Anthroposophy for Dummies

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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AshvinP
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

findingblanks wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:57 pm Anthony,

"and still the ontological character of a percept remains elusive..."

That's such a good sign.

"From what I've read (which is limited), Steiner doesn't come out and say that percepts are ideal."

In 1916 when he began to try rearticulating some of the fundamental concepts in PoF, Steiner spoke a bit more clearly and descriptively about many elements. In fact, when you go to forums where people are celebrating PoF, you find that a disproportional amount of their favorite passages come from the very small amount of additions. I always take that as a small sign of health in the community.

I think you (not the other people in this context) will find an interesting contradiction in how Steiner speaks about the nature of a percept. You might read PoF and come away thinking that Steiner claims that thinking attatches a non-cognitive percept to its corresponding concept. I bet that within five minutes you can show me at least three passages from PoF that *could* lead someone to think that thinking attaches concepts to percepts (and that percepts are therefore have no cognitive function on their own).

It's a bit harder but you can actually find at least one spot (I think two) where Steiner says (in PoF) that a percept is inherently cognitive. He uses a wonderful metaphor in that spot. In fact, if you take him very seriously you can let that description redefine the earlier idea that percepts are in need of corresponding concepts. That's when it gets fun. If you find any of the above interesting, you'll probably have to DM me to talk about it. This context is a very passionate and well intended cult-like 'educational center.' We are about to see it kick into gear! Anyway, Anthony, I've really appreciated your questions, comments and insights in this thread (and I've only read about 1/8th of it!)

FB,

Let's also give Anthony the context from which you are claiming to understand these things. Let's refer him to the Philosophy Unbound thread, in which we had 13,500+ comments of you claiming no one, not myself, Cleric, or anyone else, understands Steiner, despite being very familiar with his entire corpus of books and many of his lectures as well. You projected various strawmen onto isolated passages from PoF and refused to seriously consider any of our comments in response, hence your repetitive posts which added up quickly. You also claimed no one understands Schopenhauer, including BK, and Steiner-Scop basically agree with each other. On another thread about Schop, you claimed a "Schop scholar" was coming to back up your erroneous interpretations of him, but this never happened and shortly later you disappeared from the forum.

In the course of that P-Unbound thread, Anthony should also be aware, after many pages of questioning and digging, we got down to the reason why you misinterpret Steiner. It is because you assume spiritual evolution (evolution of Thinking, perception-cognition) has stopped in the modern age with abstract intellectual reasoning, despite your claim to understand Barfield's arguments which you frequently invoke here (another thinker you mispresented on that same humongous thread). In fact, you completely ignored my comment recently about that on the "evolution of consciousness" thread by pulling Eugene's famous tactic of, "yeah, I agree!", when you do not, in fact, agree at all with Barfield or myself. You deny the very core of Steiner's spiritual science (which Barfield accepted), i.e. the existence of higher cognition available to all today - Imaginative, Inspirative, and Intuitive thinking.

Like many others, you cannot admit any higher cognition into your wordlview, i.e. any possibility of a systematic inquiry beyond the threshold of deep sleep and death, because you have an antipathy for any worldviews which assert "superiority" over others. That is also evident from your criticisms of BK for criticizing Harris and materialism... you actually argue that materialism is "compatible with protecting the Earth" and "deeply spiritual lives". Why? For no other reason than you don't like the assertion that some worldviews and some ways of conceiving the world are worse than others and actually have practical effects in the real world. You say, "we dont' learn much about a person's creative and moral living from the content of their beliefs." That's a nice way to put it, but really your position is that the ideal content of someone's worldview has no effect whatsoever on how they perceive-conceive the world which, in turn, has no effect whatsoever on how they relate to that same world and other human beings.

So Anthony should be clear, there is absolutely no logic to your arguments here, only thinly veiled antipathies which get translated into posts such as the one above, under the guise of having deep knowledge of Steiner, Schop, Barfield, etc. In reality, you are using the little you have learned from each of these philosophies to bolster your own feeling-based approach to life, an approach which actually flies in the face of Steiner-Barfield phenomenology of Thinking (spiritual activity). Sorry to start out so bold and sternly here, but I really have no interest in pretending to go through the motions with you yet again for another 50+ pages of meaningless and counter-productive comments. Anthony is making a genuine effort to logically reason his way through the arguments made by Steiner in PoF, and your arguments here, as elsewhere, if they can be called that, are diametrically opposed to logic and reason.
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findingblanks
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by findingblanks »

Anthony, feel free to DM if you want to chat. The section in PoF when Steiner speaks about the way a percept is always 'hiding' its cognitive aspect, is golden.
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by findingblanks »

"So Anthony should be clear, there is absolutely no logic to your arguments here, only thinly veiled antipathies which get translated into posts such as the one above, under the guise of having deep knowledge of Steiner, Schop, Barfield, etc. In reality, you are using the little you have learned from each of these philosophies to bolster your own feeling-based approach to life, an approach which actually flies in the face of Steiner-Barfield phenomenology of Thinking (spiritual activity)."

I trust Anthony can feel and 'know' the antipathy that was behind the writing of the above (along with all the beauty and kindness). And I trust he can feel and 'know' it in my own communications. Of course it will be filtered through his own and that's why it is a journey.

But Anthony, if you want to enjoy a very interesting framework within which to read Steiner in the context of how we can take 'percept', I beg you to file away this e-book by Gendlin. I think you'll find many aspects of it fascinating and very useful:

http://previous.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2159.html

I am part of an Anthorposophical group that will be 'crossing' this text with The Philosophy of Freedom in January. If you are interested, you're very welcome to join.
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

findingblanks wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 9:00 pm Anthony, feel free to DM if you want to chat. The section in PoF when Steiner speaks about the way a percept is always 'hiding' its cognitive aspect, is golden.

This is was already illuminated in great imaginative detail by Cleric. I invite you (FB) to actually read this full post and think through the famous pencil example again ;)

viewtopic.php?p=11927#p11927
Cleric wrote:One way to think about it, is that perceptions are like the negative picture of ideas (knowing, meaning). In other words, everywhere we perceive something, we have absence, vacuum of ideas. We need to really stir our Imagination here. We can practically imagine how perceptions exercise a specific kind of suction on our thinking being. It's like perceptions are vacuum sinks that try to suck out the ideal thinking element which will fill the voids. The more the ideal element flows into the voids, the more the balance is restored.

Imagine a perception of a rectangle. It exercises the mentioned suction on our spiritual being. The act of thinking is like flowing our spiritual essence into the void that sucks us in. When we fill it, our essential being ('made of' meaning/knowing/idea) assumes the shape of that void and we experience it from within - that is, we experience the meaning of the concept of rectangle. In this way, the answer to the question "what happens with percepts after the act of thinking" would be that they no longer exist. Our meaningful essence has filled them and assumed their 'shape' which we experience as knowing from within.

To this it might be objected that after we think about the rectangle, even though we experience the concept of it, we still see it quite clearly - the visual stimuli don't at all disappear! The solution to this riddle is that perceptions are very compound.

Some time ago, in another context I gave an example to findingblanks with thinking about a pencil. You may want to take a look at it.
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AshvinP
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

findingblanks wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 9:09 pm "So Anthony should be clear, there is absolutely no logic to your arguments here, only thinly veiled antipathies which get translated into posts such as the one above, under the guise of having deep knowledge of Steiner, Schop, Barfield, etc. In reality, you are using the little you have learned from each of these philosophies to bolster your own feeling-based approach to life, an approach which actually flies in the face of Steiner-Barfield phenomenology of Thinking (spiritual activity)."

I trust Anthony can feel and 'know' the antipathy that was behind the writing of the above (along with all the beauty and kindness). And I trust he can feel and 'know' it in my own communications. Of course it will be filtered through his own and that's why it is a journey.

But Anthony, if you want to enjoy a very interesting framework within which to read Steiner in the context of how we can take 'percept', I beg you to file away this e-book by Gendlin. I think you'll find many aspects of it fascinating and very useful:

http://previous.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2159.html

I am part of an Anthorposophical group that will be 'crossing' this text with The Philosophy of Freedom in January. If you are interested, you're very welcome to join.

Just so it's perfectly clear, I have absolutely no problem with anyone here laying out there interpretations of PoF and logically reasoned arguments for those interpretations, so all can follow the reasoning and evaluate for themselves what makes the most sense. But that's not what you do here, is it? It's all vague, cryptic, roundabout postings that try to confuse the issues, while never directly confronting the responses to your comments. You ask people to DM you, or say other people are DMing you to agree, or any number of similar shady tactics. I followed your link and there is not even a mention of "Steiner" in it, yet you suggest it is the appropriate framework in which to read PoF. On the other thread, you implied Steiner talked to "French physicists" to convey that spirit guides are not actual spiritual beings but something more along the lines of "magnetic fields". This is as shady as shady gets.

I have been writing several essays recently precisely on this topic - the worst deceptions of the modern age are those which convey quarter, half, or three-quarter truths. Actually the latter are the most deceptive for obvious reasons - they provide a lot of logically reasoned truth but leave out the most crucial element which allows one to attain a holistic understanding. And I can predict exactly what elements will be missing from these incomplete truths in your reading group - (1) the central role of our own immanent Thinking (i.e. logical reasoning and living higher cognition) in reaching holistic understanding, and intimately related to that, (2) the reality of spiritual realms with spiritual (ideational) beings who inform our current experience. The latter will always be thrust down into abstractions of materialist and mechanistic terminology.

Is it any coincidence you also showed up to argue the materialist atheism of Sam Harris is not so big of a deal and something BK shouldn't be too hard on? That, actually, none of these competing worldviews matter in terms of practical life and ethical obligations? Readers can judge these rather pronounced connections for themselves.
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Anthony66
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Anthony66 »

Ashvin and FB, I'm not keen to contribute to any hostilities (not yet anyway ;) ). I do enough of that on other boards. I'm purely trying to learn stuff here at this stage.

You may have heard of some fairly recent research where brain imaging is combined with machine learning in order to infer what a person may be thinking at a given moment. The results are quite impressive and no doubt will improve further into the future. The system can be trained on a set of individuals and then applied to an outsider to good effect. Of course this is just another aspect of what BK is keen to stress - there are correlates between first person experience and third person observation of brain activity.

But it got me thinking again about how SS would explain this, which again relates to my line of questions surrounding percepts. We have:
  • The subject's thinking activity
  • The subject's brain
  • The experimental apparatus
  • The researcher's brain
  • The researcher's thinking activity
How do we understand the inter-working of all these under SS?
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:04 pm Ashvin and FB, I'm not keen to contribute to any hostilities (not yet anyway ;) ). I do enough of that on other boards. I'm purely trying to learn stuff here at this stage.

You may have heard of some fairly recent research where brain imaging is combined with machine learning in order to infer what a person may be thinking at a given moment. The results are quite impressive and no doubt will improve further into the future. The system can be trained on a set of individuals and then applied to an outsider to good effect. Of course this is just another aspect of what BK is keen to stress - there are correlates between first person experience and third person observation of brain activity.

But it got me thinking again about how SS would explain this, which again relates to my line of questions surrounding percepts. We have:
  • The subject's thinking activity
  • The subject's brain
  • The experimental apparatus
  • The researcher's brain
  • The researcher's thinking activity
How do we understand the inter-working of all these under SS?

Anthony,

I will make a few preliminary remarks here and maybe add more later.

1) SS does not reject any experimental data from "natural" (physicalist) science, but only seeks to place it in a more holistic integrated context.

2) Physicalist science tends to completely invert causal explanations for phenomena, because it seeks all causes from within the physical world and its forces. It a priori rules out the possibility of spiritual realms (which we could also think of as 'objective psychic' or 'collective subconscious' realms) which give rise to the phenomena (any consistent idealism must admit this).

Analogy: If we look at the needle on a compass, we know that the reason it points to North and South lies within magnetic poles of the Earth (which is like a giant magnet), not within the compass itself. But when we look at an egg developing within a living being, physicalist science assumes that all the causes must reside within the living being and does not consider broader Earth and Cosmic forces at work. This is simply due to modern prejudice which seeks to cut out the living spiritual from all consideration and reduce phenomena to purely mechanistic physical forces.

3) SS' broad explanation for why physical structures reflect underlying ideal meaning is not really different from BK - those physical appearances are partial images (or negative images, as Cleric explained in his post re: perceptions) of essentially ideal meaning i.e. living thoughts-ideas.


I notice you are asking a lot about "percepts", so I hope what we have written so far has cleared up their essence and how they function in our knowing experience. If not, feel free to ask more questions. Perhaps you are looking for detailed 'mechanisms' by which underlying spiritual-ideal reality gets translated into physical (or inner mental) perceptions? If so, then those detailed explanations exist in SS, but they are not mechanisms like those of physicalist science. They are more akin to the fluid dynamics of living organisms, where the entire Cosmos is understood as a living organism which must be factored in, as are all 'fractal' sub-structures of the Cosmos i.e. extra-solar stars, Sun, planets, Earth, cultures, nations, individual humans.
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Anthony66 »

AshvinP wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 2:35 pm
Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:04 pm Ashvin and FB, I'm not keen to contribute to any hostilities (not yet anyway ;) ). I do enough of that on other boards. I'm purely trying to learn stuff here at this stage.

You may have heard of some fairly recent research where brain imaging is combined with machine learning in order to infer what a person may be thinking at a given moment. The results are quite impressive and no doubt will improve further into the future. The system can be trained on a set of individuals and then applied to an outsider to good effect. Of course this is just another aspect of what BK is keen to stress - there are correlates between first person experience and third person observation of brain activity.

But it got me thinking again about how SS would explain this, which again relates to my line of questions surrounding percepts. We have:
  • The subject's thinking activity
  • The subject's brain
  • The experimental apparatus
  • The researcher's brain
  • The researcher's thinking activity
How do we understand the inter-working of all these under SS?

Anthony,

I will make a few preliminary remarks here and maybe add more later.

1) SS does not reject any experimental data from "natural" (physicalist) science, but only seeks to place it in a more holistic integrated context.

2) Physicalist science tends to completely invert causal explanations for phenomena, because it seeks all causes from within the physical world and its forces. It a priori rules out the possibility of spiritual realms (which we could also think of as 'objective psychic' or 'collective subconscious' realms) which give rise to the phenomena (any consistent idealism must admit this).

Analogy: If we look at the needle on a compass, we know that the reason it points to North and South lies within magnetic poles of the Earth (which is like a giant magnet), not within the compass itself. But when we look at an egg developing within a living being, physicalist science assumes that all the causes must reside within the living being and does not consider broader Earth and Cosmic forces at work. This is simply due to modern prejudice which seeks to cut out the living spiritual from all consideration and reduce phenomena to purely mechanistic physical forces.

3) SS' broad explanation for why physical structures reflect underlying ideal meaning is not really different from BK - those physical appearances are partial images (or negative images, as Cleric explained in his post re: perceptions) of essentially ideal meaning i.e. living thoughts-ideas.


I notice you are asking a lot about "percepts", so I hope what we have written so far has cleared up their essence and how they function in our knowing experience. If not, feel free to ask more questions. Perhaps you are looking for detailed 'mechanisms' by which underlying spiritual-ideal reality gets translated into physical (or inner mental) perceptions? If so, then those detailed explanations exist in SS, but they are not mechanisms like those of physicalist science. They are more akin to the fluid dynamics of living organisms, where the entire Cosmos is understood as a living organism which must be factored in, as are all 'fractal' sub-structures of the Cosmos i.e. extra-solar stars, Sun, planets, Earth, cultures, nations, individual humans.
Your parenthetical statement made me go back and have another read of Cleric's negative images explanation and it now makes a lot more sense than when I read the same a few weeks back.
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

Anthony66 wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:31 pm
AshvinP wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 2:35 pm Analogy: If we look at the needle on a compass, we know that the reason it points to North and South lies within magnetic poles of the Earth (which is like a giant magnet), not within the compass itself. But when we look at an egg developing within a living being, physicalist science assumes that all the causes must reside within the living being and does not consider broader Earth and Cosmic forces at work. This is simply due to modern prejudice which seeks to cut out the living spiritual from all consideration and reduce phenomena to purely mechanistic physical forces.
Your parenthetical statement made me go back and have another read of Cleric's negative images explanation and it now makes a lot more sense than when I read the same a few weeks back.

Great!

Just due to recent comments on this forum, after re-reading my post, I wanted to make perfectly clear, the Earth is a living being and not actually a "giant magnet" in the way we think about it. When humans ideate, we produce magnets and magnetic technologies like TMI (transcranial magnetic stimulation), and when more advanced spiritual beings ideate, they produce the magnetic fields of entire planets.
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Anthony66
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Anthony66 »

A couple of random questions have popped up for me in my continued research of Anthroposophy/Spiritual Science (ASS :D).

What is the understanding of God? Steiner seems to say some things about this which seem to be in tension.

At https://www.rudolfsteinerweb.com/Rudolf ... mology.php, we read:
Through a conscious strengthening and enhancing of this thinking activity (so that it no longer needs the foundation of the physical senses) it is possible to attain to knowledge of supersensory reality. The contents of knowledge are immediately given to us without any mediation of the senses. The world of supersensory beings and their deeds are then step-wise revealed to us in our consciousness where, in the act of know­ing, concept and percept are one.
What does this mean practically? Could one navigate the world with their eyes closed and ears block and function just fine?
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