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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
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.
books and booklets* by the author
content of many booklets are included in certain full sized
*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.
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
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 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
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.
to two people
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]
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
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
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
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.)
- 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
Joyful Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship
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
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
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...”
* * *
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
directions might be useful.
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.
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.
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
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
“...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];
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]
is a leading neurophysiologist, who is still practicing
"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”.
question for Grazanica is: What does he think causes the
thought which changes the brain chemistry?
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:
behavior is caused by the brain”.
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.
... 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
far past time, for both the fundamentalists of science and
of religion and of art, to grow up.
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
with, a Theory of God
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
is something from my book: the Way of the Fool, in the Eighth Stanza (slightly updated) lets
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
to our pursuit of a theory of God
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barfield points to this problem in his book, Worlds
Apart, where he has a character
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Idea of God
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
those readers mature enough to hold the view that it is
worthwhile to engage in intelligent discourse on fundamental
questions, let us now proceed.
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.
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.
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:
contained in the understandably limited thinking embodied in
the conceptions of the nature of parallax and redshift.
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.
can get deeper into such inner observations of these
operational aspects of the mind, c.f. Barfield’s What
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
appreciation of such subtle distinctions will become very
important as we proceed. To return to our theme
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.
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.
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
don’t want to get all hung up on categories per se. I
am going in a somewhat different direction.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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).
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.
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
leads us back to this question: Is thought (an idea) real,
in the same way a sense object is real?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
are right to ask (to return to our theme): What are the
actual differences between thought and 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
innovation (led by thought) takes hold of matter and
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.
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.
tell a story to illustrate the concept of the pre-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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
first visit to this theme will barely scratch the surface
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:
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.]
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
the same, Barfield’s investigation of languages gives us
the most details, and the greatest depth far into the
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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”).
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
this point then I’d like to alter our conventional Idea of
God in the following direction.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
and Occult Science: an outline) with a grain of salt, until they are
properly replicated in the future.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
the mystery of Evil as an aspect of
How and Why
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
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.
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.
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):
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
me now consider some details and specifics, because the
reader will clearly have many questions.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
- 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.
Moral Grace - a first
iteration - being an attempt to describe and name
something very many people already instinctively know
- 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
- 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
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)]
(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.
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
return to main theme
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
personal sense we could say the following as regards our
individual human organism:
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
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
“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:
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
the main themes of
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...]
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
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)
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
final verse: the Gift of the Word
to return to main theme
... 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).
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.
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.
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
God in Time and Space
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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)?
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
find the true cause of the disease (dis-ease) we have to
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?
little common sense here can go a long way.
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”?
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.
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).
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
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”
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
of a feather, flock together - is the folk-wisdom.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
us examine this phenomena
- the problem of human freedom -
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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]
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.
gain a greater purchase here, lets imagine this more from
the interior of the individual, and less from the outside
as social observers.
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.
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
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,
spend a lot of time worrying.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
let us continue by making at least a first and superficial
pass at the causality problem and the nature of change
and/or destiny ...
(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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
for us to have peace, we both have to do the same act, and
right now the world seems intent on not doing that.
Christ above: I came not to bring peace but a sword.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
is a peek at one aspect of the Proof:
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
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.”
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.
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, ....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
predicted Baptism is not only of Fire, but also of
Holy Breath. What is Holy Breath?
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
me here point to two movies in which Art has captured this
reality: Pay it Forward; and Gran Torino.
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.
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.
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
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...”]
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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]
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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;...”.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!”
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
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
reader is invited to make their own further observations
as seems warranted.
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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,
real element only appears in
the choice leading to the action - it is the will in the act that is the most
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
and movies tell these and a million other stories every
day of the year.
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.
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.
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.
much spiritual advice, so little time.
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?
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.
than deny the speed and pace of life and thought, we
could ask: Does even that serve a purpose in our
spiritual evolutionary development?
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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
Cultural time is not commercial time.
time, space and spiritual causality
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
another scenario ...
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
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
jury found the caregiver not guilty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 ...
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
any event ...
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.
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.
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.
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).
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”).
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.
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.
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.
the pictures are beautiful.
... 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
to return to our theme ...
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 ...
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” ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Set, Match - or so it seems to many.
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
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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
what about the bones? What do we do with 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.]
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.
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
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.”
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
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.”
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
paribus clause - all other things being equal;
ed.] An empirical test needing to be predictive
sometimes includes many theories, not just the one being
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).]
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.”
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
Brady’s basic and most damaging concern:
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;
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.]
industrial melanism (the peppered moth) is offered as a
test, but this fails the logical criteria according to
Brady in this way:
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? “
"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.”
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
continue our elaboration of an alternative theory of the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
there be Light (fiat lux).
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
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
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.
no empirical fact is being left behind - only the
meaning interpretation by our present day mind is
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
we die, these constraints disappear over time.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
attempts at mind sciences, in the sense of materialistic
sciences of consciousness, need to grow up.
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
said that, let us more directly consider ...
... some aspects of a real science
of the mind
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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 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.
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
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
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.
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).
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).
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.]
(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.
we are still dealing with an introduction to a modern
science of the mind ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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:
do good ideas come to us when they do? (by Jonah Lehrer).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
individualize meaning all the time, and for a very
interesting discourse on the larger significance of
this, read Barfield’s Speaker’s
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.
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
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.
is the mother of invention is the folk wisdom.
Where does invention and innovation come from?
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.”
... or not?
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
in human social-political life
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.
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
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.
could become nuns, but mostly they were expected to
marry and bear children. Hardly anyone was taught
to read or do numbers.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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
all this, however, the most significant change is in our
ideas of what this all means.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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).
Dennis Burke’s Eulogy to Granny D. (Doris) Haddock
return to main theme
interlude and recapitulation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.)
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
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).
the point, you might well say?
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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 -
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.
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.
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.
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
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*).
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
want to believe they get some help? An
invisible being called a guardian angel perhaps?
I’m only half joking.
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
am reworking that booklet and expect to deliver it this
summer (2011), under a different title: The Mystery of Evil.]
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,
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.
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.”
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).
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
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
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
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.
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
to not loose our thread ...
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.
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)
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
very specific and individual actions: admitting,
readiness, asking and listing. The order is
important, but only experience reveals why this is so.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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;
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.
physical organism also is full of shared processes:
breathing; blood circulation; taking in food;
elimination; sense experiences.
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:
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.
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.
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.
us think (reflect) about this concept-creation process
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
concepts? We know we have a relationship of meaning toward
the sense objects which we experience, ... What about
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.
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
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
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.
the moment, let us return to our lady in the kitchen,
who is having a sharing conversation with her sister ...
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.
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
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.
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
us try another example, one perhaps a bit more pointed
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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.
return to what this means as regards the structural
elements of the social-political world ...
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).
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.
we stay within a community and family, this fixed
personality becomes reinforced by the expectations of
others. A kind of comfortable equilibrium
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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