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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JustinG
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by JustinG »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:54 pm
JustinG wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:00 am
AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:28 pm We need to go Beyond Flat MAL to Deep MAL (do not think of "alters" existing in a personal bubble of consciousness with hard separation from all other "alters") - viewtopic.php?f=5&t=279
The thing is Ashvin, if you or Cleric have made some major advance in idealist philosophy, why are you spending your time discussing it with non-specialists on an internet forum, instead of submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals (especially as you write so well)? The journal I managed to get published in (https://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal), despite only holding a Bachelor's degree, has a very broad scope, so you might want to try there.

In this regard, I think there can be dangers in Anthroposophy-oriented philosophies becoming disengaged from the praxis of the broader international philosophical community, as the situation with poor John David Ebert shows. Whilst discussions we have here are fun, it's good to remember they don't have much philosophical siginificance beyond the enjoyment they bring us. Even BK's name is mentioned only once in the forthcoming The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism (https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge ... 1138502819).

Justin,

1 - We have not made some major advance in idealist philosophy. Everything we say here about the phenomenology of Thinking is found in Rudolf Steiner's PoF written in 1895. I also show in my essays how various other 20th century thinkers reached similar intellectual conclusions from various different ways, such as Bergson, Jung, Heidegger, and a few others. (and of course Barfield, who brilliantly expanded on Steiner's phenomenology with philology). The lack of recognition that this philosophy even exists is simply a complete prejudicial blinding to it (for the same reason there is a prejudicial blinding to one's own Thinking role in the phenomenal world), and a lack of effort to overcome that prejudice. You just read Barfield's Saving the Appearances and somehow you still think we are advancing a completely different view, which goes to show the sheer strength of that modern prejudice against Thinking as spiritual activity.

2 - Your bolded nihilistic assertion is exactly what we are trying to overcome, at least in some small measure, within ourselves. We are hoping some others here on the forum, perhaps with the assistance of our essays and posts, recognize the need to overcome that nihilism as well. A world where the detailed structure of spiritual reality has no "praxis" or "philosophical significance beyond the enjoyment they bring us" is one heading straight for unconscious egoistic-fueled disasters of all sorts, as we can already see manifesting. It really disheartens me that someone as well-read and intelligent as yourself could make such an assertion, precisely because I know that mindset is so prevalent in our culture right now.

Your approach is a thoroughly materialist one, where fragmented knowledge, mechanistic thinking, and casual dismissal of spiritual realms is the norm. Steiner himself recognized why all of these things were so popular and possessing of the intellect in his day, and much of the same reasons apply in our day. If you were to ever read Steiner with an open heart and open mind, then you may actually see the inner logic of the spiritual world which comes to manifest in your materialist ideology which tries to appropriate metaphysical idealism for itself. These things need to be confronted with courage and honesty, otherwise they will continue lurking within the collective subconscious and haunting humanity with increasingly more devastating consequences.

Steiner wrote:To get a proper idea of current events one would have to take account of a number of things. One thing to be particularly taken into account however is connected with a fact I also mentioned in my first public lecture here. [ Note 20 ] It is the fact that when it comes to their frame of mind, particularly as regards the way they form ideas, present-day people are in many, many instances continuing in a way that was only suitable for the forming of ideas during the Middle Ages. That was a great and significant way of thinking, but it is now out of date. Some people have gone very intensely into the medieval way of developing sensibilities and forming ideas. These are the people who hold more or less socialist views, and there are many of them all over the globe. The ideas current among them come to expression above all in a belief in authority that is almost limitless. They cringe before anything that assumes authority by simply taking a strong line among them. This has made it possible for people like Lenin and Trotsky [ Note 21 ] to impose their tyranny on millions of people with the help of just a few thousand. That particular movement is spreading from Eastern Europe into Asia at an incredible pace. It imposes a tyranny worse than anything seen during the worst periods of oriental tyranny.
...
Leninism knows how to put things cleverly, using rational ideas produced in the head, and there is a definite reason for this The cleverness of the human animal, the cleverness of human animal nature, is coming to the fore in human evolution through Leninism. Everything arising from human instincts, human selfishness, comes to interpretation in Leninism and Trotskyism in a form that on the surface seems very intelligent. The animal wants to work its way to the fore, to be the most intelligent of animals. All the Ahrimanic powers that aim to exclude the human element, to exclude everything that is specifically human, and all the aptitudes that exist within the animal kingdom — I have often stressed this — are to become the forces that determine humanity.

FYI - JDE, as far as I know, has never called himself an "Anthroposophist". Of course, whatever is happening with him is completely irrelevant to the truth or lack thereof of Steiner's spiritual science. This should go without saying, but apparently it needs to be said.
Thanks for the clarification Ashvin. I misinterpreted what you said because of your previous reference to the "new" idealist perspective of Cleric and yourself (I now see the relevance of the inverted commas). I can assure you that POF is on my reading list, but it may be some time before I get to it.

Regarding some of your other comments, I did think my post was in keeping with your remark elsewhere that it is important to avoid distraction from the goal of "eating, drinking, and being merry, for tomorrow we die".

I intend to start a thread in the formal section sometime and would appreciate your comments on that at some stage. Cheers.
JustinG
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by JustinG »

Hedge90 wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:48 am
JustinG wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:00 am
AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:28 pm We need to go Beyond Flat MAL to Deep MAL (do not think of "alters" existing in a personal bubble of consciousness with hard separation from all other "alters") - viewtopic.php?f=5&t=279
The thing is Ashvin, if you or Cleric have made some major advance in idealist philosophy, why are you spending your time discussing it with non-specialists on an internet forum, instead of submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals (especially as you write so well)? The journal I managed to get published in (https://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal), despite only holding a Bachelor's degree, has a very broad scope, so you might want to try there.

In this regard, I think there can be dangers in Anthroposophy-oriented philosophies becoming disengaged from the praxis of the broader international philosophical community, as the situation with poor John David Ebert shows. Whilst discussions we have here are fun, it's good to remember they don't have much philosophical siginificance beyond the enjoyment they bring us. Even BK's name is mentioned only once in the forthcoming The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism (https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge ... 1138502819).
How recognised or established someone is as a thinker doesn't have much to do with the actual substance of their thoughts, right?
Right. But I also agree with Gramsci's remark that
‘If it is true that every philosophy is the expression of a society, it should react back on that society and produce certain effects, both positive and negative. The extent to which it reacts back is the measure of its historical importance..’.
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AshvinP
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

JustinG wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:02 pm Thanks for the clarification Ashvin. I misinterpreted what you said because of your previous reference to the "new" idealist perspective of Cleric and yourself (I now see the relevance of the inverted commas). I can assure you that POF is on my reading list, but it may be some time before I get to it.

Regarding some of your other comments, I did think my post was in keeping with your remark elsewhere that it is important to avoid distraction from the goal of "eating, drinking, and being merry, for tomorrow we die".

I intend to start a thread in the formal section sometime and would appreciate your comments on that at some stage. Cheers.

Justin,

Well, if you found yourself at immediate odds with Barfield and StA and "spiritual evolution", I doubt you will resonate with PoF, but yeah give it a go and see what happens. To be clear, I was saying that I do not agree with the mindset of "eating, drinking, and being merry, for tomorrow we die". That is the modern materialist mindset, as it completely ignores the reality and importance of eternal spiritual reality and therefore the great redemptive significance of every single deed, feeling, and thought we choose to put forth into the world. The idiom is a reference to these verses from Saint Paul (which itself is reference to OT verses):


"Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
- 1 Corinthians 15:29-32
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
JustinG
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by JustinG »

JustinG wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:15 pm
Hedge90 wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:48 am
JustinG wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:00 am

The thing is Ashvin, if you or Cleric have made some major advance in idealist philosophy, why are you spending your time discussing it with non-specialists on an internet forum, instead of submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals (especially as you write so well)? The journal I managed to get published in (https://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal), despite only holding a Bachelor's degree, has a very broad scope, so you might want to try there.

In this regard, I think there can be dangers in Anthroposophy-oriented philosophies becoming disengaged from the praxis of the broader international philosophical community, as the situation with poor John David Ebert shows. Whilst discussions we have here are fun, it's good to remember they don't have much philosophical siginificance beyond the enjoyment they bring us. Even BK's name is mentioned only once in the forthcoming The Routledge Handbook of Idealism and Immaterialism (https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge ... 1138502819).
How recognised or established someone is as a thinker doesn't have much to do with the actual substance of their thoughts, right?
Right. But I also agree with Gramsci's remark that
‘If it is true that every philosophy is the expression of a society, it should react back on that society and produce certain effects, both positive and negative. The extent to which it reacts back is the measure of its historical importance..’.
Aah, now I get it. Thanks
JustinG
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by JustinG »

Sorry, that "now I get it" was meant for Ashvin. I am on my phone and will stop posting now before I generate more (self)confusion.
Ben Iscatus
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Well, I originally responded to what Ashvin said simply because he expressed profound disappointment at why people can't or won't follow his drift. But the explanation is simple. He (or his mentor, Steiner) change the meaning of ordinary words. This puzzles people.

Most people understand thinking is done by a mind. This leaves room for good and bad thinking, rational and irrational thinking. It means Idealism can function at the level of mind, without invoking religious ideas of spirit.

Christian Idealism is a different animal from ordinary idealism. Ashvin says thinking is a "spiritual activity" Most people would think that there are other terms which might lead to spiritual insights: for instance, contemplation or meditation, even discursive meditation. But "spiritual activity" would be, say, helping the poor.

Bad as inventing specialized vocabulary is at putting people off one's message, at least that is honest. To change the meaning of everyday terms and then express disappointment that people don't leap on one's bandwagon is to my mind, not even honest.
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Cleric K
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Cleric K »

Ben Iscatus wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:18 am Well, I originally responded to what Ashvin said simply because he expressed profound disappointment at why people can't or won't follow his drift. But the explanation is simple. He (or his mentor, Steiner) change the meaning of ordinary words. This puzzles people.

Most people understand thinking is done by a mind. This leaves room for good and bad thinking, rational and irrational thinking. It means Idealism can function at the level of mind, without invoking religious ideas of spirit.

Christian Idealism is a different animal from ordinary idealism. Ashvin says thinking is a "spiritual activity" Most people would think that there are other terms which might lead to spiritual insights: for instance, contemplation or meditation, even discursive meditation. But "spiritual activity" would be, say, helping the poor.

Bad as inventing specialized vocabulary is at putting people off one's message, at least that is honest. To change the meaning of everyday terms and then express disappointment that people don't leap on one's bandwagon is to my mind, not even honest.
Ben, I think there's misunderstanding here about the meaning of 'spiritual' and it is precisely the 'everyday terms' that are misleading. Similarly if you ask people on the street what 'materialism' means, a large portion of them will answer that it is one being preoccupied with 'material' things - jewelry, clothes, cars, gadgets, etc. Yet we know than in philosophical sense the word 'materialism' refers to very specific world conception. The same these people when asked what 'spiritual' means, will tell 'going to the theater', 'reading a novel', 'listening to music', 'thinking about God' and so on (that is, things less concerned with 'material' things).

In fact, 'spiritual' doesn't involve anything religious, there's nothing presupposed in the term. The whole thing is that thinking, as far as our given experience is concerned, is something which is of spiritual character. This doesn't presuppose heaven and gods, it simply means that our thinking activity, the way we experience it, is a spiritual phenomenon. To this, contemporary man will almost as by reflex object "But this is nonsense! We don't know if our thinking is of spiritual character. There can be many other explanations! It could be merely the effect of a computing brain, it could be God created soul, it could be self-referential patterns of nothingness." OK. Now we only need to observe what we were innerly doing when we proposed all these 'explanations'? Yes, we were thinking them. We were engaged into thinking activity (quite instinctive for most) which spat out all these 'explanations'. But none of these 'explanations' change the given fact that we experience thinking itself as something existing completely as a conscious phenomenon, which in the past people simply called 'spiritual phenomenon'. There's nothing presupposed in this term. It only became twisted in our age in the same way 'materialism' got to mean 'loving cash'. Just as 'pain' is a spiritual phenomenon, so is our thinking process in which we are actively creative. All those 'explanations' of thinking are only additional layers that we trump on top of the given experience and instead of 'explaining' it, only move us away from immediate reality.

You say: "It means Idealism can function at the level of mind, without invoking religious ideas of spirit." You feel that by calling the immediately experienced spiritual activity of thinking 'mind' you're being more objective and grounded in the facts but it's actually precisely the opposite. We only need to observe clearly what we imply when we speak of 'mind' and we'll see that there's a whole world of preconceived ideas that everyone invests in that term. As already pointed out, for most secular people the word immediately invokes the picture of a material brain that does the thinking. For the religious it invokes the picture of a soul created by some God. For the mystic the mind is self-referential patterns of nothingness. The worst presupposition of all is that 'mind' is a completely isolated phenomenon existing in individual bubbles which are absolutely private. Each bubble's interior can be known by one ego only, which happens to be ours.

So let's be clear. Spiritual activity, which in our modern state of development is know by the name of thinking, is the direct experience of this creative process, where we feel as active force speaking forth the thoughts. We don't use the spoken forth thoughts in order to postulate and 'explain' the process that brings them into existence with imagined material processes, energies, vibrations, nothingness and so on. We only seek to experience that very process and see what it can say out of itself. In other words, 'spiritual' is precisely what is left, when we gradually and consciously peel layer by layer the accumulations of preconceived ideas, opinions, prejudices.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Ben Iscatus wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:18 am Well, I originally responded to what Ashvin said simply because he expressed profound disappointment at why people can't or won't follow his drift. But the explanation is simple. He (or his mentor, Steiner) change the meaning of ordinary words. This puzzles people.

Most people understand thinking is done by a mind. This leaves room for good and bad thinking, rational and irrational thinking. It means Idealism can function at the level of mind, without invoking religious ideas of spirit.

Christian Idealism is a different animal from ordinary idealism. Ashvin says thinking is a "spiritual activity" Most people would think that there are other terms which might lead to spiritual insights: for instance, contemplation or meditation, even discursive meditation. But "spiritual activity" would be, say, helping the poor.

Bad as inventing specialized vocabulary is at putting people off one's message, at least that is honest. To change the meaning of everyday terms and then express disappointment that people don't leap on one's bandwagon is to my mind, not even honest.
Yes, there is always going to be this issue with words having different connotations depending on the context. Rather than Thinking, or spiritual activity, I still prefer to just go with ideation—activity of Mind—in that under idealism there is only ever Mind and its ideation, or idea construction, and since any given 'alter' of Mind is not fundamentally other than, or apart from Mind, then the ideation of such an 'alter' can also not be fundamentally other than, or apart from the ideation of Mind, however partitioned and bastardized it may seem. So while Ashvin and Cleric are preferring different terminology here, I don't feel that the gist of what they're conveying is any different than what what idealism is at its core, however much some religio-symbolic overlay may flesh it out, so to speak, as in God incarnating as flesh in the form of Christ the Logos, rather than the less personified take of Mind taking on the apparency of corporeality for the sake of this immersive, evolving, relational, inter-being experience, including whatever integral, participatory role our ideational activity may be playing.

P.S. Just saw Cleric's most recent post, and basically resonate with that as well.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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AshvinP
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by AshvinP »

Ben Iscatus wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:18 am Well, I originally responded to what Ashvin said simply because he expressed profound disappointment at why people can't or won't follow his drift. But the explanation is simple. He (or his mentor, Steiner) change the meaning of ordinary words. This puzzles people.

Most people understand thinking is done by a mind. This leaves room for good and bad thinking, rational and irrational thinking. It means Idealism can function at the level of mind, without invoking religious ideas of spirit.

Christian Idealism is a different animal from ordinary idealism. Ashvin says thinking is a "spiritual activity" Most people would think that there are other terms which might lead to spiritual insights: for instance, contemplation or meditation, even discursive meditation. But "spiritual activity" would be, say, helping the poor.

Bad as inventing specialized vocabulary is at putting people off one's message, at least that is honest. To change the meaning of everyday terms and then express disappointment that people don't leap on one's bandwagon is to my mind, not even honest.

Ben,

As I keep saying, it is silly for you to confuse your own lethargic ignorance for my lack of "honesty". Put some effort into studying the history of Western philosophy and idealism and you will see Spirit is nearly always used in this manner. Besides that, the fact you think "contemplation" or "discursive meditation" is not spiritual Thinking activity just goes to show how radically prejudiced you are againt Thinking. You have really taken it to a whole new level of prejudice. The medieval Christian philosophers such as Aquinas were precisely known for their deep contemplative spirituality, and it is also common sense. And the fact that you think "helping the poor" is a virtuous activity without thinking about WHY you are helping the poor illustrates how shallow the moral character of our epoch has become. You feel that you can buy your way into a virtuous life like the Catholic Church when it was selling "indulgences" to the "faithful". Finally, your disingenuous claim that your comment is somehow relevant to the subject of this thread, Anthroposophy, and our previous comments on it, really shows a lack of integrity and maturity. Even Justin has admitted he simply misunderstood me because he didn't read the comments carefully enough, and now you are pretending like it had something to do with my use of "spiritual activity". Get a grip.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: Anthroposophy for Dummies

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

AshvinP wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:57 pm Ben,

As I keep saying, it is silly for you to confuse your own lethargic ignorance for my lack of "honesty".
And so the trend of tit-for-tat annoyance continues. In this regard, I would also look to Cleric as an exemplar of how to engage without the trigger-effect.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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