology of scientism - one in which present day critical thinking about any number of important questions are ignored.   Take, for example, what can be called the uniformitarian assumption.

This was mostly discussed in the 19th Century and has been revisited in the late 20th Century, particular by Stephen J. Gould, with no real resolution.   The assumption is that any physical constants (even such as the rate of acceleration due to the law of gravity), which we can only observe empirically in the present, can with justification be exported into the deep past (even though we have no way of empirically knowing they were true in that deep past).   This assumption is applied often today in geology, and biology, particularly in connection with the pictures we are given of how Darwinian evolution proceeded in this deep past.

Keep in mind we have no way at all of empirically observing this deep past.  It is all theoretical - that is it is all a product of the mind.  In part, the whole assumption is contradicted by Nature Herself, in that She everywhere constantly changes.  We measure the length of a Year, for example, and find it inconstant.  The same with the orbits of the Planets.  All our measurements, which we try vainly to pin down, over time vary to some degree.  Given that general pattern, why then should we assume we are ever going to find certainty in the sense of forever fixed physical constants?  Yet, that is the basic assumption necessary to develop the idea of the Big Bang - fixed constants.

Take, as another example, radio-carbon dating.  This process assumes constant rates of decay for certain kinds of matter.   It also assumes that this kind of naturally decaying matter existed prior to our present.  Granted we find such kinds of matter all throughout the physical earth in various forms, especially in almost all layers of what we call the geological record.  Yet, we have no evidence that we would have found this kind of matter were we present at the time we assume that a particularly ancient layer of the geological record was laid.

As an alternative (as with the alternative presented above about the geological record being actually revealing of the Earth as a living Being undergoing various kinds of metamorphosis over time), let us consider that the nature of matter varies as well over time in its density and in the facts which we call weight.  We assume otherwise, but what if we change that assumption - can we explain certain oddities of which we already know?

It is entirely possible (in fact more likely, if we think very carefully about this) that all matter in the earth sphere, in whatever place we find it, has only become “radio-active” in recent centuries.  Prior to that time matter was less dense and weighed less.  This different state of matter was what enabled the builders of such as the Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England to move and cut and fit together all over the world all these huge megalithic structures.   To gain some insight into this, find and read a little booklet by Georg Blattmann on the Periodic Table of the Elements: Radiant matter: Decay and Consecration.

The Creation (in the sense of our Theory or Idea of God), therefore, is to be understood as also a densification process, which reached a natural limit in that matter could not become more dense, without starting to decay (fall apart at the so-called atomic level of its nature).  Keep in mind that I am not arguing against conventional scientific meanings, only showing that it is possible to reinterpret the same empirical facts in entirely new ways, which in the end will be consistent within our slowly developing new Idea and Theory of God.  See also The Nature of Substance by Rudolf Hauscka.

The point is that we can find all kinds of assumptions being made in theoretical physics, and then exported further and further into the past, in order to create in the minds of such physicists the ideas which they promote as an alternative to a Creation by a Divine Being.

One of the gravest and most troubling elements of the exporting of these assumptions concerns what is already recognized as a problem by those working in the fields of philosophy of science, and there called: reductionism.

In its most grandiose form, modern theoretical physicists create their ideas by extremely reducing (eliminating) from consideration all manner of empirical facts toward which they are unwilling to pay attention.  Basically, in order to be noticed by physicists, we have to be able to count and measure the phenomena.  If it can’t be reduced to number relationships, physics pays no attention to it.   From this approach, physics for years paid no attention to psychology or consciousness - that is to mind sciences.   Since there was no way to count and measure, these seeming subjective facts, we can (many think/believe) without consequences not take account of them (which is the assumption behind reductionism).  Once stated in this way, the flaw ought to be obvious - of course there will be consequences if we systematically eliminate empirical data just because it can’t be reduced to number for our personal convenience.

Another way to see this fact - this refusal to take account of consciousness, since it can’t be counted - is to recognize that the physicist doesn’t even understand the self-operational principles of his own mind, which means he is using a tool (his thinking) about which he makes a number of assumptions that will ultimately turn out not to be true.

Since the development of physics has preceded in historical time the development of biology, as a subject of empirical examination, its fundamental ideas constantly leaked over into how biological facts were observed.  We then from the beginning measured and counted all biological facts, at the same time eliminating from consideration the more difficult matters connected to biological processes, which clearly (to a non-assumptive mind) are phenomena grossly different from that which physics had previously concerned itself.  A rock (at least in our present) does not move about or undergo metamorphosis.

These are huge examples of the pre-thought thought phenomena.  When biologists went to the party, their friends the physicists, who didn’t actually know what they were talking about, told them a fake story that led to unconscious taboos.

These same habits of mind (more and more assumptions conveniently forgotten over time) next leaked into the examination of the brain (with the clearly announced assumption still present), that a sufficiently careful examination of the brain (through finding things to count and measure) would give us all the answers we need in order to understand the mind - to understand human inwardness and behavior.

For a moment, let us take a side trip here into the field that is sometimes called evolutionary psychology.   How this gets to be called a science is very disturbing.  It works from the basic assumption that in the near past (less than a few hundred thousand years ago), proto-human beings lived animal-like existences in various areas of the world, particularly Africa.  There is empirical evidence (bones) of such existence, but no empirical evidence whatsoever of how this group lived in the sense of what they may have had as a type of consciousness, language or any other aspect of their shared (social or psychological) existence.

This work of evolutionary psychology also assumes that present day human behavior must have been formed in the dynamics of the African-like existence, such that certain behaviors become hard-wired into the brain or into the DNA.  This causal assumption is the controlling thing, yet there is no empirical evidence for it whatsoever.  All the brain matter and DNA of those once living organisms has been destroyed by the well understood processes by which dead organic matter decays.

On the basis of this assumption, those who call themselves evolutionary psychologists, run off great detailed speculations about how this or that  would or could have happened, and then use that imaginary conversation with their own assumptions to tell us the meaning and causes of present day human behavior.

Most of the models, for what this existence of the proto-human beings must (according to the assumption) have been like, are borrowed from present day observations of the behavior of the higher mammals (various kinds of baboons and so forth).  Present day baboon behavior is then imagined to have existed in the past among the proto-humans, providing us then with our understanding of the nature of human behavior today.

Now there is a flaw common to certain kinds of reasoning in many places, and certainly in science, which is called: a tautology.  A tautology is a kind of circle-like style of reasoning that says the same thing in its initial statement that it says in its conclusion.  Sort of like saying, A is A because it is A (i.e. a man is bald because he has no hair).  This is the fundamental nature of the reasoning in evolutionary psychology: Human beings behave like modern animals, because they were already like these animals in the past that we speculatively imagine and assume, but which we can’t empirically observe.

Let us return to our present theme, but keep in mind that there might be a larger purpose served by the travels of science down roads that lead to unworkable ideas and theories.  Evolutionary psychologists do collect  a lot of valid data, the problem is just with how it is interpreted (how it is given its meaning).  See the book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn for an interesting discussion of some of these problems.

It is a very interesting fact of the development of modern scientific thought that in both physics and in brain studies a kind of limit has been reached.  Experiments in quantum physics now establishes that the unformed or indeterminate state of matter (the chaos - or unformed and uncreated - state from which were produced the four elements according to ancient thinking) requires the activity of the conscious observer in order to be counted or measured, with the result that this insertion of consciousness actually changes the conditions.  Physics is still trying to work out what this means, with the result of there coming into being a large number of competing and incompatible theories.

In brain studies, in spite of all the efforts at counting and measuring, how it is that matter creates consciousness remains a mystery.   There are not even any truly workable (testable) theories.  Thus, at the leading edges of the studies of matter in physics, and the leading edges of the study of the material brain, our failure to understand consciousness itself clouds all the issues.   The mind itself is barely known, not being directly studied.

This is a kind of peculiar problem in a way, because natural science (and the thinking in other fields which tries to follow its model of operation), also assumes that their approach (counting and measuring) is the best approach to understanding and coming to knowledge of the nature of consciousness - of mind.  This view is wholly unjustifiable, because it requires that modern thinkers on these questions eliminate from their considerations almost all spiritual investigations of inner life and consciousness.

Anyone who studies Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Kabbalah, Sufism, Indian Yoga, Christian Hermeticsm, and Anthroposophy, to name but a few, will clearly come to realize that these are deep mind sciences, that not only know a great deal about consciousness, but can in some cases realize what almost has to be called magical results using the mind (these systems of thought being actual operating manuals of the mind).  But the religion of natural science, to which a lot of scientists belong, is very afraid of opening up this door.  Carl Sagan even wrote a mostly well-justified book about this: The Demon-Haunted World.  He was concerned that the New Age and other related modern religious impulses would put out the light that empirical science was trying to shine into human affairs.

The reader of the material in this book should realize that its author clearly wants to remain completely scientific, which is why we are systematically exploring first the renewing of our Idea of God in order to develop an adequate Theory of God, before even beginning to face the really big questions connected to A Proof of God, The Art of God, or an actual, and completely workable, Theory of Everything.

Now without wanting in any way to disparage Stephen Hawking, I think his book ought to be called A Grandiose Design, because modern theoretical physics, even in holding the belief that it can tell us how the Creation arose, is about as egotistical an enterprise as possible.  Our human minds may do many wondrous things, but coming to knowledge of the origins of the what-is, with any certitude, is not one of those things.  I even consider Rudolf Steiner’s efforts in this regard to be a bit suspect, although I remain a fan of his on a number of levels.   He did assert that his clairvoyant experiences (research) gave him knowledge and insights into much, and that he conducted that work in a fully scientific way - but I believe we have to take those works (c.f. Theosophy and Occult Science: an outline) with a grain of salt, until they are properly replicated in the future.

Ultimately, we have to come to a time when our own individual consciousness is able to directly experience the invisible world, from which experience we can then form our own judgments.  Before that time we need to make careful and systematic observations of what we can see and know for ourselves, and on the basis of those observations think very carefully as well.

a transition

Before going onward, let us see if we can sum up what so far has been offered as the needed Idea of God, required in order to state properly A Theory of God, such that we could then consider the problems of A Proof of God etc., necessary for the Age of Science:

Certainly the Idea of God must include the idea of the creation of the what-is - that there is in fact a Being that creates, and we can justly call: the Creator.  One aspect of this new, and more scientific, God-idea that was suggested was the idea of a distributed God, analogous to the distributed computer network - multiple sources of creation.  I have also tried to show how in individual human thinking something invisible (of the spirit) manifests itself.  I also tried to suggest that God created a certain kind of order in existence, in that all human beings shared common characteristics which drew forth their individual spirit-nature.

In order not to get too confused, we have to recognize that there is to the Creation a Past, a Present and a Future.   Most of our present religious ideas about the Creation concern the Past, and when it comes to the Creation in the Present, things get a bit vague.  As to the Future, we do have prophecies, but the depths of that problem will have to wait until we get to the material on A Proof of God.  In the next phases of the discussion of the Idea of God I hope to deal more concretely with some of these questions, yet at the same time in a necessarily limited way.

There are at least two kinds of basic questions that need to be asked about any Idea of God.  One question concerns: Why?   What was this God-thing up to in the Creation?  The other question concerns the existence of what human beings call: Evil.   These are very important and legitimate questions, but before coming to any conclusions about them, we have to further develop our Idea of God with some more detail.  Some of this detail, that is provided next, will now be relevant to the above two questions, but we are not yet ready to make an effort at this point to completely answer them.

the question of Why, or Time

The Why would require we know the mind of God (if such terms can be used), and the problem of purpose in such questions is a bit subtle.  In a science, however, we do look at evidence and reason from the evidence what its existence might imply.  By this I mean to suggest that once we understand better what is going on in our world in the Present, we may well find our way to Why.

A deep thinking acquaintance of mine, Catherine MacCoun, wrote a book: On Becoming an Alchemist, which is a quite decent representation of a modern mind-science.  I don’t fully agree with it (there’s a review of the book on my website), but I want to borrow from that book a particular idea, which might be helpful for our current discussion.

Her view is that the Past only gives us the How a thing happens in the Present.  It is the Future that give us the Why the Present is the way it is.  Her focus here is on our inner psychological  experiences.  We have a certain event take place - perhaps a personal inner transformation  related to a marriage.  We can look to the Past to see How we got to the marriage, but only the unfolding over time of the Future into the Present will give us the Why.

Now a convinced materialist will have difficulty appreciating this, but most spiritually minded folk will not.  Our Present, according to MacCoun, is the meeting place of Past and Future or How and Why.  The Now contains both, in a very real spiritual sense; and, as we learn to divine the mystery contained in this meeting in the Present, of the Past and the Future, we gain traction in our Present.  We look to the Past (as we see it) to discover the How, and to the Future (as we see it) to discover the Why.  These discoveries are actions, clearly, of the mind or thinking spirit.

The materialist will have his normal causal assumption (existence is a chance accident of blind evolution), which thought then gets in the way (as a pre-thought thought) of his own free empirical observations of the truth of what MacCoun has written.  Nonetheless, for our Idea of God, this has to be included: While all is of the Now, the Present, the event, -. the mind also knows the Past (memories) and the Future (portents), all of which will be revealed later in this text to have some practical empirical validity.

the mystery of Evil as an aspect of How and Why

Next, the problem of Evil, which is also a problem of Why and How to a certain degree.  Keep in mind that what is being done here is not any kind of justification for previous Ideas of God, but rather a complicated new Idea of God - one belonging to the Age of Science.  Granted, much religious tradition has similar ideas, but none of them were developed in the same fashion as this one.

With facing the Mystery of Evil one not only approaches the idea of whether God is Good, but also we are about to discover that God is the creator of great beauty (thus the title to this book: The Art of God).   We already know this goodness and beauty through what we see of Nature.   We know this in a second way when we recognize that incredible gift that is the human organism (we’ll get into more details of this in the section on the Proof of God).  Yet, in order to know the nature of the Mystery of Evil we will also come to understand Divine Justice, next to which human justice is a pale and weak copy.

We also at this stage of our considerations move toward the section of concepts that mediate between the Idea of God and the Theory of God.   These two represent a kind of continuum - a matter that will become more clear as we move along.

In order to remain systematic, I’m going to offer the following in a kind of bullet-point format (many of these ideas come from the researches of Rudolf Steiner, although many can be found among traditional religious ideas):

The spiritual essence of the individual human being is immortal spirit.  This essence cannot be killed although it can, by its own choices, be dissolved or transformed.

Death is then not the end of something, but rather a transformation of the human essence from an embodied condition (joined to matter) to one in which we are wholly spirit, continuing to exist in a purely spiritual world.

The Eastern Cultural conception of karma and reincarnation is the way the world is actually organized (according to the Idea and Theory of God being here put forward).  The Why Western Culture did not have this idea for a time will come toward us out of the Future (as noted above).  A serious look at what might be called by some: the Pagan Mysteries, would reveal that the idea of karma and reincarnation is not entirely new in the West.

There is an afterlife, which is somewhat more complicated than is our life between birth and death.  In this afterlife, after a short period of time (my life passed before my eyes, which total and detailed life remembrance is said to actually take about three days), we enter into that part of the afterlife where we experience how it felt to others to be the object of our thoughts and deeds.  Where we murdered someone, we will feel what it felt like to be murdered.  Where we raped and abused others, including children, we will feel like what it felt like to be so tortured and to have our innocence stolen.

We will also have to confront our desires, in that certain desires can only be satisfied by possessing a carnal body.  In the absence of a carnal body, in this afterlife, we will be unable to satisfy those hungers needing a carnal body to be satisfied.   There is no ice cream in the afterlife, nor any tongue and lips with which to enjoy it.

Christians concerned that their beliefs are being violated by these ideas should know that a crucial section of the Sermon on the Mount, if correctly translated from the Greek, says:” ... you will be sentenced to that sentence you sentence others ...”  There is no more plain statement of this aspect of the afterlife, which takes about a third of our earthly life to be experienced.  As to the idea of reincarnation, recall that Christ says we will be forgiven at least 70 times 7, which gives an idea of How and Why we are returned continuously to earthly existence (reincarnated) in order to learn the errors of our ways.

Once our afterlife cleansing justice has begun, and we have experienced what we did to others, we then move on to higher spheres of existence, where more and more of the debris of our earthly life is shed (a kind of process of spiritual purification), until we arrive at what is called “the midnight hour”, where we out of our freedom choose the course of our next bodily existence.

Those we harmed and murdered, gain their own future lives, during which they may have the opportunity to forgive us for our wrongs.  A child whose life is cut short is not kept by God from further life in the future.

Let me now consider some details and specifics, because the reader will clearly have many questions.

We can start with abortion.  It makes no difference from the aspect of God’s Justice whether or not we human beings call the destruction of a fetus murder.  All we have destroyed is the potential physical body, which an immortal spirit was to have inhabited.  The spirit cannot be murdered, only the body.  This does not mean there will be no Divine Justice for the person obtaining the abortion, but rather that the application of Justice in all specific cases is between them and God.  An abortion may well dislocate a spirit from a needed material existence, but even this remains a problem solved by Divine Justice in a far better way than does the murder of a doctor that does abortions.

In point of fact, both for the person having an abortion, and the persons trying to stop abortions - in their biographies something special happens.  In observing the facts of these experiences (of choosing how to act morally in the world - acts which both the chooser of abortion and the opposer of abortion decide), we come to one of the purposes (the Why) of the biography.

The immortal spiritual essence of the human being is being educated, in a school whose comprehensive nature is not yet observed by our social sciences, which social sciences presently (and mistakenly) necessarily imitate the materialistic assumptions of our physical sciences.  This education process includes facing the moral dilemmas of existence, such as: Whether to abort or not; and how to oppose abortion if we so choose.

some thoughts on the necessary, yet temporarily,

superficial nature of these discussions

As we proceed, please keep in mind that we are elaborating a new Idea of God (in its totality), which is to lead us to a new Theory of God, and only from that place can we face those questions of A Proof of God etc..  People will choose to argue with all manner of the details of the Idea of God and the Theory of God being presented here, but that argument will only have the effect of making the answering of many questions more difficult.

Right now we are skipping across the surface of a very deep body of water, and for each set of concepts that contribute to the total Idea we have of God, the reader should keep in mind that there are depths this present text cannot enter.   For example, here is the contents page of my book: the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character and the future of Christianity, both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis.

the reader can skip this and easily treat it as a footnote, not needing to be read

Introduction.

Moral Grace

- the theme (song) of the central mystery of the modern age -

 first stanza: Shepherds and Kings - a Temporary parting of Ways -

second stanza: the Evolution of Consciousness - the meaning of the historical differences between the time of the Pharaohs (the time of the Old Testament) and our present Age (the Dawn of the Third Millennium)

third stanza: the Church and the Body of Christ - being a discussion of the future of Christianity as that future development appears out of the Evolution of Consciousness.

fourth stanza: Moral Grace - a first iteration - being an attempt to describe and name something very many people already instinctively know

Freedom

- the theme (song) of the real challenge of modern life -

fifth stanza: Three New Ways - being an examination of the profound and surprising interrelationship between the What Would Jesus Do Movement; the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous; and, Rudolf Steiner's book: The Philosophy of Freedom (also known as, The     Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,)  [which stanza also contains, the Shepherd's Tale, the King's Tale and the Healers' Tale]

sixth stanza: in the Absence of the Good - in the Age of Freedom, and in the confusion of the weaknesses of traditional moral authority, what happens when Moral Grace is not present - the Pharmaceutical Industry as an Example

seventh stanza: the Seventh Day of Creation - the problem of freedom seen in the light  of the nature of evil, and its relationship to the course of individual human lives (the biography) [which stanza also contains the Fool's Tale (part I)]

eighth stanza: the Gesture of the History of Civilizations as expressed in both Matter and Spirit - from whence comes technology and  where is it going, or, the entanglement of the i-AM in matter, its consequences and its meaning

Love

- the theme (song) of the deepest hidden potential of the human being -

ninth stanza: the Four Forms of Love - selfless love (Agape); nurturing love (Storge); brother and sisterly love (Phileo); and, erotic and sensual love (Eros).

tenth stanza: the Seventh Day of Creation as an Expression of Love - concerning the role of Divine Love, and human love, in the creation of new social forms, or what we usually call the Fall of one Civilization followed by the  Birth of a new one [also contains the Fool's Tale (part II)]

eleventh stanza: entering the Narrow Gate - love as an act of inner husbandry, through the stewardship and discipline of the life of the mind

twelfth stanza: love and the gift of the word - a demonstration - being a deeper consideration of the relationship between our inner activity, and our outer acts in speech [also contains the Fool's Tale (part III)]

Appendices

(some matters requiring a bit of detail,

but which really didn't belong in the main text)

1) Prayer and Meditation: certain nuances connected to providing the i-AM some rest and time of reflection.

2) Sacrifice of Thoughts: cleaning out the garden of the mind before growing new insights, and other unusual properties of our soul-spirit nexus.

3) Some further thoughts about finding a healthy relationship to the fourth form of love, UnFallen Eros.

4) A few words for those whose faith is in natural science, and/or might consider themselves to be secular humanists.

5) In praise of the virtues of ordinary mind.

6) Confessions.

7) In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship: some more recent thoughts on the relationship between Shepherds (exoteric Christianity, or Faith) and Kings (esoteric Christianity, or Gnosis).

Epilogue: Concerning the immediate future

End Story: Bicycles: a Children's Christmas Story for Adults

return to main theme

I have presented this table of contents from that book in order for the reader to have some idea of the latent complexity in all the questions we have been discussing.  There are multiple ways of looking at such a subject as the Idea of God or a Theory of God and A Proof of God etc., and we just need, as we proceed, to keep in mind these levels of complexity.  Not all questions will be (or can be) attempted to be answered here in this present text.

For example, ...

Above, with the question of Divine Justice and abortion we took a look at the moral aspect of human existence from a very narrow point of view.  Obviously that situation is far more complicated.   My main essay on this theme (from one point of view) is in the Twelfth Stanza of the above book, and occurs at the end.   Where I have reprinted that part of the Twelfth Stanza by itself, I have called it: The Meaning of Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  To repeat myself endlessly in this present book is a waste of time, and the reader who wants to enter more deeply into the question of Moral Grace, Freedom and Love in their existential and experiential nature needs to read that essay.  Given its importance to the Idea and Theory of God, however, I have put it as one of the last essays to this book.

To make a kind of summary of the above bullet points:  The human being is an immortal spirit, experiencing a long sequence of earthly lives in order to learn.  The problem of evil is met in part by the existence of the Divine Justice of the afterlife, and by the related operation of karma in later or earlier lives.

Part of our problem is in fact our conception of evil.  In the Way of the Fool I discuss this problem carefully, and here need only state that the evolution of consciousness is progressive, and that our particular stage of learning development in this Age involves stepping out of a kind of child-like relationship to the Divine, and into one in which we are being asked to be individually more spiritually mature and responsible.

As a consequence, and due in part to the developments in human existence connected to the Age of Science, we need a new conception of God.  The older religious conceptions have their many weaknesses, as is obvious to modern critics of religious thought.  Here we are trying to mature our conception of God, as part of the learning development connected to our leaving behind our spiritual childhood (where we needed a variety of Ideas of God), and into a spiritual maturity, where a scientific and universal Idea of God now becomes appropriate.

Let me next sketch out a few further concepts regarding the Mystery of Evil that, while dealt with elsewhere in my writings in greater detail, ought to be briefly noted here.

Rudolf Steiner, in a course of lectures now published under the title: From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, described the Mystery of Evil in this metaphorical way.   What we humans see as evil, from our point of view, is like the following: Imagine a train traveling on a set of rails.  The train has a point - a purpose.  However, one consequence of its travels is that the rails wear out.   We humans see this wearing out, which is a secondary effect of something positive, and call that evil.

In a personal sense we could say the following as regards our individual human organism:

What the ancients called the chakras, contain psycho-spiritual forces that are necessary for the human being to have a succession of physical bodies in which to incarnate.  We need drivers (desires) for sex, for example, so that reproduction occurs.  We need bodily appetites, such as physical hunger, in order to maintain the body during life.  We need to be able to move about in order for aspects of our existence to be taken hold of by our will.  Since we are also immortal spiritual beings experiencing a social existence, we need to have a heart center from which we can empathetically see others, and learn to love.  We need a voice center in order to speak to each other, and also as part of our own inner world.  We need the inward vision (eyebrow) center in order to coordinate our inward spiritual pictures of reality, and we need a crown center in order to be receptive to spirit that is outside us in such a way that we can commune with the available and interested-in-us spirits.

In the application of all these force centers, we make judgments, many quite instinctive, and a few of which are dominant.  These judgments can be in error, but the force centers themselves are not in error.  Only our personal essence can error, in the guidance and use it makes of our total organism.  These force centers are the train, and the human body and our shared social existence are the rails.  These wear out as we live life, and this wearing out we have so far named in our traditional cultures: Evil.

The fact is we, as an immortal spiritual essence, are immature and unlearned.  We commit ourselves to flawed actions because we are not yet as skilled as we might otherwise be.  We then harm each other.  One of the ways this has been named in older religious conceptions is: sin.  Sin is an idea, as is evil.  Neither evil or sin is the true idea a mature spiritual being will hold, once they appreciate the total nature of the Creation and the true relationship of the individual human being to God and to each other.

This does not mean we don’t harm each other.   We do.  Its just that perfect Divine Justice takes place through karma and in the afterlife.  In fact there is a book: Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism, by Valentin Tomberg, that contains a quite remarkable discussion of the idea of the Last Judgment (in Arcanum XX: The Judgment) that includes this language:  “1. Is there in the world any person or group of people who know with certain knowledge who will be impenitent in the distant future?  2. Is there in the world any person or group of people who have the authority to specify the limits of God’s love and mercy? ... to state and decree that the love of God goes so far and no further?

How we come to bad choices is also far more complicated than our previously immature conceptions of our psycho-spiritual existence can yet understand.  For example, I have made a considerable study of the shadow, or the double or the doppleganger, which is a complex aspect of our inner (soul) life.  We are accompanied in life by invisible beings, some dark, some not (e.g. our guardian angel).  We also lack a clear set of ideas about our inner life, because our Idea of Mind is also immature, and confined at this time in the straight jacket of scientific materialism.

Rudolf Steiner’s work, opening a fresh gate to intercourse with higher spiritual beings (New Revelation), is intended to lead to a great correction in many of our religious and scientific concepts and to produce a scientific approach to the investigation of spiritual questions.   The Society he founded (the Anthroposophical Society) failed in the 20th Century to achieve that for which he hoped.  As a consequence I have had to write: American Anthroposophy: - an introduction - a celebration of the American Soul’s unique ability to contribute to the future of Anthroposophy and to the future of world culture.

This “Anthroposophy” is itself essentially a yet latent human capacity, that is instinctively appearing in some individuals, and more consciously in others.  We could say that it is slowly incarnating, via individual human actions, into our cultural future.

the reader can skip this and easily treat it as a footnote, not needing to be read

Here is the Contents page of that book:

introductory materials

forward by the author - what is meant by American Anthroposophy?

preface for the neophyte - for the readers to whom Anthroposophy is quite new.

an apology (of sorts) - to the more experienced anthroposophical reader

introduction

the main themes of this book

The Challenge

American Anthroposophy begins to come to maturity in the situation of a given place and a given time. The dominant characteristic of this time, outwardly, is the Incarnation of Ahriman. As a consequence the first essay concerns Ahriman’s Incarnation:

Outrageous Genius - Discovering the in-the-Present Incarnation of Ahriman in America through the Signs of the Times (Michaelmas* 2007) part 1: Honoring the Teacher and the Teaching; part 2) The Wise-Earth as Counter-force to Ahriman’s Incarnation; part 3) Brother What Ails Thee?; and, part 4) Waking the American Anthroposophical Society and Movement for their true tasks in the 21st Century.

*[The dates of writing here and below are the time at which the original essay was produced out of the spiritual-thinking activity described in the essay: In Joyous Celebration...]

Orientation

The dominant characteristic of this time, inwardly, is the True Second Coming of Christ.

From the kingdom served by Michael himself Christ descends to the sphere of the Earth, so as to be there when the intelligence is wholly with the human individuality. For man will then feel most strongly the impulse to devote himself to the power which has made itself fully and completely into the vehicle of intellectuality. But Christ will be there; through His great sacrifice He will live in the same sphere in which Ahriman also lives. Man will be able to choose between Christ and Ahriman. The world will be able to find the Christ-way in the evolution of humanity”. R.S. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.

The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul (winter - spring 2006)

In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship (late summer 2006)

The Methodology Necessary for a New Social Science - a brief introduction (written for this book during the Season of Michaelmas, 2007)

The Natural Transformation of the Anthroposophical Society in America (Michaelmas 2007)

The Mystery of Macro and Micro Evil: the relationship of the Shadow (the threefold double-complex) to the American Soul (Michaelmas 2007)

Encountering the Mystery of America

What distinguishes the now emerging natural Anthroposophy of the American Soul,

from the anthroposophical work of the Twentieth Century

Present Day American Culture - four archetypal personalities (after the Holy Nights, 2008)

Recollecting the True Roots of the American Soul - America’s aboriginal Peoples and the Hopi Prophecy (after the Holy Nights, 2008)

Anthroposophy and the Russian Soul - a lesson from life: instruction for all three world-aspects of Anthroposophical activity, in the West, the Center and the East - (written over Christmas Eve and Day 2006)

The New, and profoundly human, Mysteries of the Earth (written in the remaining Holy Nights just after Christmas 2006)

Rudolf Steiner’s Own Path - The Philosophy of Freedom or Spiritual Activity - a brief re-imagination (written for this book just after the Holy Nights 2007-8)

a letter to a young anthroposophist (2003)

The Redemption of Eros: - Seeking Comfort and Companionship in a time of increasing Social Chaos - or, Sex and the Individual Anthroposophist (Michaelmas 2007)

The America Soul - an evolving synthesis at its moment of birth: - much has been written above - here a small effort at a summary, with a few additional insights offered as the concluding theme. (written in the Season of Easter, Spring 2008)

End Stories

America: The Central Motif (by Patrick Dixon)*

*reprinted with permission, and with a great deal of gratitude that this exists...

Bicycles: a Children’s Christmas Story for Adults

some final verse: the Gift of the Word

to return to main theme

Again ... the point of the above “footnote" is to give to the reader a sense of the complexity of what is being discussed here, and to point toward places where certain matters that can only be hinted at here, are discussed in far greater detail.  For example, farther above I mentioned the existence of sciences of the mind in the Cultural West.  The above book explores aspects of this in great detail, especially the essay: In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship (also included as one of the last essays to this book - The Art of God).

Part of our Theory and Idea of God has to include the concept that God is not far away from us.  In the essay The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul I discuss in detail how it is that Christ, the Creator, is imminent in the human soul whenever we ask, seek and knock during prayer, and especially in the moment of need for support in facing a moral trial.  When Christ, the Creator Being, says in Luke: the kingdom of heaven is inside you, and in other places that the kingdom is near at hand, this is what is meant: In our interior life the potential for direct spiritual communion with the Divine is present.

Both essays are collected in the booklet: Living Thinking in Action, which like all my work is available to be read for free on my website Shapes in the Fire, or which can be purchased in printed form, should you want to hold a book in your hand at: Joel Wendt’s Theory of Everything Emporium.

Now one of the difficulties here for some religious will be that they are determined to hold onto their previous Idea of God, and want nothing to do with what is described on these pages.  In this they are holding God hostage, by demanding, for example, that It can only communicate through a book, interpreted by human beings.  They limit God to not being able to treat us as more mature, and offering to us now in this Age of Science, an Idea of His/Her Being belonging to this Age.   This view, seeking to keep hold of the old ideas of God, would silence God and allow for no New Revelation.  But God cannot be so silenced, whatever some believers will assert.

God in Time and Space

We are then capable at this time (in this text) of coming at some of the same questions from a slightly different direction, which yet will add additional dimensions to our understanding of a modern systematic Idea of God.  To gain this new direction, let us consider that God lies outside of time and space, in Eternity, but can act within the material time and space bound world in whatever way He/She thinks is valuable.

One of the things this means is that God has all of Eternity to act on any given point in linear time.  As a consequence He/She can devote whatever linear time is needed to follow one particular biography, and to Love that individual with the full devotion possible to God, without neglecting any other biography which occurs at the same linear time.  Time and space do not limit God.  God can devote Him/Herself to a single individual, and then moving outside of time, yet within Eternity, can simultaneously (from the point of view of linear time) devote Themselves to the needs of the next person and then the next person and then the next person.

Given also that part of the Creation is a host of lesser purely spiritual Beings, the totality of earthly existence is observed and cared for by all manner of such Beings, who carry out subsidiary tasks as is needed by the higher laws authored by the Creator for the Love of Human Beings.  There are many such Beings involved in every aspect of our existence.  Rudolf Steiner, in his scientific investigations of these communities of Beings has poetically (artistically) suggested that it will help our understanding to realize that the Religion of the Gods is Man.

For example, Christian tradition names the following, which the work of Rudolf Steiner expands upon in terms of the meaning and the effective purposes of these communities: Seraphim; Cherubim; Thrones; Dominions; Virtues; Powers; Archi; Archangels and Angels.  Steiner renames them in such ways as: Spirits of Form, Spirits of Personality and Spirits of Will and so forth.  Humanity in Steiner’s lexicon is called: the Tenth Hierarchy, being the next lowest on the rung (Jacob’s Ladder) after the Angels - which is part of why we have to come to see that the fundamental powers of the Creation as distributed.

This means the attention of the Creator God need only come to rest on the general field of activity of these lesser Beings when they are engaged in their own duties.  The affect of Christ’s attention then is projected through the lower hierarchies.  So, for example, our personal angel will hear all our prayers, and the wings we see in their pictorial renditions are aspects of the breathing-like movement they produce as they carry our prayers upward toward those more ephemeral yet more powerful hierarchical Beings that have more complicated tasks in the non-material - spiritual - Creation.

Also keep in mind that the above is not at all definitive.  Steiner, for example, has said that the spiritual world is more complicated than the physical world, and as Natural Science has shown, the physical world is highly complicated indeed.

In all the ideas of the heavenly hosts, in the various religions, we have then a memory of our ancient awareness of the complexity and beauty of the hierarchical Beings of the Divine Mystery, named in many places in diverse ways.  These communities of Beings carry out activities of both a purely spiritual nature and a material nature.   The whole of the material world, for example, has its own communities of Beings woven within and around it.

These include hierarchies of the Left (the dark) and of the Right (the light).  All that physics works with (gravity, electricity, magnetism etc.), involves the activity of Beings.  Steiner describes some of these as the Beings of sub-nature, for example, and others as Beings of supra-nature.   Nature has two boundaries then.  One more heavenly, and the other more earthly.  The earthly sub-nature forces are sometimes called fallen, such as the fallen light ether or the fallen chemical ether, and the ruler-ship (the laws limiting and defining the work of these beings) lies in the Realm of the Holy Mother.

It is the meeting of these Beings of sub-nature that produces the social phenomena of alien abduction and so forth.  Many people, mostly for reasons of karma, are meeting various kinds of spiritual Beings, and the tendency, because of the dominance of our thinking and perception by the ideas of scientific materialism (all is matter, there is no spirit), is that these powerful spiritual experiences are materialized - that is seen as occurring in the physical sense world.

Obviously natural scientists should look upon this as complete idiocy.   They are right to do so.  All I want to do at this point is express the Idea of God and the Theory of God that goes with that, in as full a way as possible.  Whether there is any evidence whatsoever for such ideas is the matter to be discussed when we get to the problem of A Proof of God, The Art of God and an actual Theory of Everything.  But before we can even offer A Proof of God, we must be precisely and exactly clear what we mean in our Idea and Theory of God.

Now that we have introduced, as part of the Idea of God, God’s Love of all individual human beings as arising from outside of space and time, we can then revisit some of our earlier considerations from a different and more sophisticated point of view.  We are then next going to look at the macro-order of the social world from a new perspective, which the genius of Shakespeare noted instinctively when he wrote: “all the world’s a stage ...”.

the totality of the order of the macro-social world as

an Embodiment of the Word

In taking our Idea of God further in the direction of a viable Theory of God - viable in the sense that we can later take up realistically A Proof of God etc. - we need now to further radically alter the historical Idea of God, as is mostly assumed in Western (Christian) Civilization.  Keep in mind that part of what we are seeking here is a Theory of God with even greater explanatory power concerning human existence than that provided for the New Atheists and others out of a combination of the Theory of Evolution, the Theory of the Big Bang and other related mental inventions of leading scientists.  That’s one of the major points this books seeks: To explain, in a more thorough fashion, human existence than has yet been explained previously by traditional science alone.

Also, as a reminder: The historical ideas of God in the various religions are to be viewed here as not actually binding on the real nature of God.  As we should see, these historical ideas were necessarily temporary ideas that were important in specific cultures and at specific times to accord with the type of consciousness and cultural necessity that existed at that time.  We, on the other hand, in moving forward deeper into the Age of Science, need a more mature (and less child-like) Idea of God - one more systematic in its formulation.

Granted there is resistance to any such changes in the Idea of God, which we sometimes call: religious fundamentalism.  But even that resistance is turned to the Good by the Being of Love.

The human social world is, as we all see, presently filled with conflict.  Political strife is escalating in America at the time this is being written, what with the appearance of what calls itself The Tea Party, and the ineffectiveness of the Democrats to actually govern in a time of degenerating financial crisis.  Wars exist in many places, and while some are abating (Iraq), others are becoming more likely (Iran and its threat to gain nuclear weapons).  All this must be explained by an adequate Idea and Theory of God.

The so-called Christian World does not seem to understand the so-called Islamic World, a historical effect some call a clash of civilizations.  Weapons of seeming mass destruction of both a chemical and biological type are lurking in the background.  Corporations despoil the living environment of the Earth in the name of profit.  All kinds of racial hatred moves among the vast seas of crowded human cities.   Even the Climate seems out of phase with itself, and here then is an opportunity for some wisdom.

At one point in time was developed what is called: general systems theory.  All the above conflicts are parts of what can be called: complicated systems, whether they are social, or material, or psychological or conceptual or some tricky combination of more than one or even all.  In general systems theory we can find the idea that complex systems on occasion undergo a systemic change of one kind or another.  In the process of such a change, the existing state of equilibrium of the complex system begins to oscillate more and more wildly until a kind of chaotic condition is reached (often in the form of some kind of crisis).  Once this crisis point is reached, the oscillations start to lessen, after which a new steady state equilibrium appears, although its fundamental parameters are often quite different from the previous steady state equilibrium.

This process of systemic change is part of what is behind the phenomena human beings are calling: Climate Change.  It is the same with a civilization: the moral questions, and political questions and social consequences etc. are all interwoven into a whole, concerning which our human thinking has yet no capacity to fully understand.  How we do understand these things is a factor in our life choices in the present, and that is as it is meant to be.  We act out of our presently limited human understanding, because we need, for our karma and our biography, to so act. 

To repeat, because this is a very important point: What this means then is that whether or not we do or don’t fully understand the Mystery nature of our Age is not entirely relevant to these choices.  It is our actual understanding that is important in the biography and many ways of understanding are not only possible but necessary.  At the same time, these views can undergo radical change.

The most simple example for such a type of dramatic systemic change is, as noted above, the metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly.   The caterpillar spins its cocoon, degenerates into a state of undifferentiated cellular chaos, which then as time passes becomes organized along entirely different lines, producing an essentially completely new being.   We discussed this above when we entertained the idea that the rocks of the earth, known via what we call the geological record, are in fact the leaving behind of a sequence of living Earth processes of ongoing metamorphosis.  At the same time, while the cocoon isolates the organism from the surrounding environment, in the case of modern social life this isolation is not always possible.

We could, on the basis of such thinking as general systems theory, recognize that Western Civilization is failing, and the ability of Western powers to hold the world in some kind of coherent order is disappearing.  We could also recognize that social order is in fact itself something that is living.  How can it not be, given that all the social world’s principle parts are living human beings.  Our understanding of history shows this has often been the case, for always there is a successor civilization - a product of a kind living ongoing and continuous social metamorphosis (running parallel with the physical changes remembered in the geological record).

Human beings, being in part quite stubborn, often resist change rather than “go with the flow”. For example, “...all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” from the American Declaration of Independence.

This resistance will make for social friction that “heats up” the whole process, and the politics in America in the present is a good example of this type of social phenomena, which unfortunately can be seen everywhere in the world.   When the Bush II government decided to invade Iraq, they did depose a brutal dictator, but the social effect of this (which was quite predictable) was to reduce that dictator’s firm control over the Iraqi population, such that after the American invasion tribal and religious disputes, previously inhibited by a strong dictatorial leader, were able to break out and a condition of social chaos then arrives.

I offer the above discussion as a brief look at the Stage Setting, against which (and within) billions of human biographies unfold their own personal drama.  This Stage Setting over the course of human history has undergone all manner of changes and shifts, and for most of the present the view of educated human beings has been that the point of history is these changes in the Scenery on the Stage.  The so-called masses are collateral damage to the actions of the main characters of what moderns call history.  Stalin, Hitler, Washington, Lincoln, Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, the Buddha, Moses, and on and on and on.

Owen Barfield points out that the English historian, R. G. Collingwood, held the view that the reality of history was not really the actions, so much as the thought that proceeded the actions.  Somehow what the actions mean to the actor brings us closer to the real historical processes.

The present day human general historical view of the meaning of human existence is not, however, the point of view of the Creator God - of the Divine Mystery.  From the point of view of Love, who operates in relationship to human beings from outside of time and space, it is the individual biography that is the central object of God’s attention and intention.  The nature and course of the Stage Setting - of the Scenery - is left to lesser Beings to organize according to their Created Nature.  It is the individual spirit that is the central object of Divine Love.

In a sense then, in order to even begin to understand the true Idea of God we have to realize that most of our conventional mental structures, through which we see the world, are human in the nature of their perception, not Divine.   One of the reasons we have such difficulty in understanding the Mystery of Evil and the Purpose of Existence, is due to our presently limited human point of view.

In fact, that limited point of view is part of what we need in this Age.  We need this view for our orientation toward our present life, and we also need to recognize that this view is weak and empty - it does not satisfy all our questions.  The view itself is dying into a new becoming.

Part of what we noted in the very beginning of this present text was the legitimate nature of the doubts of the New Atheists regarding the explanatory power of religious tradition.  In order for a major paradigm shift to occur, regarding both religious and scientific ideas, in such a way that that shift brings them into a more healthy relationship, this not only needs philosophical or ideal development, but completely new existential social conditions as well.  The dying into a new becoming of Western Civilization will include a deep reconsideration of our basic understanding of the nature of reality and the nature of existence.

Keep in mind (sorry to constantly remind, but habits of thought are hard to break) that the Creation - the what-is - includes everything, even our mistaken and erroneous modes of perception and understanding.  To better appreciate this, let us take up certain things we ought to have learned from natural science, for certainly much that natural science understands, or doesn’t understand, is a valid part of the greater whole.

further limits of the present truth-structures in natural science

Initially natural science focused on taking things apart.  The early natural philosophers dissected all kinds of living things, and burned the debris to ash in order to engage in chemical experiments to try to discover the nature of the parts (for a wonderful dramatic picturing of these and many related historical processes, read Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle).   This process of analytic destruction has gotten so excessive that physicists have now created super-colliders, with the intention to smash together at near light speeds very small particles in order to find out what pieces or parts of which such objects might be made.  Elaborate theories have been created (and keep in mind that there is plenty of evidence these theories have reached the limit of their usefulness), and billions of dollars are spent on machines whose purpose is to continue to take things apart.  Who knows what kind of war-making technology will come from these current ambitious and risk taking excursions.  Are there yet to be discovered new ways to destroy and ruin the World?

At the same time, while we saw the world for a time as made up of the pieces, which our excessive analysis suggests, in biology this assumption was slowly resisted and the idea of wholeness or ecology began to emerge.  The natural order in the biological world began to be seen as a marvelous complex of interrelationships, not just a bunch of pieces doing whatever they want.   A similar transformation is happening now in the field of cell biology.  After Crick and Watson, deep knowledge of DNA was thought to be able to answer all questions of life.   This is proving not to be the case, and modern cell biologists are now finding that the idea, inherited from older conceptions in physics, that the world was a huge tinker-toy-like clockwork, simply isn’t true in the cell.  The cell itself is a complicated ecology.

In the causal world of the cell, the part is no longer seen as determinative of the whole, but rather in some yet unknown way, the evidence is more and more appearing that the whole is determinative of the part.   Readers wanting to explore this better, are invited to go on the Internet, to the Nature Institute, and the writings of Steve Talbott (a student of Rudolf Steiner and others by the way), particularly: On Making the Genome Whole, for a wonderful summary of the current work in the field of cell biology.  Natural science’s habit of analysis (taking things apart) has reached a limit, and now we are called to learn to understand how it all properly worked together in the first place.

In cell biology the relationship of context and part has become critically significant.  But even that understanding doesn’t quite get what goes on in the human biography.  If the Stage Setting is the  context, what is its role as regards the individual human being (the seeming social part)?

One point of this line of thought is to further develop the idea that our conventional ways of looking at history and even at current historical-like events, is not really able to provide us with any wise understanding.  Wisdom is something quite different from mere knowledge, belief or understanding.  The phases of the changes in the Scenery of the Stage Setting are structural, but not of the essence.   The essence is only found when we look at the whole from the point of view of the individual biography - for that individual spirit, and the course of development over multiple incarnations of this spirit, is what-is, has-been and will-be the central object of Divine Love.

To do this in an adequate way, we have to recognize that the human being is not only matter but also spirit.  We touched on this above, briefly, by noticing that human beings are animated in their actions in a way other kinds of objects are not, and that in addition, human beings think, which is an invisible activity, but which yet produces vast consequences in our existence (art, science, religion, technology and so forth).  We also (again briefly) referred to traditional ideas of energy centers (chakras) in the explanation of the metaphor of the train wearing out the rails.  Now we are going far deeper into the nature of the human being.

What is probably the most scientific point of view of the immaterial aspects of the human being is found via the works of Rudolf Steiner.  These ideas have been operationally involved in the world for over a hundred years in many fields of activity (education, science, art, medicine, agriculture to name but a few).   This means they have been and are being tested.  The relevant details of that I’ll leave to the later phase in this book  on A Proof of God etc., but for now we’ll just sketch out certain ideas.

Steiner described three subtle bodies to go with the gross physical body.   While it appears that science only has an idea of the body as matter, our point here is that among the great number of facts that science observes are facts which give evidence of the existence and nature of these three subtle bodies.  However, as we described above regarding the pre-thought thought, natural science presently mis-interprets a great many phenomena as only having material-physical causes for its arising and becoming.

The problem then is not with the observations themselves, as much as it is with the act of thinking that accompanies the observations.  Recall in my little story that the man observes the woman, is attracted to her, but is falsely told how to interpret what he sees by a friend.  This is the condition of much of the current thinking in natural science today.   Many facts of the true nature of reality are observed, but the traditional materialistic explanation, already present in the paradigms of natural scientists, causes them to often miss-identify the meaning of what they observe.  Facts are empirical, remember, but the meaning of the facts comes from the mind.

Let me give a kind of classic example: the germ theory of disease.  Now in putting forward this next discussion, I do not mean to imply a change in the totality of our understanding of disease, or to pretend to being a physician, of whatever basic point of view.   I am, however, a decent philosopher, and it is part of my discipline to be as informed as possible with regard to all kinds of trends of thought.  I am also not putting this forward as The Truth.  I am just trying once again to demonstrate that a more self-aware thinking can find a different kind of meaning from shared empirical facts.

When certain disease symptoms appear in the human being (typically cold and flu symptoms), our shared idea (paradigm) is that we “caught” a bug of some kind, and that this bug caused the disease.  We can even examine the blood and other tissues and observe a proliferation of the relevant germ.  Our thinking is then that the germ, not usually present in the body in such numbers, is the cause of the disease.

The relationship between washing hands etc. in terms of infections of open wounds in the history medicine, is a more complicated variation of the following, but the same general rules still apply.  Tetanus, for example, while seen as related to bacteria (a germ or bug), is actually caused by a neurotoxin that is left behind, when the bacteria dies.  The proliferating germ has a toxic component in some cases, which is a whole other kind of problem.  Toxins make people ill independent of their carrier, and our regular anti-bacteria tetanus shot stops the process, but it is not the “bug” that is the cause all by itself, but rather one of its “parts”.  I point this out to help the reader keep in mind that here, in this part of the discussion, we are looking at something much more simple - cold and flu viruses etc. - while more complicated matters have to be dealt with on their own terms

Rudolf Steiner, in one of his many lectures to doctors (who are expected to become licensed physicians first, before they study his additions to their Arts), that was to give birth to Anthroposophical Medicine, remarks that this thinking about germs is the same as if we were to drive through a countryside where there were rolling hills of grass, in which many many cows laid contentedly chewing their cuds.   Seeing the proliferation of cows, we decide that this means that the cows caused the vital and vibrant countryside.  The reality is, however, that the cows proliferated because the countryside was such an amenable environment.

What this means for the basic idea of the germ theory of disease is that the fact of the proliferation of germs in the human body is not necessarily a cause of the disease, but rather a consequence of the disease which has so influenced the bodily environment, that the germs can then proliferate.  The ecology of our organism occasionally alters in its harmonies and balances, and if that harmony is tipped in certain ways, it becomes a more suitable environment for the proliferation of certain germ-type microbiological organisms.

To find the true cause of the disease (dis-ease) we have to look elsewhere.

Now we know that when what is called “cold and flu” season comes upon us, not everyone “exposed” to the so-called germs gets the dis-ease (shows the symptoms).  If the germs caused (as in forced upon us) the dis-ease and its symptoms, everyone would get it.  The causality problem here is not well understood even in the arts of medicine.  Why do some get it, and others not, when everyone is supposedly exposed?

A little common sense here can go a long way.

People are aware that we experience what we call “stress”.  Faced with certain “stressful” life circumstances (bad conditions of work, family conflict and so forth) we cope for a long time.  Sometimes when the stressful conditions abate, we relax our “coping” efforts, and will often then “get sick”.   Sometimes in the middle of the stressful conditions we fall ill.  People with heart disease and other chronic conditions are advised to avoid “stress”.   What is “stress”?

Stress is basically a psychological condition.  It is more felt in our inwardness, than it is observed in the physical, in the same way a “stressed” iron beam will eventually fail (see the 9/ll Towers).  While our physical material body itself becomes stressed, this is an indirect effect for it is our psyche or soul that initially experiences  the stress.  Our capacity to do what we call “coping” slowly weakens over time.  We wear out psychologically, and sometimes turn to various kinds of self-medicating processes in order to continue to “cope”.  Recall the metaphor of the train and the wearing out of the rails.

We drink alcohol.  We take drugs.  We run on caffeine and sugar.  We take over-the-counter drugs to suppress symptoms.  We vent our anger on others, who have not caused this stress-driven anger (the boss angers us, the spouse receives the venting).

We also stress our organism with bad food - food we shouldn’t really eat but which gives us a psychological lift (we sometimes call this comfort food).  We also receive from our environment all kinds of toxins.  Some of this comes in the air we breath (air pollution) and the water we drink (water pollution).   All kinds of synthetics are present in the environment, which come from a kind of chemistry that didn’t exist 150 years ago.  Our inherited bodies have never had an opportunity to adapt to this kind of matter, as it never existed before modern times.

A shopping mall includes a complex air-field of synthetic chemicals that are off-gassing from the plastics and their relatives present everywhere in the new products all gathered together in one place.  Remember the “new car” smell?  Shopping mall air is that off-gassing plastics “smell” multiplied hundreds of times.   Many people today cannot tolerate this assault on their organism at all, and have to hide from modern life in completely enclosed and carefully “aired” environments.

Keep in mind that a foul or fetid odor causes us to turn away from it, if we run into some that is caused by the decomposition of organic matter.  Our olfactory sense perceives particles in the air - an odor is a nose-sense perceived particle.  Mine workers can get black lung disease from breathing coal dust for years.  Cigarette smokers can get cancer.

All of this psychological stress, in combination with physical matter we should not breath or otherwise ingest, produces “illness”.   The most common illnesses are colds and flu, and these “diseases” can teach us a great deal if we think clearly about what they mean.

Once we realize that the germ does not cause the “dis-ease” - the imbalance in the organism, but arises (proliferates) because the inner environment of our organism has changed, we can then ask: well, what is a cold or flu doing?

Colds cause coughing and a runny nose.  Sometimes a fever will accompany a cold.  The flu causes vomiting and diarrhea, again often with a fever.  These are healthy body processes of elimination.  The wisdom of the body is responding to the imbalance in the organism caused by the excess stress and presence of toxins (poisons) in the body, and is not caused by the germ that is only able to proliferate because it is in that imbalanced environment.

When we get a cold and/or a flu we are actually getting more healthy.  The presence of the symptoms is a sign the wisdom the body is ridding our inner environment of unwanted material.  Coughing throws off particles in the lungs.   The runny nose throws off particles trapped in the sinus cavities.  Vomiting eliminates undigested and unwanted matter in the stomach, and diarrhea eliminates similar material from the gut.

Folks with serious gut issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), actually have a lot of abnormal micro-organisms in their gut-tract that proliferate there often because of an excess of un-natural sugars (such as: high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  HFCS is highly processed (as against natural sugars like honey and cane sugar), requiring not only a first stage highly chemical breaking down of corn, but then a re-building up of the products of this breaking down using synthetic enzymes.   HFCS is a completely manufactured (non-natural) sugar.

We need to learn to think of the gut-tract as an environment that if we do not properly care for it, will lead to much dis-ease.  There are useful micro-organisms in the gut, and destructive ones.  The diarrhea that goes with IBS is an effort by the healthy aspects of our organism to eliminate the incompatible micro-organisms.  Keep in mind that the gut-tract is an area that is open to the outside world.  It seems to be inside us, but this is not the case.  From the mouth to the anus we have a surface open to the outer world in the same way the skin is open to the outer world.

Many doctors, for example, routinely give antibiotics in order to kill the proliferated germs they think cause disease.  These non-specific antibiotics kill all the micro-organism in the body, which is why people after and during a  course of antibiotics are encouraged by the self-health care movement to eat yogurts and otherwise replace the killed micro-organisms in the gut-tract with fresh ones (probiotics).  Our gut-tract is an environment (ecology), in which the right micro-organisms form a  kind of useful symbiosis with our digestive and eliminative processes.

A good fever not only tries to force us to rest, but also exudes toxins through the skin.  The tongue changes color for the same reason.  A detoxing alcoholic or addict will do all manner of kinds of eliminations, and as well experience psychologically corrective processes (delirium tremens).  With a good fever we all will have what we call “fever dreams”.

Sometimes this process of psychological stress reduction and matter elimination happens on a very large scale, such as the Spanish flu epidemics that followed World War I.  Such epidemics overwhelm not just the individual physical body, but as well interfere with the ability of the social order (the health care system itself) to wisely respond.   The AIDS epidemic is similar, and again on a huge scale.  It attacks not only our bodies, but as well our ability as a society to understand disease processes with the right wisdom.  AIDS propagates as much from ignorance as it does because of what seems to be a viral infection.

The AIDS dilemma, as a social disorder, has gone so far as to attack the very foundations of the processes by which large institutions (pharmaceutical companies, governments, and health institutions such as the Center for Disease Control) interact with each other as they struggle with not only the need for a correct medical answer, but at the same time with questions of social power, wealth, and who is to possess it.  To learn more about this problem, Google Celia Farber, visit her website The Truth Barrier, and take to heart what the scientists she interviews have to say.

What do we see, when we observe thoughtfully normal disease processes such as colds and flus?  The wisdom of the body reacts with elimination processes and fevers.  In the blood, often, something called anti-bodies will consume (deconstruct) the proliferated germs.  The totality of this wise response is called the immune system, and we should keep in mind what AIDS means: auto-immune deficiency disorder.   Someone with AIDS can’t stop ordinary disease vectors in a normal way, and frequently dies, not particularly of the so-called AIDS virus, but of some secondary disease process such as pneumonia.

To have healthy anti-bodies, we have had to have in most cases the “disease”/germ/bug before.  In our childhood diseases we meet certain bugs, and the body has learned to respond with elimination processes and fevers and to manufacture cells (anti-bodies) that cleanse (eliminate) from the blood the unwanted proliferated germ (the same way we routinely throw out garbage from our kitchen, and for the same reasons).  But what causes what?  If the bug doesn’t cause the disease, but is a by-product of the environment created by the imbalance we call a disease, what else is happening in the totality of the human organism?

There is a karmic component we will have to deal with later, for at this point in our discussions our facility to be able to deal with this more complicated element is limited.  Here we are after other fish to fry.

Anthroposophical Medicine observes the existence of three subtle (invisible-spiritual) bodies, in addition to the dense material-physical body.  These are the ethereal body, the astral body and the ego or warmth body.  When we get to the A Proof of God etc. section, I’ll get more into the spiritual scientific means and details for making such observations - here we are just noticing how we ourselves can understand what is meant by these three subtle bodies, as our own personal powers of observation here are quite relevant.

We know what it feels like to get sick.  We don’t just have symptoms, but we feel “depleted”, spent, exhausted.   Our vitality is diminished.  This is an experience of our own ethereal or form creating life forces body.  Only after the course of the disease, that is only after the wisdom of the body has brought our total organism once more to the right balance, will the “feeling” of vitality return.  We can of course ignore symptoms and the feeling of exhaustion.  We can take over-the-counter drugs, and push the caffeine and the sugars and get through the day on the job or the work at home.

The astral body can also be called the desire body.  Wants and cravings live there, of both a positive and negative consequences nature.  We know we are not feeding a genuine physical hunger when we go for the comfort food - we are feeding a psychological need.  Generally the astral body involves movement - a want or craving brings about an action.  We don’t engage in sex by sitting still and staring at each other across the room.  The want and the satisfaction of the want are psychological (soul-full or astral) needs and processes.  The soul could also be described as: a field of consciousness.  All the same, much of this astral or soul (desire) body exists in the unconscious, or what is sometimes called: the sub-conscious.  That is we, as a self-conscious being, are not fully consciously aware of all aspects of our inwardness.  Addictions and bad habits are rooted here.

We also have an idea of self-consciousness itself - we use the word “I” to refer to our essential self.  This is called above the warmth or ego body.  While we have an awareness of this “self”, and we try often to act in the world out of this “self”, we don’t have much sense of its larger nature - or that which suggests to anthroposophical medicine to call it a “body”.   Our sense of this “self” is most open to being observed if we learn to observe our thinking, a matter we’ll get to in more detail later.

Now what the materialist calls the “immune system” is a combination of the ethereal and astral bodies in action, and in cooperation with the physical body.  Rudolf Steiner suggested a very subtle distinction here, which can later be seen as very important.  He said the reality of the physical body is the laws or principles there embodied.  The matter - the stuff - itself is not the true physical, as much as are the laws which organize the matter.  Not so much the stuff, but the way the stuff functions - its operating rules as it were - that is what is essentially the physical body.


it matters to me,

for matter to be,

and that I

to matter, do matter

The ego or warmth body organizes our bodily warmth, and it responds to imbalances (diseases) when we get a fever.   A fever is an increase in the activity of the ego or warmth body.  A consequence of this is that we need to sleep and lie down during a fever.  Our “I” (the warmth body), in its yet unknown totality, has to focus its presence to greater effect, which means also that it is less available for normal consciousness operations.  We have the fever and we dream through its processes as the fever contributes its powers to the total process of healing.

We have, for a bit now, been noticing the actions of these subtle bodies during processes of healing the imbalances of disease.  Their normal activity is even more profound, for most of us spend the greater part of our lives in a state of health, and it is out of that state of health that we unfold our biographies.  The above discussion was just to introduce us to the existence of these subtle bodies and now we are going to look at their manifestation as aspects of our social existence, all of which appears between birth and death in a certain way.


In a way, consciousness, as Steiner explained, is a death process.  It wears out the rails.  Keep in mind here that we are working with the Idea of God, which is complicated in its details.

We wake and sleep.  We eat and eliminate.   We work and get tired.   We meet people and react to them.  Keeping in mind our general rule that the Creation is the totality of the what-is, all the normal actions of our life are a part of this what-is.

When we are born we are clearly unfinished, in both a physical sense and in a psychological sense.  What takes place in the womb does not launch us fully into life.   Whereas a colt will soon stand and run after birth, it takes a human being generally at least a year and a half to stand and walk, and much longer to freely run.

We are generally born into families, and these families are in turn embedded in communities.  As we develop within the family and community we acquire languages and cultural impressions.   Recall above Barfield’s idea of “figuration” as a kind of immediate thinking that we don’t even notice.  We learn early on not only the name of objects in our immediate environment, but also a certain specific cultural meaning for many of them.

A baby will put anything in its mouth, but probably should not eat anything.   It is the family and culture that helps the baby differentiate which object is appropriate to swallow.  The same can be said of ideas, although which ones we learn to “swallow” involves a much more subtle processes in our psychological and mental life.  The total amount we learn in growing up and maturing as a human being is quite vast.  Our various bodies, the visible and the invisible ones, all play a role.

Memory and mental activity have a lot to do with the ethereal body.  Desire and hungers and good and bad habits have a lot more to do with the astral or desire body.   Life choices have a lot to do with the ego or warmth body.   The physical body lets us operate in the material world - the world of substance or matter.  When we have fully understood how the Creation came about - the the delicate eons-long processes involved in the formation of the total human organism (see Steiner’s Occult Science: an outline) - we will then truly begin to appreciate what a gift the Creator has given us, none of which is by accident, and all is by design.  It is no accident many spiritual traditions call our bodily organization a Temple.

To touch something I need to be able to reach out and/or walk toward it.  To feel that touch I have to have an inner consciousness; and to choose to touch it I have to have a want and a degree of self-conscious choice.  Moreover, to remember what it felt like to touch and to reflect on the meaning of that touching I need other aspects of my total organism.  Because the materialist only conceives of matter as possible, he doesn’t observe with the right care what is actually there to be observed, which upon reflection would reveal the invisible bodies.  He keeps looking for consciousness in the material brain, but forgets his own self-awareness, for clearly there - before our own self-awareness - we are more than a physical brain.

Its not like we don’t have the idea of invisible forces (gravity, magnetism etc.), we just are predisposed at this time in the evolution of consciousness to not see what is there to be seen.  Later we will understand why this is so (there is a detailed discussion of the Ahrimanic Deception or Enchantment in the Way of the Fool and also in American Anthroposophy), but for now let us just return to normal or universal observations of the human being and their biography.

One of the mental capacities our organization grants us is: the imagination.  We can consciously form various kinds of inner mental pictures.   So far we have been picturing in a kind of abstract way the idea that each human individual is born into a particular and individual family and community and language and culture.  Let us now try to use the imagination to be more concrete.

Above I mentioned the film Slumdog Millionaire.  I mentioned that movie because it was popular and thereby gave to many readers of this book a possible example of a very different kind of upbringing.  In a similar vein we can look at Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, which shows not only different cultural upbringing, but how these differences makes for huge problems of understanding even between neighbors.

We are now going to enter more intimately into our psychology - our inner world of thinking, feeling and willing - but in a such a way that we form our own conceptions based upon a degree of self-observation that is available to all of us.

We all have things we like and dislike.  Sometimes these “feelings” are immediate and reactive, and their background in our biography may have come from characteristics acquired from our families.  For example, Mom and Pop didn’t like blacks (or whites), and were outspoken in their dislike.  Perhaps even the wider family and community had the same characteristic.  We take this in during childhood and it becomes a part of our psychological makeup.  Now some will call this bigotry or racist, and while that may be true, that is not the point here.

We also might like to eat chicken, but not beef.  Or carrots and not corn.  Maybe we like women or men of a certain type or shape.   Maybe some experiences of a positive or negative nature (re-enforcement) have led to certain likes and dislikes.  Whatever the source, we move through life reacting to what we meet there out of this background pattern of acquired (or instinctive) likes and dislikes.

Some likes and dislike are then similar or common (more universally human) whatever cultural or religious background there is in our biography.  Many are not.  Most people like pleasurable experiences and dislike unpleasant experiences, but what is pleasurable and unpleasant may have cultural connections or roots.

As we grow up, the community of immediate external influences changes.  First family, then peers at school, then the work place, and perhaps ultimately the marriage partner.  We adjust  constantly to these changes and experiences.  Our family may say to us something like: You have to grow up and mature and part of growing up is giving up giving in to your personal likes and dislikes - you have to adapt to the social world.

In different places in the world, in the present, the individual responds to such experiences in a variety of ways.  In America, for example, the child is often quite oppositional to family and to school social pressures.  Sometimes what we don’t like is conforming, or having others tell us how to be.  In China, the social pressure may (in this present, but not as time goes on) cause greater conformance.  Going to the big city, getting a factory job and then getting married and having a child just might be the complete goal of many young men and women in modern China.  It can be seen as a way to leave rural poverty, and gain a middle-class existence, with all the siren-call bells and whistles of Western consumerism.

If we look at this with our Western biases, we may well not see what it means from inside the biography of those who take such paths.  In a similar way, an adult in China may find incomprehensible the oppositional behavior of a teenager in America.  To actually see requires effort on everyone’s part.   We have to engage the imagination, and create on purpose inner pictures in which we see ourselves walking in the shoes of the other - the Thou.

A failure to do this can lead to serious errors of judgment.  For example, Sam Harris, the author of the End of Faith, in a recent talk given at a TED conference made a negative moral example of a Pakistan father who might believe it is right to kill his daughter just for being raped.  The picture Sam Harris created for himself was completely abstract - it had no relationship to anyone real.  It did serve Harris’s purpose, which was to denigrate the father’s imagined religion and to blame that religion for what we in the West would consider an immoral act.

Most of the active disliking of Islam in the cultural West takes similar paths.  We start from this disliking and this reactive semi-conscious feeling then leads the thinking to form certain kinds of mental pictures of other people that justify this feeling.  Most of us do this all the time - all the time.  We even have a name for it: thinking to a forgone conclusion.

Further, with our thinking we often make eternal truths out of a dislike or a like.  We raise it up as a kind of flag, becoming self-righteous, and we often join a community of others who share these strong likes and dislikes.  We parade around with this shared view, and so we get then the Tea Party Movement, or the New Atheists.   Now I am not criticizing what is quite normal and ordinary activity.  I’m not saying the Tea Party folk or the New Atheist folk are wrong, - or right.  I am just pointing out how a certain very normal presentment of human psychology manifests in the world of our shared public life, and which is there seeming to cause irritation and conflict.

Birds of a feather, flock together - is the folk-wisdom.

We have here then the combination of two phenomena.  In the biography, we develop certain habits of feeling and of mind, and these draw us into certain associations, and away from other associations.  One type of phenomena is the more typical kind of social observation we can make about associations and what they seem to do as regards our shared existence - that is the groups take their collective likes and dislikes and can go so far as to cause wars to appear.  Or they become part of a Corporation, which then serves itself at the expense of its customers, its workers and the environment.   They can also form a peace movement or a service organization.  All the varieties of human social communities fit this general scheme of having come into existence because of shared likes and dislikes.   But even so, this remains Stage Setting - that is Scenery to the individual essence within the biography, which is us as actors in Our Own Play.

At the same time, let us not diminish this Stage Setting.  It is one of the aspects of our existence to which we react out of our likes and dislikes.  Yet, we need to keep in mind that the meaning which we give to the Stage Setting is not frequently shared.  We individualize our meaning-understanding, such that this then is reflected in our behavior in relationship to the Stage Setting.

The core phenomena we are exploring here is what it means to the individual to be a part (or not) of something.  An individual self-consciousness (immortal spirit) sees these social situations from the inside.  Whatever we may think from the outside, looking on to the social form or any individual, the fundamental fact is that to each individual, inside the social form or outside it, the self-consciousness is having experiences.

One of the things that a study of Nature teaches is that Nature doesn’t waste anything.  Above I made reference to current work in cell biology, which reveals (among other basic truths) that Nature multi-tasks on a very high level.  Nature reveals not only inter-dependence (ecology) on all levels, but shows that what in one process seems to produce waste (a byproduct with no apparent immediate use) in fact produces something crucial to another process.

Why ever should we conceive that the hard won experiences of human beings, gained through all manner of pain and suffering and joy and love, during their biographies, is wasted when the physical organism dies.  But this we do in terms of our so-called scientific ideas of the consequences of death.  There is no afterlife, no hereafter.  When the body dies, I cease to exist.  Yet, nothing we observe, even in purely physical Nature, suggests conscious and self-conscious experiences do not continue.  Once more: Even physical Nature wastes nothing - all is recycled.

Nevertheless, the Idea of God and the Theory of God, with which we are now working, clearly includes in it the concept that the experiences of the biography are not wasted, but rather survive death in a multitude of ways.  Remember, the Creation is the what-is, and part of the what-is is our experiences - that which during the biography enters our life and forms and changes us over time.

Obviously, given conventional non-spiritual thinking on this subject, one can come upon ideas that suggest there is no self, there is no change over time because we are simply the product of blind chance genetic DNA and hardwired in the brain deterministic causes.  Yet, if we think about it, the criminal justice system, and our own instincts, wants to hold people responsible for their behavior.  We know we make choices ourselves.   The choosing of what to do and to think is, as the Founders of America declared: self-evident.

Let us examine this phenomena

- the problem of human freedom -

in more detail.

The content of our consciousness includes sense experiences (we see, hear, taste smell and touch-feel) the world.  We also have self-experiences, in that we have an interior existence of thoughts, feelings and impulses of will.  Most of us assume that the former (sense experiences) are public, that is shared; and, that interior (thoughts etc.) are not shared, but are private.   We believe will all see the same tree, although it will look subtly different depending on where we are standing in relationship to it.

No one but us knows our own mind, although current advances in brain scans seems to suggest that this is not to be so in the future.  At least there are people selling a kind of know your truthfulness product, and claiming to be about to be able to read your mind.   All that puffed up prediction, however, needs to be taken with a grain of salt ... just read decades old Popular Science magazines to see how many dreams of scientists and technologists have never become realized.

Take, as an important example, the content of our thought life.  We noted above the kind of thinking Barfield called: figuration - or the semi-conscious nature of the names and the meaning of the objects of our experience.  He also pointed out to us: reflection and theorizing as additional modes of thinking.  At the same time these modes produce a content, which we carry around with us as it were, mostly via what we call memory.  People who have serious dysfunctions of their memory have a lot of problems living any kind of normal existence, but frequently they do, making some kind of creative adjustment in another sphere of their inwardness.

At the same time, the total content of this memory and figuration aspect of our interior nature will vary considerably depending upon where we were born and how we were raised.  Granted a Muslim and a Christian will both know what trees are, albeit using different sounds in speech to name them, but the meaning of a social act in one culture can be vastly different from the meaning of a similar act in another culture.

For example, handshakes and other gestures often do not have the same cultural meaning.  Types of eye contact vary as well.  As we grow into our birth environment we are socialized and this normative process is quite determinative of a lot of not only our outer behaviors, but also of how we think when we reflect upon or theorize about our existence.  But this process of socialization in its broadest sense does not, in all details, account for how we live.

Something individual enters in.  In a large family of many siblings, even though all are exposed to the same cultural forces, each is different in both temperament and character.  One easily lies, another is always angry.  One is more pretty, one more ugly (against cultural norms, not in any kind of universal abstract sense).  This child is sweet in childhood, and a poor father or mother as an adult.  A child easily liked by others will have an easier time in the family.  The one less liked, a more difficult time.

As we go beyond the boundaries of family and join in peer to peer associations outside it, another factor enters in.   In some cultures women are more protected, in others they are treated as counters in a game of status.  What being a man means is also different, and so are the aspirations we are taught to admire and to seek.

If we focus on any particular individual as they grow from childhood and into adulthood, we will see someone, who, while a member of a language, culture and religion, will be by temperament and character* not like anyone else in the whole world.  Certainly we can look for sameness, but eventually that breaks down, and something unique emerges.

*[Temperament and character are subjects worthy of study in their own right.  As this text develops we will touch upon some of those matters in greater detail]

Within the wide matrix of the influences on their life they will make entirely individual and non-predictable choices.  If we ask them at the right moments, we will find a common shared impulse: the impulse to be free of all the demands life makes upon them and to be able to chart their own course.  One person’s ambitions might be small, another’s grand.  One will accept as fated most of the hardness of life, another will blame and hate the world for their circumstances and strike out against it.

To gain a greater purchase here, lets imagine this more from the interior of the individual, and less from the outside as social observers.

I wake in the morning.  Something of the day before lingers - pains, difficulties, hopes and even dreams.  I have ideas about what I want to do, and what I will have to do because of where and who I am.  I will “see”, as in think, the meaning of the world in my particular way, some of which I share with others, but other aspects of which I do not.  I swim in a vast sea of individual memory and meaning, unique to me.

I strive though the day according to the possibilities it contains.  Maybe I go to work at a shop, leaving behind a wife and some children who have their own course of that particular day to chart.  My boss is a jerk.   The children have been demanding, as has been the wife.  They all want more of the material wealth that they know of through Western television and movies, which are everywhere in their environment, even if just posters on a wall.  I am driven by theses circumstances to try to gain more wealth, but the boss has his own wants and needs and chooses to abuse my basic good nature.

At the same time, he likes to go have tea with other shop owners, and like them leaves his employees to do the work.  These tea breaks can last most of the day, although at the end it will be a certainty that he returns, looks over the shop, checks the cash register, takes most for himself and pays me as little as possible.  Using my thinking, and driven by my feelings, I plot how to steal from him.  If I am clever, I may find a way.   If I am not so clever I could end up in jail, or worse.

I spend a lot of time worrying.

One day, a far more clever man comes into the shop.  He knows there are people like me, who want to find an edge or a game to make more wealth.  He preys upon this need in me, and talks me into a scheme, where we both will steal from my boss.  In the end, he takes it all and leaves me literally holding an empty bag.  Now my life lies in ruins.  The boss is yelling, and taking out his new Western cell phone to call the authorities.  I am crying.

Later in jail I am visited by my wife’s father, who berates me for being inadequate, and blames me for the fact that he now has to take back into his home a useless former child and other mouths to feed.  I need a lawyer, and he could help me get one, but refuses.

While waiting in jail for my trial, I am befriended by another man, who tells me that if I just give my life over to our God with more devotion and depth, my problems will be solved.  Desperate, I believe him.  In two days time a bomb goes off near a wall of the jail, and hundreds of us flee into the streets.  I go with my new friend, who it turns out was friends with the maker of bombs.

The rest of the story you can imagine on your own.  The point of the story is not to justify anything done by any party to the story, but rather simply to lay out how there can be all kinds of universal elements to existence (at least within specific cultures), but even in that case the individual choices tend to be ours. and fundamentally determinative.

Necessity means that we have to choose ... what we choose is ours - no necessity drives the nature of the choice.  To know this in its most intimate way, we simply have to reflect carefully and systematically on the story of our own life.  We can remember our struggles to be ourselves - to be the individual we know we want to be.   We can reflect on the many circumstances over which we had no control, in that they created the necessity of action, but notice as well that while we often told ourselves we had no choice, the reality was that we had all kinds of choices.  Even in telling ourselves we have no choice, we are engaged in a self-serving mental act, meant to justify before our own conscience those choices we make that are against the advice of that same conscience.

These internal psychological wars are also part of the Creation - the what-is.  Some may want to believe that deterministic rules, of either a biological, or of an outside moral-social-conformance kind, drive our actions, but careful self observation will reveal that this is not actually the case.  In fact, the drive for personal autonomy is quite strong in our Age, and over the course of a biography this drive will have influenced the totality greatly.   Even conformance is, for many, a choice.

We have everywhere the recognition of this in Art.  There is no drama, nor any comedy, without this basic insight of both our foolishness and an insatiable desire to put upon the world our own individual stamp.  In a lot of cases, we’d rather do something dumb, than conform.  The meaning of our acts must in this Age spring from our own inside, even if the feeling-driver is fear.

Now this varies over the world.   Some cultures are more aflame with this than others.  This is not a contradiction of the basic theme, but rather a recognition that this general interior development opens its flowering upon the world in time-differentiated phases.  Folks living in America tend to be ahead on the individuation curve, so to speak, while in other places in the world folks are less individualized.   Next let us take up an important example of how this comes about, in order to more concretely appreciate what is being pointed out here.

In America, following WWII, there was a kind of pause in the pace of change.  We called this the ‘50‘s.  A lot of seeds of cultural change sprouted at this time, but I only want to point to one: the emergence of Rock’n Roll.  This was a kind of celebration of freedom, only possible by people who felt this need for individual freedom and had to push strongly against the general culture of conformance in which they found themselves (c.f. The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and Mad Men).  Some religious in America have called this period of our history, that sprouted at this time: the family values crisis and the culture wars.

Fifty years later, young people in America have a totally different kind of growing up experience, because of what happened to the conformance power of social existence as a result of the push for individual freedom recognized in Rock’n Roll.  The whole matrix of the way they view the world is today different, and the social world itself is totally different.

But that was not the end of this change-process, because Rock’n Roll was exported to other cultures.  It is clear now, in spite of efforts by the Republican Party to give to Ronald Reagan the mantle of terminator of Russian communism, that it was Rock’n Roll (mostly the Beatles according to some) that brought down the Berlin Wall.  This music carried the idea of individual freedom further out into the wider world and this has powerful effects.

Everywhere now, Rock’n Roll inflames young people with this idea of individual freedom, and slowly as the older generations die, and the new generations gain social power, a different human being is being born.   Where above in this book, we spoke of the evolution of consciousness in a kind of theoretical way, we can here see exactly how such processes arise.  There is an interactive reciprocal relationship between social-cultural existence, and individual development that can, with Rock’n Roll as an example, be observed in action.  Consciousness is changing right in front of us if we are willing to be awake to it.

Keep in mind that Rock’n Roll was only one seed that spouted in America in the 50‘s.   There were others, and the scale of these changes that has swept away the recent social past, just before the launch of the Third Millennium, can be staggering (although subtle) if we bother to notice it.

Let me add something here, which remains not well understood even in Christianity, but whose Mystery we have been observing: Don't think I came to cause peace across the land.  I didn't come to cause peace, I came to wield a sword, because I came to divide a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a bride against her mother-in-law, and to make a man's servants his enemies.  Whoever prefers father or mother over me is not worthy of me; and whoever prefers son or daughter over me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever found his life will lose it, and the one who lost his life because of me will find it.  Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me, receives my Sender.  Matthew 10: 34-40 The Unvarnished Gospels, by Andy Gaus.

When we seek A Proof of God etc. we will have to deal with certain causal questions, one of which concerns why individuality arises and why modern society has the inner contextual nature that it does.  Yet, for the moment, we have not gone deeply enough into our examination of an individual biography, so let us now proceed more intimately into our interior.

It is important to be able to see the other - the Thou - as an individual from their deepest inside - their deepest life of soul (consciousness).  We use our imaginative picture making capacity for this journey.  We have by tradition two words: spirit and soul; and by modern convention: self-consciousness and consciousness.   Let us assume an identity in the sense of the following ...

If I point at a tree, I can call it a wump.  In itself it remains what it is, however I name it.   Spirit can, without much difficulty also be called “self-consciousness”; and Soul can be called “consciousness”.   For our purposes I will use the more modern terms.

Any human being presently alive will have some sense of self-consciousness, or what they mean when they use whatever word in their language is meant to refer to “I”.  In English we say “I”.  In German “Ich”.   Their appreciation of self-consciousness, as an experience, will vary however.  Rules of culture may make this expression of “I”, or ego, more or less important.  Remember above where Michael Dorris in The Broken Cord said that in Lakota Sioux we can’t say I hit him, only we hit us.  A particular culture’s meaning of “I”, or self consciousness is not common throughout the world.

All the same, at the level of experience there has to be an experiencer - or that which experiences.  Let us call that which experiences the I, or self-consciousness, just keeping in mind that variations exist as to the degree with which the self-consciousness itself, recognizes itself.  Let us next call the field of the content of experience: consciousness.  We experience, and these experiences collectively reside, as content, in a field of consciousness.

So at any given moment, the attention of my self-consciousness may be in movement according to which particular aspect of the total field of the content of my consciousness is more or less important or demanding.  Perhaps I am having a conversation with someone, and I disagree, such that even though I am to a degree listening to them, I am also simultaneously shifting my attention from that aspect of my conscious experience toward my interior discursive thinking where I am rehearsing my reply.

Maybe we are simultaneously standing on a street corner, my feet hurt because my shoes are tight, I really don’t want to be having this conversation because I am due elsewhere, and in fact I am late for that appointment, while behind the person I am talking to is a panhandling homeless man who is coming this way, and beside me there are two people arguing over who gets to get into a cab.

The field of the content of my consciousness (experience) will consist of sense experiences (vision, smell, taste etc.) and thoughts and feelings that are interior to me (apparently private).  The meaning of these experiences will be unique to me, however.   Their meaning depends to a degree on the relationship between my self-consciousness (spirit) and the field of the content of my consciousness (soul).  The nature of that meaning and those relationships will have been formed over the time of my biography, which itself is unique to me.  I will have habits of thought, habits of feelings, habits of memory and even habits of upon what objects of my attention I will let that attention come to rest (men tending to look at women’s breasts is a good example of this latter kind of socially induced habit). 

To continue with another example:  I own a car.  I know nothing about cars.  I take my car which is making a funny noise to my mechanic.   He lifts up the hood and we both stare at the engine, while it is running.  I listen for the funny noise and try to point out which part of what we both hear is “funny”, and he will listen to the engine seeking the same thing from his richer point of view.  As an experienced mechanic, he will see and hear (see the meaning of and have a relationship toward) matters concerning which I am completely ignorant.  We both “see” the same engine in a purely physical-sense way, but the meaning of that seeing is highly different.

Another example: I go to a family gathering.  I am talking to a cousin I have not seen for years.  Her children come up to her and talk to her, and then run off.  Her husband drops by and does the same, perhaps chatting with me a little bit.  We seem to be having the same experience, but we in fact are not having the same experience, because the meaning of the interactions on her part are far deeper than what they can ever appear to me to mean.

We superficially call this aspect of our experience: subjectivity.  The self-conscious subject has its own unique relationships of meaning to the objects of its own content of experience (the field of the content of consciousness).

In terms of the Creation - the what-is - none of this is accidental at all.  Each self-conscious human being is an immortal spirit engaged in biographical experiences created and meant for them.  Our whole biography is a work of art, in which we have (and on into the future) a more and more co-creative role.   The point of the biography is the content of the experiences, and the influence this content has on the nature of the self-conscious spirit, which survives death and carries that transformation, which arose during a particular biography, on to the next incarnation.

Of course, many are used to thinking that much that we experience is entirely accidental.  Moreover, we can, in a silly kind of way, make our perception of such matters carry too much meaning - that is we can inflate its significance.   The varieties of this are enormous.

Some readers will want here to have some kind of justification for how this came to be, for natural science has taught us to look for a mechanism, or a causal process by which whatever exists has become what it is.  The naive explanation of too many religious today, such that it is God’s Will or God’s Plan doesn’t meet the justifiable demands of reason for explanation.  This need for explanation is what gives power to the Theory of Evolution and the Theory of the Big Bang - the explanation satisfies something in those self-consciousnesses that find religious ideas untenable.  So does the idea of random chance, and certainly many like to see chance or accident operating in almost all elements of our biography.

Unfortunately a complete exploration of this part of the problem - the problem of chance - must remain for that stage of this book where we are more directly involved in A Proof of God etc..   Here we are still dealing with the needed Idea of God and the related Theory of God.

Nevertheless let us continue by making at least a first and superficial pass at the causality problem and the nature of change and/or destiny ...

Given (according to our Theory and Idea of God) that each human being has prior incarnations, we can now begin to appreciate just why each biography is unique and also why each unique biography is placed within the social-political context in which it arises.  Each individual needs to have karmic and destiny meetings with those who in past lives it has acquired shared wounds and depths of meaning.  The total number of immortal spirits needing incarnation in order to have the special experiences that can only be acquired in our Age, is part of the reason for what we call: the population explosion.  Keep in mind that this Idea and Theory of God seeks to explain every fact of human existence - nothing is to be left out.

One person will incarnate in Bombay, take up Hindu religious ideas, have certain personal relationships, and develop their self-consciousness (spirit) along lines of meaning specific to them.  They will belong to a certain and specific family matrix in order to accomplish these tasks.  They will also be part of quite definite communities of shared meaning, such as a political party or a sub-group within their religion.

If we, in the West, look upon this situation from the outside, from our own parochial point of view and cultural biases, we might think that if they were truly a rational being, they would not have the political ideas and religious view which they have.  In effect, we judge them on the basis of our own developed ideas of meaning and relationships.  We believe they should think like us, and that we are better able to tell them how to live.

If one reads objectively the thinking about other religious and cultural ideas that inhabit the books by Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins (mentioned above), this is what we will find.   A complete inability to see the world with the right wise sympathy, and to appreciate that the other - the Thou - is completely entitled to their unique constellation of meanings by which they orient themselves in their own biographical life.  How they live is not our business, unless it directly impacts our own life.

When the Creator of the what-is in the Gospels teaches about the mote and the beam, this is what He is teaching about - this biased and hypocritical approach to judging the life of another.  At the same time, a part of the what-is, in this moment of time - this particular Age, is this act of judging, because most of the presently incarnated self-conscious spirits are not yet as developed as they might otherwise become.

The judging of the Thou is then itself an important and fundamental signature gesture of the wider meaning of the Age in which we presently live.  Everyone has their unredeemed passions and biases.  We form associations in order to find mutual support for our particular beams - the biases in our own mind’s eye (thinking).  Maybe we are of the Tea Party movement.  Or, we like the ideas that appear on the Huffington Post.   We all think our view is best or better than those views which are not the same.

The driver for this, which is everywhere in the world, is that aspect of our shared human psychology which we have been calling: likes and dislikes, or sympathies and antipathies.  These are mostly reactive feelings, which generally exist below the level of our conscious thinking.  They influence the thinking, but we don’t notice this influence.  What we do notice is that aspect or characteristic of ordinary mind (spirit/soul nexus) which we might call: discriminatory thinking.  We distinguish aspects of our experience according to how we value them (their seeming subjective meaning).

This book is good, that one is bad.  This person is evil, that one is a saint.   That person is good-looking, the one next to them is not.  This idea is rational, that one is not.  The whole world burns with the passion that flows out of our self-consciousness’s attitude toward others according to where we place them in relationship to our personal categories of values. 

The English alternative rock band Muse, has this refrain from their song Uprising:

They will not force us

They will stop degrading us

They will not control us

We will be victorious

This song was created from the attitudes of the band and its lead singer Matthew Bellamy.  He has a specific content/meaning in mind when he uses the words They and Us.  The odd element is that the passion of this song is the same identical passion held by all groups that share the same strongly felt likes and dislikes that have a political or religious (or even scientific or artistic) components.  Discriminatory distinguishing thinking everywhere divides the world into Us and Them.

This division produces social consequences, which some ancient spiritual traditions believe will lead to what is to be eventually called The War of All Against All.  Individualism is to fail to learn to temper itself, and clashes leading to chaos are to be unavoidable.  It becomes me against the world, and the world against me, which as we know today is recognized as a kind of mental-spiritual dysfunction.

At this stage of civilization we are able to join with other’s of like mind, and thus increase our effect on the total aspects of the Stage Setting - the shared scenic background to the realm in which we unfold our individual biography.  As Bob Marley sang: Everywhere is War.

The Rastafarians have an interesting way of speaking that is relevant here.  Instead of “you and I”, they say “I ‘n I”.  Marley sings that the idea of “you” comes from the devil.   I’n I is similar in nature, as an idea, to I and Thou.  In order for me to understand you, I first have to recognize that you too are an I - that is I have to actually carefully and consciously think not just about you, but with you.  I have to validate in my own mind your point of view (overcome my own  instinctive discriminatory and distinguishing thinking).   Yet paradoxically, I have to simultaneously honor my own thinking  and respect yours as well.

Unfortunately, for us to have peace, we both have to do the same act, and right now the world seems intent on not doing that.   Why?

Recall Christ above: I came not to bring peace but a sword.

Our Idea and Theory of God must include and take account of not only discriminatory thinking, but as well its social consequences.  Remember above where we noted that Nature multi-tasks - nature does multiple things all at the same time, and that nothing is wasted.

We can today, with some justification, perceive that there is a world of Nature that is not the same as the political-social world of human beings.  Humanity has, in a kind of way, emancipated itself from raw Nature.  We no longer live in the Garden.

From the point of view of some, we, the Children of the Earth, are killing and consuming our Mother.  We have set ourselves above or outside the natural world.  We take aspects of the natural world, and we create a second un-natural world astride the natural one.   Many people are so fully adapted to this un-natural world that they could not survive without TV, cars, computers, fashion, movies, coffee, and teeming crowded cities.  Civilization is, at this time, falling, and if it falls far enough few will survive.  The great mass (the population explosion) that has incarnated into this present for certain purposes, having achieved those purposes, will take a break.

If we live into, with our thinking, the ongoing social processes of this time, we will see a kind of heating up of conflict everywhere.  A central cause and product of this heating up, even though due to our differences (us and them), is this conflict.

The conflict itself has meaning.

Conflict presents the self-consciousness with moral choices.  The neighbor is beating his wife - what do I do?   My daughter’s boyfriend is an addict - what do I do?  My boss is cheating our clients - what do I do?  The political world, out of some form of collective madness, is letting our Climate go wild - what do I do?

Most of these situations are in their nature outside the scope of any existing religious moral teaching.  The traditional rules can’t be made to apply.   Most people swim in a sea of moral teachings, but while these idealistic rules can often be stated in simple form (don’t steal, love your neighbor), what life presents to us in the actual dynamics of our individual biography is far from simple.  Moreover, by the time we are young adults, we have already made all kinds of compromises to the demands of life.

Our character is generally formed, although not fixed.  Should we awaken in some fashion to the deeper potentials of our self-consciousness (spirit) and consciousness (soul), it is not a given that we have to fall into a kind of rigid-like character stasis.  Deep changes are always possible.  All major religions, for example, offer in-depth alternatives to their traditional practices, although generally not intentionally.  Each religion has its darker seeming cousin - the black sheep that doesn’t quite follow the ordinary and normative rules expected of everyone else.  We can identify them by how much the zealots and fundamentalists of each religion adorn them with hate.

The Jewish religion has Kaballah.   Conventional Buddhist religion has Tibetan and Zen Buddhism.   Hinduism has various styles of Yoga.  Islam has Sufism.  Christianity has Anthroposophy, Christian Hermiticism and even modern versions of Alchemy.  All these “black sheep” cousins have living teachers, traditions and a great deal of literature.  Even natural science has its more edgy practitioners, who surf the boundaries of conventional thinking.

These heretical-like streams, bordering conventional belief systems, are actually often something from the past or the future of that particular system of belief.  Yoga and Kaballah are ancient.  Islam, just in arising where it did, generated Sufism out of ancient Persian mystical practices.  The most modern is Anthroposophy, which was by Rudolf Steiner properly rooted in the ideals of natural science itself.  The writer of this book (The Art of God)is, in part, an anthroposophist, and Steiner’s Spiritual Science has been and will play a prominent role when we enter more directly into the matter of Proof.

All of these black sheep approaches defy the moral straight-jacket of their traditional religious cousins (which is why the zealots and fundamentalists hate them).  Rules are not their approach.  Instead, the self-consciousness is taught to discover its true potential, and to find in that potential its own spiritual authority and autonomy as a creator of individual moral law, applicable to the immediate circumstances of our lives.

This is not moral-relativity, but rather situational moral wisdom.   The situation dictates the question, and modern moral questions generally lie far outside the easily stated moral precepts of most religious texts.

Moreover, these paired cousins do not stand in a sharply defined relationships to each other.  There is no guarded border crossing, in spite of the efforts of the true believers.  Progressive ideas leak into the traditions everywhere, for there is, among even the traditional religious believers, a hunger for a deeper and less conventional wisdom that meets the actual temper of our age.  And that is the key to understanding this mystery.

Tradition kills.  Religious habit has no life in it.  Belief systems strongly tend to be rigid and inflexible.  Science itself chokes on its own too long existing assumptions and pre-thought thoughts.  The Age demands wisdom.   Yeats had it correct, all the way back at the beginning of the 20th Century: the center cannot hold.

The Stage Setting is becoming increasingly chaotic.  Examples of the breaking down of social order are everywhere, and few efforts to create more order, once it has fled, succeed.  Katrina was a lesson on the present and continuing inability of government in America to deal with crisis.  The politicians talk a lot, but don’t (and can’t) do much.  Europe has racial questions it cannot answer, arising after decades of importing cheap foreign labor to fuel its economies.   Africa has AIDS from decades of sexual license and constant wars over the theft of its resources.  Asia seems poised on a bright economic future, but the promise of middle-class wealth is spiritually hollow.  The possession of things does not feed the heart.

Here is a peek at one aspect of the Proof:

The Idea and Theory of God, from the point of view of some of science, ought to enable us to make predictions.  The explanatory power of a true and valid religious Idea needs to include the ability to gain some knowing of what is to come.

At the same time, a present day prediction can only give us something not yet, and therefore we can’t in this moment gain much from such insight.  Yet, past religious Ideas have made predictions - so let us consider just one here: John the Baptist. [in Matthew 3:11] “Now I bathe you in the water to change hearts, but the one coming after me is stronger than me: I’m not big enough to carry his shoes. He will bathe you in holy breath and fire.” (emphasis added)

According to our Idea and Theory, so far elaborated, Christ is the Creator (adjusting to some new understandable theological nuances).   This new “Christ” Ideal is not, however, meant in any way to conform, except simplistically, to the basic Idea elaborated so far in traditional Christian thought.  Moreover, as considered here in its version as expressed as a prediction by John the Baptist, this “He” who will come after, is not only completely unlike anything we could conceive of mathematically (that is quantitatively) it is something almost beyond (transcendent) of any qualitative Idea.

Yes, the five apples are rotten (a quality), but the active Truth, Beauty and Goodness of Love seems, in its Manifestation, to be trans-qualitative (magical and mystical); and, it is no wonder that previous meetings of the Divine Mystery by the mystics has often led over the long ages of mankind to pure poetry, e.g. the Prologue to the John Gospel:

In the Beginning was the Word, ....

We have, in the text above, pointed out two themes relevant to this current discussion.  In one theme (seen now from a few different directions) we are coming to realize that social order is in decay, and that it would be a viable point of view to assert that Western Civilization is falling.  Further, Western Civilization has had such an influence world-wide, that it is causally responsible for all kinds of decay occurring on a wider scale all over the earth.  Western Science and American Rock’n Roll (just to give a couple of what could be hundreds of examples) have transformed world cultures and continue to transform those traditional and even ancient social Ways.

Hidden within Western Civilization is Christ’s Sword (I come not to bring Peace but a Sword), in those social processes that promote and encourage individuality at the expenses of traditional social-conformance rules and ways.  The kid wearing the Western style t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, with their commercial logos, whether in Bombay or Beijing, is also Western materialism attacking the now fading away instinctive root religious and cultural traditions of ancient Hinduism and Vedanta, as well as the ancient social rules of the Way (Taoism) and Confucianism, as these linger in the social order of these cultures.

As particular social order (the Scenery of the Stage Setting in various places) fails, something new seeks to replace it.  Social order is living - is in fact at least an organism (all its parts are living!), and a dying always precedes a new becoming (c.f. the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis previously discussed).  Within this increasingly less rigid social structure, the individual biography finds greater freedom of movement, and the innate self-consciousness begins to find a greater sense of its own identity.

The social friction, caused by our yet unredeemed antipathies and sympathies, inflames our  intimate social situations (family and community).   And, to the degree we form associations of a political or religious nature, in order to hide from or influence this obviously increasing social chaos, this further brings us into conflict with each other.   These conflicts then lead naturally to  moral dilemmas that cannot be satisfied with just the tradition rules.  Our life is too complex anymore for such as the Ten Commandments to solve all questions of moral need.

How do I treat the stranger-other, who seems to my likes and dislikes, so unlikeable (c.f. Eastwood’s Gran Torino).  One way to see this clearly is simply to recognize that most News Stories are about these conflicts.  While the Stories tend to fix on particular examples (a celebrity, or a politician), these are basically examples that can be found everywhere.   Most of our Art: drama on TV, Hip Hop poetry, Country Music tales, - reveals the universal character of modern life with its endless conflicts and resulting moral dilemmas.

Both the Stage Setting, and our personal biographies and their related moral challenges, burn with intensity and change.  This is Christ’s Baptism by Fire as predicted 2000 years ago by John the Baptist.  As we more and more assert our growing sense of our own individuality (self-conscious spirit), we cannot but run into each other in friction and conflict, for we do not all desire the same things.

Our crowded teeming cities are conflagrations of growing social chaos, and neither our religious leaders, or our political leaders, or our intellectual leaders (in the Ivory Tower) understand this.  When a civilization ends, all its normative processes also decay into chaos, and this includes, for example, education.  There we yearn and struggle to make our schools better, but each individuality asserts different approaches, and their conflict creating antipathies and sympathies constantly interfere with the processes of potential compromise.  No Peace, only Sword.

Why?

The predicted Baptism is not only of Fire, but also of Holy Breath.  What is Holy Breath?

Far above we took a brief look at the spiritual potential of thinking.  Something invisible inside us goes on its own courses, and it clearly is determinative of much of the conflict between “I and you” (us and them) and the resulting social chaos.  Here is some relevant wisdom: Guard your thoughts, for thoughts will become speech.  Guard your speech, for speech will become deeds.  Guard your deeds, for deeds will become character.  And, guard your character, for character will become destiny. (from a poster I saw in a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescents, where I worked at one time).

This sequence begins with Thought.   Experience will show that Thought is the father and the mother of much that we do.  Even its absence (apparent thoughtlessness) is proof of the case.  Without Thought what usually happens is unwanted.

Against this approach might seem to be our idea of spontaneity.  Yet, a science of self-observation will show that even in spontaneity Thought exists.  It is just that Thought and Deed are in spontaneity united.   We live the Thought immediately in Deed and just don’t notice this fact.

To repeat:: A science of self-observation will reveal that even thoughtlessness is not without Thought.  Thoughtlessness is just the absence of reflection (remember above Barfield’s: figuration, reflection and theorizing as kinds of thinking).  Thought is still there, but it is not reflected upon, which means that reflection and the sometimes related conscience dynamic are not present.

Tibetan and Zen Buddhism try to teach what the former calls: crazy wisdom, which is the significance of first thought, or intuitive wisdom.  While meditation practice (in Eastern Cultural traditions) leaves aside thought for outer breath (the mindfulness yoga of letting our self-consciousness rest its attention on physical breathing), thought is not expected to disappear.  It is just seen, in terms of Eastern practice, as secondary to attentiveness or mindfulness.  So we learn to be attentive and mindful of the situation (the encounter with the other - the Thou - in the region of potential social conflict).

It is curious, is it not, that given this doctrine of the often intuitive validity of the first thought, that we describe doubt as to this first thought validity as: having second thoughts.

Self-consciousness is to be awake to the situation.  In this awake condition we will intuitively see how to relate to the situation in a wise way, for such seeing insight will have related to it a thought that is the first thought or knowing which then is to flow into the deed. (for an example of this, notice how the lead female character in the movie: The Civilization of Maxwell Bright pauses for a moment when faced with a question.  In that pause she perceives her ”first thought” and then proceeds to act on the basis of it.)

The problem is that this ancient traditional Way of intuitive knowing/seeing/doing is not adequate for the present-day more evolved stage of self-consciousness alive in the modern Age.  In Western Civilization, as it dies into its new becoming, the self-consciousness spirit of the thinker is capable of doing something that was not possible before in the traditional past of prior states of consciousness, that once gave birth to Eastern cultural traditions.  The ancient Ideas of God, and Self and Other, are just that: ancient.

It makes no difference whether these traditions are Hindu or Chinese, or Persian, or even Hebrew.   The Past is always gone beyond - just as materialistic science shows as regards biological development on a purely physical level: evolution is a real process.  It is also a real process in terms of consciousness and self-consciousness.  There too, in the invisible inner realm of our psychology, evolution is a real process.

The modern question is: What is Thought today to a scientific examination of its nature?

As we saw before, according to Barfield’s Saving the Appearance: a Study in Idolatry, Thought, in a certain sense, used to be outside us (the Greeks’ idea of genius was as an outside inspiring spirit), whereas now we moderns recognize this genius of individual spirit as being inside us.  Previously we noted that Rudolf Steiner wrote in The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception that:  “What takes place in human consciousness is the interpretation of Nature to itself. Thought is the last member in a series of processes whereby Nature is formed.”.  And that Emerson wrote in his essay Nature: “Nature is a thought incarnate and turns to thought again as ice become water and then gas.  The world is mind precipitated and the volatile essence is forever escaping into the state of free thought.


The assumption of Science has been that thought is disconnected from material sense reality, and given thought’s self-evident subjective nature (in their view), some other process of truth seeking needs to be utilized.  This view of Science is dependent upon this assumption of a disconnect being true, and the above three thinkers clearly would not agree.

The question is resolved on a practical level if we learn to overcome the apparent subjective nature of thought, and discover its objective reality.  We do this by replacing the Eastern yoga of physical breath, and its attentive or mindful apprehension of physical breathing, with a Western style and modern scientific yoga of attentive or mindful thinking, where the breath-like nature of thought itself is observed.

The observer’s attention rests now on the becoming and dying away of thought itself.  Further, because we are scientists here, we can experiment with the creation of thought via the activity of the own self-conscious spirit.  In this way there arises a union of the religious spirit and the scientific spirit, in a loving and careful objective appreciation of the beauty of the self-evident facts related to the creative nature of our individual activity of thinking and its yet hidden spiritual aspects.

Granted, for most readers their experience of their own thinking does not easily fit in with the above remarks.  We don’t normally self-observe our thinking processes the same way we might study what appears to us through the senses.   This is why I have been writing of mind-sciences, whose object of study is the own mind (Know Thyself, said the Greeks).  In the just above I wanted to lay out certain discoveries that are possible if we choose to apply ourselves in this realm.

This becoming and dying away is most evident when we observe how thought functions when we are faced with a moral dilemma.  Even Sam Harris’s new book: The Moral Landscape, only has meaning if we assume that moral activity (even of the so-called scientific kind) can overcome biological determinism - that is moral activity is assumed to be free activity.  The social chaos of the Age pushes the individual biography into the Fires of the Times, and into the related painful trials of moral problems.  When we study the breathing (living) processes of thinking, in its dying and becoming in relationship to moral questions, we will find there the Baptism by Holy Breath as predicted 2000 years ago by John the Baptist as regards the coming activity of the Creator of the what-is.

For the most part we instinctively don’t react spontaneously (first thought) to moral questions, rather we worry them - we engage in reflective thinking on them.  Where we do react spontaneously, we already possess a kind of inner certainty that this is the right action.   We know intuitively in spontaneity what the right thing to do is.  We, in this spontaneous approach, don’t even consider a rule, but rather thought and action are joined as one, and we have no doubt for it is our very own being (our self-conscious spirit) that knows what the right thing to do is.  A good example of this is the instant impulse to return an overpayment of incorrect change in the everyday encounters we have with each other.

When we are inwardly conflicted (remember: conflict has meaning) about what the right thing to do is (also a common inner reality), then we engage in reflection and even theorizing.  Often, oddly enough, the conflict arises because the rule provided by the social order (family, religion, philosophy, belief etc.) conflicts with our healthy instinct or sense for what is right.  We instinctively know what is right to do, but want to justify that as against social expectations and rules.  Modern Art is full of the observation of these human truths - this conflict between our own healthy sense of what is right, and the social order’s insistence that it knows better than does our self-conscious spirit.

 

Let me here point to two movies in which Art has captured this reality: Pay it Forward; and Gran Torino.

In both films, the active individuals engage in reflective or theorizing thinking in order to form the judgment upon which the moral action is based.   The reader needs to watch these films (if they haven’t already), and not look to me to write in detail of these movie’s perceptions of self-conscious Moral Art.  Granted, I could spend pages elaborating the plots of these movies, but as noted far above, I am well entitled to ask of my readers here to do more than just passively react to what I write.  Go to the other sources, and don’t blame me if you are too lazy to do so.  This is science and the other sources are offered as evidence.

In Pay it Forward the object of moral activity is chosen in order to actually do a moral deed that is not the result of biographical necessity - it is a freely creative deed.  In Gran Torino the moral deed is reactive to biographical necessity created by the actor through previous actions.  Both of these types of moral actions are common today.

A significant difference has to do with the degree of intimacy of the object of our moral action to our personal biography.  In Pay it Forward, the stranger-other is sought out in certain circumstances, much in the way someone joins Doctors without Borders as a means to be a moral participant in world order.  We react to the ongoing degenerative changes in the Stage Setting and try to place our biography into that social matrix as best as we understand it.  In Gran Torino, the Thou on whose behalf we engage in the moral action is well known to us already.

What we don’t notice, mostly because it is unnecessary to observe this, is the role of thinking.  Like the fish in water, we swim in our thinking without really noticing it.  We do the thinking, but we don’t notice the details of the thinking.  In Pay it Forward, the inventor of that idea is actually asked to create an idea that will change the world, as a challenge in his school class.  In Gran Torino, the producer of the relevant idea there is caught up in a dilemma created by his own actions, which yet requires considerable creativity to manifest.  In both cases the moral idea is not found in a book or other outside source, but only in the thinking of the actor.  Even in Pay it Forward, part of the idea the young boy creates there includes the thinking of the moral actor in determining that nature of the coming action and its objects.

[A brief aside: some may think that film (art) is not scientific.  This can seem true if our understanding of what scientists actually do is weak.  Roger Penrose wrote in his The Emperor’s New Mind, pp. 421, Oxford University Press, 1989: “It seems clear to me that the importance of aesthetic criteria applies not only to the instantaneous judgments of inspiration, but also to the much more frequent judgments we make all the time in mathematical (or scientific work) Rigorous argument is usually the last step! Before that, one has to make many guesses, and for these, aesthetic convictions are enormously important...”]

In fact, in the film Gran Torino (as previously noted), when the soon to be moral actor (the Clint Eastwood character) is asked by one of the individuals he wants to benefit (a young neighbor boy): what he is doing just standing there instead of acting (the boy is angry and wants to act immediately), Eastwood says: I’m thinking.

In thinking the moral action is created.  Rudolf Steiner described this reflective and theorizing activity of thinking in his book: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity as involving three stages, although in spontaneous moral activity the whole is collapsed into a unity.   These three stages are: moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.

In moral imagination a picture of the moral question is created in the thinking.  The more complicated the moral dilemma, the more carefully does this imaginative picture need to be created.  It is not a static picture, but is best if it is somewhat organic or living -  that is, if it is framed as a kind of story with a beginning, a middle and an end.   We can construct it out of our past which produces the dilemma, for example, as a way to begin the story.  We can also imagine possible actions as we search for that which will feel to us as the right action.  This is the reflective and theorizing thinking Barfield points to.   Most of us are doing this instinctively when we “worry” a moral question.

This imagination will eventually dissolve into a kind of point.  Here is the yoga of thinking in its change from inbreathing to outbreathing.  We at this moment know the question, but it needs no elaboration - the knowing is what we call in our ordinary discourse: the whole point.  What’s the point we will say.  Well, we can then elaborate that point, but in reality there is still, as an aspect of our inner experience, a sense of the crux of the matter, so to speak.  Our sense of the point or the crux is almost idea-less.  The knowing is close to doing.   Thought and Deed are seeking each other out.

The reason we don’t notice this “process”,  of changing from inbreathing to outbreathing is because we are mostly busy doing the thinking/creating.  We are worrying the dilemma.  Our thinking is not reflection on the act of thinking itself, but rather is focused on the need to solve the moral dilemma.

Once the point or the crux is alive in the the Now, the Moment or the Event, then comes the answer - the question having died into this intuitive question/meaning, immediately gives birth  to the moral intuition - we then know what the right thing to do is.  Worrying is over.  We know, and oft times there will be pain here, for as both movies point out, moral action generally requires of us a personal cost - a sacrifice.  In fact, part of our experience and our dread as regards moral action is our knowing there will be a cost.  If it was easy, it wouldn’t be of the same value and meaning.  Spontaneous appears easy - we know instantaneously what the right thing to do is, but even spontaneous most often bears a cost.

Moreover, in a moral intuition we know we have created it.   We have seen it is so, as the inbreathing of the moral imagination spins over into the outbreathing of the moral intuition.  To our self-consciousness this knowing is very satisfying - we have made a choice that belongs to the core of our own nature, which is why doubt and worrying disappears.  The course of action is seen and now we must go through the process of incarnating the moral intuition into life, which process Steiner has called: moral technique.

The technique questions are often merely technical, although essential.  They are details and nuances that naturally arise as we engage in the chosen course of action.  But to our will, the central problem is resolved.  Suppose we have decided to tell our best friend that her husband is cheating on her.   The agony of deciding is over, and we have left then only to choose the right place and time and to find the last bit of courage to actually complete the act.  These simply happen, although reflection and theorizing, at a far less intense worrying level, may be involved.  The effort to make the hard choice has produced a kind of psychological momentum that carries over into the technical application problems inherent to the life situation.

Where in this process is the Baptism by Holy Breath?

One short answer is here: "What’s born of the flesh is flesh, and what’s born of the breath is breath. Don’t be amazed because I told you you have to be born again. The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes; it’s the same with everyone born of the breath”.  John 3: 6-8

And here: “...and observing the latent embers of recollection, mindfulness and vision within each separate soul, He aids our communion by breathing on these embers. He gives to each, according to that individual need, that aspect of His Life which is His Breath” - [me, from my book American Anthroposophy]

Holy Breath is without content.  We are not told what is morally right to do.  For that we are to only satisfy ourselves.  Remember, the divine is distributed, and we are an aspect of it.  Without our feeling that this is the right thing, according to our own judgment, our moral action in the world has little meaning and even worse, little force.  Holy Breath comes immediately (instantly) after we have decided.  He breathes on the latent embers of our striving to do the right thing, and with His force of Life infuses those embers with what we need according to our individual situation.  He said: I will be with you, every day until the culmination of time. [emphasis added] Matthew 28:20.

In our ordinary consciousness and worry-filled moral life, we don’t usually, at this stage of our self awareness, know this delicate and subtle presence of Fullness and fullness of Presence.  When we get further into the technique aspects of Proof, how to observe and experience this will be made more clear.  To know this Holy Breath, directly as an experience, is one result of of the practices of a modern mind-science.  At the same time it is there according to our need, given that we are the object of Divine Love.  Again ... Holy Breath is without content, we are not told what to do - that belongs to our freedom.  Christ’s Love exhausts itself into our will in the act of being with us.  Our will guides, His will follows and gives Life through giving company in the same identical way a friend gives us life through giving company.

If we study the mind science, such as discovered and elaborated by Rudolf Steiner and which is original to our modern Age, we will discover how to observe our own thinking should we wish to engage in that investigation.  The books for that are essentially scientific maps to the territory of the mind: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; Truth and Knowledge; and, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (sometimes called The Philosophy of Freedom, or The Philosophy of Intuitive Thinking).  Keep in mind that the map is not the territory.

Now this can seem to be very strange to the naive thinker on matters of the reality of a true Idea of God, Theory of God and Proof of God, The Art of God and The Theory of Everything.  Somehow the idea that the present-day point of existence has to do with the fire-like biolographical circumstances of life causing a transformation of the basic character of each human individual in terms of its moral development - this idea can seem quite odd given our more usual: Life is random chance, or God has a vague mysterious plan.

But the question, ultimately, is what is the truth.   That is the scientific question.  Not to say we will get an answer to that question immediately and with certainty - thus our use of theories of evolution and cosmic origins (the big bang).   Mostly this book is about offering an alternative explanatory theory of human existence to that which materialistic science (all is matter, there is no spirit) presently offers.

Let us restate one general way of seeing this, for it will help to walk around the subject carefully ...


and make an evolved synthesis of the previous thoughts ...

Science is predictive, as well as descriptive.  It is an act of synthesis as well as an act of analysis.  We observe.  We note.   We think about what we observe and note, and draw conclusions (create meaning).  We use as a primary tool in this Art (science in its highest sense) our own mind.

About this tool we know very little, because for the most part conventional scientific practices  examine it from the outside, not the inside.  Only by examining mind from the inside we will discover that we have a great deal more flexibility in the use of this tool than we previously thought.

A science of the mind is observational, descriptive, analytic, synthetic, and experimental.  It is also artistic and religious.  In this we mirror the world we already know.  That mind experiences Nature as beautiful ought to suggest to us that the apprehension of this beauty is one of the goals and wonders of science.  The best writing of natural scientists on their art is filled with this wonder.

What tends not to be noticed is how devotional we are to the tasks of science.  The best scientists are as much in love with the subject matter of their studies as is the nun or the monk in love with the Divine.  Not realizing that Nature is the Word Embodied in a Living Equilibrium, natural scientists don’t yet notice the real object of their affections.  Karl Popper wrote in Realism and the Aim of Science, pp. 8, Rowan and Littlefield, 1956: “...I think that there is only one way to science - or to philosophy, for that matter: to meet a problem, to see its beauty and to fall in love with it;...”. 

An authentic science of the mind produces two additional kinds of thinking, to the three observed by Owen Barfield (figuration, reflection and theorizing), or perhaps better said: such a science evolves these kinds of thinking, into an organic form and a pure form.  (c.f. my Living Thinking in Action - the essays in that booklet are included here as the last two essays of this book).  We brush instinctively up against this organic thinking, when in worrying the moral dilemma we make a story of it with our moral imagination.  This imaginative story-picture has life in it, in the same way as does a plant or an animal, which is why we can learn to experience this style of conscious thinking as: organic.

We can think in this organic way about anything living, which includes social forms.  A family is a collection of living human beings, which has its own story, and as such it can’t be anything but living, because all the parts are living.  So also with a community, such as a local church.

Pure thinking we brush up against, when the moral imagination picture-story morphs into the moral intuition-knowing of the right action.  The crux or point or meaning of the moral dilemma emerges in the insight and recognition of what the right action is.  Steiner described those who learn to do this in full consciousness: knowing doers.  He also said that human cognition here plays a completely creative role.  The individual moral pure-thought did not before that time exist.  We create it into existence in order to respond out of our deepest essence to each particular moral dilemma of our life.

The same with the organically produced thought - it is creative (remember Spirit is distributed).  In the section on Proof we will get into the new sciences fostered by Steiner’s work, such as Goethean Science, Anthroposophical Medicine, Bio-dynamic Agriculture and so forth, and find there the creative contributions of this organic style of thinking.

This organic thinking and pure thinking can be applied to all questions of the meaning and significance of human existence.  This we have been doing in this book, with the result that I described for the reader the basic facts of our existence as shared in all our biographies.  Recall: science is observational and descriptive as part of its work.

All possess self-consciousness (spirit) and the field of consciousness in which experience resides (the soul).  We are born and die, and during our earth existence we are raised into a family, community, language and cultural heritage all of which contributes to our nature.  We acquire a very rich thought content, most of which appears as figuration, but a great deal of which appears before us when we reflect upon and when we theorize about our own existence.  The totality of our thought content is unique to us.  Parts we share, but the totality is ours.

In fact, we insist this be so - we don’t want to be told what to think, for that is, to our way of seeing our own existence, the most private territory of all.  Yet, thought is, as we just noted, so intimately present that we swim in the sea of it often without noticing it at all.

Beneath and woven into thought are our feelings.  These too we swim in, for the most part not able to distinguish our selves (our self-conscious spirit) from the feelings.  Yet, in language we reveal that we do, on some instinctive level, know that we are not our feelings.  Our I experiences (has consciousness of) feelings, but is not these feelings.  We say: “you made me feel angry!

We also say: “you made me angry!”  Leaving out the word “feel”, we skip over the fact that such an expression, in the first instance, makes no sense unless feeling is experienced to the I as an object in consciousness.  The second statement sees the I and the object as identical, and the first one as not identical.  The differences in these statements reveals our confusion, on the one hand, yet on the other our clear perception on occasion that we are not our feelings - that the I remains a subject, and the feelings an object in the field of consciousness - the soul.

The word “feel” means in this sense to experience anger.  In paying attention to these matters we begin to find clear distinctions between the self-consciousness (that which experiences) and the consciousness (the field of the content of the experience which is experienced).  For some people the feelings are hard to connect to, so the psycho-therapist asks us to “own” our feelings.  But “own” here means not so much to identify with, but rather to be responsible for - two very different kinds of inward actions.  They are our feelings, not someone else’s.

The reader is invited to make their own further observations as seems warranted.

Feeling as also related to meaning.  Recall above the sentimental value of the cup - its subjective meaning, as distinct from its sense-observed existence.  In the complexities of adult life, and in our associations via communities of shared meaning/feeling concerning political, religious, scientific and artistic values and situations, we act (will) in the world creating friction due to our differences.  The Creator of the what-is produces, through our developing individuality, not peace but a sword, at this stage (Age) of our shared incarnations (biographies).

This is the Baptism by Fire predicted by John the Baptist 2000 years ago.  This Baptism by Fire causes pain in the life of experience of the one that experiences.  This makes it possible for this I - this self-consciousness - to wake up to itself more deeply.   Were life painless, and without suffering, we would sleep and dream like a plant.  That-which-experiences awakes in the pain of existence (and in its pleasures as well).

Part of these experiences, occurring as aspects of the Now - of the event, concerns the other - the Thou.  The Thou is not I.  The Thou has its own thoughts and feelings and impulses of will.  Anyone married or raising children knows intimately the truth of this, for the Thou insists upon its complete independence from the thinking and feeling and willing of ourselves.

Yet, the pain of experience places our I, via such friction and the conflict arising from these differences, into moral questions regarding how we are to act in relationship to the Thou.  We have an impulse to do the right thing with respect to this Thou.  The life of our biographies submerges us into a sea of moral experiences, trials and challenges.  At the same time, we have to choose - the nature of the choices are not made for us, although having to choose is often a necessity.

Some readers here may think then of folks, like hard criminals in our prisons and also wandering our streets, as too morally defective to face moral dilemmas.  Yet, this is not so.  Life in a prison, or on the dark streets of our cities, is just another unique set of circumstances of life into which a particular and unique individual is placed in order to have those moral trials that belong to them and their personal karma.  No one is untouched by the Trials of Fire in the Biography, although some will, as we might expect, tend to always choose the Self over the Thou during the moral elements of these trials.  But this capacity for the choosing of the interests of the Self over the interests of the Thou is in our freedom, as a gift from the Creator of the what-is.  Just keep in mind that those in high finance and positions of social leadership are just as much facing these trials as those on the street corners and on death row.

We are tempted to judge others during these trials.  Assuming that they should think like we do, we overlook the obvious facts revealing they do not.   Assuming we know what the right thing to do is, we look at their actions, and knowing that we would not act as they do, judge them as lacking something.  What we overlook is something we don’t have to continue to overlook.

One of our possible actions is to learn to walk in the other’s shoes.  We use the imaginative picture-story, naturally organic and living, reflective and theorizing thinking capacity to create less superficial and reactive mental pictures of what the Thou is about.  We notice our judging, and choose no longer to do it.

Christ promises (again a predictive and fully scientific gesture - as well as a moral art) that: Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged; you will be sentenced to the same sentence that you sentence others, and by whatever standard you measure you will be measured. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? And how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get that splinter out of your eye,’ with that log there in your own eye? You fake, first get the log out of your own eye, and then you can see about getting the splinter out of your brother’s eye!  Mathew 5: 3-5. [Emphasis added]

When we get the judging out of the way, our thinking can then see more deeply the nature of the Thou, and from that deeper seeing become actually able to help them with their mote (their seeming flaw, which our egocentric impulse has inflated all out of proportion).  But this sacrifice of our beam - our judgment - is a moral art.   It’s necessity arises because of the Fire in the Biography that itself arises because of the friction and conflict between our I and the Thou.  Without the Fire, we would sleep and dream and not wake up to the original and unique nature of the Thou.  Nor would we, without the Fire, wake up to our own creative capacity to act morally.

Inwardly asleep their meaning to us would be flat and impersonal - unreal.  And we ourselves, in the context of failing to meet them, are also less real to them and to ourselves.  A seeming real element comes from the pain and the pleasure of the encounter in the event with the other (as recognized to some degree by the French post-modernists).  However, the authentically real element only appears in the choice leading to the action - it is the will in the act that is the most real.

To find the moral act, as noted above, requires of our thinking a sequence of actions that, while outlined in Steiner’s The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, are instinctive in many people: moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  The more consciously we do these inner acts, the better will become our skill, craft and art as a moral actor on the Stage and within the Scenery of the World.

The Fire of the Baptism creates the necessity for inner activity, within which the Baptism by Holy Breath appears as a support for our choices.  We choose and Christ the Creator is with us.  Christ is even with us when we fail to do what we know to be the right thing.  In the case where we find the courage to act morally, knowing the consequences for our own existence, Christ is there as Holy Breath blowing His Life on the burning embers of our own will-on-fire.  He adds His Life to our experience.

He is also present when we fail, for we will need to be comforted.  In this instance Holy Breath is experienced as inner forgiveness.  This is subtle, but important to notice.  We see the moral dilemma, and fail.  But we must go on with life.  At the point we “let go” our focus on the failure, we then move on to the rest of life, and to the next opportunity to act in the world according to our sense of what is right.  At this moment of letting go, Christ’s Life-Breath appears there as a comforting sense of inner peace.

Again it is a yoga of breathing in the thinking.  The letting go of the idea of moral failure is an outbreathing.  The self-conscious spirit, or I, leaves behind the thought of failure, and goes on to new thoughts of the next challenge.  Christ - the Creator of the what-is - is with us, however we need to be.

A point to be added here, so as to enrich our understanding of the Creation, is how it is that we meet certain specific Thou’s in the course of the Biography.  In the ideas of fate and destiny and karma we have an abstract and hardly real apprehension of these dynamics.  Only when we let our thinking reflection and theorizing directly come to rest on the mystery of who our companions in life are, will we begin to appreciate the Art expressed here by the Creator, who Rudolf Steiner at various points described as the Lord of Karma, and who I prefer to describe as the Artist of Karma (recall the name of this book: The Art of God).

Our meetings are not accidents, although it is entirely possible to never realize this, because we never let ourselves think properly on the related experiences.  Further, without these challenges, the deeper moral life for the human being is never born.  Baptism concerns Birth.  Our companions in life are there for a purpose.  No meeting is inconsequential, and many relationships contain a hidden power to heal and inspire.

Steiner considered questions of karma to be a special work for him to research, and actually produced many books and lectures on this subject, especially the eight volume Karmic Relationships lectures.

At the same time, such ideas as these are not widely present in the world.  Recall how we have observed that each self-consciousness has its own collection of ideas.  Many of these they need so as to be part of the family, community and culture in which their biography is to unfold.  Other ideas belong to their particular matrix of choices, which they need to make in order for their biography to take the course that lies potential in it.

While we tend to swim in a sea of ideas that are shared, a fact of objective inner observation reveals that we individualize all our thoughts.  We all may have an idea of what makes a family function in a healthy way, for example, and many will serve those ideas in order to make their particular family successful.  At the same time, a careful conversation with different family members would reveal that each individual’s version of the same basic idea is subtly nuanced and different.

For example, one family member will hold  that, while family gatherings are valuable and important, as are family traditions, just how those gatherings and traditions are conceived of in particular will be different.  Observations of families reveals the common arguments over these matters, as well as patterns of dominance exercised by various family members over others.

The shared family religious idea matrix, to continue the example, may not contain the idea that the biographical destiny of the individuals in the family is special to each member.  People often will feel their family relationships as a weight, rather than a gift.  The truth of the special nature of our relationships does not have to be consciously known in order for it to be operationally true.

At the same time, to raise this fact into our personal consciousness will enrich our experience of these relationships.  We can actually have a deep and profound inner sense of the shift of this thinking paradigm, when we consciously choose to see as no longer intrusive the Aunt who always seems to mind our business.  To see her as someone who is loving us as deeply as best she can, and from whose existence our biography is richer, can let us to a degree recognize that we might well want to be very grateful.  But that shift, from antipathetic reactiveness to a more authentic appreciation, requires our conscious intention and choice.

There is profound mystery in all these relationships, in positive and negative ways, which our artists of film dramas often see, ... for example, the film: Rachel Getting Married.

a slight shift of emphasis

From space, with telescopic and time-spanning inner eyes, we can see with our imaginations all manner of human beings, millennia ago crawling all over an area of Egypt, moving great stones and creating three pyramids.  We don’t have to see them exactly to know that they were there and what they did, for we see what they left behind.

The same with New York City.   Millions of lives spent just in constructing the buildings and the slowly ever increasing in height countless towers over the centuries.  Not to mention all that have come and lived and worked there.  Our imagination can view them as if they were ant-like human-looking creatures: crawling, moving, jumping, dying, crying, loving, murdering, screwing, screaming, drinking, drugging, and even praying.

We can, with our imagination, see the physical forms rising and falling, the steel and iron skeletons of buildings going up and coming down.  Taxi’s everywhere, most yellow, moving, flowing, stopping.  Limousines too.  Women in party dresses, men in tuxes.  Hooded scary skin-heads, or black men, with knives and guns, robbing, raping.   Bald white men running porno theaters using 15 year old run-aways from North Dakota as endless fodder.  Men in suits, watching computer screens, stealing money from widows’ bank accounts, all in legal ways.  Russian and east European women, used as sex slaves by their own countrymen.  Nuns, no longer in habits, serving soup to the homeless.

Television and movies tell these and a million other stories every day of the year.

There is something that we don’t see with our senses, but only with our imaginations.  We don’t see terror, or anxiety, or fear, or joy, or happiness, or psychosis, or pride, or careful thought or love - at least in the form it appears within the field of content of consciousness (the soul) created there intentionally or instinctively via the activity of the self-consciousness (spirit).  A good drama can evoke in us at least some sympathy that such is felt by the actors, and we know in ourselves at least some of this.

Waiting outside the office for a job interview, or perhaps to be fired.  Drinking in a bar, trying to cover up the pain of a relationship gone south.   Picking up a child and playing with them in a public park.  Being afraid to walk down certain streets - a different kind of fear if the neighborhood is black and we are white than perhaps if the neighborhood is white and we are black.  Driving while black.   Walking in Tucson, at night, if brown.   Riding a bus or a subway filled with strangers, anyone of which might go postal in a moment.  Falling asleep over the books of our night college courses, then jumping up late having forgotten to set the alarm, skipping the shower and grabbing a coffee on the corner as we rush out to work.

The Tibetan Lama Choygam Trungpa said that spiritual enlightenment could come quicker in the West because of the pace of change, although we needed to spend all day every Saturday in sitting meditation, learning to slow down the rushing mind as a balance to the social speed.  The Hopi Indians of the American Southwest have a word in their language: Koyaanisqatsi, or life out of balance.  Their elders say: we are the people we have been waiting for.  Gandhi said: be the change you want to see in the world.

So much spiritual advice, so little time.

The Creator Loves us.  The folk wisdom is you don’t get more on your plate then you can handle.  If we are going to have an Idea and Theory of God that is explanatory of the rush of life in our boiling crowded cities, in a systematic and scientific fashion, where oh where do we start?

We could start anywhere - let us here start with pace and speed.  Two kinds of speed: the pace of life itself, and the rush of thought in the mind.

Rather than deny the speed and pace of life and thought, we could ask: Does even that serve a purpose in our spiritual evolutionary development?

One effect is that we often don’t like the rushing pace of life.  A few people thrive, but most want to escape.  We dream of simpler times, and there is a kind of cultural movement that pursues simplicity for its own sake (there are even magazines).   Many of us will remember from childhood: Running too fast and falling down and hurting our face.  This happens to us as adults, but when we fall in our rushing life the consequences are often far more disastrous than a bloody nose.  Yet, we often don’t see a way out of the traps - there seems to be a driver of necessity - a lot of different drivers in fact.

The crack whore has to get the next fix.   The stock salesman has to get the next sale.  Our minds reach out to our imagined future and flee the present.  The whole field of advertising is based on well understood psychological facts connect to our desires and our anxieties.  The new car is sexy and powerful, the proscription medicine will take away our pain, the beer will make us happy, the vaginal deodorant will make that most private place smell just right in case the man we pick up in the bar decides to take us home.

Our soul life - our psychology - is prey for the engine of commerce.  Of all our fears in the West, the biggest one seems to concern death.  When we die, we fear we won’t have eaten enough life, in part because we believe we only go around once.  Some scientists think we want to survive above all else, although other scientists pursue (hunger for knowledge of) what they call: the altruism gene.  Why does the soldier fall on the grenade?  Why does the father die of a early heart attack, taking on the stress of work to support his family?  Why does the nun live in poverty in order to serve the poor?

The really disquieting thing is, if we think about, that in any individual biography the mix and total effect of all the pulsating demands of life is unique.  Many we share, but always there is our individual total relationship to all the demands of existence, both external and internal.

This particular crack whore has a brother, who she tries try to take care of sometimes.  That stock salesman has a gay lover, who he deeply cares about, and for whom he works as hard as he can in order for their shared life to have their material wants satisfied.   This primary school teacher fears her charges, but ignores that anxiety because she is the sole care giver of her aging mother.  That military general loves himself, and would commit any moral crime in order to advance and gain more power, to which he is addicted.  This politician lies routinely because she likes the limelight, and has discovered that the public can be fooled and that the lobbyist pays well now, and will pay even better later.  That professor makes his teaching assistants do all the work, seduces those he can, and steals other’s ideas in order to satisfy the demands of publish or perish.

On any given day, all the above can be within ten feet of each other (one on a bus, one on a street corner, two in cabs, one in a limo, and the last falling through the air having jumped out of their office in order to commit suicide).  In spite of being in the same space and time, their biographies are separate, and any intersection of one with another will only happen if there is to be a destiny meeting of mutual necessity.  See the films Crash, 23 Grams and Magnolia for relevant artistic observations of this aspect of existence.

The suiciding stock seller could crash onto the roof of the limo, giving the general riding therein a heart attack.  The limo then runs into one of the cabs which is in front of it, driving that vehicle, with the politician in it onto the sidewalk breaking the leg of the crack whore.  The other cab, with the professor in it, swerves into the bus, knocking down the school teacher who was standing inside and giving her a concussion.  The politician, interviewed later at the scene by the news, makes a gaff which will be forgotten in a week.  The professor misses a date with one of his teaching assistants, who in an emotional outburst calls his wife, angrily telling her of the affair.

A rushing crowded city is full of actors, sharing the Stage, but not necessarily being in the same Play.  When the Towers fell, the Stage changed its scenery radically, and many destiny meetings were had.  Pick up a newspaper, and you can read of all kinds of karma.  Same with the Evening News.  We do share major aspects of the Stage, but it is only in our present day mental conceptions that we believe we live in the same time and space.  The biography individualizes time and space as well.  Keep in mind that the Divine Mystery operates outside of time and space, in Eternity, in support of these processes in the biography.

Is the Zen monk in Japan the true contemporary of the murderer on death row in Texas, simply because both can think the current year is 2012?   While Richard Dawkins can write a book: The God Delusion, can he actually claim there is no God at all?  Or, that every other person in the whole wide world should think like him?  That book is in Dawkins’ biography and to a degree in its readers minds.  It has no effect on the Zen monk or the man on death row, neither of whom will read it, or encounter its ideas, and/or need its ideas in order to successfully live their lives.

The present numbering of years, and the convention of time zones, all comes in order to mostly facilitate the needs of commerce.  The ancient Chinese culture counts years in such ways that it is currently 4709, 4708 or 4648, according to which system is used.   The Islamic cultural year is 1432 (approximately).  The Mayans, with their famous so-called prediction about the year 2012, counted days, not years, and in December of 2012 we find just the last day of the end of a great cycle of days numbering in the hundreds of thousands, followed by first day of the beginning of another great cycle.

Cultural time is not commercial time.

time, space and spiritual causality

Rudolf Steiner began many trains of thought, whether in lectures or in books, by pointing out the simple fact of our regular and rhythmic waking and sleeping throughout the course of our lives.  In continuing to fill out our Idea and Theory of God, what has Steiner’s research into the spiritual discovered for our understanding that is relevant here?

Among his many discussions of the process of sleep, he describes it as involving a separation of the ego and astral body from the ethereal and physical bodies.  One way to notice this ourselves is to pay attention to those moments, when near sleep, we have a small dream, perhaps involving movement, and then there is a physical jerk and we are back fully lying in bed in our body.

For a moment we were separating, but not yet quite ready to become completely unconscious, so we slipped back (our spirit - ego, and soul - astral) in, and this woke us up.  Notice that the quick “dream” occurred in time before the jerk, and that its content often involved movement.  Our awareness (the dream) comes from the ego, coupled with the movement from the astral body, which pre-perceives the jerk inside the dream.  The ego is inside the astral body, and interprets the movement of the astral body back toward the physical body via the image of the movement seen in the dream.  For example, I’ve had such kinds of quick dreams where I am stepping down some stairs or off a curb, and I stumble, following which I am back in my body noticing a jerk in my leg or a pain in my foot.

We apparently leave the body via the head, and return to the body via the lower limbs, principally the feet.  Of course, for the skeptic reading this they will have all the usual purely material and physical “explanations”, ... which is fine.  For our purposes we are here only looking at the rhythm of sleep and waking and trying to understand it from the point of view of the Creation - the point of view of the Art of God.

An important aspect of sleep is unconsciousness.  Above I noted that Steiner considered consciousness to be a kind of death force, wearing out the body when it is occupied by the ego and astral body (the train wearing out the rails - the astral body is where the seven “force” centers or chakras reside).  We sleep (go unconscious, experience what some call the “little death”) in order for higher beings to enter into the whole complex (all four bodies) including the slumbering ethereal and physical bodies and provide renewed life forces for repairing the worn out rails of the physical body and providing fresh impulses of will for the astral body, so that the next day we can wake into our biography and continue our freely chosen tasks.

Keep in mind that we are spiritual children, undergoing an awakening into spiritual maturity, and that we also are loved.  We know sleep and rest heals.  This healing is not entirely physical in nature and for the practitioners of the Arts of Healing (medicine, psychiatry, psychology etc.) this fact is well known, although its true mysteries are not yet appreciated.  Some beginning details of Steiner’s research here can be found for free on-line by looking up this lecture: The Work of the Angels in Man’s Astral Body.

Most important is our freedom, which is why when we awake from sleep, our ego consciousness is completely continuous with what happen during the previous waking period.  We awake to our self, and know this to be our self, and also know what in this new day is to be faced, in terms of pains and joys and challenges and tasks.  A very good film, on the Day part of this, is the movie Groundhog Day, where in a kind of fable the potential of the ego to transform over time is revealed.  Each day we wake to our self, and what our self is to become that day is up to us, although each of us faces entirely unique circumstances.  An interesting film on the Night part of this is: Ink.  Neither is perfect, but both represent the intuitions of our artists of the deeper aspects of our common existence.

While we seem to live in the same year (by our own conventions), a careful look at the various kinds of biographies all over the world reveals that there are far more differences than similarities.   For example, some people have commented that aspects of the Islamic world seem barbaric, but this is a valuation that assumes that what time is to mean for us, is what time is to mean for all.

Slavery still exists in wide parts of the world.  Women are treated in many places is ways no longer tolerated in the apparently more modern world.  Feeling superior, many Westerners look down upon others, who in fact are simply living in what was once, to these same Westerners, their own Past.  The colonists of the Americas held slaves, abused their indentured servants, and committed genocide of the Native populations in their Past.  Who are we to feel superior to those parts of the world cultures that have not yet had the opportunity to grow into their own Future, in the same painful ways we did (our Revolutionary and Civil Wars)?

Because we all live in what we call the same year (e.g. 2012), that has no relationship with the developmental stage of progress of the culture in which any biography unfolds.  It is only a unjustifiable bias which makes Westerners think their own shit doesn’t stink.

Can we say that our example, of taking advantage of their cultural weaknesses (as was done in the middle-East by the French and the English during the 19th Century in order to steal the oil and other natural resources of those regions), is the best way to treat that which has yet to mature into it own style of Future?  What a harsh experience for these latent-in-time cultures, to have that which could be a big and helpful loving older brother turn out to be a liar and thief and a bully.  For details read: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins

Some years ago, during the early years of the Bush II war in Iraq, at a time when the fake reason for the war was being changed from seeking weapons of mass destruction to the providing from the outside the basics of democracy, I listened and watched on C-Span II a wise elder scholar explain that democracy was impossible for Islamic peoples for the simple reason that not having gone through what the Western world called the Enlightenment and similar cultural history, there simply were no words in the Islamic languages for the underlying concepts that are necessary precursors to making a democracy.  Their cultures simply lacked the foundational ideas regarding human nature, the urge for freedom, the relationship of the State to its citizens and so forth.  In essence, making these cultures into functional democracies in the style we imagine is ours, was not possible.

It is important then, in order to appreciate The Art of God, to recognize that the world, while seemingly of the same time due to how we name the Year, is not functionally the same time at all.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the non-Western regions of the world that can be helped by judging their Ways as wanting something.  The wrong is with us in the judging, which disables us from seeing correctly what to do.  “You hypocrite, get the beam out of your own eye first, if you want to help your brother with the mote in his.”

Now to wrap this aspect up, so to speak, let us revisit the problem of causality and chance and randomness, and especially the relationship of all this to human freedom.   Recall our considerations of MacCoun’s ideas of How and Why - How being related to the Past as it influences the Present, and Why being related to the Future, as it influences the Present.

So you get up in the morning, and spill coffee on your new dress.  Maybe some necessary (or unnecessary) yelling results.   The partner or the children over-react to our yelling, and an argument ensues.  We soon storm out of the house, proceed to our car and within a couple of blocks on our way to work run a stop sign, and cause an “accident”, in part because our ego self-consciousness is not paying proper attention to the driving, and is more involved in the after effects of the argument.

Further on the “accident” has big after-effects of its own.  We are late for work, and this is the last straw and we loose our job.  Our insurance had lapsed because of economic woes, and now we are not only being sued (for which we have no insurance company to protect us), but the State considers lack of insurance a just cause for a big fine, and a demand that we go to a driving school.

Since we have only been in recovery from our alcoholism for six months, we are soon drinking again.  The partner takes the children and leaves, and we spiral down once more into the depths and cycles of despair.

Did all of this arise because of the spilled coffee?  What is cause and what is effect?  Again, see the movies Groundhog Day, Ink, Crash, and Magnolia for some interesting observations by our artists on these themes.

In reality, that question itself is a root of the problem of our failure to yet understand.  This question of the causal relationship between the spilled coffee and subsequent events is our way of still immature thinking, which includes ideas of accident, cause and effect, randomness and chance, that fails to grasp the reality.

The biography is Art.  It is Art which is continuous and ongoing - ever creative.  Each biography is also fundamentally elastic - that is it is flexible and can stretch or contract as needs be.  It adjusts constantly, and part of the adjustment comes in the Night Work.  At the same time, the bigger part of the adjustment comes from choices for which we are responsible, and which we make freely during the day.

We didn’t have to yell after the coffee was spilled.  Our partners and children don’t have to over-react.  We don’t have to rush out of the house, egotistically self-focused on our own feelings, such that we don’t pay attention when we drive.   The boss doesn’t have to fire us.  The State doesn’t have to fine us, and the injured party in the “accident” doesn’t have to sue us.  Nor do we have to start drinking again.

From an ego-centric point of view, we can decide to see that all this happened to us, and was unjust or not fair or any other mental category by which we want to claim it shouldn’t have happened.  We can be a victim, and many take such a course in response to the “events” of life.  But that too is a choice.

Rudolf Steiner, in his A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception, used the term: the necessary given.  Events do happen to us, from the stand point of our expectations.  We did not anticipate them, nor did we plan for them, although part of the idea of karma is that to some degree, when with God in Eternity and outside of space and time, we agreed to meet a number of them in life. [There is always the possibility of fresh evil - trains wearing out rails - choices by ourselves or others, which then add new karma to the older karma the biography is already trying to resolve - remember the biography is elastic - it expands and contracts according to our choices and the choices of others.]

Consider another scenario ...

We are young, going to a dance.   There is a girl we really really like, and we ask her to dance.  It is a slow dance and our bodies lean into each other.  Heat rises in our feelings and there are also physical changes.  We get an erection, and she feels this, but neither of us says anything.  It is all too too sweet and enjoyable and painful and crazy all at the same time.  Later we walk her home, and at her door we kiss.  We want this kiss to last forever.

Part of the necessary given of the biography are matters that draw us toward them according to our feelings of liking and sympathy.  Other’s repel us, as we don’t like them.  Life is in fact so rich in each biography that the whole, when seen as whole, has to be viewed as staggering in the beauty of its richness and complexity.

We, today, in the West in particular, hide our elders in homes.  They are too much trouble in relationship to the other “important” and necessary matters of our lives.   Our form of medicine has discovered how to keep the physical body alive, but not how to heal the spirit and soul of the degenerative terrors that come mostly from our ignorance.  An individual in their elder years is a treasure house of wisdom and experience, and today we shut them up in places where they have no possibility of sharing this hard-earned wealth.

This we can know: Our choices are there all the time.  We may deny them, we may play the victim, we may make all manner of excuses, but choice is the Present Day main gift of the Art of God.  At this moment in the evolution of consciousness we can justly say: In the Beginning was the Choice ...

Intellectually we may flirt with various kinds of deterministic ideas concerning our biographies.   Some of these ideas will involve the fixation on the material aspects of existence, in the sense that we are hard-wired or otherwise biologically and chemically forced to behave in certain ways.  We can also feel conceptually bound and choice-less because of the rules of behavior provided by our religion.  Yet, if we are self honest from moment to moment we know we make choices all the time.  Our freedom is intact in spite of all kinds of reasons for assuming that the necessary given includes biological and moral determinisms.  In fact our rebellion against these determinisms is also very visible and apparent.

From the outside we may seem foolish or a Jackass (see the movies), but inwardly we would have to confess we made the relevant choices, well aware of the possibility of unintended consequences.  The moment of choice is there, always.  We may just want to never admit we faced such a choice, and knew the probable or possible consequences, and acted anyway.   Only fools fall in love.

Back to the cityscape, and the rush of existence and multiple yet parallel biographies: Seen from the outside, it all seems chaotic and often meaningless.   Seen from the inside of each individual biography, which is always the object of the Creator’s Love, that biography is filled with personal meaning.  Just as the modern study of the cell shows us the intricate way in which Nature multi-tasks, so the modern city shows us the incredible manner in which the Creator also multi-tasks given our individual needs and biographies.

Recently a friend of mind was involved in a court case, where she had to testify.   The matter was clear: a caregiver had stolen a lot of money from my friend’s aged mother, right in front of the tellers at the mother’s bank, who let the caregiver transfer funds from the mother’s to the caregiver’s private banking account.  The knowledge of the tellers was confused, for once the matter became known, and the bank needed them to cover its ass, they were induced into making written statements suggesting that it appeared to them (the tellers) that the caregiver had had the mother’s permission to move the funds.

Later, in private conversations, the tellers admitted to the mother, my friend and another care-giver, that they knew something was fishy, but caught in between the bank and the mother they spun the written story in a way covering their own ass as regards the bank, their boss.

The prosecutor investigating the matter met the situation expecting the thieving caregiver to at some point accept a plea bargain, such that no trial would be necessary.   At the last moment, that caregiver, afraid for her own future, decided to take the risk of the trial because she did not want to go to jail, and that the written statements of the tellers supported the caregiver’s version of the event, namely that the mother appeared to have given permission for the multiple transfers of the funds.

The prosecutor was then not prepared for trial (expecting a plea), and should have called the tellers in her case in chief, forcing them to admit that they gave one kind of written statement to the bank and another oral kind of statement to the mother, my friend and the other care-giver.  The unprepared prosecutor did not proceed in this way, so that the defense attorney was able to call the tellers and submit the written statements as the only version of what the tellers knew.   Since the core of the case depended upon whether the caregiver had an intent to steal, the only evidence of her intent (she did not testify) was the tellers, who had acted as if the mother had given permission (according to the written statements).

The prosecutor could have challenged the tellers’ evidence but did not, nor did she call my friend or another caregiver as witnesses impeaching the tellers’ statements, both of whom had spoken to the tellers about the real facts (as against the original written statements).

The jury found the caregiver not guilty.

Afterwards my friend had a very sanguine view of what had happened.   The theft had in fact brought it about that her mother moved in with her (due to a loss of income), which actually benefited them both greatly.  The caregiver that had stolen the money had done so for reasons of drugs, and was now clean.    She also had a daughter and a husband.   Not having to do jail time was a kind of grace for the thieving caregiver and her family.  My friend’s view was that, while in an abstract sense the caregiver was guilty, in a practical sense of real biographical justice, everyone got what they needed, and that the caregiver’s months of terror over the consequences of her actions was probably a better form of justice than jail time. 

The tellers had to struggle with their lives caught between their bosses in the bank and the reality of what had happened.   The bank, because of the written statements of the tellers being a little bit ambiguous, settled the lawsuit the mother was getting ready to take against them, for half of the loss.  The move of the mother in with my friend involved the mother selling her condo at a good price just before the financial crisis fell, taking with it a lot of property values.

I could go on, but I think here the point is well made.  Our biographies are a mix of good and bad, and in them, while matters happen to us that viewed from the outside may seem bad, the reality is that we learned something through these events that could be learned in no other way.   In the boiling pot of a major urban area, these biographies cross paths with incredible frequency, causing all kinds of influences to intersect and interact.

Yet, nothing is ultimately out of balance when seen as whole.  From the point of view of the individual biography, the immortal spirit is well loved, in spite of the weirdness of the Stage Setting for their personal Drama.  Some will think here that prisons and torture and poverty in Hati, Darfur, and so forth is terrible, but that is a superficial judgment.  These places would not be good for us, but we don’t really know what it is like for those that actually live through them.

Recent movies and television dramas have explored the hard life, such as the Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy and so forth.  The very interesting playwright, David Mamet, wrote an extraordinary stage play later made into the movie: Edmond, which is very radical in this examination of fate, destiny and place in life in the biography.

This then is our Idea of God, and our Theory of God, which comes to expression as The Art of God.  With these thoughts in mind, we are now ready to go forward toward the matter of Proof, although in a way that may seem a bit surprising.  We will, in these next sections, revisit some older material, but for subtly different purposes.

Keep in mind that the transitions from the Idea of God to the Theory of God to a Proof of God to the Art of God and an actual Theory of Everything is more like a series of metamorphoses than it is like hard and fast analytical starts and stops.

the Theory of Evolution, its limits and biases

Up to now our civilization has been strongly influenced by this idea, and its explanatory power regarding the nature of reality.  Let us once more look a bit at the history of science in order to gain a better perspective on what this idea means in its totality, and what it cannot mean as well.

Modern science begins with the on-looker separation, a fact that is clear to any unbiased observer who becomes acquainted with the facts of the evolution of consciousness as provided by Steiner, Barfield, Lehrs, Richter, and so forth.  This transformation from original participation to the on-looker separation took place around the years 1400 to 1500, and gave birth to what we call the Copernican Revolution.   The point being made here is that the ideas of modern science are all given birth following this change of consciousness, and that they cannot in any fashion represent empirical (sense based) observations of matters that occurred prior in time to the 14th and 15th Century.

The transitions, from the on-looker separation to Barfield’s final participation - that is the omega point of the future of the evolution of consciousness, will become part of the later parts of this book, when we get into more details about future oriented mind sciences.  To return to our theme ...

All the empirical observations are after that time (500 years ago), and it is only via the imagination and the reflective theorizing of the scientific mind that our Age acquires the concepts of the Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution.   Granted the empirical observations of the geological record and all manner of experiments in the fields of chemistry and physics have been accomplished and verified, we are here dealing with the thinking of scientists when we come to what all that data means as regards the deep past of the Planet and of what they call the Universe.  We don’t empirically know, and we only believe, through that thinking, that the pictures we create out of the Age of scientific investigation speaks to the truth nature of what has gone on long long before.

The Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution are complicated ideas and nothing more.  It is as ideas they have to be tested, although certain limited aspects of these ideas can be tested in the present.  But not all of them, for the fact is that we  assume that a test in the present can confirm all the ideas we have of the deep past, and that assumption itself needs to be critically examined.

In any event let us build up a brief exposition of these ideas in terms of their main themes.  While doing so, however, we need to keep in mind three important facts:

1) The ideas arose over time, and not in the sequence in which we conceive the past; that is, for example, the deeper we went in our thinking into the Past, the longer we had been practicing science.   Darwinian evolution arises in the 19th Century, the theory of the Big Bang in the 20th, even though the latter precedes the former in our picture of time.  2) According to Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, ideas have become popular and then were discarded, so that while we may think that the ideas were born out of each other in some kind of natural and logical sequence, the fact is they often arose only after a different idea became a dead end.  And, 3) physics and chemistry developed earlier than biology, such that certain ideas in physics and chemistry drifted unconsciously into biology, strongly influencing its development, in perhaps unjustifiable ways.

Another matter to keep in mind is that the different theories lean on each other, sometimes to a considerable degree.   For example, our understanding of the astronomical phenomena known as red shift is very crucial to the concept of the expansion of the universe that is related to that phenomena, while the expansion of the universe is crucial to the idea of the Big Bang.  In my essay at the end of this book on the Misconception of Cosmic Space in the Ideas of Modern Astronomy, you will come upon a brief examination of the current viability of both red shift and parallax.

In any event ...

Cosmological thinking now considers the most viable theory of the origin of the Universe to be some version of the idea of the Big Bang.  An explosion-like phenomena which seems to create both matter and light and various other kinds of radiations.  I say “seems to create”, because on that score the thinking gets a bit fuzzy.

This is all essentially based on certain ideas in astronomy, and chemistry and then in nuclear physics, coupled with certain geometric principles and the gravity space-time ideas of Einstein.   What is little noticed is the intention of the scientists to create a non-religious creation idea - an intention that emerged slowly over time.

Newton was an alchemist, a fact frequently forgotten in modern histories of these questions.  Kepler, the author the three laws of planetary motion was an astrologer.  Kepler even thought that with his third law he had rediscovered the ancients’ idea of the harmony of the spheres.  He also accused his fellow scientists of throwing out the baby with the bathwater in their efforts to strip the development of science of all the older religious conceptions.

Newton engaged in two significant fights with other scientists, although in the fight with Goethe over color theory, Newton was already dead.   Many modern thinkers are now of the view that Goethe was right (see the Wikipedia entry on this question).

The more salient problem was with Leibniz.  Newton and he argued over who had invented the calculus, and over what was the basic nature of whatever turned out to be the smallest particles.  Newton’s idea was that this “atom” would be purely material (all matter, no spirit), and Leibniz was of the view that his “monads” had both consciousness and will.  Modern particle physics seems to be tending to support Leibniz, although no one really wants to admit the full implications of the now observed fact that two separated particles from the same experiment can still influence each other over great distances, and this instantaneous “action at a distance” confounds a whole lot of historical thinking in physics (Google “Alain Aspect, 1982”).

As for astronomy, we have the picture of the heavens, a starry world observed for thousands of years by human beings, and the cosmological and creation ideas of the ancients basically started to be thrown out during the Copernican Revolution.  All of this comes in part because of the invention of the telescope and then later the microscope.  Through these inventions the ability of our senses was enhanced, and we could then apparently see much better.  Whether we have better thoughts - that is different question.

It would be nice if present day astronomy wasn’t so blatantly inventive.   Those nice pictures we are told come from the Hubble and other long range telescopes are not what these instruments actually “see”.   Photographs (taking 10 to 11 days to acquire) are made through multiple filters and then enhanced and combined according to computer programs.  That program (with its inherent assumptions) as much creates the pictures, which we see in places like National Geographic, as anything else.

This is an example of the pre-thought thought ending up massaging the data.  The assumptions spin the meaning of the points of light in the sky toward what is expected to be their reality.  Now the scientists that do this are not disingenuous.  Rather they are dealing with a very tricky technical problem involving capturing light from what seems to be very distant objects.  Deep space light-capture requires a lot of time.  What they are tying to do is also to say: while this is not what Hubble sees, this is what we believe the eye would see if it was enhanced the way Hubble (a mechanical instrument) is.

Certainly the pictures are beautiful.

Anyway, ... red shift (a measure of the hydrogen line light frequency from a stellar object) concerns the difference between that light frequency in the sky, and the light frequency of hydrogen when burned in the laboratory.  Given that the whole idea of light frequency is due to Newton’s Theory of Color, and there is a shift underway to go instead with Goethe’s Theory of Colors, this whole thing stands poised on a potential tectonic (major paradigm) shift.

Red shift theory is also under attack from within Astronomy (see my near to last essay to this book), but the basic idea of red shift theory is that since the stellar hydrogen frequency line is slightly off what we see in the laboratory, this means that the red shifted object is moving away from us (making an analogy with the well understood Doppler shift problem regarding sound).  From this moving away, and other measurements connected to parallax (how we believe we compute the distances of stellar objects), is born the idea of the Universe of the stars coming into existence through an explosion - the Big Bang.

Following this explosion, stars and planets were formed according to the gravity ideas of conventional Newtonian physics, as applied by Laplace.  Matter coalesced into suns and other objects over billions and millions of years, until, at least on our planet, this dead matter somehow produced something living - that is organic.  Maybe lightening struck something in water is one fantasy.  This whole bridge from dead gravity bound matter to cellular life is wholly speculative, and is called Abiogenesis.  Granted experiments in modern laboratories have produced organic-like molecules, the huge assumption, that what is done in the modern laboratory mirrors earth conditions of billions and millions of years ago, is not well-justified thinking.

This thinking seems to appear so that natural science can build up a non-religious creation picture.  There is no empirical observation of this moment of the shift from inert matter to organic matter, simply because we can’t go back in time and observe it.  But in order for the Big Bang to be joined to the Theory of Evolution, there has to be this bridge at that level.  The whole thing is entirely theoretical, which means that it is solely based on ideas in the human mind.

I point this out to remind the reader that part of what is coming is an examination of the mind itself - a true science of the mind, built up from empirical observations made by the self-consciousness of its own activity.  This will bring us toward the problem of to what degree the thinking in science is itself flawed, and therefore has not yet brought us all the way to the truth for which we hunger.

At the same time, the enterprise of science is an incredible undertaking.  While I pose questions, and assert doubts, no one should feel in any way that what has been done so far in the field of natural science has not been done, by most practitioners of science, with the most honorable of intentions.

Anyway, to return to our theme ...

The Big Bang gives us light and matter and suns and planets, and then the Big Soup (Abiogenesis) gives us organic matter from inert matter.  Then comes Darwinian Evolution with which most of us are familiar - a sequence of blind chance and random events which slowly slowly slowly produce not just small organic forms, but larger and larger and more complex forms until some time in this distant past, completely unobserved empirically, consciousness arises from matter.

Pretty neat if you think about it, and certainly completely free of the intrusive madness of idiotic religions.  But ... he says ...

 

The whole edifice is modern, in that it comes into existence as a point of view in the last 500 years of human history, and presumes to replace thousands of years of previous thought and experience.  Not only that, but the process of reductionism, previously noted, causes natural science to more and more exclude from its considerations that which cannot be reduced to number.  The whole picture is based on thinking immersed in quantities to the exclusion of qualities.  The whole “thinking” ...

If we change that thinking we will get different ideas to be sure.  At the same time, any such thinking, if it is to be part of the Age of Science must conform to scientific principles: empirical experience, observation, and experimentation.   Out of this situation then, on the cusp between the 19th and the 20th Centuries (1894 to be exact) we get Rudolf Steiner’s book: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: some results of introspection following the methods of natural science.

Yet ...

The Theory of Evolution has one considerable empirical fact, that quite justly makes for difficulties - the bones.   One can go into the near past of the Earth and find a sequence of related  bones of primate-like beings and set them up in relationship to each other, such that the human-like bones seem to emerge from the same shared ancestor.  Just bones, however, no flesh.  And, not only no flesh, no consciousness.  Whatever was the interior nature of these beings that left these bones - about that we have no idea whatsoever.

We assume they are like our present day primates and lacked speech, and therefore also lacked  thought.  We assess the shape of the skulls and make judgments about what kind of brain would fit into that cavity.  We search for tools in the neighborhood of the bones, and think that tool making means a sign of intelligence.   The work is detailed and careful and largely empirical.

There are of course arguments, but the bare facts of the discover of these bones and the conclusions which science gave to them (their mind-produced meaning) led to the assertion in the 19th Century that the human being was a descendant of monkeys, and not a divinely created being as is suggested in Genesis.   New Atheists consider someone a fool and an idiot, who denies this essential sense of the Theory of Evolution: That man is the progeny of animals.

Game, Set, Match - or so it seems to many.

All the same, there is a problem.   The problem goes all the way back to the beginning of the scientific quest in the late 1400‘s, where there began to emerge the idea that only through the senses could we come to knowledge, and then only with research into the nature of matter would we understand Nature.   As this underlying theme progressed, it did so in several phases.

One phase was to liken Nature to a clock-work.  Nature’s relationships would turn out to be a kind of complicated mechanism.   So we dove, as noted above, into processes of analysis - into taking things apart, and looked for and at the pieces of the clockwork.  We searched high and low for the primary piece, the smallest bit, the basic thing.  Here then was the weakness, for the very search itself turned more and more into a quest for the underly nature of matter - of stuff.

To do this, especially to do this with logical rigor, mathematics was evoked.  Number relationships became very important.   The fact that the living human being was doing this activity, and was in fact a quite complicated creature at the level of mental and emotional activity, was ignored.    We sought the answers in the smallest, and any difficult or problematic questions were left at the roadside.  Man looked at matter, not at himself.  No wonder that at the end of this quest we end up seeing man as only matter.  [Thus E. Lehrs’ book: Man or Matter]

Assumptions, that were commonly understood, were conveniently forgotten as time passed.  In the 19th Century, as we noted, it was the assumption that we could rely on unchanging constants.   In the 20th, it was that the mind and consciousness would be discovered to be only a cause of the matter in the brain.   We kept to numbers and put all our unanswered questions away in a closet, in a back room, in an outbuilding.    What happened before the Big Bang - don’t know, can only guess and anyone’s guess is just as good as any other.

The scientific mind filled itself with pre-thought thoughts, and following their lead could only end up with a vision of creation based on number relationships and an absence of consciousness.  No possible Divine Creation there.   The Big Bang was to be mathematically perfect, and if the right geometries were invented (string theory etc.) why we would soon have a mathematical and abstract theory of everything, which oddly enough only a very few highly trained mathematicians would ever understand.  In the growing church of Scientism, the priests of the higher and more esoteric mathematics were about to become Popes, whose theological-like pronouncements were meant to be understood as irrefutable.

In a truly rational world, this has to be seen as train-wreck thinking, with its huge assumptions and absences of empirical evidence for most of its grand theories.  These  would better be filed under science fiction, not science fact.   Science fact would be more cautious, and know not to be so grandiose as to imagine we can know the far distant Past with any certainty at all.   People would be more modest in their ambitions.  But Natural Science is the modern religion (scientism), and its technological prowess is worth a lot to those who need new weapons, or who want to make a lot of money.

The Big Bang isn’t likely to be the answer, nor Abogenesis or even the Theory of Evolution - there is too much speculation in them, and what they seek to define too far away in time to simply grasp with a hunger for answers motivated by a fame-seeking imaginative mind (scientists have egos and love to give press conferences when they believe that can announce a great new discovery).

But what about the bones?   What do we do with the bones?

The Creationists tried to go in the back door with intelligent design.   Didn’t work, although it suggested something marvelous.   In effect the Creationists accepted most of the thinking errors of science, and tried to fight a battle between religion and science that can’t really be won.  The true secret for resolving the seeming conflict involves being better at science than the scientist and better at religion than the religious.

Let us start small (as I said I would in the introduction), and just deal with certain aspects of the general theory of evolution according to the work of Ronald Brady in his essay Dogma and Doubt.  He basically dismantles the theory itself, although the bones - the meaning of the actual empirical evidence - are still going to be a problem.  Why?

Because even if we undo the Theory of Evolution, the underlying empirical evidence remains and people will naturally want a better theory.  Can’t just dis the Theory of Evolution without offering a replacement.  But we start here with the Theory of Evolution and not the Big Bang, because at the very least a lot of parts of that theory are nearer at hand in time.

First a little apocryphal story: The original version of Brady’s essay was published in the scientific journal Systematic Zoology around 1977, under the title: Natural Selection and the Criteria by which a Theory should be Judged.  An individual familiar with that essay was visiting a leading evolutionary biologist (head of the department etc.), at a major Canadian university, and as part of their discussion on the current validity of the Theory of Evolution, this individual went to the biology department library to retrieve Brady’s article, only to discover that it had been torn out of the journal, and was thus unavailable for the students in that department.

Dogma and Doubt is an improved update of that original essay, that was published in 1982 in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 1982, vol. 17, pp. 79-96.  Here is the url to that present article, that can be found on the website: The Nature Institute: ( http://www.natureinstitute.org/txt/rb/dogma/dogmadoubt.htm ) where can be found other writings of Brady, who has now crossed over.

Here is Brady on the essential matter that is being questioned:  “I mean the belief that random variation can, when subjected to selective pressure for long periods of time, culminate in new forms, and that it therefore provides an explanation for the origins of morphological diversity, adaptation, and when extended as far as Darwin proposed, speciation. The principle of natural selection when understood in this sense may be equated with the Spencerian “survival of the fittest,” as Darwin himself (1876) recognized in his later editions: “I have often called this principle...by the term natural selection. But the expression often used by Mr Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.”“ [emphasis added, ed.]

Brady means to use the term “belief”, for this is one of the problems at issue regarding this whole question: the social processes in the field of biology whereby a theory becomes a central belief-like assumption of that particular scientific discipline, such that as a dogma it cannot any  longer be doubted, even if it is no longer ultimately useful as a scientific theory, according to the logical rules of a philosophy of science as to what makes a theory appropriately scientific.

Brady begins his analysis of the discussion, among leading evolutionary biologists, and their critics, concerning the accusation that the theory is a tautology.  He define a tautology in this way:

The context of statements in empirical science is usually causal explanation: this happens because that happened. Causal statements of this form are sometimes termed synthetic because the second half of the statement, which follows the because, must add something new, something not already contained in the first half. Analytic statements, by contrast, affirm some form of identity, and therefore repeat the first part in the second: i.e. ‘husbands are married men,’ or ‘a deafness is an impairment of the hearing.’ But when this definition strategy is used with causal intent, language breaks down. The statement that ‘your deafness is caused by an impairment of your hearing’ means only that your deafness is caused by deafness—and the intention to add something more than the fact of deafness is not carried through by the formulation. A scientific theory is a causal explanation and brings distinct elements into dependent relation: the thunder is caused by the lightning; your deafness is caused by a torn eardrum. Since cause and effect are not the same, the two sides of a causal proposition cannot be identical, and the repetition inherent in tautological formulation would be pejorative.”

Brady then quotes several writers on this question of tautology, and discovers that in the main the apologists for the Theory of Evolution don’t see the problem, while the critics can’t understand why not.  The basic matter at issue in the tautological formulation of the Theory has to do with what is called: differential reproduction.  The fit survive because they are obviously fit is the usual form in which the tautology is expressed.   Whatever way the apologists dance with that form of expression, they are still stuck with the fact that it fails as a synthetic causal explanation - nothing is added.

Following this more or less easy examination of the flaws with the statement of the Theory (its frequent tautological formulations), Brady next takes up the more crucial question: Is the Theory testable?  This is more tricky, but no less the principle way the Theory fails as a scientific theory.

Darwin’s original intent was clearly to designate a causal agency behind the differentials of reproduction. Such differentials exist—some organisms have more offspring than others of the same population—but were this effect undirected the differential would never lead to any particular result. On the other hand, if we speculate that some causal agency provides the differential with a direction, we have a hypothesis of the origin of diversity. Darwin provided a causal factor to do just this in his principle of natural selection which, when added to the naturally existing differences in a population, ‘selected’ some for advancement and others for retardation and eventual extinction. The scheme was advanced as an analogy to the selective activity of human breeders.

Then further:

The effect to be explained is the hypothesized differentials of the past, which culminated in present organisms. The cause advanced is the selective power of environmental pressure (counting other organisms as part of the environment of any particular individual), which acts in a manner analogous to the hand of man.

Cause and effect are logically distinct in this formulation, and offered clearly for empirical specification—that is, for research. In actual application the researcher will attempt to observe these relations in nature, and once the requisite sets of observations are identified, to test the relations. But here even Darwin sounded a warning. It may not be a simple thing to specify the observations. After all, nature may be ‘infinitely complex,’ and although it is not difficult to see what the breeder is doing, the observation of natural causes is a more subtle thing.

Brady then quotes many apologists and critics as to that question, and finds them again not quite talking to each other, but past each other.  To narrow the matter at issue, Brady then discusses the idea of testing itself.

"The research program concerned with the mechanism of adaptation began with Darwin’s warning on the limits of human knowledge already in place. It has been very successful, despite that, in demonstrating that a hypothetical account of adaptation is possible in every case. The target of the critics, however, has not been the possibility of producing such hypothetical scenarios, but of submitting them, and the general theory behind them, to empirical test. The critics imply that we simply do not know enough about the organic realm to understand what would bring our hypotheses into question. Let us examine the ground to see why this might be so.

Brady then examines the Theory of Gravity, and reveals that while that theory is simply stated, when we get to empirical evidence, we have to take account of other matters (such as the resistance of air to falling objects).  This produces an additional theory to accompany the first, thus: We have then, the application of the basic theory, the ceteris paribus clause, and the assumed theoretical background (all other needed theories)—all contained in predictive statements. [ceteris  paribus clause - all other things being equal; ed.]  An empirical test needing to be predictive sometimes includes many theories, not just the one being tested.

[By the way, all of this in Brady will have to be applied to the Theory of God offered in this book, so this is a sword that cuts both ways (as it were).]

Again, Brady:

"Now, supposing a prediction should fail, what is brought into question? There are three candidates: (1) my prediction is wrong because my theory is wrong; (2) my prediction is wrong because the ceteris paribus assumption is wrong (i.e. there are interfering parameters); and (3) my prediction is wrong because one of the background theories is wrong. When we make predictions for the sake of conducting a test, all three possibilities must be considered when the prediction fails.

Once more in discussing this Brady quotes many apologists for, and critics of, the Theory in question.

"A test is of no value if it cannot call the theory being tested into question.”

Then, Brady’s basic and most damaging concern:

"This section began with the notion that ‘what experience cannot question it cannot support.’ I have argued within it that until the organism is reduced to a determinate system, we have not the knowledge to mount a good test of optimalization theory—that is, we cannot question it. If that is so, it follows that the theory has no empirical support. Its strength comes from its logical power to generate explanations for every manner of organic adaptation rather than from the evidence, which, as we have seen, contains no potential for falsification. The theory may be true, but whether it is or not, it cannot be said to have shown evidence of this truth, and the widespread acceptance of the theory must rest on some other grounds.” [emphasis added; ed.]

Then:

The ‘indirect defences’ in the title of this section are all those suggesting that the central hypothesis of Darwinism may be defended by some other means than direct testing. They proceed, in actuality, by an application of the theory, which is already believed by the defender, to the evaluation of the same theory. This ‘by our own bootstraps’ approach is so popular that examples abound in the literature,... “ [again, emphasis added; ed.]

Frequently, industrial melanism (the peppered moth) is offered as a test, but this fails the logical criteria according to Brady in this way:

"Darwin proposed that selective pressure could approximate the regulative control of an intelligent breeder and supply a direction to otherwise random changes in a population. This directed progression of changes would then lead towards optimalization of adaptation within the context of the given environment. There are two parts to this proposal. The first is that selective pressure can approximate the breeder; the second, which I have termed ‘central,’ is that the differential so produced can culminate in new forms. The industrial melanism observations have confirmed prediction with regard to the first part, i.e. a specific change in allele frequency, parallel to that produced by a breeder, may be caused by one-sided predator pressure (one-sided in that the melanistic variant is better camouflaged). Can this confirmation be transferred to part two?

Then:

"If our aim is empirical investigation, any belief that can set up shop as ‘knowledge’ is always a fatal possession, for it undermines the basic project. The biologist who ‘knows’ that any differential can lead to new types is admitting that no empirical support is sought or needed for that proposition, which thereby becomes an a priori truth. Critics who are not blessed with similar metaphysical insight may gain the distinct impression that they are not viewing the same world, and there is some value in the metaphor. Whatever we actually believe we take to be identical with reality, and therefore not part of hypothesis that stands in need of support. Those who believe the Darwinian theory apply it, or parts of it, to their observations as a known parameter. Their results are artifacts of their belief, but this fact can hardly be visible to them until they are willing to question what they have previously taken for granted.

The rest of this long and carefully drafted essay discusses this problem from additional directions, quoting many critics and apologists, as well as reviewing for the reader the basic argument from different directions, including a nice purely logical outline.  Once more: The reader of this material here in this book (The Art of God), who wants to actually understand it, needs to go to that source and make its essential substance clear to themselves.  Here I can only suggest and hint.

For our purposes in this book, and in accord with Brady’s standards:  A Theory must be capable of a non-tautological formulation: i.e. take the shape of a causal and synthetic two parted formulation, for example: The macro-social organism, in which human biographies take place, is the causal result of the Artistic activity of God.  (c.f. the 23rd Psalm)

And, a Theory must be testable, that is falsifiable.  Since each of us has a biography, and we can think logically, it remains for each of us to scientifically examine our lives in such a way that we see whether or not the details of the Theory of God proposed here fit our own empirical observations and experiments concerned with the stuff of our own life.  I emphasis our own, because I do not think we can ever know enough about the biography of another person (in all its salient details, inwardly and outwardly) to make such a full scientific judgment about someone else’s life.

We first judge our own life, inwardly and outwardly.  Then on the basis of what we understand from that examination about human existence in general, we then examine whether or not what we have discovered there can be universally applied.  The Theory then gets falsified in two ways, with the primary empirical evidence being our own biography, and the secondary evidence being what we can observe about others.  In doing this last, however, we do need to be clear concerning our capacities to examine the lives of others in the same fashion as we can examine our own.

As seen above (before the Brady article discussion), the problem of subjectivity and objectivity is being dealt with, although we are yet far from done in the examination of the totality of our experience, such that we can come to a genuine Theory of Everything.  We are, at this point in this book, clearly going beyond the needed new and systematic Idea of God fully into a Theory of God, on our way to A Proof of God and the resulting Theory of Everything.

We are also trying to include all that the scientific endeavor has given to us, beginning with a cautionary tale about the Theory of Evolution, which Brady has clearly established cannot in its present form be tested or made falsifiable.  Regardless of how fully believed, the Theory of Evolution at this point in time cannot be formulated in a way that makes it scientifically acceptable.

Let us now take up the problem of the bones ... for that evidence seems undeniable ... there is a sequence of seemingly related bones going from older and different species to our present humanoid forms.  For details on some of the current thinking (meaning-interpretation) see The Upright Ape by Aaron G. Filler (who, as Brady suggests, fully believes in the dogma of Darwinian Evolution and applies it in this books to all his empirical observations).

This work of Filler’s then is a good example of Brady’s perception, that the scientific community has converted the Theory of Evolution into a belief system, and does not, in the present, seek in the empirical evidence an alternative explanation.  The Theory holds many minds hostage, just as Rudolf Steiner warned in the last sentence of the original preface to his book: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: “One must be able to experience an idea and confront it, otherwise one will fall into its bondage.”

As we proceed we will get more deeply into a pragmatic science of the mind; and our relationships to ideas, in the sense of Steiner above, will be made more clear.  For the present, and for fun,

the bones ... an alternative explanation:

Keep in mind that while we are technically more into the Theory of God, we are still necessarily concerned also with the Idea of God - theory and idea being intimately related.

Natural Science has taken the view that there is only matter, but no spirit.  Our view in our idea and theory of God is that there is, in addition to matter, also spirit.  Therefore we are able to offer as an alternative theory to the one presently expressed about the bones, a spiritual component.  We are not in any way denying the existence of the bones, as matter, we are just positing a different causal explanation for their coming into existence.

The Theory and Idea goes like this:

Human beings and animals are intimately related.  The general idea in evolutionary biology is that the human being is the progeny of the developments in the animal kingdom.  Let us reverse this idea (turn it inside out, as it were) and suggest that the animal is the progeny of the human being, and we are, in effect, its ancestor.  How could this come about?

Recall above where we looked at the geological record and composed the view that this record represented a sequence of processes of metamorphosis, arising from a living Earth, that left behind, in the same way a human embryo leaves behind, a solid matter skeleton - that is bones.  The rocks of the geological record are the bones of a living Earth organism, which organism was also at least the womb for the physical evolution leading to the primates.

This living Earth organism does not leave its original organic matter aspects behind, because as we know, the organic decays and disappears, leaving then as remains only of the most solid aspects of its having been there.  Nor does it leave behind any inward or psychological and consciousness manifestations.  We, today, assume there were no such psychological or consciousness manifestations in the deep past - we otherwise having no empirical evidence of the same one way or the other.   As to the present, the nature of Nature (the Earth organism) and any kind of consciousness outside the human being and perhaps inside of Nature - those questions will have to be dealt with later.

To continue our elaboration of an alternative theory of the bones ...

Within this evolving Earth organism (what the most ancient spiritual traditions called the Mother), human beings were embedded as if in a womb.  We were spirit-seeds, as it were, within the living organism of the Earth Being.   As the rhythmic densification of matter proceeded (see far above the discussion of an alternative explanation of radioactivity), the spirit-seeds of the human being needed to throw off aspects of its own universal and cosmic nature that were tending to an excess of density, as well as an excess of functional psychology.  Instead of leaving behind “bones” as such, the then fully spiritual human organism divested itself of psychological-like impulses, that were tending to a kind of one-sidedness.  These hungers and passions for existence then fell to Earth, as it were, taking up a different evolutionary course.

The proto-organic matter of the Mother Earth Being was a kind of thick sea in which life processes were very active; and the debris of that activity (the shedding of the one-sidedness) becomes then the sediment (like the sediment in the bottom of the oceans of the Earth) we find that leads scientists to propose the organic soup thesis of the earliest stages of evolutionary development.  Keep in mind we are not leaving out any empirical fact discovered by natural science - instead we are only offering a different interpretation of the meaning of such facts.

The thick sea then becomes womb and home to a whole host of differentiated living organisms, each with its own type of consciousness inwardness.  We should conceive of this thick sea as denser at its lower regions, and less dense at its higher regions, in the same way that the weight of ocean water makes greater pressure below.

At the higher regions, the human spirit seed does rest within a matter-like pod, as it were.   But this pod over the ages never hardens enough to leave behind traces.   It just dissolves when no longer needed, the same way the present day physical body dissolves after the ego and astral body have left it following the transformation and metamorphosis of consciousness we call: death.

Certain phenomena of the geological record, such as for example the age of the dinosaurs, takes on a much different inner picture when we realize that the thick and dense organic sea of the Mother organism would have supported weight in a far different fashion than our present day atmosphere.

The inwardness we know in ourselves, had earlier less mature versions, but our Theory and Idea needs clearly to include the idea that consciousness, being an aspect of the original nature of Divine Creative Beings, was present everywhere from the very beginning - even from the time we call: the Big Bang, and which Genesis calls: Let there be Light (fiat lux).

The human being, being a special seed in the whole process (the Earth existence is unfolding for them, for the spirit-seeds - remember our Idea of God includes that God loves each of us in particular), finds that it needs to leave aspects of itself behind (a choice that has grave consequences for our relationship to the Beings of Nature), through the rejection of certain more coarse aspects of our inwardness, both physical and psychological.

These rejected aspects of our general spirit-nature fall into the more dense aspects of the thick atmospheric sea, and taking their own course (all guided by communities of various subsidiary spiritual Beings) give rise to what the geological record finds as the sequence of plant and animal creatures in the different Ages of the Earth.  Meanwhile, the in-potential human being, in relieving itself of the most dense and coarse aspects of its total nature, remains above and outside as it were, this course of development we empirically observe in the geological record.

Remaining mostly fully spiritual on the one hand, and participating in the organic developments of the own now becoming more physical material seed-pod in the thick sea, the human being rides this sea above those developments taking place in its more dense regions.  The womb-sea of the Mother Being itself, and our original seed-pods, all dissolve and leave behind no traces that can be observed in the geological record (there is another record, but that is more difficult to observe, being purely spiritual), thus the different phases (Ages, such as the Precambrian) of the total number of metamorphic processes of the Mother Earth Being as It moves forward in linear time.  The human spirit seed-pod does not become dense enough in its processes to produce bones.

Again, no empirical fact is being left behind - only the meaning interpretation by our present day mind is changing.

Surveying the totality, we could say that there are two curves of evolutionary development.  One more material, and the other more spiritual.  The material curve, as our scientists have observed, is one of ascent.  The matter forms remembered in the geological record get more and more complex and differentiated.   The spiritual forms also evolve, but their curve of development is a kind of descent, called in Hebraic religious tradition: the Fall.

Between the rising curve of ascent, and the falling curve of descent, there is an interaction, particularly between the human spirit-seed, and the evolving animal forms, because a part of the intention and need of the spirit-seed is to create a body in which to inhabit the world of dense matter for a period of time.  The story of the development of the cast-off animal forms we see in the bones.

The human spiritual intelligence, seeking incarnation in matter at a certain point in linear time, is able to inhabit the developing animal form for brief moments, thus the first appearance of tool making.  The human seed and the animal are related, since the animal is a cast-off aspect of the human being (thus our growing modern guilt over the treatment of the animal kingdom).  But the animal evolution is only part of the story of evolution.  The other part concerns the spiritual intelligence which more and more finds that it can live for longer periods of time, in the developing material bodies of the lower curve evolutionary process, eventually up to the division/split between the humanoid forms and the great apes.

The coming to the fore of humanoid forms, and their clearly genetic relationship to our relatives the great apes, is simply a natural outgrowth of the interaction between the descending curve of the evolution of the human spirit-seed and the rising curve of the evolution of the more densely material animal bodies.

The falling purely spiritual evolutionary curve eventually meets with and joins the rising animal evolutionary curve, and the modern embodied human being is the result of this marriage of spirit and matter.  Keep in mind what was pointed to above, that in sleep the human spiritual ego-essence and its related astral or desire body, continues to separate every night.  The joining is not fixed - we are not stuck to the material body (we leave it fully at death), but only borrow it for the conscious part of the day as we live out our biographical necessities.

In the future, physical bodies will no longer be necessary, as ego consciousness is now evolving the capacity to be fully awake once more outside a material existence.  Eons ago, during the phase of the evolution of consciousness noted by Barfield and others, we did not know ourselves as separate from the Divine Spirit essence of the universe - Barfield’s original participation.  With the onlooker-separation, our ego consciousness (self-consciousness) is fully separated from the Divine World, except in sleep, when the daytime aspect of the ego is unconscious.  We don’t remember sleep, except as dream, which are moments where the ego is only partially connected to the physical organism.

As the ego or self-consciousness develops further, it will acquire the capacity to remain awake outside the physical body.  This begins what Barfield called: Final Participation.  In the times of the dim evolutionary past, on the path of descent, we did not know ourselves as individual spirit beings.  Our descent into matter, enabled by the sacrifices of the ascent of the animal kingdom to give to us material bodies to inhabit, now makes it possible for the self-conscious ego to have experiences that were not possible before.  The weight and density of material existence causes the spirit of the human being to have to unfold latent potentials it otherwise would not be able to develop unless our self-consciousness is limited and constrained (as it is today) by the physical/material.

When we die, these constraints disappear over time.

While the Borg, in the science fiction world of Star Trek say: “resistance is futile”, the spiritual facts are otherwise.  No pain, no gain is the understanding of the role of exercise in the development of physical capacities.  The same is true, in fact even more true, when it comes to spiritual capacities.  We previously ran into this with the idea of the Baptism by Fire and Holy Breath, but now we are coming at this from another direction, which it is hoped will make that aspect of our biography even more clear.

Human evolution, having reached the stage of cultural development and psychological evolution (aka: history: see Barfield’s amazing: History, Guild and Habit), has complexified to the extent that with our biographies embedded in specific and highly differentiated contexts, our spirit is now able to have equally highly unique and individual psycho-spiritual experiences.  The sequence of Civilizations, which our sciences of history, anthropology, and archeology have uncovered, reveal to us this phase of current development.   The only reason we don’t yet appreciate this “history” is that we, especially in the cultural West, don’t believe in reincarnation.

Once we recognize that our Theory includes this concept, then the meaning of prior civilizations changes, since these involve the same spiritual essences from today, undergoing particular and individual biographical experiences only possible in that more ancient historical context.

Please keep in mind, however, that we must make scientific observations of our own biography first, before we dare to consider others.  The most testable aspects are to be found there, and to ignore these facts any longer is to live in complete denial of our own human nature.   That the modern scientist of consciousness has not investigated his own primary experience has led to tragic and unconscionable consequences for our ideas about the mind and the brain and our evolutionary background.  Such a scientist, with no real self-knowledge, cannot speak with any authority about consciousness or self-consciousness - because the fact is that more than half of what he needs to know is missing due to his having ignored it.

At the same time, the investigation of those realms goes forward in fits and starts, in spite of what the neurophysiologist and/or cognitive scientist does or does not do.  It is just that the primary empirical evidence, as proven by all the traditional and modern mind sciences, is right there before the modern researcher into consciousness.  The original impulse to psychiatry, with its guided reflective self-observations on the couch, was a kind of start.  Now we need to do more, if we want to claim to be scientific.  To ignore the primary inner realm of human experience, simply because our personal subjectivity appears to lack objectivity, is to lock knowledge into a dead end.

Modern attempts at mind sciences, in the sense of materialistic sciences of consciousness, need to grow up. 

These scientists (such as Sam Harris) need to take off the white coat and go to a 12 Step-like self-help group, until you figure out why you fear the study of your own mind.

Having said that, let us more directly consider ...

... some aspects of a real science of the mind

Some of this has come from before: Many black sheep cousins of the major religions have produced mind sciences: Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Indian Yoga systems, Hebrew Kabballah, Islamic Sufism, and in more modern times, from Christianity: Christian Hermeticism, Anthroposophy and even a still lingering version of Alchemy.

Rudolf Steiner, on the cusp of the 19th - 20th Centuries, began his work attempting to create a Spiritual Science, with first tackling the philosophical problem of knowledge (what can we know and how do we know we know it), through three books: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; Truth and Knowledge; and, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.

The last book had as its subtitle: some results of introspection following the methods of natural science.  In German, according to some acquaintances, the word introspection is more accurately translated as: soul observation.

Steiner near the end of his life produced a work he called: Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, the first sentence of the first leading thought being, appropriately, a definition: Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spirit in man to the Spirit in the Universe. [emphasis added, ed.]  Most translations of this sentence from the German, do not use the word cognition, but rather the word knowledge.  The problem seems to be that cognition implies a more active thinking in English, than does knowledge, which to some translators seems more passive.

Barfield, a serious student of Steiner’s, said in a public forum, which I personally attended, that the book of Steiner’s, he most frequently read again and again, was: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; which book Barfield characterized as: the least read, most important book, Steiner ever wrote.  That is also true for me, for it is a frequently read book, and in my view the well grounded and nourishing root of all the rest of Steiner’s work that flowered later in time.

I have been practitioner of introspection for almost forty years, and was a student of this inner work for seven years before ever meeting Steiner through his books.  Before Steiner, my practice was somewhat mystical, albeit oriented toward the Gospels, and afterward became more and more disciplined and scientific.   Many of his students seem fascinated with the above three books, and learn to quote them endlessly.  Where possible I remind them that the books are maps, and what we are meant to study, if we wish to follow Steiner here, is the actual territory of our own mind (soul/spirit nexus).

Above, where I wrote of the alternative to the Theory of Evolution’s explanation of the bones, mostly this was based on reading Steiner’s spiritual scientific research.  He treated his results as scientific facts of the spirit, but since I lack his wealth of experience in those matters, I can only learn a kind of understanding of the spiritual world from Steiner.  What was written just above then, was a kind of poetic expression of that understanding, derived mostly from reading Steiner, but also infused with my own capacities for living thinking.

Living thinking is the result of the effort to bring about a complete metamorphosis of thinking itself, from its ordinary (and still often wise) nature, to one where thinking becomes an instrument of perception in the world of thoughts, such that we become capable of organic and pure thinking,  These attributes are far different from the abstract cause and effect thinking taught to us in our schools as a result of the influence on modern culture of natural science.

Organic and pure thinking are also different from discursive thinking, associative thinking, comparative thinking, figuration, theorizing and reflection.  Few readers will be familiar with such terms, but knowledge of them is available to anyone who carefully begins to observe their thinking.

That there is a world of thoughts which can be fully experienced - can be viewed, in the sense of a history of philosophy, as a kind of neo-Platonism - the view that Ideas are Beings who can be directly perceived.  For the true living thinking this situation is more nuanced.  For example, to introspection there is a hierarchy in the conceptual life: the mental picture; the generalized concept; the pure concept; and the idea.

The mental picture or representation is a kind of copy of a sense experience.  I’ve seen a particular book and in my mind I have a mental picture of that particular book.  I can in fact pull this picture out of my capacity for memory.    I can also have a generalized concept of all books, which lets me recognize “books”, as such.  This concept lacks the specificity of a particular book, however, which is why we distinguish it from the individual representation.

I can also have a pure concept of “bookness”, such as Goethe uses when in his scientific works he speaks of reading the “book” of nature.  I’ve taken that term (book) and used it as a similar metaphor (e.g. reading the Book of the Social World), but at the same time this pure concept can be an object of perception to my thinking.  This is to say that living thinking perceives all four (mental pictures, generalized concepts, pure concepts and ideas).

Not only do we perceive, but we create.  Thought, from this experience and point of view, becomes a kind of conceptual sculpture or form of art (thus my essay at the end of this book: In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship).

Steiner describes, in A Theory of Knowledge ..., an idea as a complex of concepts.  This too can be observed by the developing thinking, and an example of a complex of concepts (an Idea) is in fact the Theory of Evolution.  As an idea this theory contains many concepts, of various kinds and different degrees of scientific accuracy.  When someone refers to this particular Theory, we know, more or less, what they mean, because our mind also apprehends ideas.  We just don’t ordinarily study the related mental processes by which various thought-objects are created and then perceived - i.e. no science of the mind is taught in our present culture.

Above, in referring to Steiner’s spiritual research, I said that I understand it.  I don’t know the direct spiritual experiences on which he based his reports.  I could also believe what he said is true.  Belief, understanding and knowledge, as previously noted, are three different kinds of relationships between the thinking I (self-consciousness) and the thought content of the soul (a particular aspect of the field of consciousness).

Scientists have beliefs, as Brady pointed out in Dogma and Doubt.  These beliefs then tend to determine the approach they make toward their work, such that many never question anymore whether or not the complex of concepts that make up the Theory of Evolution is scientifically justified.   The Theory is so completely accepted (even adored) in the field of biology that all new facts are interpreted as supportive of the Theory.

Recall now the idea described above of: the pre-thought thought.  In Saving the Appearances: a study in Idolatry, Barfield describes these kinds of adored theories in the field of natural science as idols in the mind.  He means quite clearly to make an association with the problem of idols noted centuries ago in the monotheisms of the middle-East (Judaism, Islam and Christianity).  These modern idols are so embedded in modern culture that they exist as part of the field of figuration - the latent semi-conscious meaning of all that we see and understand.

For example, physics taught for years that the nature of matter was an association of very small particles called atoms, which in turn were made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.  These atoms then joined together into molecules, such that we have today a field of study called: molecular biology.  Physics has now gone beyond those ideas, into realms of indeterminacy, fields of interacting forces, and a more or less complete lack of any kind of substance at all in what we call the experience of matter or solidity.

Tragically, for ordinary people and for great aspects of biology, the older conceptions of physics regarding protons, neutrons etc. still lingers in most minds as idols.  Having absorbed the religion of scientism, we believe (but don’t at all perceive) this particle-like structure as the basis of matter.  What is worse is that when we see a tree, and try to be scientific (perhaps to vainly display our knowledge - really a belief) to our children, we might be tempted to say something like: well the tree really isn’t there, its just made up of atoms and such, and it is only our subjective mind which sees the tree.  If we really saw what was actually there, we wouldn’t see a tree, but instead we might see a numinous collection of points of radiant light (maybe, because most of us would get confused, since we in part know we are talking a kind of nonsense).

When we tell our children these stories, a home and then later in school, we produce in the field of figuration the idols - the false and misleading meaning of thingness which inhabits our world view.  Spirit surrounds us but we do not see it because we have had an enchantment laid into our thinking/figuration such that we only see the tree as a thing, and not the being of the tree - not its potent awareness of itself as a part of the all-that-is.   We look at nature and can’t conceive that nature is looking back at us.

Barfield’s book, Saving the Appearances, is designed to help us recognize that seeing the tree is in fact what we are meant to see.   The world is so ordered that the tree, as it appears to our senses, is one half of the complete representation of the meaning of that object.  The other half is our concept.  The sense experience and the thoughts of particular trees, trees in general, and tree-ness, including our higher idea of trees in the totality of Nature, go together.  The senses provide one part, and the thinking mind the other part.  Unfortunately, what the mind provides today is not the reality of this invisible part of nature, but rather a meaning denuded of relationship.  There is no I and Thou relationship between my I and the Beings of Nature.

Of course, this is just a taste of the real situation.  Not only are we designed to see the tree, we are also, so to speak, designed to see the “forest”.  That is we are designed to “read” the totality of the appearances, not just the part, for the truth is that this  totality is a kind of very rich and complicated speech.  The Divine Mystery, having embodied itself in everything (the Creation - the all-that-is), has given this Creation, a unique and Divine level of order for the reading (knowing) of which order the mind of human beings is the ordained partner.   Humanity, not being an accident, is fitted into the Creation in multiple ways.

David Bohm sees the implicate and explicit order, but doesn’t quite yet know how to read it.  Einstein wants to know the mind of God, but didn’t quite trust his instinct that it just might be staring him in the face.  A tiny example:

The tree, in its form, is similar in a way to the human lung.  Only in the case of the tree it is matter-filled space, while the lung, in its shape (its form as speech) is an upside down tree-shaped hole in space - being empty of dense substance, it can be filled with air.  Air surrounds the tree/leaf-filled space of the tree, and penetrates  and fills the leaf/tree-shaped empty space of the lung (where the air filled empty space of branching bronchi and bronchioles - trunks and branches - become alveoli - leaves).  At the boundaries of one kind of “leaf" oxygen is exchanged with carbon dioxide, and at the boundaries of another kind of a “leaf" carbon dioxide is exchanged with oxygen.  This mirror image chemical exchange is also expressed (“spoken") in the Nature of how each is related to space.

True thinking is such a kind of similar exchanged-process, albeit of and in the Spirit.  That which is called Goethean Science, following its inspired creation though the influence of Rudolf Steiner, will, as we shall see further on, expand such thinking about the appearances into great detail in a far richer fashion than most people can yet imagine.

Steiner called this integrated natural (assumed away) linkage between the objects of experience, and their related thoughts: monism, in his book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  The assumed split between mind and world is false.  What science has done, however, is believe that the truth of the tree is only found when we figure out what it is made of - what are its parts (all analysis, and no wise synthesis).  So science, in its natural immaturity as a Way of Knowledge, creates these idols for the mind (whether, atoms, molecules, or indeterminate intersections of fields of force); and, believing that the world itself is not able to teach us what we need to know unless we dismantle it, we doubt our already existing grace given ability to know directly through a properly disciplined thinking.

These idols are inserted in between our desire to understand, and the actual world that the senses were designed [by God, of course :-)] to see.   Goethe said that the eye is made by the light.  He also said that the senses never deceive*, only the judgment.  Further, that if we learn to read the Book of Nature, all Her secrets are right there on the surface - in the appearances.  We just have to have a more disciplined practice of observation and a more disciplined activity of thinking (judgment).

*[Steiner’s earlier works on the real nature of thinking, while not take up by but a small few, nevertheless eventually led to a graduate course, which he wrote great parts of but did not publish (around 1910).  His students then did publish this work, which he had called Anthroposophy, and they then called (because it was incomplete) Anthroposophy - a fragment.  I’ve written an essay on this work, offering this essay as an alternative introduction, for in my view the Society and his students have not even begun to understood this later work at all.  See: an alternative introduction to Anthroposophy - a fragment, on my website Shapes in the Fire.]

This (monism) would, obviously, be an interesting ideal (which is qualitatively different from an idea) some might believe.  But we live in the real world, such will say, and science is doing what it does, and the technologies developed out of the understanding of science have greatly benefited humanity.  The thing is, however, that Rudolf Steiner didn’t just teach and lecture.   People came to him with questions, and he responded to those questions in such a way that very innovative changes in medicine, agriculture, natural science, education and so forth, were introduced into the world.  These have been maturing now for about 100 years, and as we get further into the problem of Proof of God, those changes will come for a time to center stage in this book.

Here we are still dealing with an introduction to a modern science of the mind ...

Owen Barfield wrote a short essay: Rudolf Steiner’s Idea of Mind, from which I want to take a single point.  Barfield pointed out that (as hinted at above) we tend to think of the sense world as public (shared) and the world of the mind as private.   If we look at the facts, however, the situation changes.

If a dozen people circle a tree, they will all see the tree from their specific point of view, which will not be the same.  Clearly they all see the same object, but the details will vary according to the perspective of the viewer.  The more complicated the sense object (the more varied) the more different will be what is seen.  Steiner, says Barfield, means for us to realize that sense perception is in fact private, not public, because of these differences in point of view.

If we add from our discussions far above the concept of the meaning of the sense experience, we will see further that the sense object is perceived in its totality by the consciousness and self-consciousness in a distinct and individual way.  The tree, for one person may be source of an allergy, and thus repels them.  For another, an object of art, for they paint.  For a third something they will shortly bring their dog toward, for obvious reasons.  To someone hungry, its fruit will be important.  For a cabinet maker, something to take apart and to make into a table.  So not only is the perspective different, but so is the meaning/relationship.

Now the pure objects of the mind are concepts (the mental picture is just a copy of the individualized perception of the tree).  Steiner’s view, to which Barfield agrees, is that there is only one concept of triangle (or tree) for example.   Even though we may inwardly visualize different kinds of triangles (or trees), the concept of a triangle or tree, in its pure sense is a single entity, whichever mind is doing perceiving/thinking it.  The tricky part of the question is whether or not it is factually the very same identical concept in each mind, or as the naive point of view would assert: we make the concept ourselves, and it remains private and individual.

Another way to say this is: Is a thought, in the form of an individual concept, an object - that is something distinct from my thinking I (self-consciousness)?

The discoveries of the secrets of the mind, following a modern science of the mind (perhaps using Steiner’s books as maps to this territory), will begin to reveal that thoughts are objects, in the same way there are material objects in the physical world.  This is not particularly news in certain circles, and the history of science is full of such experiences on the part of scientists, including moments when the same idea is perceived by different scientists at more or less the same historical time.

Roger Penrose in his The Emperor’s New Mind relates (as we noted before) how as a mathematician he is beginning to think mathematical truths have their own independent existence. “...I cannot help feeling that, with mathematics the case for believing in some kind of ethereal, eternal existence, at least for the more profound mathematical concepts, is a good deal stronger...” (pp. 97).

In Thomas Taylor’s early 19th Century book: The Theoretic Arithmetic of the Pathagoreans, Taylor finds the tendency in the current methods of education, regarding mathematics, to just teach geometry and arithmetic as practical arts, fails to fully appreciate what lives there.  Mathematics, in its purest forms (its theoretical forms), is to Taylor the creation of the human mind (its objects are not found in nature), but only arise from the activity of the human mind.  In that the mind can produce such perfect objects, as mathematical thought, proves that the mind (the soul in his view) is itself perfect.  Only from the already perfect can the perfect arise.  That Nature conforms to mathematical rules only shows something about the origin of mind itself.

This is similar to a problem in evolutionary biology which tends to take the view that the lesser can produce the greater - that something as rich and complicated as consciousness and self-consciousness can arise from pieces matter.  Over the years, many have had a problem with this.  Above, in my alternative to a purely material evolution this problem is resolved when we realize that the incarnating spirit, born out of super-conscious creator Beings, already possesses that which matter itself cannot create.  Only when the two arcs of evolution (one of descent and the other of ascent) are brought together, does spirit (true mind) begin then to fully inhabit matter.

With these thoughts in mind, let us return to a look at brain studies, which assume all is matter and there is no spirit.  Often what the neuro-scientist believes he sees is limited in his mind to what his instruments perceive - such as the lighting up of sections of the brain during various other operations (medical tests, psychological tests, face recognition tests, verbal acuity tests etc.).  Following this lighting up, the individual may speak, and offer the inner thought results, of the seen by instruments brain activity, via speech.  Expecting thought to arise from matter (the pre-thought thought), the scientist interprets his experiment constantly as confirmation of his theory, a problem we saw in Brady’s article about evolutionary biology that is more like a dogmatic belief than like disciplined empirical science.

Keep in mind that the scientist of consciousness still has no idea how matter produces thinking.  He only assumes it to be the case.  This unquestioned belief determines the interpretation of the experiment, not the actual data.  Moreover, the neuro-scientist excludes from his data-perception a whole range of salient facts.

We also need to note, in passing, that whole fields of related disciplines are now being applied to questions about human consciousness.  Knowledge of the chemical working of cells also contributes to our understanding.  The total realm of inquiry resonates with complicated ideas, theories and hopes.  If we look at the field of cognitive science, for example, we find there an intersection of numerous disciplines, such as: psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy of mind, computer science, anthropology, sociology and biology.   Some more edgy thinkers want to include: social and cultural factors, emotion, consciousness, animal cognition, comparative and evolutionary approaches, and even the observations of what are called qualia (meaning: subjective qualities of conscious experience).

An effort to integrate all this would be impossible, and certainly far beyond the scope of this book.  This fact requires we narrow our review, of the thinking concerning questions of consciousness as is done today in natural science, to a particular example which I hope will identify some of the more important problems.  In this regard then, let us next look at the totality of an actual experimental process as related in some more popular literature.

Following his assumption, and ignoring his own mind as a possible object of investigation, the scientist of consciousness tries to understand mind through an examination of the brains/minds  of others.  Much interesting and important work has been done in the field of brain-mapping, for example.  A typical kind of experiment in this field was recently described in a long article in the New Yorker magazine: The Eureka Hunt: why do good ideas come to us when they do? (by Jonah Lehrer).

In this experiment, the subject was attached to EEG equipment, put in an fMRI machine, shown a puzzle and asked to solve it.  When it was solved he was asked to report that fact verbally to the observing scientists.  Prior to his reporting, areas of the brain were observed to “light up” for the instruments.  The interpretation of this experiment is that this particular area of the brain solved the puzzle and then subsequently, the subject verbally reported the solution.

A causal link is assumed between the observed brain activity and the puzzle solving.  This is not directly observed, however, given the fact that for all the instrumentation applied to the situation, the relevant inward thought activity is itself not observed.  In a way it is a kind of black box experiment.  A black box basically hides from observation the essential aspect of what is going on.

The material brain is, in this case, the black box.  We know from our own experience that thinking and thoughts appear to arise in ourselves, but that process in the experimental subject remains invisible.  Regardless of how carefully the brain mapping and related experiments are undertaken, the thoughts and thinking of the experimental subject are not seen by the scientist - there is no empirical observation of that activity.  Only the subject is capable of seeing them (experiencing the thoughts).  The underlying relationship between conscious inner activity (thoughts and their production) and the material brain is assumed, and this assumption (the pre-thought thought) brings about the conclusions made regarding the meaning of the experiment.

The only place that thinking and thoughts can be empirically observed is by the thinking subject itself, when it undertakes an examination of its own content of consciousness.  Let us look once more at the form of the experiment, but expand our perception of it as I suggested far above as the only way to appreciate its real nature.  Much is overlooked.

First the thinking consciousness of the experimental scientist develops/creates the idea for the experiment.  Nothing happens without that step in thinking.  Skipping over the practical aspects of physically setting up the experiment, the second overlooked matter is that a conversation arises between the scientist and his experimental subject.  We now have two minds operating in a way such that they use language to communicate to each other.  Once the experimental subject is in place (inside the fMRI and wired up for the EEG), something is shown to the subject (a puzzle) that the subject is asked to solve.   The subject then produces the inner thinking effort to solve the puzzle, during which invisible process there appears some kind of light visible to a machine.  The visible light is produced in an instrument observing brain activity, following which the subject then relates to the scientist his solution to the puzzle.

There is no experiment without the concept of the experiment first being formed in the mind of the scientist, after which what is needed from the subject is then communicated to that subject.  The subject then acts within its own inwardness to try to solve the puzzle.  Upon completion of the experiment the subject then reports the solution to the puzzle.  None of this thinking activity of the scientist and the experimental subject is observed in a scientific or empirical fashion.  None!

The first moving cause of the end result of the experiment is in the mind of the scientist creating the experiment.  The second moving cause is the asking of the subject to engage in the puzzle solving.   The third moving cause is when the subject strives to solve the puzzle.  Only after these three causal (from whatever drives thinking) impulses are in play, does the instrument light up suggesting brain activity.  All three moving causes in the thinking of the scientist and the subject are not observed empirically.  Yet, the meaning of the whole experiment is determined by the pre-thought thought - the theory, which is that consciousness is based in matter, and the mind is only a result of the activity of the brain.  If we remove the assumption of the pre-thought thought, that all is matter and there is no spirit, what do we know?

We know that there is no experiment without the creative conceptual thinking of the scientist.  We know that there is no activity by the subject without the two minds connecting via speech, such that the scientist can communicate (all of which involves thinking processes) his request to the subject for the application of its own thought activity in the puzzle solving.  Once this agreement is in place, then we also know that there is no brain activity to be observed without the experimental subject undertaking inner activity in accord with his understanding of what is being asked, and his understanding of how within his own consciousness he solves puzzles.  The subject must inwardly act before there is brain activity to be observed by the instruments, even though that action may only be for a nanosecond.

We also know that his own conceptual process is unclear to scientist.  He, like all naive thinkers, engages in inner actions concerning which most of what goes on there is semi-conscious and not studied.   In a consciousness, rooted in a disciplined science of the mind, all conceptual processes are transparent.  The creative nature of the acts which produce the various concepts and ideas are empirically known.  The same is true of the communication process and its resulting social agreement.  Lastly the puzzle solving process is as well transparent to a self-consciousness trained in scientific self-observation.  Where does this take us?

We could say that when the scientist studies his own mind, and those processes connected to conception-creation,  then the whole nature of the experiment leaves behind its black box riddle nature.  Thinking is then known as spiritual activity (thus Steiner’s The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity).  But for the reader of this book - why should they believe any of what I am saying?

Remember then that we are engaged in developing a specific Idea of God, and then a Theory of God, and then looking for evidence of or a Proof of God, leading to a Theory of Everything.  In accord with our previous efforts I will next describe more characteristics of the yet hidden nature of thinking activity, in such a way as to eventually produce another alternative explanation of what goes on during these kinds of experiments, frequently engaged in by modern scientists of consciousness.  This explanation is to be added to our Idea of God.  It is not meant to be believed, being in its essential nature part of A Theory of God.

Thinking forms concepts.  This is exactly what Darwin did in proposing his Theory of Evolution, and centering it on the idea of Survival of the Fittest.  Everyone does this, we just mostly sleep through it.  Like the fish doesn’t notice the water in which it swims, the self-consciousness doesn’t really appreciate its own conceptual activity.

The young man who went to the party, formed his concepts of the girl he was attracted to on the basis of what his friend told him.   That is, the meaning of what he observed was created inwardly in his own consciousness, yet at the suggestion of another self-conscious mind, which did not in fact know what it was talking about.  People who are playing with what they call the science of memes, believe that concepts and ideas move from mind to mind through social intercourse.  They instinctively want to treat these memes as having a kind of independent existence, given how they seem to travel from one mind to another.

Self observation, however, reveals that a concept is always formed in my own consciousness, even though I may be stimulated by language communications, such as words and terms.  To appreciate this fact we just have to recall how often we misunderstand each other.  This happens in families and in other close relationships all the time.  We frequently don’t mean the same things, even though we often use the same words and terms.  Two people attracted to each other will not mean the same thing when using a highly abstract word such as love, for example.

We individualize meaning all the time, and for a very interesting discourse on the larger significance of this, read Barfield’s Speaker’s Meaning.

For most naive thinkers, concept formation can frequently occur when they meet someone new.  Immediately we tend to like or dislike them, and borne upward on these reactive feelings we will make judgments about them, such as to their character and so forth.  People we already know tend to be enveloped in already (pre-thought thoughts) formed judgments.  Having made those in the past, we usually treat these individuals according to that past understanding.

In many situations, we may have a need for people to do something for us, and this too will involve concept formation about how to get from them what we want.  Life constantly brings it about that we create concepts.

Another example: In certain employment disciplines, the need for concept formation is intensified by the demands of the job.  Our thinking is believed to be owned in a kind of way by the boss, and in highly technical and innovative situations, the boss (whether a computer corporation, or a university) will force us to sign an agreement whereby they own our conceptual creations.

Necessity is the mother of invention is the folk wisdom.  Where does invention and innovation come from?

This is an especially difficult problem for the materialistic mind sciences, given that concept creation means thinking has produced something new.  If mind is just working or worrying with prior concepts, this is less of a problem.  But when something new comes, how did that happen?  How does matter create something never before thought?

We have in our ordinary language the use of the term “grasp”, to signify when our mind has understood something - we grasped someones meaning.  We have this experience of taking hold of a concept or idea.  The experimental subjects in the Eureka Hunt had to solve puzzles.  What is happening in the mind when we try to do something like this - not the brain, the mind.

Roger Penrose said explicitly that certain mathematical ideas seemed to experience to be independent of the mind.  Rebecca Goldstein in her work on Godel: Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel, considers him (as well as Einstein) to be neo-Platonists (holders of the view that ideas have an independent existence).  Here are a couple of interesting quotes by spiritual teachers I have studied:

The Tibetan Lama Chogyam Trungpa, in his book Meditation in Action, in the Chapter on Transmission, writes about the true spiritual meeting between the guru and the student as follows:  Something just opens, there is a kind of flash, and that’s all.  Although one sees it described in books as “great bliss” or “mahamudra” or “the awakened state of mind”, or “satori” -  all sorts of titles and names are given,.  But somehow the actual moment is very simple, very direct.  There is merely a meeting of two minds.  Two minds become one.

Or the Western spiritual teacher, Franz Bardon, in his book Initiation into Hermetics in the section The Mental Plane: “ ... the mental sphere is the sphere of thoughts which have their origin in  the world of ideas, consequently in the spiritual akasha.  Each thought is preceded by a basic idea which, according to its property, accepts a definite form and arrives to the consciousness of the ego through the etheric principle, consequently the mental matrix, as expression of the thought in the shape of a plastic picture.”

Weird? ... or not?

Recall now Steiner and Emerson: Thought is the last of a series of processes by which Nature is formed (Steiner); and Nature is a thought incarnate and turns to thought again, as ice becomes water and then gas.  The world is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping into the state of free thought (Emerson).

What happens, according to our Theory of God, in the above experiment?   The spirit (self-consciousness) of the scientist conceives the idea of the experiment.  Via a social (mind to mind) agreement, the spirit of the scientist asks the spirit of the subject that it attempt to solve (by thinking) a puzzle, and then tell the scientist the puzzle is solved.  While the puzzle is being solved, the will of the subject is focused on this task.  We can note in other situations, that the focus of the will in specific regions of the body will increase blood flow to that region, as well as a kind of heat or warmth connected to the increased activity of the ego during its focus or attentiveness to that region.

When the will is focused for puzzle solving, given that we all assume it is the head/brain that is thinking, part of the attention of the subject is focused on the head region of the  body.  This will, in a like fashion to the above, increase blood flow to regions of the brain.  Regions of the brain will light up to the instruments as a result of this activity of the focus of the attention (an aspect of the will in thinking).

Brain scan pictures tend not to be live, that is in movement, but instead are individual shots like a camera can make, but not movie pictures like a cam-corder makes.  We take snap shots of brain activity, but can’t yet take real time constant moving pictures of brain activity.  We also have to use a lot of different kinds of techniques in order grasp with different instruments different aspects.   Given that conventional thinking, with its pre-thought thought assumptions that permeates the point of view of the  whole field of brain studies, we could legitimately say that the accepted dogma rules this discourse, in the same way Brady showed that the accepted dogma in evolutionary biology ruled that discourse.

Now after the puzzle is solved, the spirit of the experimental subject engages the brain in order to speak to the scientist and relate (communicate once more mind to mind) that the puzzle has been solved.  The instruments light up then as well in their observations of the brain, when the thinking subject has to use the body in order to speak to the other mind (or self-conscious spirit).  The brain is not the mind, but the physical organ by which the spirit takes hold of the physical body.  Conceiving, agreeing and solving are spiritual acts connected to the activity of the thinking spirit, and the brain is only needed when actions or intercourse between the spiritual and the physical is required, which is why the brain lights up just prior to speech.

The central difficulty for the naive thinker, and for the practitioner of modern consciousness sciences, is the degree of sleep in which we are embraced as regards what actually happens in our own mind.  Not awake and unfree (captured by the pre-thought thought) in our mind, we don’t see the totality of the experiment which has to include, in the description of its effects and its nature, mature representations (mental pictures, generalized concepts, pure concepts and ideas) of the real nature of our cognitive activity as it effects the experiment.

Once introspection’s empirical observations of the nature of mind are added to the description of the totality of the experiment, the presence of the spiritual will be undeniable.  All the same, let us not be naive here.  Nothing is going to change overnight.   This book will have little immediate effect, if it has any effect at all.  The points of view and dogmas of scientific materialism move forward with a great deal of social and psychological momentum, and will continue for a long time on into the future.

Before returning to a deeper description of what can be discovered on the path of the modern mind science, rooted in Steiner’s books on the problem of knowledge, let us once again consider certain general observations of human social life (its a theory of Everything, remember!), as belong to our coming understanding.

the appearance of the free moral individual
in human social-political life

In an old-world village in Central Europe, over four hundred years ago, the community consisted of many very large families.  Lots of parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, and brothers and sisters - all related by ties of blood (we moderns would say: similar genetic inheritance).  There was also a strong division according to class distinctions, with the aristocrats holding a certain position of dominance over most of the population, except for the officials of the Roman Catholic Church - the Church having used its powers of denial of the Eucharist and other ways of public condemnation (accusations of heresy, witchcraft and so forth), to protect itself (to some degree) from the overreaching of the aristocratic classes.

The two powers, the aristocrats and the Church authorities, managed a kind of delicate and often only temporary peace.  Beneath these powers, the ordinary people, mostly serfs and peasants, farmed the land providing the food, and provided the servants, soldiers, and the priests and nuns as needed to those who held them in a kind of bondage: one more physical (threat of a sword chopping off your head), and the other more spiritual (denial of the host and other forms of moral condemnation).

At a certain point, various craft guilds had developed systems of apprenticeship, such that the many children (usually over a dozen, with only part of these surviving birth and early childhood) were born into each family, having only certain kinds of limited life choices.   The elder sons might inherit the right to rent lands for farming, and if not that then they could become priests or soldiers and apprentices in craft guilds.  These craft guilds were the precursors of the coming merchant classes, from which the middle class we know of today was to emerge.

Women could become nuns, but mostly they were expected to marry and bear children.  Hardly anyone was taught to read or do numbers.

Each village also had one basic culture - that is one language, and one religion, such that their form of figuration (semi-conscious thinking) was tightly bound up in the local traditions.

Into this more pastoral culture (more people lived in villages in rural areas, than lived in larger cities) was to come the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Copernican revolution, and the industrial revolution (not to leave out the constant wars among the aristocrats).

This caused several changes in our general human existence in this area of the Earth, during this time.  The moral traditions tied to the Church were breaking down - they no longer dominated human thinking.  The family, with the industrial revolution, began to lose the father who now was drawn from the farm and toward the factory.  Cities grew increasingly larger, so that workers could be housed for the new industries.  Concentrations of wealth shifted from the aristocrats, to an emerging financial and economic elite in the growing banking and merchant classes.

If we move forward in time to New York City on the cusp of the 19th to the 20th centuries, we find the former still somewhat large families, previously locked into villages, now living in neighborhoods.   A major difference is the nearby association of other languages and other cultural traditions.  Jews were next to Irish were next to Germans were next to Italians, and so on.  Hardly any public school yet, but lots of ways leading to intermarriage across the previous lines of cultural and language traditions.

Fast forward now to Los Angeles in the latter parts of the 20th Century.  Large ethnic neighborhoods, such as Black and Latino, and even sometimes Asian.  Most individuals, however, going to the same schools, and in public at least, using the same language.  Religion is not nearly as powerful anymore, yet Churches are everywhere - they are just no longer strictly hierarchical.  The whites (the former Jews, and Irish and Germans and Italians) having fled the inner core of the Cities, now live in suburbs, in what are essentially mass produced housing, yet which give their apparent owners, in a weird sense, their own Castle (a man’s home is his castle).

The new aristocrats of wealth are out of sight.  A well paid political and media class has interposed itself between these hidden rulers and the ruled.  Yet, on a functional level dominance still exists, and the sons and the daughters still provide soldiers for wars, and apprentices in the more evolved modern guild crafts (such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, middle managers), as well as homemakers and mothers.  Property ownership is believed to be a fact, but the reality is that the bank is the one that owns the home and a mortgage is just a more complicate way to pay rent.

For all this, however, the most significant change is in our ideas of what this all means.

With the collapse of the old-world village and the gradual shift to an inner core and outer rim in the vastly larger cities, the choices the young have have multiplied.  The son is not so likely to follow in the footsteps of the father, and the daughter not so likely to follow in the footsteps of the mother.  Our sex still makes certain social roles necessary, but even that is being questioned.

Previously the community and the family determined what could be thought.  Mostly we had in the past a deep kind of figuration (all meaning was embedded in our semi-consciousness), with little independent reflection and theorizing.  This somewhat moral power of the social to determine the content of thought finally broke down completely in the 1960‘s in America, first in small numbers when there was a shift about morals, from the more social idea of “do the right thing” - right being defined as what the family and community thought - to “do your own thing”, where instead the individual was to self-determine what the right thing to do was.

Now the breaking of this social tsunami-like wave over and covering and destroying older traditions was not a sundering of something like a knife would do to a piece of fruit, because it happened gradually over time.   The family itself dissolves into smaller and smaller units, leading eventually to the tiny family which was in the 1950‘s being called the nuclear family.  In addition the community, as a tight organism claiming the right to demand social conformance, also waned as people lived less and less in villages and culturally defined neighborhoods. and more and more in places where neighbors were virtual strangers, and the only sameness might be the color of ones skin.

Within this dissolution of the moral conforming power of the community and family, taking several hundred years to accomplish, the individual was more and more free to engage in self-expression.

Barfield, in his remarkable History in English Words, writes of the increasing interiorization of certain aspects of consciousness, such that up until two or three hundred years ago, the word “self” was not used in the way I just used it (self-expression).  Language, writes Barfield, reflects in the changes of the meaning (expansion and contraction) of words, changes in consciousness, because only the change in consciousness can produce the need for new meaning driving these changes in language.  As human beings in Western culture more and more individualized, and became freer for self-expression, and also experienced themselves more dynamically as even having an interior life, language had to acquire new capacities, and in the above book Barfield traces these changes in the most delightful and informative way.

The self-expressive individual now threatens the family, if one clings to a traditional view of family and morals.  We see this fact then reflected in the assertion of the existence of the family values crisis and the so-called culture wars, as constantly proclaimed by the trailing edge of social change - the traditionally religious.

When I grew up, being described as an individualist was a pejorative - a defect.  Todays child would find that not being an individual was a kind of madness.  If you want to see the effects of this explosive and expanding rise of the individual creative nature, just spend some time watching YouTube.

In order to shorten our socially descriptive language needs, let us call this total process from old world village to modern individualism: the self-creative process.  Even the dictator in Africa, or the overbearing protestant preacher, or the cheating movie star, or the greedy banker, are all expressing this self-creative process.  As we noted above, in reflecting on how we today act out of our likes and dislikes thereby creating social friction (the Baptism by Fire), this self-creative process dominates the underlying psycho-spiritual dynamics of current history.

The deepest push for social change comes from the inside of the individual human being.  Its total dynamics are just spread out over centuries, in terms of the social effects, with each next generation contributing something new to the whole simmering social-political stew.

Now this self-creating process acts upon the Stage Setting in different ways.  There are two dominant kinds of generalized social-formative processes worthy of note: a radiating-pushing process (mostly connected to acts of individuals), and a suctional-sculpting process, which results from a kind of undertow of the total macro-social -functioning as a kind of weight.  What early thinking called the masses, actually acts as a massive resistance that effectually forms something in the social.

A typical radiating-pushing process is of the kind that historians mostly notice.  A good example is the life of Alexander the Great.  His activity radiated all manner of effects into the social world of his time, when he conquered much of the former Persian Empire and large parts of the Asian-Indian realms.  In doing this he spread the vibrant creative culture of Hellenism eastward from Macedonia.

By the time the Roman Empire arose, Hellenism as a dominating political force was much weaker than it had been with Alexander, such that the spread of Hellenism (ancient Greek culture) arose among the Romans only by their making slaves of the Greeks.   At the same time, an educated Greek was often a very wise and intelligent person, and many aristocratic Romans had as personal advisors these educated and wise Greeks.  In this way, but through the expanding Roman Empire, whispers of Hellenism spread to the West and elsewhere.  We sometimes forget, for example, that Cleopatra was not an Egyptian, but a Macedonian.  Again, basically a social radiating process.

A classical example of a suctional-sculpting process is found today in modern Africa.  The masses of people share certain characteristic needs and flaws.  Individualism is yet weaker (the individualistic self-creative process is like a wave front in world social processes and does not all arrive everywhere at the same time.), and often the social power of the group is stronger (see the documentary film: The Lost Boys). 

Recall from far above the metaphor of the train and the tracks.  Procreation impulses require sexual intercourse, but these impulses, while necessary for new physical bodies to be created, can also be carried out in less than purely moral ways.  The dominance of the female by the male is still a cultural norm in large parts of Africa.   The mother is still expected to bear children and take care of the hearth and home.   The father either farms, works in the cities or goes to war.   The influence of the over-reaching of the greed-driven free market ideas of the capitalist countries, inhibits in Africa the development of a proper political and cultural life.

In this social matrix a kind of cultural ignorance arises, for even though we can think that we live in the same time (the number of the year we agree to for economic purposes, such as 2012), the so-called third world is not just less advanced (which is a kind of way of falsely seeing it as dysfunctional), but the fact is that the biographies of many of those present requires a less intellectually sophisticated culture, one more driven by primary needs, and redeemed by deeply felt heart forces (again see The Lost Boys).  It is the massive array of primary needs that dominates much of Africa, and becomes a suctional-sculpting force in the structure of the Stage Setting in that place and time.

One of the dominate ways in which culture advances is what happens when something is absent, especially if this absence happens in the presence of the possibility of an alternative.  The kind of individual freedom we prize in the West, and which is on display in our arts of music and film and television, becomes then in the souls of people, who do not have this individual freedom, a necessary hunger.  Again this is a suctional sculpting social force, driving the individuals in those cultures to yearn for what is noticed as being absent, and a particularly good example of this process is the previously noted effect on Russia and Eastern Europe of Rock ‘n Roll (with its ideas of individual freedom).

This suctional force is a kind of drag on the capacity of dominating radiating forces (dictators, Western economic imperialists and the like) to form the social totally to their view of things - drag in this sense being a socially weighted resistance.   Some of us in the cultural West, see this boiling social stew pot that is Africa, and compare it to our own way of life, and wish for the African something better.   We need to ask whether or not those biographies living in these conditions might be getting precisely what they need.

As long as we assume no reincarnation and no afterlife Divine Justice, we will believe something is horribly wrong.  That belief is actually important to our own biographies to the extent that we empathetically identify with the members of the so-called third world (an African, for example) and out of this feeling seek to help.  The Rolling Stones had a very interesting song, with this line: “you don’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you’ll get what you need”.  Remember, wisdom and creativity are distributed.

The divinely created World multi-tasks.  More than one thing is happening at the same linear time, but which from the point of view of Eternity, is both simultaneous and sequential.  At the same time it would be idiotic to assert that the oppressed want to be oppressed.  What an incarnating spirit wants, and needs and will actually have in their biography is far too complicated (and personal/individual), for us to make judgments concerning.  This is why above I urged the reader to concentrate their objective powers of empirical observation on their own biography first, before even beginning to believe we know enough to risk an evaluation the biography of a Thou.

Certain social processes play a larger role than we otherwise assume.  Above I mentioned Rock ‘n Roll and its effect on Russia and Eastern Europe leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall.  If we were to understand the different parts of the Earth, in their essential soul/spiritual nature at a cultural level, we can begin to see that what presently radiates out of America into the wider world are both catabolic (destructive) and anabolic (upbuilding) forces - simultaneously.

Some will decry the materialism spreading out from America, as well as the cruel and insensitive (and deeply irresponsible and selfish) economic policies that ravage and rape the Third World.  America’s consumer culture is falsely imitated, and its banking and corporate elites have stolen too much of what really belongs to others.  At the same time, at the level of Art, American culture has much to give.

Having pioneered film, American culture has precipitated (through imitation) a new generation of filmmakers in the Third World, telling its stories.  World culture needs the transmission and social intercourse this film-dialog creates.  This dialog follows one other that began with the radiating outward  emanation of Rock ‘n Roll, which then led to the Third World responding with World Beat, such that this response then led to American Hip Hop and so forth.   At a cultural creative level, especially now with individual music and videos on YouTube, the whole world engages in Artistic conversation.

This may seem to be disorganized, but it is not.  It is full of order, but that order comes from another place.  It comes from the inside of the developing human being.  It arises from naturally occurring synergistic effects and the rule of 6 degrees of separation.  It is the positive side of “I come not to bring peace, but a sword”.  This order stands outside the older and now dysfunctional hierarchical ways of organizing the world, typified by top down corporate social forms.  The real new world order is to be circle-like, not pyramidal.  It is communion with, not dominion over.

The older order will not go easily away.  The Past clings to its powers and privileges.  Being already dominant, it has the illusion it can continue to dominate.   However, its mode of operation in seeking continued domination involves increasing social control.  The problem with that approach is that the human spirit is irrepressible.  We can make here a useful analogy with the physical laws governing fluid dynamics.

Fluids are incompressible - that is they can’t be crushed.  Because they are fluidic, pressure causes them to leak through any place that is open to them.  Older brake systems on cars work on this principle as well as the flight control systems of most airplanes.  The same with the human spirit.   The more the lingering and dying hierarchical corporate social forms try to control through social pressures, the more the spirit will find its way outside these rigid structures.  The more the older structures become increasingly rigid (that is hardened, as in sclerotic), the sooner will death come to these already dying social forms).

History shows that ultimately oppression (social control) always fails.  For details on what those consciously pursuing communion with can do, from certain points of view, read my Counter-Moves: finding Victory in the War the Rich are making on the Poor (which is included in the appendix of my Uncommon Sense: the Degeneration, and the Redemption, of Political Life in America).

Here is the contents page of Uncommon Sense, as was done above with other books of mine in recognition of the vast total complexity of what we are trying to understand and assess:

the reader can skip this and easily treat it as a footnote, not needing to be read

table of contents

Introduction: anticipating the whole (page 4)

Section One - Degeneration

Part One: The Betrayal of the Left, and of the whole of American Politics, by the Democratic Party

Part Two: The Betrayal of the Republic, the Constitution and the American People, by the Republican Party

Section Two - Redemption

Part One: Rediscovering true Democratic and Republican Virtues within the Idea of Citizen Governance

Part Two: America as Mystery

Part Three: A Pragmatic Solution to the American Dilemma - writing a Second American Constitution. This section includes an updated version of the Declaration of Independence

Section Three - The Real Power of Citizenship, both as an American and as a Citizen of the World

Appendices: elaborations of certain particular themes

Appendix A: Money and Debt: the Company Store in the 21st Century

Appendix B: Citizen Governance

Appendix C: Renewal Groups

Appendix D: Civil Society

Appendix E: The original Declaration revised

Appendix F: Some material about the author, Joel A. Wendt

Appendix G: a wonderful contribution by the author of Babylon Five

Appendix H: Counter-Moves

Appendix I: Jim Garrison’s summation at the Clay Shaw trial concerning the JFK assassination (from the public record).

Appendix J: Dennis Burke’s Eulogy to Granny D. (Doris) Haddock

return to main theme

interlude and recapitulation

Where are we?

The main thrust of this book has been to take a look at the apparent disagreements between Science and Religion, in such a way as to do no violence to either approach to the world.  The mode of accomplishing this was to approach the larger question of the existence of God, in a scientific way, by first laying out a Theory of God, as an alternative explanation of the nature and source of human existence to that provided by the Idea of the Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution.

To create this Theory of God, however, required a complete restatement of the Idea of God, from that with which we are historically familiar.  This is a very complicated task, given all that has to be included, because the logical extension of a valid new Idea of God and a systematic Theory of God, would lead to a quite different Theory of Everything.

Various themes then needed to be explored, many having to begin with a more superficial discussion than would later be the case.  In a way we have spiraled around the various themes, returning to them over and over again, each time trying to deepen our appreciation of what are the fundamental issues being examined.

An important aspect of the Whole concerned the idea that there is not only matter to take account of,  but spirit as well.  In a way the spiraling themes are a bit like the double helix of the DNA strand, one spiral being what is known in materialistic science concerning matter and the other spiral being what is yet unknown about spirit, but apparent once we empirically investigate the true nature of mind.

An important and valid question concerns the problem of evidence and proof.  During most of the course of the above discussion, I have only offered alternative explanations of various phenomena already thought to be understood by science.  I had pointed out that what is known empirically is not the same as our theoretical formulations.   Theories are rooted in empirical facts, but are not the same as such facts.   Theories are in fact creations of the human mind, which is why our studies of the mind are so crucial.

For this reason then the developing Theory and Idea of God was made more complex by the inclusion of alternative explanations of the same empirical facts with which science is already familiar.  These alternative explanations are not meant to be either evidence or proof of anything, as much as they are meant to demonstrate that the same set of facts can be explained in alternative ways.  Our minds are not limited to the explanations of empirical facts so far presented by the theories of natural science.

In particular I tried to inform the reader of the problem of the pre-thought thought.  Once the mind of the scientist is captured by his unchecked assumptions and his fascination with the explanatory power of his theories, all new empirical research is then interpreted in the light of these pre-existing conclusions (for details, see the aforementioned: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn).  All of this work with assumptions, theories and the resulting pre-existing conclusions takes place in the mind of the scientist (and as well the cultural apologists for science, many of whom begin already with an anti-religious bias).  Examples of these attitudes are to be found in the books, by Harris - The End of Faith et al.; Dawkins - The God Delusion; and Hitchens - god is not Great; mentioned far above.

The reader needs also to realize that it is not my intention to defend traditional religious doctrine, either.  In bringing up the matter of the black-sheep cousins of the major religions (Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Yoga, Sufism, Kabballah, Christian Hermeticism, modern Alchemy, and Anthroposophy), I intended to point to the fact that humanity has a long tradition of sciences of the mind, which modern scientists of consciousness seem to want to pretend does not exist.

Earlier I put forward Ronald Brady’s remarkable examination (Dogma and Doubt) of the underlying philosophy of science problems with Darwin’s Natural Selection. There Brady shows conclusively that not only are many formulations of the Theory of Evolution tautological, but also that no scientist has yet formulated that Theory in a way that it can be tested or falsified. This is particularly true as to the major question concerning whether or not random evolutionary pressures can produce speciation - that is just how the dinosaurs become birds, how the fishes become mammals, or the higher apes become huminoids.  The Theory of Evolution can’t presently be tested or falsified as to how evolution actually produces a differentiation of species.  Since it can’t be formulated in such a way that its essential beliefs can be tested, it is not a good Theory - we need a better one, which by the way I am offering in this book.

We have a similar problem in the conventional mind sciences, when it comes to the question of how does the material brain produce consciousness.  No one knows, and so far no one even seems any longer to consider the absence of an explanation a problem.  Most everyone just assumes that the brain produces thought and thinking, consciousness and self-consciousness.  Again I make alternative explanations, but not as evidence or proof, but rather as Idea.  If we start to add the Idea of Spirit to the Idea of Matter, where do we end up?

We end up explaining a lot of what is presently unexplained.  But the explanatory power of the Idea and Theory of God is not enough, if we use Brady’s work as the justifiable philosophical standard that it is.   The Theory of God (or the Theory of Everything) must be able to be stated in a non-tautological fashion, and as well in a fashion that can be tested and/or falsified.  Only then do we have a good theory.

So, for example, near the end of my discussion of Brady’s work, I offered a sample formulation of one of this book’s central themes: The macro-social organism, in which human biographies take place, is the causal result of the Artistic activity of God.

Careful reading of Brady’s essay, however, reveals that most Theories contain other theories, for the world is complicated and our existential reality has to be sought in diverse ways.  The sample above is meant only to be an indication, for when we get fully into the problem of evidence and proof there will have to be multiple formulations of the various aspects of the Idea and Theory of God - the matter is otherwise too complex to try to render it in any kind of simple way.

In this direction we will go next, although for the moment we will continue to examine the nature of mind, given its central importance in the whole work ...

additional aspects of the nature of thought and thinking

Thinking generally has an object, that is it is about something.  The scientist thinks about the stars, the mother about her child, the worker about his back pain.  We, as a self-conscious thinking subject, think about the object of our attention.

In the normal course of a day, the variety of subjects can be enormous.  Our attention wanders all over the place, unless we are worrying a particular question or riddle.  The necessities of life mostly drive and/or determine where the attention is focused.  Get out of bed, take a shower, wake the children, make the breakfast, drive to work, fear the boss, go to the bathroom, day dream at our desk, wonder about the coming weekend.

Naive or ordinary thinking is mostly discursive in nature - we inwardly talk to ourselves.  The mother in the kitchen yells at the rowdy children in the living room: “Stop making so much noise, I can’t hear myself think!”.  Were we to be more carefully observant here, we would notice that the self-consciousness (spirit) speaks, via the inner voice, into the general inner field of consciousness (the soul).  This discursive inner dialog, a kind of background inner silent mumbling and rumination, is not the main focus of our attention.   The focus of our attention is on the object about which we are thinking, not on the thinking itself, although reading, with its sub-vocalization is somewhat more conscious.

The mother in the above example, was not thinking about her thinking, she was, let us assume, thinking about her marriage.  Perhaps in one given moment she is remembering something from the past of the marriage, and in another given moment she is having a fantasy about something better arising in the marriage.  Maybe there was an argument last night, some unkind words were said by her husband, and she is still involved in the related hurt feelings.  The total content of the field of consciousness is huge, and the discursive element only one part of this totality.  Just as the outer world calls to the attention (the rowdy children, the dishes needed doing, the shopping required later), the inner world of memories and feelings can also call to our attention.

Recall once more Barfield’s: figuration, reflection and theorizing as kinds of thinking.  Our mother’s attention here moves from one mode to another semi-consciously, all in accord with her moods and her needs.  Suppose her cell phone rings, and her sister calls.  Depending on why the sister called, her attention will move again to another object of thought.  Sometimes her sister is a needy pill, and other times her love of her sister causes her to forget all her own troubles and to worry over the sister’s troubles instead.

So the mother sits down at the kitchen table, starts to sip her coffee and listen (lend an ear) to her sister’s needs.  This is actually good - this shift of attention - for at helps her forget her own troubles.   They talk, they share.  Something remarkable happens for both, for the talking is a kind of therapy - the sharing a kind of release.

 

Women do something here men normally do not do - emotional sharing, although almost all marriages need this.  For men, with each other, conversation tends to be an extension of the compulsive competition taught to them in childhood.   Stories are told, each meaning to top the other.   There are whole books written on this theme (c.f. Deborah Tannen: You just don’t understand: men and women in conversation).

During this conversation a kind of spiritual communion arises, although neither sister will label it that way.   The two separated self-conscious spirits identify with each other deeply for moments and this identification is the essence of healing spiritual communion.  Classical talk therapy is rooted in this aspect of human reality.  Sub-consciously thinking about something shifts to thinking with someone, carried by the feeling of sympathy.   However briefly and semi-consciously, I and Thou notice (attend to) each other’s existential reality in a deeper way.

In the course of this conversation, thinking discursively will still bounce around, although it will often emerge from the inwardness fully into speech - a kind of thinking aloud.  Moments of reflection (what does it all mean) will alternate with moments of theorizing (gossip, for example).

Two other kinds of thinking activity may appear: comparative discriminating thinking and associative thinking.   In comparative thinking, one object of thought is distinguished from another, generally in some kind of value context: this is better (in some way) than that (for details on the relationship of this to the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, read my this and that, an essay on my website.)

So the sisters discuss the relative value of their individual husbands’ behavior in bed, or as sensitive and otherwise romantic men (see my Seven Dates: erotica transcending for more on this theme).  During the conversation, an associative thought may arise - some bit of recent memory, for example, that leads to a story being told.  The mind (self-conscious spirit) here is not separating, as in noticing different levels of value, but instead joining - noticing a relationship between different objects of thought.  Comparative thinking tends to separate, and associative thinking tends to join together.

Both are results of the latent semi-conscious feelings of antipathy and sympathy that often serve as drivers for the thinking (written about far above as regards the creation of social friction).   Although either antipathy or sympathy may be a cause of separating or joining, the tendency is for comparative thinking to usually be driven by antipathetic feelings (disliking) while the associative thinking is often based on sympathetic feelings (liking).

What’s the point, you might well say?

In a science of the mind, we discover these types of thinking (discursive, comparative and associative as well as figuration, reflection and theorizing).   Their discovery leads us to recognizing the role played by feelings as regards the thinking - our inward empirical studies of our mind can lead to a deeper appreciation for how a feeling may, or may not, drive a thought.

These thought processes (there are more than these), are not usually separate from each other, although their empirical perception then naturally leads to experimentation.  Knowing the existence of these inner processes leads to discovering how to consciously will them - how, as Steiner put it, to learn to control thoughts and thinking.  Am I stuck in discursive thinking?  Can the focus of my attention maintain a state of associative thinking for a long period of time?  What value, if I learn to do it on purpose instead of instinctively, is there in comparative thinking, reflection or theorizing?

In order to control thoughts in all cases, do I need to learn some mastery of my feeling life?  Do my emotions drive me, or can I learn to ride the horse of their powers in my own inwardness?  Does anger, for example, always have to lead to violence, or harsh and terrible words?

Is there an even deeper place within - a place where almost completely unconscious motives live?  Suppose I am jealous of my partner in our shared scientific practices.  He, to my comparative thinking, is better than me at what we do, seemingly together.   Seeking a way forward, I plot to harm his work and elevate my own.  I imagine how to do this (picture thinking, instead of abstract thinking - two more kinds - or modes - of thinking).  My motive is raw, but not angry or hot.  It is base, but cold.  I plot, rather than blindly strike out.  I’ve made a moral choice, not for the good by the way.

What is the relationship between the objects of thought and the moral (good or evil) imperatives that drive them from my deepest willed inwardness?  The at one time student of Rudolf Steiner, Valentin Tomberg, in his remarkable book on Christian Hermeticism, Meditations on the Tarot, speaks of “learning to think on your knees” - of a kind of thinking that is devotional, and whose purpose is to benefit the Thou, not to harm him or her.

Many of us instinctively know how to do this - to think on our knees.   We just don’t do it on purpose, intending it consciously.   What happens is we care about someone, who has become the object of our thought and thinking.  Parent and child.  Teacher and student.  Child and elder parent.  Marriage partners.  Siblings.   Stranger others we serve at the homeless shelter.

Choosing to care guides our thinking about, and may in many instances change it to thinking with (instinctive empathy).  Selfishness and selflessness produce different kinds of thoughts.  Moreover, I can do these intentionally if I learn to awaken inwardly.

Suppose I am at work, and a particular individual vexes me (I have antipathies toward them, and they toward me).  We often have friction with each other.  When I think about them I am unhappy.  If I took hold of my thinking, on purpose, and changed it intentionally from thinking-about to thinking-with, I will have different thoughts concerning how I relate to them.  I can’t change them, but (as Gandhi pointed out) I can change myself.  Thinking-with them will increase my understanding of who they are, and perhaps give intuitive insight as to how to relate to them in a new way.  Remember, Christ ends His discussion of the mote and the beam in the Sermon on the Mount this way: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye”.

When the new science of the mind (anthroposophy as a path of cognition) matures in the individual, two more evolved kinds of thinking arise (evolved out of the underlying modes discussed above): these are organic thinking and pure thinking.  Figuration, reflection, theorizing, discursive, comparative, associative, hot, cold, about, with, selfish, selfless, abstract, pictorial and so forth become organized into something new.   The self-conscious spirit forms thinking in a new way, which becomes called: living thinking.

The root foundation of a fully willed thinking bases itself on clearly and consciously chosen moral ideas or ideals.  We think for a specific reason - a quite definite why.  Our thinking serves others, not ourselves.

In organic thinking we are thinking about, with, within and as, something living - that is the object of thinking is alive.  Note I have added to thinking-about and thinking-with, something additional: thinking-within and thinking-as.  In my essay near the end of this book, In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship, I write carefully and exactly about how one can transform thinking - bring about its metamorphosis - on purpose, consciously.  Each stage of this process involves a renunciation - a sacrifice, and the addition of an intention with which to guide the attention.  For organic thinking, its object is the living elements of existence, and the full metamorphosis is not essential - organic thinking is a part or stage of a longer Path.

There is more, but before going there, I want first to revisit an earlier theme once more, - this time aided by our deeper appreciation of the nature of thinking and of thought and of the mind.

social life, in the biography, as a creative invention:

- the self-conscious spirit as an artist in life -

Recall above where I wrote that the creative spirit of the what-is is distributed.  We also recognized that the progress of social transformation is driven in large part by interiorization, and individuation, such that we gave the name self-creative process to the inward evolution of consciousness process by which old-world village family life dissolves into the modern nuclear family, and ultimately the modern individual.

We noted in passing that this wave front of change moves through the total sphere of earth existence over time, and does not arise everywhere at once.  Let us examine this in more detail.

Different societies exhibit different phenomena here.  Major cities in the Western democracies will have many people living alone, particularly if they are culturally Western.  In Europe, for example, recent immigrant peoples will tend to live still in family groups, or even just in collectives - many people in the same house or apartment.   In America, similar phenomena can be seen.  Those not yet fully Americanized will associate with family and friends in a more dense living arrangement.  In Eastwood’s film Gran Torino, a single elderly white man, rejecting his own children, lives alone (his wife of many years has passed).   His next door neighbors are Hmong (people from the Asian mountains in China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam), and they live many people to a house.   Even the Hmong gang members, who bring so much trouble in the film, live together.

There is a relationship between these living arrangements and the inward consciousness of the individuals conforming to them.  We could say that individualism (self-creation), eventually runs into a social limit.  At the same time, this self-creative process, in terms of the macro-Earth social life, is in many different stages of development everywhere.  Eastwood’s film above illustrates that these different stages can exist side by side, and fruitfully interact.

Certain regions of the whole social-Earth sphere have different concentrations of free self-creation present.  America is the most concentrated place for this activity, which results in very specific social-cultural potentials and responsibilities (See Ben-Aharon’s America’s Global Responsibility*).

*[Although, that book is a bit academic, and not much use for more ordinary American thinking - Ben-Aharon, in the future should he wish to speak more to certain basic American sentiments, might first want to watch some movies, perhaps Kevin Costner’s American-spirit trilogy: Field of Dreams;  Dances with Wolves; and, The Postman (in that order).  This can give us a deeper sense of the real heart-nature of the American Character.  For example, a good ”reading” of the character that Eastwood plays in Gran Torino, will find all manner of sentiments, as revealed in an archetypal fashion in those Kevin Costner movies, living in this film’s representation of an iconic American individualist.]

Every region in the world is different, as is even each small locale.  People living out of different stages of consciousness, as regards the appearance of this self-creating impulse, will often have difficulty understanding each other, even if they live next door to each other, or are in the same family.  In America we even once gave a name to one kind of observation of this problem: the generation gap.

Generalized statements about specific regions will break down when we look at the details.  At the same time, social activists world-wide recognize in each other something of this new generative self-creation process.  Above in the section just last on thinking, we discussed how, in our deepest inwardness, moral questions arise, such that eventually our moral motives become socially significant in their impact.  The process of economic globalization, and the stitching together of widely separated people via the Internet, produces macro-social effects - of both the radiating-pushing kind and the suctional-sculpting kind.  A kind of moral global war has broken out between self-interested corporate powers and thou-interested social activists.  (c.f. Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken)

At the same time, while it might be a nice diversion to enter into a discussion of global politics and economic theories (Ben-Aharon’s book  above does an outstanding job there, by the way), in this book on The Art of God, we have different purposes.  The Divine Mystery seems to make a clear distinction between the Stage Setting (global politics) and the drama of the individual biography.  The latter is the essential object of Divine Love, while the former is the incidental Scenery in which the latter takes its course.  As Ben-Aharon notes, however, more and more of the Scenery (political and economic structure) is being re-designed by the thou-interested social activist.

In my book the Way of the Fool, I chart the coming course in Western Culture of the religious development of the self-creating individual from a condition of spiritual childhood, to a condition of spiritual adulthood.  While that is a valid general statement, in individual cases the whole thing is more nuanced.  Let us look then, once more, at the inner biography of individuals, keeping in mind what we have just been learning about thinking.

We are born into a context, yet bearing certain capacities, one of which is that we can think.  Thinking does not emerge all it once, at least in the sense of what it is when we have finished our adolescence.   The toddler seems not to think at all, in that mature way, yet its play is full of purpose.  What it is learning may not involve much thinking.  Perhaps what is being “educated” in toddler play is not self-conscious thinking, but semi-conscious willing.

We roll over, we sit up, we stand, we walk.  Eventually we run.  At the same time we learn to speak, but that seems mostly imitative in the beginning.   Different theories exist about how we do these things, but that we do them cannot be doubted.  One of the oddities with speech is how well we immediately do it.

Take indefinite articles, for example: “an” and “a”.   Children learning to speak seem to use them correctly right from the start.  The same with other not very complex words, such as “this”, “the”, “that”, a bit depending upon the usages that are modeled for them.  Or, the prepositions like “of” or “without”, each of which has a somewhat complicated situational meaning.  Why do children get this stuff more or less immediately correct?

Mere imitation seems not enough of an explanation.  Language acquisition theories follow along variations of evolutionary biology theories.  That tiny children learn to speak their native tongue is obvious.  How they do this very very complicated task remains a mystery.

Anyone want to believe they get some help?   An invisible being called a guardian angel perhaps?   I’m only half joking.

As the child is born into language, it is also born into culture.  The two are inseparable.  The family situation will often include religious observance, and this too is presented to the child via language.   The child does not discriminate or evaluate.  Its soul and spirit is nourished by what is given.  From the point of view of our developing Theory of God, the child, via its own pre-birth intentions, was born to these particular parents, at this particular time and for very specific purposes.  More than anything, the child wants to be there, where it is.  Christ’s teaching: Lest ye become again little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, points to a great mystery.

The culture can be ancient, and paradoxically and simultaneously modern.  All this is in the language.  Just as Barfield gives us an introduction to the riches contained in the English language (History in English Words), so are all languages filled with cultural treasures and riches.  It is precisely this wealth that the child seeks in choosing these parents/family and this time into which to be born.

To be, for example, Persian and modern can be accomplished by choosing to be born in Iran and raised in that version of the Persian language common there to not only many Iranians, but also to about 65 million speakers in that whole region of the world.  Not only so-called Iranians speak Persian, but the very meaning of many of the words carries aspects of this ancient heritage.  Moreover, as we noted above, Alexander the Great brought Hellenism to this region of the world, and a philological study of of modern Iranian Persian would contain many words bearing this influence.

In spite of the antipathetic thinking of many Westerners, revealed by their anti-Islamic political rhetoric, the modern Iranian is highly educated, such that not only do they have many words with ancient Persian roots, and Hellenistic roots, but also Western scientific roots.  At the same time, these language influences do not contain what in Europe was born of the Scholastics, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.  What does this mean?

There is a quite definite relationship between thinking and language.  Again, a lot of theories, but regardless, of the precise nature of the mutual influences, it doesn’t take much reflection to realize that a modern Iranian will not think like either a European or an American.  Recall what we studied above about figuration.

Language not only gives us the names of all the familiar objects in the child’s environment, but also gives us the relationship/meaning.  For the child such simple acts as greeting a visiting relative, or a stranger, not only via touch, or speech, but also how and why we offer water, or coffee or tea - all this is rich with cultural significance.   These are not mere social rules, to be abandoned later on re-examination by some kind of superior intellectual rationality.  We even have some folk wisdom that points us in the right social direction: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

From this ground, which is deep and wise, the child slowly develops all the usual universal capacities of thinking, besides figuration: theorizing, reflection, comparative, abstract, associative, hot, cold, separating, joining, etc. - all that we studied above in our observations of the lives of the woman at home, and the scientist with his jealousy.  Yet, while these capacities are universally human, the root aspect of language is not easily overcome, in part because we never think to overcome it.

In a lot of circumstances, any individual trying to overcome his or her cultural-language heritage would be seen as irrational.  Can an American, or a Frenchman, or an Congolese African, stop being that aspect of their nature?

While, from a certain point of view, we can look at the self-conscious spirit as completely individual, it remains, during it earthly existence between birth and death, joined with its field of consciousness (soul).  Most naive thinkers assume that their “I” and their soul are an identify.  We often believe we are the feelings we have and the ideas we carry.  The ego is attached to its favorite feelings and thoughts (the Tibetan Lama Choygam Trungpa calls these: ego’s collection).

If, for example, we gain something in the social via displays of temper, we will and can like this so much that we can’t conceive of ourself as not this temperamental person.  Our sense of self can become lost in an ideology as well, which can be religious, political, scientific, or irrational.  A madman doesn’t conceive of the world, or himself, as really different from how he regularly sees both.  Yet, keep in mind that the mind science Anthroposophy teaches both how to control thoughts and to master feelings (more later), such that Steiner (as previously reported) in the last sentence of the original preface to his The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity writes: One must become able to confront an idea and experience it, otherwise one will fall into its bondage.

The stalker is obsessed with his imagined relationship with his victim.  So is the pedophile.  Politicians are often addicted to power, as are the extremely wealthy.  In all such cases the mind has become lost in bondage to an idea, which may only be about the self, much less about the world.  We can have an inflated view of ourselves, for example, thinking we are gurus and teachers of enlightenment (I did this in the late 1970‘s).  We typically love our ideas about what is right or moral, and often believe everyone else should agree with us.

These character-logical states of being seem to arise only a little from the modeling done for us by our social peers and family, and have more to do with something deeper, and which we now must bring forward, although many readers might well wish otherwise: the shadow or the double or the doppleganger.

Many black-sheep cousin religious traditions know of this in a richer way than do the more ordinary religious views (or do modern psychological views).  The idea of “sin” for example is one approach, as is the idea of mental illness.  When we see what appears to us as abnormal behavior, we try to explain it according to our world view.  None of these explanations is totally off the mark, but at the same time, all will be enriched, and made more fully capable of understanding the human dimension wisely, only when knowledge of the double is returned from the obscurity into which it fled some centuries ago.

I have written about this extensively, including a little booklet: the Shadow*.  Here I just want to bring forward the idea of this spiritual companion to the self-consciousness (spirit) in the field of consciousness (the soul) using a couple of metaphors of Native Americans, as these are gentle and wise.

*[I am reworking that booklet and expect to deliver it this summer (2011), under a different title: The Mystery of Evil.]

“Waynaboozoo’s Spirit Father advised him: ‘You have a twin brother whom you have wondered about and whom you would seek. This I tell you: he is your other side in all things and in all ways. He is with you...do not seek him. Do not wish to know him, but understand him. You will walk in the path of peace...he would not. You are kind...he is not. You are humble...he is not. You are generous...he is not. You seek the good in things...he does not. You shall respect others...he will not. You will seek the goodness in others...he will not. You are the light...he is the darkness. Know that he is with you, understand him.'” From the Mishomis Book The voice of the Ojibway by Edw. BentonBanai, 1979.]

And the story of the two wolves (my version): A young man was speaking with his grandfather, and was troubled by impulses he had inside him to be mean, in imitation of some of his friends.  His grandfather taught him as follows:  Inside you are two wolves.  One hungers to do the good, to be kind and to be wise.   The other hungers to do evil, to be selfish and make trouble for others.  This you must understand.  The young man then said: But, grandfather, what do I do, how do I become the good wolf instead of the bad one?  To which his grandfather replied: It all depends on which wolf you feed.

Let me also quote from the Quoran (keeping what I have been writing above about the double in mind): “Qul a’udhu birabbin nas. Malikin nas. Ilahin nas. Min sharril waswasil khannas. Alladhi yuwaswisu fi sudurinnas. Minal jinnati wannas”, or in English: “Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind, from the mischief of the sneaking whisperer, who whispers in the hearts of mankind from among the jinn and mankind.

In different religious traditions, this problem is dealt with in many different ways.  Aspects of early Christianity taught that the root of evil was in the carnal body, which must be denied.  Right now, in the fields of psychology and psychiatry (with their own tendencies to scientism),  much that previously in our culture was defined as a moral problem is now being defined as an “illness” problem.  People are being made less responsible for their behavior and more the victim of an “illness”, over which they are thought to have no control.  A classic sociological/historical look at this is: Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness (Conrad and Schneider).

Recall now far above when I wrote of the ego or warmth body and the astral or desire body.  We have also been calling this the self-consciousness (the spirit) and the field of consciousness experience (the soul).  Not only then is the child born into the rich context of family and culture and language, but it is also born with a shadow companion (the double) and a light companion (the guardian angel), as well as certain pre-birth tendencies in the astral or desire body (various hungers), which become drivers in the soul that then lead the spirit toward very definite experiences during the biography, many having to do with such concepts as: karma, fate and destiny.

In a sense the immortal spirit of the child brings with it a pre-birth personal heritage, which it inserts into a specific cultural heritage, in order to unfold the art of the biography.  All of this we can observe from the outside, if we follow the details of the biography and notice the various swerves and kinks that often are so troubling.   We do far better, of course, if we are willing to be brutally self-honest, and look at our own biography in the same objective way a stranger would.

Part of our problem, especially in the West, is that we have replaced traditional religious ideas about the Divine influence on our existence, with the idea of blind or random chance.  We have, in effect, deified Chance or Accident in our scientism, while dethroning the conventional religious ideas, such as temptations to evil from inside us, and grace of Divine Providence from outside us.

The dominant element in this dethroning is belief.   We don’t know that chance and accident dominate, we don’t even test for it.  We just believe it because if we don’t believe that, then all of a sudden God or something similar has come in the back door (Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World), and the light of reason and rationality will, we fear, go out.

Let us not do that with these ideas I am suggesting of the shadow and the guardian angel and the tendencies in the desire body that lead to addictions and other obsessive behaviors.  Let us remain scientific, although we are now going to look at an alternative Theory, one in which I hope there will be enough specificity and detail that it can be the subject of genuine and authentic empirical investigation.

So, to not loose our thread ...

The child incarnates into language, which has a huge influence on how the world is experienced, not only outwardly, but inwardly as well.  If the culture does not have a name for something, or point toward it with language, it tends not to be seen.  The idea of the double has been lost in the West for centuries  - lost, but not forgotten.  Now knowledge of the double begins to return, and for some details one might read the Fifteenth Arcanum, on the Devil, in Tomberg’s Mediations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism.

As the child grows, certain character-logical dispositions (which is how Steiner names the totality of this type of soul phenomena in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity), come into play.  These tendencies, include the older idea of the temperaments: choleric; sanguine; phlegmatic, and melancholic, a subject needing a much wider discussion than we can go into here, but if you can find a copy, details can be discovered in this book: Understanding Our Fellow Man: the judgment of character through trained observation (Knud Asbjorn Lund)

Tomberg discussed the double (the Devil) as threefold (in a way): with there being a tempter and a prosecutor and various kinds of egregores.  The bad wolf has a lot of different types of qualities, each of which we can learn to discern in our own inwardness (soul), through self-observation (introspection).  These aspects of our mind (inwardness) are not unknown to conventional psychological disciplines; they are just given different names, and of course placed into an all is matter, there is no spirit paradigm (theory).

An egregore is a kind of psychic parasite, and the classical example is the heroin addict’s: the monkey on my back.  I prefer renaming the egregore (a middle-Ages term): a self-generated wound.  During our self-creative processes we will be wounded by outside forces as well as wound ourselves.  Addictions are self-generated, and generally come from a ritualized (regularly repeated) behavior.  Not all addictions are of the coarse kind - many are more subtle (e.g. giving into frequent destructive gossip; a weak-character boss, lording his power over his employees etc.), and we observe them all the time, and certainly have our own.  Recall Christ about judging lest ye be judged.

It was pretty difficult in the past to overcome various aspects of character-logical dispositions - mostly various cultures treated all individuals as being identical with their character, making no distinction between the character and the “I” itself.  With the recent (last couple of hundred years) arrival of self-creativeness, out of the more general evolution of consciousness, it is clear that today the “I” has much more potential when it comes to these dispositions, such that the details of what comes with the astral or desire body, from the pre-birth existence, is during life becoming amenable to alteration.  The foremost culture-wide example of this capacity for deep self transformation, outside of specific black-sheep cousin spiritual disciplines, is the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Let us look more closely at this as an aid to appreciating the deeper elements of the development of human inner life during the biography.

At the start up to this exploration, let us keep in mind the context.  The 12-Steps appear at a very specific time (beginning around 1933, and are related to certain experiences of Bill W. during his final detox in the hospital), and through a very specific process (his meeting with a couple of friends, one from childhood and the other known in the AA tradition as Doctor Bob.  These friendships then lead to the inclusion of others and over many months, involving somewhere around 50 additional people, the 12-Steps are formulated.  There is no huge agreement, but the social nature of the construction of the formulation of the Steps is a crucial part of their meaning - which meaning is rooted in the wide ranging experience of a community of people sharing similar biographical troubles.

That is: thinking and meaning combine via community social processes in the articulation of certain basic practical rules (very American and pragmatic) - rules based upon the fact that they work.  Also keep in mind the distributed nature of the creative spirit at work here.

From my experience (as an addict in recovery and as a scientist of the social) it is clear that the 12-Steps contain three spiritual processes: Surrender; Confession and Contrition; and, Practice and Service.

In Surrender, the “I” recognizes its present-day limits - the what it cannot do on its own.  Here are the first four Steps: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We surrender to the fact of powerlessness; accepted an idea of something greater than ourselves; turned our life over to that higher power; and, surrendered to the truth of our own actions.  There are sound and practical reason why these steps are individual, for each involves a distinctly different inner action.

In the Confession and Contrition part, we face the individual and social meaning of our past actions: 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Again, very specific and individual actions: admitting, readiness, asking and listing.  The order is important, but only experience reveals why this is so.

In the Practice and Service part, we change how we live in the world: 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Amends for past actions; continuing to be awake to new failures (we are in recovery, not recovered);  developed further our connection to our higher power (it grows on you, so to speak) and shared through service our gradual awakening.

This is not easy, which is why so many try and fail, and why the idea of  “hitting bottom” is important - we have to really know how weak we are, and how much we need the help of others, both visible and invisible.  Recall far above where I wrote of the Fire in our biographies.

Also keep in mind that as a social phenomena, this practice is brand new - it is only starting to display its wisdom.  That the 12-Steps serve as a means of beginning the overcoming the Shadow, or Double, is not yet widely known.  Rudolf Steiner remarked in 1923, that Americans came to Anthroposophy naturally, and that this was different from the way Central Europeans were coming to it.   Here in the appearance of the 12-Steps we see this natural process unfolding without any big spiritual guru.  I remarked to a friend the other day that in America, in a 12-Step group, you were likely to find more basic Anthroposophy being practiced (as a Path of Cognition), than you would in an Anthroposophical Society branch or study group meeting in America.

In modern civilization, at its leading edges, one major one of which is in America and born of all the individuals here, is this fact: Modern Civilization is acquiring the cultural wisdom to transcend culture itself and to enable individuals to find common ground as human beings facing the difficult life trials of dealing with our weaknesses and flaws.   We are overcoming and setting aside the traditional cultural influences, brought to America during its childhood years of existence.  America is becoming the People of Peoples, and at the ground level of that work, where shared flaws are the great social leveler, brave people are exploring the transformation of character-logical dispositions, for the first time away from the enlightenment (the Cultural East) and initiation (the Cultural Center) schools of the black-sheep cousins of the major religions.

Depth transformation has left the ancient mystery schools and now entered ordinary biographies in the very normal social circumstances in which they unfold.  You don’t have to go to Tibet, or India, or Japan, or even a Catholic monastery, for spiritual awakening.  Its right there in your biography.  Like good news, the 12-Step movement is transcending alcoholism and addictions to gain traction in all kinds of other circumstances.

When we get to A Proof of God, this will be one kind of evidence.  Keep in mind (an interesting phrase all in itself!), that part of what we are trying to do here in this book is point out that the social-political world of humanity is organized as a service to the individual biography - as the Stage Setting for the billions of dramas of the individual “I”s, or self-conscious spirits.  12-Step work is the manifestation of a certain kind of healing process in this living social-political organism - one among many.  The origin of this 12-Step work is both of a inspired and spiritually supported nature, as well as a distributive creative nature.  Invisible Beings support (via Holy Breath) such work, as the Twelve Steps, while at the same time much of the leading and directing intelligence and wisdom comes from human beings (the 10th Hierarchy).

For a moment, let us consider more deeply this idea of structure.

The human organism has soft parts and hard parts.  The bones are necessary for our organism to stand and move.  At the bridge between the softer parts (muscles and organs) and the harder parts (bones) are tissues that we call cartilage, tendons and ligaments, and which are harder in a certain kind of way than the muscle and softer than the bone.

The total social organism of the world has analogous structure - it is highly organized.  We learn part of this structure when we look at the universally human characteristics each of us shares.  Let me list just a few (there are many, and the reader is invited to supply their own):

Birth and death; a similar kind of body organization (top and bottom, left and right, upper and lower); childhood, adolescence and adulthood; families and communities; peers; some kind of process of education; a language and a culture; health and illness; a mind; inwardness; consciousness; self-consciousness.

Aspects of our inwardness are also shared and universal: emotions; thoughts; habits of mind and of feeling; impulses of will (many semi-conscious, few fully conscious); ignorance; knowledge; beliefs.

Our physical organism also is full of shared processes: breathing; blood circulation; taking in food; elimination; sense experiences.

In the course of the individual biography, however much there is that is universal, far more is individual.  We are similar in form (organic and psychological structure), but individual in manifestation.  Far above we looked at many of the individual characteristics of the biography - let us review some of these, as well as add in more recent observations:

During childhood we acquire language, not only as names of things but also in terms of something deeper, which we have been calling meaning (the subjective felt relationship between the “I” and the objects of experience).  A kind of instinctive thinking arises the recognizes the familiar (figuration), and this is enriched over time by all our childhood, adolescent and adulthood experiences.  We simultaneous swim in a sea of culture, which greatly influences (in a determinative fashion) much that we come to think and feel.

Other kinds of thinking also arise over the course of the biography, such as: reflection; theorizing; discursive; associative; comparative; abstract; cause and effect (the influence of modern natural science); organic; pure; thinking-about; thinking-with; and harder but occasional: thinking-within and thinking-as.  These last four point out that thinking can involve a highly willed and specific in nature relationship between the thinking self-consciousness and its objects.   The subject thinks about an object, for example: I think about my boss.

We can assume that concepts we acquire come from the outside, via language (the theory of memes etc), but observation reveals that language in childhood has certain qualities that make us recognize certain aspects of it as innate - as somehow a given.  Careful self-observation (introspection) on the nature of our adult thinking reveals that our conceptual life is created by our own activity.  What comes to us from the outside may stimulate this process, but the actual process of acquiring a concept is through self-creation.

Let us think (reflect) about this concept-creation process more carefully.

To begin with, let us ask once more a question, which we asked far above: Is a concept or a thought a thing?  Does the self-conscious stand in relationship to its concepts?  We know we have a relationship of meaning toward the sense objects which we experience, ... What about the conceptual?

That is certainly what a system of religious beliefs is, is it not?   Also what we call a political ideology.  The Theory of Evolution is a complex of concepts, or an Idea.  So is the America Declaration of Independence.

At the same time, to know what these Ideas are about - to know their definition meaning (as against their personal to us relationship meaning), we need a process of education - we need to be taught.  In different cultures processes of education vary greatly, yet most individuals will know nothing of natural science, or of civics, unless they are provided this understanding in a more or less formal social context.  We need to be stimulated from the outside, and at the same time have within us words and terms to go with our experiences.

It is the difficulty of transmitting much of culture in such more or less formal settings that reveals the intrinsic nature of the individual concept creation process.  The so-called bright students will grasp the concepts immediately, while the so-called dull ones will take far longer (if they get the concept at all).  In that very language (grasp) we instinctively find that the inner will activity of thinking is necessary in order for a concept to be created (grasped).  In fact, the idea of grasp suggests that the concept is out there somewhere, and has to be taken hold of and drawn in toward the “I”, before we know it as an object in our field of thought-consciousness.

Rudolf Steiner, as we previously noted, in his A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception, makes a very radical statement (among others): “there is only one concept of a triangle” [emphasis added, ed.].  To make this radical idea more clear: Concepts have independent existence, and the mind in seeking them out and grasping them, finds that particular concept that it needs.  At the same time, we tend to seek to individualize all concepts, such that in our personal inner-thought aspect of the total field of consciousness available to our self-consciousness, newly grasped concepts then become embedded in the memory and in the figuration.

For the moment, let us return to our lady in the kitchen, who is having a sharing conversation with her sister ...

The sister is describing a movie she has just seen with her boyfriend.  It is a guy movie of sorts, and was one of the Transformer movies.   Our lady in the kitchen has never seen a transformer toy (although her children have some, because of gifts), nor has she ever played with one (quite possibly the essential experience needed to understand).  She never saw the TV show either, or the comic books.   So the sister is trying to explain the idea of a car turning itself into a intelligent mechanical being that shoots at and fights other similar kinds of “transformed” beings. 

Our lady tries to get the concept, but can’t quite do so.  Just then one of the children runs into the room (isn’t the imagination wonderful, just when we need an “accidental” event), carrying a transformer toy.  He wants some food, but she gestures to him to sit down and wait a minute, and while her sister is trying to explain this concept of the transforming car into mechanical-being idea to her, her son demonstrates this process right in front of her (a bit like in school where the teacher gives demonstrations, with scientific experiments or social-political play-acting experiments).

Now she forms (draws to her) in her own mind this new concept - this particular transforming-concept  (which is actually many concepts leading to an idea).  Someone could hold that one can do this with highly abstract thinking, which is a fine but is itself a limited concept (the possibility to teach this concept of transforming through abstractions), because not everyone is going to be a skilled abstract thinker.   Just as we are individual in all manner of ways, so we are individual in our dominant styles or modes of thinking.

Everyone forms concepts, but not everyone forms concepts in the same way.  Our present day schools in America often fail because the how material is taught is too rigidly formed.  Good teachers will find a way to connect to individual students, but will also know that the means of so connecting will have to vary.  If the school system makes too rigid how the teacher carries out his/her activity, both teacher and many students will suffer.

Let us try another example, one perhaps a bit more pointed ...

At the time of my writing these paragraphs, we are two days away from the 2010 by-election in America.  Members of what are called the Tea-Party movement are running for public office in large numbers (over 130 by some counts), and they have much support from people who feel similar political feelings, and also from money-powers who often have their own agenda, which is in general not the same as the agenda of the tea-party movement.

One of their prominent candidates was recently ridiculed for not knowing that the idea of the separation of Church and State was in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Other members of this movement have also been ridiculed for not knowing a lot of what should be common knowledge about our form of government and the actual relationship of the Founders to our polity.

People against the tea-party agenda, not liking them (recall our discussions above of liking and disliking and its influence on the heat of public discourse), use these flaws, noticed through comparative thinking, which perceives that some know more and some less about the fundamental nature of our form of government. 

At the same time, a bit of thorough thinking-through (following out a train of thought to its natural, often logical, conclusion) would reveal that these are symptoms of something much deeper in American culture, which is that the teaching of Civics, in middle school and high school, has all but disappeared.   Instead, we have what is called: Social Studies, which is an amalgamation of several disciplines, that ought to be taught separately, so as not to create confusion and disinterest (social studies in this form is far too abstract for most young minds).

Many tea party people have not been properly taught the true nature of the American form of government (absent a proper teaching of Civics), but have instead been intentionally brain-washed by a relentless fake and false political ideology, that promotes a kind of religious-like love of capitalism and free market economics.  In order to obtain and maintain power, both parties ignore the realities of Civics, and instead hammer, through advertising lies, an oversimplified electoral-theology, which is that one side or the other are idiots, while our side are all angels (all the negative ads).

Neither major political party wants real thinking, so neither supports it.   The Press, which ought to be smart and wise, instead of forcing the candidates to discuss “Civics”, treats the whole thing as a horse race in which the fact that the jockeys are riding facing backwards (worship an ideology) is of no moment whatsoever.

Here, real political concept formation is distorted and disabled by failed education, and political pandering.   Similar disabled process are alive in the political and educational spheres everywhere, which is one of the symptoms of the ending of one civilization on its way to being followed by the creation of another.

To return to what this means as regards the structural elements of the social-political world ...

We are born into a language and a culture.  We overtime create a conceptual inner world of ever greater complexity.  We relate to others according to how this conceptual thinking process perceives them; and, they relate to us in the same fashion.  Both ways are similar, yet different, given that each individual has a different set-like pattern within aspects of their character-logical disposition (a different temperament; a different meaning-figuration; a different style of thinking; a different intellectual and emotional intelligence and so forth).

At a certain point in our inner growth, a kind of stasis may be reached, and the personality becomes essentially fixed (how the I represents - and understands - itself to the world according to its degree of awakeness and character-logical disposition).  This is not true in all case, but often true in many.

If we stay within a community and family, this fixed personality becomes reinforced by the expectations of others.   A kind of comfortable equilibrium arises.

Fate, or karma or destiny, can have other purposes, such that even though we are for a while in a kind of personality stasis, an event or a meeting with another person will evoke changes.  We can be torn out of the field of community reinforcement, or we can tear ourselves out because something is clearly (to our view) amiss.  While general processes are common to all biographies, each biography in its details is unique.

From the point of view of my own I, I stand within a highly complicated social structure that is unique to me.  I look out at this structure according to concepts acquired from culture in its widest sense.  If I awaken to the process of self-development in some form or other, I can also awaken to the existence of this structure - I can see it (one of the purposes of this book).

I may, in the beginning, not notice the personal and individual nature of the structure.  For example, I may have in my conceptual vocabulary the political idea of “the system”.  I may see this “system” as flawed and needing to be corrected.  In this sense I am not seeing the whole actual structure of the world, but only that part concerning which I have antipathy.

The more my thinking is transformed, from thinking-about to thinking-with to thinking-within to thinking-as, the more the ground I stand on, in my view of the total world, shifts.  I start to lose the concept of the “system” and begin to see (draw out of the world of concepts) the concept of divine order.  While my thinking-about the world, can be governed for a time by the Theory of Evolution and the ideas of chance and accident in social existence, the more my thinking strives to enter into the experience of the other - of the Thou - the less this view of random chance, in the creation of the social-what-is, works.

The mind naturally needs to make wholes of our experience.  The wider our experience, the more holistic our conceptions need to become.  The more I study the actual details of my own biography, the harder it is to view my personal past as not having order - I got where I am through causal relationships that more and more seemed to have a direction - that more and more seemed pointed toward something.  My biography is full of cooperating incidents - things clearly work together in order for a certain result to arise.

Obviously, I can cling to my belief system - that all is chance.  Yet, by that very clinging I become more and more blind to the actual world of my experience.

This kind of new thinking concerning the biography often requires brutal honesty - we can’t really notice our biography if we constantly make it a work of fiction.  This is part of what the Twelve Steps teach.  We make a moral inventory, we seek to make amends, we constantly notice our again and again falling into error, we see ourselves grow inwardly with this process.  We experimentally know that the higher power is real, because we have surrendered to its influence.  We cannot be healed of the flaws of our character-logical disposition without the help of others, visible and invisible.

In a very practical and pragmatic down to earth way we learn to love and to forgive.  Hitting bottom is a magical place.  It strips the egotism away, and leaves behind the essential spiritual core of the I.

That the Structure of Earth Existence, at the place where the leading edge of the self-creative (individuation and interiorization) process (in America) arises, there then comes into existence the means to heal what some would call our fallen nature (our character-logical disposition), is a most amazing fact.

That such a structure exists, in all its various forms world-wide, and in its time-bound nature (some parts are in advance of other parts), reveals The Art of God, to any thinking willing to be authentically self-honest.  We can’t just think about the world as if we were not there as the thinking subject.  Nor can we think merely about the world, but must learn to think with it, and within it, and as it.  The world too is Thou, whether we have the courage to acknowledge that or not.

Now someone (looking to quibble) might say: “Well, why didn’t God tell us this years ago”, to which I reply: “You idiot, you weren’t ready yet.  God can only tell you what you are ready for, ... jeez!

With these ideas in place, I would now like to more formally metamorphose into A Proof of God, from the earlier I