28th, 2017 - in the Season of Michaelmas
I began to publish a series of essays about what to my knowledge
were the fundamental principles, ideas, and critical necessities for the
practice of Anthroposophy in the Third Millennium. There was no plan,
as such ... rather just a need to seek the basic conceptual frames of reference,
which Rudolf Steiner might have wished be preserved from the tragic failures of
the Anthroposophical Society. This then emerged as 8 individual essays, which I have placed below.
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part I
In the A. Society, there exists much confusion as regards just what Anthroposophy is. Various students of Rudolf Steiner have tried to correct these errors of thought over the years (such as Barfield, Kuhlewind, and the present writer etc.), but the thought-errors are ubiquitous, and difficult to remove, because the common usage of the term - anthroposophy - is handled with a serious lack of precision and exactness.
In the first sentence of the first leading thought, Steiner sought to explain the situation, but like much that he said, this is routinely ignored. "1. Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge Anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst."
The crucial terms in that first sentence are: "path of knowledge".
To Steiner the term "knowledge" had a very specific meaning, which was developed carefully in GA-2 "A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception"; GA-3 "Truth and Knowledge"; and, GA-4 "The Philosophy of Freedom", which begins with the first section titled: "Knowledge of Freedom"
As the reader here can see, the term "knowledge" meant something very important. Even the book "Knowledge of Higher Worlds and How to Attain It" points to this fundamental conception.
A "path" is a Way, and a Way that is followed implies actions and deeds. We do something. So "Anthroposophy" is a deed, a doing.
Over the course of my own development, I discovered that to which Steiner referred, when he wrote as the last sentence of the original preface to The Philosophy of Freedom, this: "One must be able to confront an idea and experience it, otherwise one will fall into its bondage".
Three times in my inner development I became "in bondage" to ideas. First with the work I did at Group House in Berkeley, CA, in the early 1970's, just after the change of personalities. I left that work after three years and basically looked at everyone using the "conceptual categories" that were part of the psychological world view of Group House.
I carried a great beam in my own eye, and only with help from the Sermon on the Mount, on not judging, was I able to suppress the habit to see the world that Way, and found then a degree of inner freedom.
The second was when I studied Tibetan Buddhism and a similar event happened. After a time I could only see the world through those (very rich) conceptual categories. Again I had to learn to control my thoughts, and make it inwardly so that they only arose in my mind when I called them forth.
The third time followed my initial encounters with the works of Steiner. I jumped in with both feet, but after three years - having become sensitized to the lack of inner freedom - did I notice that all the time I was thinking Steiner. I was not perceiving the world at all. I was in bondage to Steiner' vast conceptual categories, and laid them over my "experience", rather than treasuring that experience for what it was in itself.
So I undertook the task of mastering the habit to think in Steiner, rather than to think the world. This took some time, but after learning to be able to place Steiner-thought over there (in my mind, as it were), did it become possible for me to look at that conceptual collection as a mental/spiritual object that I could freely examine.
After some time of reflection, I was able to see/know that Anthroposophy was a method - a How you DID something, not the content of Spiritual Science. Sharing this insight with an friend, he took from his bookshelf Barfield's "Romanticism Comes of Age", and showed me where, in a lecture given in Dornach in 1933, Barfield had made the same distinction. Anthroposophy was a method, not a content.
While this is obvious when stated clearly and precisely, already by the time Barfield spoke, the A. Society was in trouble, for this distinction, between method (Anthroposophy) and method-produced content (Spiritual Science), was lost, leading to what Steiner had anticipated when he pointed to the future with the references to the Culmination, and the coming encounter between the Aristotelians and the Platonists.
That distinction between method and content is the knife edge of which the two streams must meet and dance, if, what Steiner hoped could happen for humanity's future, might come to pass, and perhaps guide civilization in the Third Millennium to the Christ.
No one is free who cannot set aside his/her tendency to think in Steiner's categorical (Aristotelian) conceptualizations. As a consequence the term "anthroposophy" is most frequently used to refer to the content of Spiritual Science, and not the method of living thinking from which it was born in the mind of Rudolf Steiner.
In the next part we will
examine: Goetheanism as a "method" of knowledge.
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part II: Goetheanism
Steiner’s first book was about Goethe: “Goethean Science, Goethe the Scientist, Nature’s Open Secret, Einleitung Zu Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schriften.” http://www.rsarchive.org/Books/GA001/Steiner’s second book was as well: “A Theory of Knowledge Implicit In Goethe’s World Conception” http://wn.rsarchive.org/…/G…/English/AP1940/GA002_index.html
Owen Barfield thought of the second book as the “least read, most important book Steiner ever wrote” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/lrsew.html
Steiner’s The Philosophy of Freedom has this as a kind of sub-title: “Some results of introspective observation following the methods of natural science”
If we use the search function on our browser, after receiving the latest Anthroposophy Worldwide, looking for comments about thought and/or thinking, there are seldom any mentions which recognize the importance of the relationship between thought and thinking as a means of knowledge.
The Society headquarters in Dornach was called by Steiner: The Goetheanum.
Can there be any question in anyone’s mind of the importance to Dr. Steiner of the personality of Goethe?
On this Anthroposophy Facebook discussion list, every once in a while someone will ask something like: “What does anthroposophy say about this scientific question?” The response to such questions is usually a number of quotes from Rudolf Steiner. Goethe and/or goethean scientists are never mentioned.
How is that the most important figure for Steiner - Goethe - is not studied by those who consider themselves “spiritual scientists”? Yes, there are those very few who do, but most do not and I can’t remember a time in recent years where Steiner’s goethean scientist students are quoted in either lectures or publications, which contain the writings of the A. Societies alleged leaders. How can you lead, write, or lecture, and not know Goetheanism in all its various forms of manifestation?
As a consequence, few Steiner readers/quoters are any good at all in scientific thinking, which means that they don’t basically know how to introspectively study their own soul in a scientific manner. The Philosophy of Freedom, as a practice, is to such folks a closed book. They can’t self observe with the discipline that Steiner modeled, and as a result a real understanding of the very vexing problem of knowledge is hidden to their souls.
They claim to know Steiner, yet do not know Steiner at all - only the self-generated unscientific myths of his greatness. To those outside our circles, we can easily (and justifiably) appear as true believers in what I have called for some time: Steinerism.
Steinerism is not Anthroposophy, but rather its double, - its error inducing doppelganger/shadow.
There are two books everyone who wants to begin to become acquainted with Real Anthroposophy, in its Goetheanistic form, should acquire and study:
Matter, by Ernst Lehrs. Its subtitle is: Introduction
to a Spiritual Understanding of Nature on the Basis of
Goethe’s Method of Training Observation and Thought.
and Ethereal Spaces, by George Adams. From the preface
by Olive Whicher: “Confirmed by Rudolf Steiner in the
knowledge that the quality of though prevailing in the
new geometry is in reality indispensable both to the
scientist in his question of world-reality and to the
individual on a path of spiritual development ... ”
“Think on it: how the point becomes a sphere and yet remains itself. Hast thou understood how the infinite sphere may be only a point, then come again, for then the Infinite will shine forth for thee in the Finite” Rudolf Steiner
Goetheanism requires of the imagination a capacity for forming mobile images, and moving them through transformations in an exact and precise fashion (how Goethe worked with the leaves of the Plant). The best training of this aspect of our thinking potential is through the study of Projective Geometry.
Next: practical applications of
Goetheanism to the Social Life of Humanity.
This is a kind of addendum to Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part I. So this is part I.1
I was reading a post from another anthro-discussion list, and noticed something. I had often being accused of various moral infractions here (lack of humility and such), and I recalled I had forgotten something very basic.
There is, among other differences, a very huge difference between The Philosophy of Freedom and Knowledge of Higher Worlds. This difference involves how Steiner approached the question of morality.
In Knowledge of Higher Worlds Steiner frequently expresses moral questions in terms of moral admonitions. Don't act like that, rather act like this. Be this way, not that way.
Those reading Knowledge of Higher Worlds then tend to apply its moral admonitions as Steiner's view of proper morality. So some call me out on these lists, for not behaving in the way they are seemingly being taught by Steiner.
In The Philosophy of Freedom the moral is entirely individualized, through an awake threefold process that begins with moral imagination, followed by a moral intuition, and then what he calls moral technique.
What this come down to in practice is that moral imagination is where we have a moral question, and we first make an mental picture of the question. From this activity then arises the moral intuition, which we also produce out of our self - there is no outside authority to which we submit our freedom. Once our developing intuitive faculties grow, we become more conscious of all this, but there remains one more task.
This is the problem of taking the moral intuition and bringing it into action in the situation from which arose the need for creating the question via the moral imagination.
This is sort of like the situation which we sometimes call a white lie. In itself a lie is a lie. In practice, we have to adapt our moral intuition to the situation, and this may result in something that requires the moral intuition not be applied quite strickly where some kind of harm to another may result. We are after all social beings, yet the technique is also fully within in our freedom.
For The Philosophy of Freedom to be workable, there can be no other moral authority but our own. Here is Steiner in A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception:
"Man is not behaving in accordance with the purposes of the Guiding Power of the world when he investigates one or another of His commandments, but when he behaves in accordance with his own insight. For in him the Guiding Power of the world manifests Himself. He does not live as Will somewhere outside of man; He has renounced his own will in order that all might depend upon the will of man. If man is to be enabled to become his own lawgiver, all thought about world-determinations outside of man must be abandoned."
A reminder for those who might like a really good book to read, which creates a imaginative world were this question / situation of moral freedom is fully developed through a rather amazing tale.
The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin:
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part III: Goetheanism and Social Science.
In 1978 I wrote in a note book the following question: “If the ground of the world and the human being is spiritual, what does that mean for our understanding of society and politics?” This question was prompted by my recently reading, Herbert Marcuse’s “One Dimensional Man”, where it was clear to me that he was working from a most definite inner picture of what a human being was. It was also prompted by my having had many spiritual experiences since the change of personality that occurred in my 31st year, so I had no reason to doubt our spiritual heritage.
Three weeks later I meet, for the first time, Rudolf Steiner through his books. I had formulated my riddle, and now was, by Divine Providence, set on course to find the method of thinking from which to pursue an answer. This was not to be easy, however.
Eventually I ran into the basic problem, which was that while Goethe was able to have a sense object (the leaves of the Plant) with which to practice his skills at “exact sensorial phantasy”, there was no sense appearing phenomena related to the fundamentals of social life. The biography, the family, the community, all manner of social forms such as churches, corporations, and other institutions - these could only appear in the inner field of contemplative consciousness as abstractions.
Fortunately there was some help from Steiner’s approach to knowledge, although it required great care to assay. For example, there are four types of basic mental phenomena: the mental picture; the generalized concept; the pure concept; and the Idea.
We can have a mental picture of a specific physical object such as a particular book. We can have as well the generalized concept of books, and thus recognize their multitudes. We can have a pure concept, which Joey’s (my body-brother) philosophy professor at Denver University might have called “bookness”, which when applied metaphorically gave Goethe the means to describe his work as reading the Book of Nature. Ultimately I came to call what I was doing: reading the Book of the Social World, although earlier I called this activity, in a more artistic fashion: Listening to the World Song.
Now in practice, Goetheanism is phenomenological. It simply describes the what is, without inferring hidden causality, as natural science tends to do. There is nothing behind the Appearances. Rather it is the Appearances that are a kind of divine speech. One way to appreciate this is that the ancient concept of Maya, with respect to the sense world (and even some inner phenomena) can in the modern stage of the evolution of consciousness be better understood. The Illusion/Maya speaks - it tells a story: thus we get from Goethe: Nature’s Open Secret.
For many years I just wrote private notes to myself, describing social phenomena, well aware that the “abstract concepts” I was creating, I was creating. A lot was depending upon how well in my contemplative inner world there was an accurate mirror of real social phenomena. At one point, in 1996, I cleaned out a desk while getting ready to move, and threw away a stack of ruled notebook paper higher than my knee, in which various versions of thought-descriptions had come to rest, in the tomb of the written word.
My basic self-generated “picture”, I called the “thrice-bordered world”. It was an image of a sphere, meant to mirror the earth, and its surface. The sphere itself was double, so to help the reader here, picture a sphere the size of the room in which you are while you are reading this. Then right inside it, with only an inch separation, create the image of a second sphere.
The lower boundary (the second sphere) is the solid earth on which we stand, whose inwardness is clearly not as natural science suspects. The upper boundary is airless space, beyond which we cannot live, unless we take earth conditions with us in our craft. The third boundary is our own inwardness - a doorway through which we transcend material reality, for a purely spiritual (spaceless and timeless) existence.
All of human earth-development takes place in this thrice-bordered sphere.
If we picture then inwardly, the development of civilizations, and their increasing mastery of matter in various ways, we find that the human being is creating a separation from ordinary nature. We have been emancipating ourselves from the natural world, and its limits, while at the same time enslaving that world by conceiving of it as a thing, not as a thou. No I and thou, or me and thee, with regard to Nature.
Within this thrice bordered sphere, the individual human being unfolds his biography. All biographies have the same general characteristics, for the most part. Some can quibble, but the reality is the biography is highly structured, with many common attributes.
We are born and die. We are born into a family, a community, a culture, and a language. We contain, in ourselves, an evolving consciousness, as Barfield’s wonderful phenomenological studies of language changes over time establishes.
We are thinkers, and we have thoughts. During our development we are imprinted with the thought-forms of the family, community, culture and language. As we individualize (a process happening everywhere, but not at the same rate), we also have within our evolving consciousness a hunger to be the only author of our thought life - we desire to be free in how we conceptualize the world.
This private mental existence, in many circumstances, we often cannot and choose not to share. Gay folks once hid out in a closet. A personal planning a murder seldom advertises the fact. Governments, the crazy leaders, lie constantly. If we are a spiritual scientist, and practiced at introspection, we may well have knowledge that we are not inwardly alone.
There is, for all of us, an ahrimanic double, a luciferic double, and a human double. These three “lower” kinds of entities are matched with higher entities: by a guardian angel, the higher ego or conscience, and the inspiration of the holy spirit. Everything is inwardly meant to be in balance.
total of our individual biography is not like any other
biography, however superficially the similarities. For
example, no abortion/experience is the same, within its
total context, with the result that the Cosmic Christ
makes available to us the Second Eucharist in the
Ethereal, where we receive support for our will, after we
have created our own moral imperative. Morality is no
longer to be the possession of religion, community,
culture or family. As the evolution of consciousness
further develops, moral law is to become ours to create.
“In this way we now see the Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul: A macro-cosmic Rite, a Second Ethereal Eucharist, in which we take into ourselves in the most intimate way possible, knowledge of the Good, not as mere thought, but as the true ethereal substance of Christ’s Being. The outer world is but a seeming, and what is brought by the Culture of Media mere pictures of the Stage Setting for the World Temple that is home to our biographies. When we think away this outer seeming - this logos formed and maya based sense world, and concentrate only on the Idea of the moral grace we receive and then enact as individual law givers, as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, we create this Meaning of Earth Existence. Every act of moral grace received within in the deepest intimacy of our life of soul, is an ethereal communion with Christ, even though we may only experience it as a mere thought of what is the Good at some moment of need in the biography.”
For a much more elaborate (over 300 pages) discussion of all of this, see The Art of God - an actual theory of Everything (written for the general public) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/artofgod.html
Given the complexity of this phenomenology of Earth Existence, I next will discuss the favorite ideas of Steiner believers: the threefold social organism.
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part IV: The Threefold Social Organism
Everyone can see for themselves that humanity’s social existence is troubled, to say the least. One question that can be asked is: What is a good way to organize social life, so that it becomes more healthy? Another question, which is the question I asked (phenomenologically): How does the social organism actually work?
As part of resolving these different questions, I ran across the Idea that history seldom, if ever, goes from a pre-conceived Ideal towards the incarnation of that Ideal. History is mostly messy, and seems to stumble around a lot.
For example, the American Revolution arose from the over-reaching of the English aristocracy, as well as the emerging changes in economics. Around the time of the early years of the Colonies in America, 1670 to 1730 for example, England faced the question of on what basis should it ground its currency - its coin and paper money. An argument arose over whether to base the then emerging Bank of England on land, or on printed money and bills of exchange.
For the aristocracy, which owned most of the land, that was their preferred choice. For the bankers and merchants this was not a good idea, for it would keep them in a kind of bondage to the aristocrats, who were dominated by Kings and Queens - which folk, claiming divine rights for their blood lines, frequently just took gold, silver, or whatever was in the banks, and spent it on big houses, wars, and other frivolities, while never paying back to the banks the resulting debts.
For those in the financial arts of the emerging economic systems, trusting the government was not an option. For a time the two competing interests - land owners and bankers - cooperated, which for the American Colonies led to many abuses that eventually were no longer tolerated.
Thus the American Revolution (1765 - 1783), and then a few years later, the French Revolution (1789 - 1799) - where aristocratic folk were dethroned, sometimes with a great deal of violence.
The point here is to notice that these Revolutions were not idealistic, but rather spasms of resistance to unwanted rule. After which, in quite different ways, unique types of governments were created.
Yet, in spite of how history actually unfolds such changes, students of Rudolf Steiner seem to feel that the answer to social questions is to urge various societies to seek to create an already thought out form before there comes into existence the needed ripe (as it were) conditions. If we look to when Steiner presented his ideas about the Threefold Social Organism, this was during a period of German history that more or less was in complete chaos, as it followed the end of World War One.
I wrote this in my: Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order [http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/thpts.html]
“In this regard I have to mention that Steiner spoke in an unusual way in his Oxford lectures (Threefolding as a Social Alternative). He said (here I am paraphrasing) that the time had passed for the application of the threefold social order in central Europe, but that even so, this idea could still be fruitful in Russia and America (if appropriately restated), and that for the West, time did not matter so much because much could still be done for the right ordering of the three spheres.”
In a sense then there is a relationship between the phenomenological reality, and the idealist potential that generally requires chaos in which to arise. There is another factor in play here, and brings us once more to the situation of the Aristotelians and the Platonists.
Rudolf Steiner’s approach to Spiritual Science was very Aristotelian. Following what had happened in the development of Natural Science, Steiner took up the task of giving us names to all the parts of the spiritual processes as they related to human existence and activity. This is what scientists have done - they took apart the Natural world, reduced it to bits and pieces, forgetting that it always appeared to us as a whole. That is our experience of Nature - not in pieces, but whole, basically a unity. The spiritual world functions as a whole - integrated within itself, and integrated with us.
It is one system, which I named: The Art of God.
So when we attend a university today, we find a proliferation of departments and sub-specialties, so dominated by the related partial viewpoints, that Barfield had to write a book: Worlds Apart, where he showed how it was almost impossible for historians, theologians, physical scientists, biologists, linguistic philosophers, and psychiatrists, to talk to each other. Each view had assumptions that seldom agreed with the other, and as well, these folks hardly ever talked to each other.
Rudolf Steiner understood this, but all he could do was give us a leg up in the pursuit of Wholeness. The intellectual soul had left our Ways of knowledge in the state of a kind of tower of babel. The path of Goetheanism (phenomenology) is the Way, but we have hardly begun the necessary tasks of reuniting that which in all our various languages are highly conceptually differentiated.
What the A. Society offers, lacking taking up the gifts brought by the Platonists, is just another vain specialized language. It is not rational to assume human society can be pushed into the form of the Threefold Social Organism. History shows no instance of this, and Steiner’s effort after World War One did not take.
If, on the other hand, the A. Society appreciates The Art of God (not my art, god’s art) then what of that can be favorable to social life were the A. Society to lend its efforts to that Art?
Contemplation of such a question requires its own commentary, so this will be next, in part V.
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part V: Revolution from the Periphery.
The current situation of the Anthroposophical Society is tragic illusion. Steinerism - the double/shadow of Anthroposophy - dominates the social centers of the Society. Endless quoting of Steiner, and a rejection of the method (the New Mystery of Thinking) in favor of the product - the content of Spiritual Science.
Steiner understood that the Aristotelian Impulse, in taking possession of the Society, would lead to failure. At the same time, his spiritual research showed him that an unusual event would come at the end of the 20th Century (on the cusp of the Third Millennium). Platonists from the School of Chartres would incarnate at the same time as the Aristotelians, and from their cross-pollination, the direction of Western Civilization might be lifted out of its impending morass.
Please keep in mind that Steiner didn’t make this happen. The Divine Mystery is the author of the Culmination, and most everything Steiner observed spiritually. Basically he gave us modern “names”, which are a kind of discovery, but certainly not an act of invention.
Steiner also understood that the 5th Cultural Epoch (connected to the appearance of the Age of the Consciousness Soul) would be a kind of inside-out transformation of the 3rd Cultural Epoch (the time of the Sentient Soul). It was in the 3rd Cultural Epoch that hierarchical (top-down) social forms were the norm. In the 5th Cultural Epoch these forms would reach the end of their utility, in the sense of human beings no longer needing their lives to be directed from out of mystery centers. The mystery itself was becoming incarnate in human beings, and their freedom on all levels would require new social forms.
Still, for Steiner, knowing this personally, and explaining it to a Society still locked in the cage of the Intellectual Soul, would not be workable. All the same he made sure that it might be understood that the Branches and the Groups (the periphery, not the center) would be where Anthroposophy (the method of thinking, as well as the New Mystery of Community - the Reverse Cultus) might be fostered.
Part of the problem is that historical development presently takes place as wild drama - the Beast from the Abyss (un-restrained human freedom) would appear, and as the 20th Century has shown, the world would shudder from this aspect of the darker elements of the Consciousness Soul Epoch.
All the same, a phenomenological view of the social/political organism of the world reveals that history is a secondary effect of the primary event, which takes place in individual biographies. Love and Justice surround each individual spirit with just that aspect of dynamic crisis, specifically tailored to those individual needs. We are appalled by the Trump Event, by weather phenomena that destroy, and the recent appearance of the Beast in Las Vegas. Sadly, we do not yet trust the future, which Steiner tried to urge many times.
In the soul/spirit of the individual human being, outer social chaos produces the necessity to act, and as we view all these modern terrible events, we need more to notice the powerful impulses towards the good that arises in the survivors. As anthroposophists we ought to keep in mind that death is just a change - there is no ending of the immortal spirit.
The Hopi Prophecy calls our Age: The Day of Purification, and tells of the expected arrival of the True White Brother (true in the sense of their appreciating that the Divine Mystery is within and around Everything), who is metaphorically described this way: The Red Symbol (the people of the Rose-Cross/Sacred Heart) will take command of the Four Forces of Nature for the Benefit of the Sun (the God, within and without). To the Hopi Prophecy, these folks - the true white bother, or elder brother people - were Sun Clan, they were the Children of the Sun (the Sphere were the Divine Resided at the Time of the original prophetic perceptions).
Rudolf Steiner spoke of these four forces of the Four Directions in the laying of the Foundation Stone for the First Goetheanum, and in the Foundation Stone Meditation. “This hear the Spiritual Beings in East, West, North, South: May human beings hear it!”
It is the destiny of Goetheanism to take hold of the forces of the four directions - the Meha of the Hopi Prophecy. But the Society has lost Goetheanism, or at the least buried it under the muck of Steinerism - the endless quoting of Rudolf Steiner.
Over 2000 years ago, John the Baptist was to say: [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.” So we find ourselves living in the fire of the end of Western Civilization without, while within we receive holy breath in the Second Eucharist in the Ethereal.
Rudolf Steiner was the John the Baptist figure of the Second Coming of Christ - the voice crying in the wilderness of scientific materialism. Do members of the A. Society follow that voice, or do they abandon their own freedom in order to serve a self-created illusion - the myth we wrap around the person of Rudolf Steiner, that we use to excuse ourselves from authentic "thinking".
Yeats had it right: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, ... “ Dornach and the centers in America are not where Michael offers his inspiration. Only in the study groups and the branches can the Periphery Awake.
If the methods of the new thinking and new community are to flourish, ... this will depend upon individuals in small groups, concentrating on learning to think phenomenologically - to practice Goetheanism. To study the works of the Goethean Scientists, and if they need to rely on Steiner (not a bad choice) there is but one work that needs to be mastered (read many times): A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception.
The study groups first - must free themselves from following the Branches, for as with any Center, the Branches attract folks who prize status over the real. For example, I was absent from the Faust Branch in Fair Oaks for 21 years, but upon returning I found the same in-group running/ruining everything.
The most potential lies in the West, the Americas, as Steiner suggested in “Threefolding as a Social Alternative”, for the in the West the time does not matter so much, for a right ordering of the three spheres to arise.
The A. Society sees itself as a creature of the Cultural Sphere, but does that truly grasp our social situation? In the Americas the Mysteries of the Will are celebrated. What is willed in the study groups? In America, the leadership of the A. Society has ignored studies of America Itself. In effect the A. Society in America is a foreign body, that needs to be eliminated. Europeans came here seeking their own status, not recognizing that America was already Mystery, and to appreciate that what was there/here, required: “washing the feet”. Instead, the Europeans told Americans how to be anthroposophical, in spite of the fact that Steiner had said Americans come to Anthroposophy naturally. Contemplate that, if you dare.
“Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in America” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/wkslg.html
In addition, all the time these days the Centers and Institutions beg the members and friends for money. The original Waldorf School didn’t need that kind of money - gift money. It was designed to thrive off of the excess capital from a living economic entity.
I wrote of this question here: “By the way, if the Society genuinely wants money, I know how to get it.” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/asmoney.html
In the next Fundamentals, we will face more intensely the shadow of Anthroposophy: Steinerism, and it relation to the anti-Christ spirit - the untamed intellect which all human beings contain - we are, after all the microcosm.
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part VI: Going Down - Facing the Own Dark Inside.
[because this is not a simple matter, but rather quite central to all on a path of self-development, I have provided my links which then illuminate the situation from a number of different perspectives.]
Once we can admit that Anthroposophy is a method, then we can step past an exclusive reliance on Rudolf Steiner, which is a kind of addiction by the Way. Anyone can practice the Method, and produce thereby New Content - i.e. more Spiritual Science.
Steiner gave many indications, but what has arisen, that we can call Goethean Science, is in all cases findings that others had to produce out of their own activity. Steiner did not do the work that ended up becoming Olive Whicher’s “Projective Geometry: Creative Polarities in Space and Time”, or Wolfgang Schad’s remarkable “Man and Mammals - towards a biology of form”. The latter, if you can get a copy, will cost you $290 for a new one, although Whicher’s book is only $34 on Amazon.
Am I making a point here? Most certainly ...
Publishers of Steiner related books don’t do a decent job keeping the best of Goethean Science in print, while at the same time publishing the same Steiner titles over and over again - just changing the cover art making it nearly impossible to be sure whether or not we already own a copy of those lectures. This is mainly because the leaders in our Centers of anthroposophical activity ignore Goethean Science, in favor of becoming adept at quoting from the Book of Steinerism. If we are not studying Goethean Science texts, faithfully, such as Theodor Schwenk’s “Sensitive Chaos - The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air”, we are cultivating an arrogant ignorance - not insight and knowledge.
Above, I called this an addiction. Now I will make my case, although some context is first necessary.
I am one of the few Steiner students to add research about what I have come to name: the threefold double complex. “The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount”: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/mysteryofevil.html.
The double too is a subject our “leadership” routinely ignores, which suggests quite strongly that they have not even begun to master its influence in their own souls. Steiner had indicated that the double of Americans was stronger than that of Europeans, which appears to be a factor in why when European’s come to America to teach us how to be like them, they actually are not on the earth, but pushed above it, given their soul’s lack the necessary natural gravitas to endure the spirit of materialism, which it is the destiny of the American Soul to conquer.
In “Appendix Four: some incidental results of reading the biography of a social form”, in my book “Manure for the Garden of Anthroposophy”, I share some of the spiritual research from which I learned how rising earth forces, connected to the North-South mountain ranges in the Americas, keep the European from coming to the spiritual ground in America: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/Manure.html
It is in America that there arose a natural method for dealing with the threefold double complex: “The Spiritual Scientific Import of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/TwelveSteps.html
This schematic diagram is a feature in all my works where the threefold double complex is illuminated:
i-AM (higher ego or conscience)
[sense world < soul (A/d) < i-AM > (L/d) soul > spiritual world]
the Divine Mother
The “I” or ego is surrounded in the environment of the soul by the threefold double-complex:
i-AM (higher ego
(A/d) < i-AM > (L/d)
Once we grasp this, not just as a scheme, but as an own experience in the soul, it becomes then possible to face the human (d), the human double aspect, which is where addictions can be found.
In the astral body, when something is operating free of the warmth or ego body, this free-of-our-will entity becomes a kind of psychic parasite. So when folks find that their first impulse on facing a question in life is to turn their mind immediately to the function of their memory - to something Steiner said, rather than toward their own intuition, this betrays the presence of the addiction - the psychic parasite. The endless quoting of Rudolf Steiner, and the adoration of Steiner-thought as the answer to everything, lames the soul from its ability to develop fully the capacity to actually think intuitively, in the manner Steiner tried to teach us in his works on knowledge (in philosophical terms: epistemology).
The purpose/function of Going Down, on the lower vertical of the Cross of spiritual development, is for there to arise a marriage of the higher and lower ego aspects of our true i-AM.
All the same, these realities are - in a sense - normal, witness Kuhlewind’s work: “From Normal to Healthy”. An additional factor is our tendency to love our intellectual prowess - our capacity for that aspect of our nature (the intellect) in which resides the anti-Christ spirit, if it is not properly tamed by the forces of the will, which forces rising through the region of the heart thereby bring warmth forces to the tendency to too much abstract thinking.
I discuss the anti-Christ spirit here: “Barack Obama and the reality of the anti-Christ spirit - what might happen if you begin to insert reason into Christian discourse, on questions of public life” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/barackobama.html, which is a companion to my “Saving the Catholic Religion from the Roman Church - through deepening our understanding of the Third Fatima Prophecy” http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/SavingCatholicReligion.html
Aspects of our soul/spiritual life can be set forth in the form of a Cross, in this instance a Cross of Love.
nurturing love (touch or storge) + comradeship/brotherly love (phileo)
erotic and/or sensual love (eros)
Above and Below - the upper and lower axis for the Cross, is purely spiritual in nature, and involves this seeking for the marriage of heaven and earth in the own soul. The horizontal axis is how love appears in the social - how we relate to each "other".
It is also possible to appreciate that learning to deal with the lower three chakras represents a quite different problem from dealing with the three chakras above the heart. In my essay: “Dragon-riders - the human being in maturity” I take a look at these questions from another direction. http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/dragon-riders.html Here I try to show a distinction between the “dragon” - the secrets of the will, and the lower chakras from one point of view, which “dragon” nature is not the “double”, but something else.
In addition, from another different direction: “Sex, Porn and the Return of the Divine Feminine”, http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/sex,porn.html I share some research on what we might call “lust”, but which turns out to be “eros”, and the secrets of the will that an understanding Eros/lust reveals.
It is an aspect of the destiny of the American Soul to then investigate the “will”, through traveling down - facing the initiation challenges of the lower vertical of the Cross. Further, this downward journey then leads to the Mother, and matters known to most aboriginal peoples the world over, concerning the Underworld or the Land of Faerie. For special insight on this, my friend Stephen Clarke’s: “Rudolf Steiner’s “Mexican Mysteries” Re-Imagined”: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/Clarke5.html
The problem of good and evil, something mostly arising from weaknesses in the development of present day Christianity (beliefs, instead of actual practice), has to be set aside, and here is another of Stephen’s works that is helpful: “Some Notes Toward a Resolution of the Dilemma - in reference to Paul V. O’Leary’s The Inner Life of the Earth” http://www.rsarchive.org/RelArtic/ClarkeStephen/Dilemma.php
For a remarkable work on our soul life, there is this, by Catherine MacCoun: “On Becoming an Alchemist - a guide for the modern magician”: https://www.amazon.com/On-Becoming-Alchemist-M…/…/1590306872
The Society continues to ignore the works of the Platonists, who were present at the Culmination, which is why I have referenced their works here. For details: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/Culmination.html The Fundamentals of Anthroposophy require more than just a study of Steiner.
Next, I will go into some aspects of American
literature which reveals the instinct of Americans to be Natural
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part VII: American literature and arts, in which a natural anthroposophy appears.
“...one can say that we in Europe develop
Anthroposophy in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a
natural way..." Rudolf Steiner, from a talk to the workmen
at the Goetheanum, Dornach, March 3, 1923
Let us begin with the works of Frank Herbert, a natural Goethean Scientist - in particular his six volume series of Dune books. Then we can go to Neal Stephenson, Clint Eastwood, Aaron Sorkin, David E. Kelley, and Ursula Le Guin. These are not the only “natural” anthroposophists one can discover, as members of the community which we sometimes call: Arts&Letters. All the same, they give an excellent sense of what is out there to be discovered whenever members and friends of the Anthroposophical Society decide to get their heads out of their asses about what lives in the Spirit of America.
Just to give one sense of the indignities that were heaped upon Americans by European anthroposophists: When Kelly Sutton (anthroposophical doctorhttp://raphaelmedicine.com/) and I moved to Fair Oaks in 2005, for her to take up the task of trying to revitalize the slumbering medical practice there, we began to hear stories where significant European personalities had basically been teaching American anthroposophists that this was the land of Ahriman, and fundamentally an evil place that needed saving. This descriptive reference of America as ahrimanic was everywhere, yet not overt. It was more like spiritual gossip, and no doubt was used to justify the rejection of American Culture and much else besides.
It would be okay if at some point this gossip came out of the closet so to speak, and confessed its biases. Unfortunately, this has not happened. People influenced by the European ideal of what being spiritual means, in an anthroposophical sense, look down on America from above, from an assumed more pure spiritual point of view. I could tell many stories, and will just set this matter aside, with one final tale.
I was at a conference (called: Awakening: Conversation in America) in Concord, MA, sitting in a group of anthroposophical folk, when I spoke about American Culture. The European sitting next to me, interrupted, and said: “What culture?” If we take the view that high culture is European, and American culture something less, we fail to appreciate that the New World will produce new types and kinds of culture, which will have it own genius to contribute to the rest of the world. Still, little of these cultural treasures finds mention in anthroposophical activity here - which is not just a tragedy, but more so a kind of soul-sickness. It is unhealthy in the worse Way possible.
If anthroposophists in America want to find America, they need to celebrate our Arts&Letters, especially our music. The rest of the world recognizes these gifts, and it’s only in anthroposophical circles that these are not only ignored, but often disdained.
Frank Herbert reinvented the literary scene with his novel: Dune. It was not his first novel, but Dune was all the same rather unique. Published in 1965, it was in 2003 recognized as the world’s best selling science fiction novel. It (and the follow on 5 other novels in the series) are especially significant, because our Earth is soon to face massive water problems, and Dune is - in part - about a society that has to live on so little water, that they created a special culture around this difficulty in obtained the waters of life. You have to read the book - no summary will suffice.
One of his creations is a kind of mind discipline, whose practitioners he called: “mentats”. A mentat, like a Goethean scientist, is trained to see wholes, and to practice phenomenology. To think organically. Examples of the efficacy of this Way of Thinking is everywhere in all six novels. Again, no summary will suffice.
Ursula Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed creates a situation, where the natural anarchy that would result from people actually living out Steiner’s The Philosophy of Freedom, is imaginatively unfolded, in all its practical messiness. She has won every possible award a novelist could win, and dislikes that some want to label her a science fiction writer, rather than just a novelist. This is common today, as though the real nature of speculative fiction can be ignored.
Le Guin has given us a richness of deeds - using the word, that the sheer scale of it is hard to imagine. Again ... these works must be read, for the deepest aspects of New World culture thrive there.
I’ve even heard a rumor that no less an anthroposophist as Virgina Sease felt that “science fiction” was something to be avoided. Clearly she has never read any of this literature (or seen the films), which is based upon other-world creation processes, as a way of giving the human being a unusual context in which to find their humanity. For example, the Night’s Dawn trilogy, by Peter Hamilton (an Englishman), even discusses what might happen in a future time when human beings discover that they are immortal, and that the after life is real.
The science fiction movie The Arrival, brings from out of the Collective Imagination a hint of a future time where the veil between us and those beings who live in the Underworld falls away. The movie is a kind of dream/scape in which H.P. Lovecraft (the American novelist of the Old Ones - the Cthulhu mythos) and Benjamin Whorf (an American natural genius at languages) dance together outside of time and space.
Neal Stephenson began as a science fiction writer, and then found a way to be “speculative” and “historical” at the same time. In his novel Cryptonomicon, and then in the Baroque Cycle (this last runs for 2700 pages in three volumes, consisting of 6 or 7 sub-novels), Stephenson reinvented fiction in a way that fits with something Owen Barfield pointed out, in connection with the writer R.G. Collingwood, who asserted in his book The Idea of History, that if we want to know what history is, we have to know what the actor thought. Caesar crossed the Rubicon, but what did he think in doing that - that thinking and those thoughts are the reality of history.
Neal Stephenson gives us that particular historical thought-reality in these novels. What did Newton think, or Leibniz when they debated in front of Princess Caroline, who was soon to become Queen of England, whether or not the smallest particles were lifeless atoms as Newton held, or conscious and will-filled monads as Leibniz asserted was the case. What was in the mind of the bankers and aristocrats in England, when the Bank of England was being created? Why did a French King create Versailles, forcing the French aristocrats to abandon Paris for a grand palace in the Country-side? What were his thoughts?
Stephenson doesn’t just make history live, but wraps it up in tales filled with details. We go places we’ve never been, and learn much, while being entertained. Again, if you want to know you have to read, keeping in mind that Stephenson is teaching the next generations a living history, through their love of reading his works.
Aaron Sorkin gave us The West Wing on television, an amazing discourse, via drama, concerning the essential political questions of modern America. He followed that with his HBO drama: Newsroom, where the failures of the News business are displayed. All of which is wrapped up in story, filled with human wisdom,and laced with whip-like intelligent dialogue. Actors love to speak his words.
David E. Kelley, who I describe as America’s Shakespeare, created a style of drama where a social or political question would end up in court, enabling then a debate, with evidence, of where the truth lies. L. A. Law; Picket Fences; Chicago Hope; Ally McBeal; The Practice; Boston Public; and, Boston Legal. Comedy and Tragedy, with words that again actors love to say, and for which many actors win awards. In my book American Anthroposophy there are many more details.
Finally, Clint Eastwood. His films - the Westerns - display the deep mystery of the Western, which is (as explained here: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/JWendt-review-article.pdf) the mythic key to the American Soul. To know the American Soul, you must watch “Pale Rider” and “Unforgiven”. Eastwood is also a close observer of the emergence of the consciousness soul, as displayed in his: “Million Dollar Baby; and “Gran Torino”, where the main character (played by him, and directed by him) finds that his Catholic religious upbringing is no help when life itself requires moral action that is completely outside the box of rules, made by vain men who can’t keep their own house in order.
Anthroposophists, especially Americans - but others as well, have no business pretending they know anything about America without becoming familiar with Her artists. Keep in mind I’ve said nothing about our music, and its fusion of multiple cross-cultural influences, that have (along with our films and television) inspired change in the culture of the whole world. The Anthroposophical Society’s dream of influencing world culture is just that - a vain dream. It is American culture - the Arts&Letters of the People of the Will, who are guiding the world into the future, from out of their instincts for drawing from the limitless well of the Collective Imagination.
Sure, as with all people’s, America has its double/shadow on display constantly in the News. But the heart of the American Soul? That is found in our Arts, and nowhere else. Woodstock, by Joni Mitchell:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRjQCvfcXn0
Fundamentals of Anthroposophy - part VIII: Endgame
If the A. Society isn’t teaching the New Mystery of Thinking, and the New Mystery of Community, this Society is not only filled with the anti-Christ spirit, but as well an anti-Holy Mother spirit.
The Aristotelian trained intellect, without intercourse with the Platonist’s Love of the Idea, has no knowledge, but only a vain system of beliefs - Steinerism. Some may not like this characterization - I wouldn’t. But - at the same time - it is accurate, and communicates a wonder if we are open to receiving it.
We need to come at this from three directions simultaneously. We need to use Reason (for that leads to the Truth); Devotion (for that aspires to the Good); and Imagination (for from that we create Beauty).
A survey of Barfield’s works provides us with three concepts that can be useful: Original Participation; the On-looker Separation; and, Final Participation. While this is a gross overview of the evolution of consciousness, it will provide some needed context.
Original Participation refers to the prior instinctive relationship between human beings and the invisible world of Gods, Goddesses, as well as the more elemental kingdoms. We co-participated - were within - the world of invisibles, which at that time we were also able to perceive. With the On-looker Separation, we were pushed out of this intimate relationship, slowly over time, until our inner nature was such that we looked-on to the world of the senses, and had no real appreciation of the invisible kingdoms, except as legends and systems of belief.
What during Original Participation was a light-filled inner and outer perception of the totality of our experience - the light emanating from the Divine Itself (in it was life and the life was the light of the world), became inverted - turned inside out. The outer world became brighter and its objects more distinct, while the inner world became darker - no perception of the invisible beings and their activities remained, although somewhat remembered (in Western Civilization) in the myths of the ancient Greeks.
We were separate and distinct - becoming individualized. Only then as on-lookers could natural philosophy/science begin to inwardly think the world of outer objects.
Out of this existential situation may come: Final Participation. We, having been set free of the perception of the invisible kingdoms, now had a choice - to reunite ourselves, or not; and, as with all choices there would be consequences.
In the 18th and 19th Centuries, certain individuals manifested various initial/interations of Final Participation, for example: Goethe, Coleridge, and Emerson. Emerson was to write at age 33, in 1836, in his essay Nature: “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.”
On the cusp of the 19th to 20th Centuries, Rudolf Steiner sought to make this inner change something recognizably scientific, writing at age 25, in 1886, in A 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.”
What was being noticed was that the light of spirit that in the time of Original Participation was manifesting its illuminating qualities from the Divine Itself, - this light was now appearing in human thought and thinking. To grasp this, in practice, is to begin discovering/unfolding Final Participation out of our own freedom, particularly our own moral freedom.
Steiner then began to write, as noted in Part I of Fundamentals of Anthroposophy, of the problem of “knowledge” (his first four books) in the sense that natural science was facing certain questions of its own possible limits. Did thinking possess the ability to know the true, the good, and the beautiful?
A central point made by Steiner in A Theory of Knowledge ... , often overlooked by his adoring students, was/is that there is only one actual idea of “triangle”, although each individual mind may personalize its understanding - the “idea” is everywhere the same. Here Steiner hid in open sight the seed of a an evolved Platonism - the centrality of the Idea as something that has Being, has existence.
As a consequence, near the end of his life Steiner named Anthroposophy this Way: “Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spiritual in man to the Spiritual in the Universe.” Thinking was the new means by which Spirit was to be apprehended, and the mere fact that Steiner was able to try, to make this discovery of human potential have a scientific basis, was extraordinary.
To do what Steiner had done came to be too difficult for most of his followers, and he then gave them: Knowledge of Higher Worlds and How to Attain It, which was a Rosicrucian Way that still had some life in it, although it was not the precise and exact path of thinking which all of us contained as potential. As a result, the A. Society left in the dust Steiner’s own Path, and took up the pretense that reading, not thinking, would lead to knowledge.
Yes, one would find the Spirit in the old way, but that which the Divine Mystery Itself had planted into human potential was fading from view. The inner light of thinking, and its ability to thereby perceive the Idea/Being of the invisible world, seems lost as we enter into the Third Millennium, the Day of Purification, and the time when Christ would baptize us all in Fire and Holy Breath - not peace, but a sword.
The anti-Christ spirit is to deny the Father and the Son. Not just as a world view, but as a deed - the Christ is In us, in the potential of thinking, and by not acting upon what Steiner gave, we deny our own spirit, and as well the reality of the Christ, who, from a Goetheanistic organic/pure thinking discipline can be seen/known, with that thinking, as the Word Embodied in the Organism of the Social/Political World. We swim in the Being of the Cosmic Christ, and by not seeing that, we Deny Him.
The same problem exists with regard to the reality of the Earth/Being - the Holy Mother. To the extent that by actions in thought and deed, the adoring students of Steinerism conceive of the Mother’s Inwardness as a Region of Evil, - that too comes from an anti-Holy Mother spirit, connected with an excess of reliance on the Intellect.
Only the untamed Intellect wants (or needs) to endlessly quote Rudolf Steiner. The path of cognition is clear - our spirit-thinking finds the Spirit in the Universe, and Steiner is then relieved of being the priest of the religion of Steinerism.
People might say, “Well, it is my intention to think
good thoughts. Isn’t that enough?”. No, ... human thinking must
become a source of light in our inner world, and then through
the Love of the Idea/Being we will find there all that we need.
Only our collection, of habits of thought and feelings, stands
in the Way. Become poor in spirit if you want to know the
Kingdom of Heaven, both in the sense of the Father, and the
Mother. Heaven is above and below, and the darkness in our own
minds cannot contain It. Pray (think) in secret.
Celebrate/meditate each other via the New Mystery of Community
(the Reverse Cultus). Surrender to the true Dark, where She
abides and waits, with the powers of the Resurrection, just as
She did on a Saturday over 2000 years ago.