Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

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Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by AshvinP »

donsalmon wrote:Hi Ashvin:

Yes it should be a new thread - very different topic.

I've studied (and practiced along the lines of) Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga since the mid 70s. I became aware of Steiner's writings in the early 70s, was always fascinated and put off by them, and didn't quite understand why the conflcting intuition about it for some years.

My sense - just saw this confirmed somewhere but can't recall where - is that - oh, Anne Bancroft said this (not the actress - a British writer on Zen) that Steiner always seemed more consumed with Lao Tzu's "10,000 things" than the one thing needful. He has the most bizarre interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita I've ever read (I've studied at least 20 commentaries). He sees "Krishna" only as a specific being, not representational of the infinite Supreme Divinity. In fact, though Steiner is reputed to have been something of an expert on Meister Eckhart, who knew a thing or two about the Godhead, he doesn't seem to understand much if at all about the One and the Many or That which is beyond both. He seems consumed wtih his occult visions, some of which are astonishingly clear and some of which, I think, are shot through with 19th century Germanic culture and prejudices (much like the whole Waldorf phenomenon).

If you look up Franklin Merrell Wolff's tribute to Sri Aurobindo on the occasion of his 'passing" (1950), I think that's a fairly accurate take on Aurobindo's life work. As much as I appreciate Steiner's and even more, Barfield and other folowers in their deconstruction of materialism, it's not usually done in the context of what to me is a genuine spiritual vision.

As Merrell Wolff noted, except for the mathematical aspect of it, Sri Aurobindo had an astonishing grasp of the essential nature of quantitative (ie modern - despite what Jim or someone else claimed, there is almsot no legitimacy to qualitative research; my master's thesis combined quantitative and qualitative methods and I've kept up with it for 30 years and VERY little progress has been made in qualitative reearch - heck, even psychology is not considered a "real" science by physicists, for all of my colleagues "physics envy").

yikes, where was i (rambling too much) - yes, an astonishing grasp of "science" - best critique I know of materialism is in Book 2 Part 1 of The Life Divine. I've been studying it for 45 years and maybe just starting to understand an infinitesimal portion of it.

So yes, a new thread:>)).

I'll just say one more time in closing, I wish bernardo has stuck to his critique of materialism, which I think he does better than anyone else alive today. When I comoderated this forum about 6 years ago, I wrote him regularly saying he should stick to that. I find his version of idealist philosophy quite wanting, actually. It's a shame. He's SO good at the critique; truly among the best.

I think I left back just when he was getting into the dissociated alters. See Sri Aurobindo's chapter in The LIfe Divine on "Exclusive Concentration" for a brilliant, visionary alternative.

That was a terribly disconnected rambling comment. Sorry! I'll try to look out for the new thread. I'm not sure I really know enough to say anything really intelligent about STeiner. He's good for ideas on phenomenologiacl science but I would be very very wary of taking his occultist views too seriousl - quite dangerous if you are a meditator.
Don,

Thanks for your comment. So, based on the above, I am going to try and summarize what I think are your main criticisms of Steiner's spiritual science. I could be completely wrong about some, so please correct me if I am.

1) You do not like his claims of spiritual heirarchies, i.e. many spiritual beings existing between human beings on Earth and the "Supreme Divinity". Therefore, you find it odd and/or distasteful that he speaks of Krishna as a specific spiritual being (Krishna is an avatar of the Christ-being in Steiner's view), who is not necessarily the highest Divinity.

2) You feel his spiritual evolutionary framework is prejudiced by German culture in some way, maybe in terms of the aforementioned heirarchies? I know there are many lazy accusations floating around the internet about racism and anti-semitism (that was addressed with David on this forum as well), but I am hoping you have not bought into those. I have read many of the relevant passages from his lectures recently, and there is nothing there, IF one understands his overall spiritual evolutionary framework.

3) You feel like he doesn't understand medieval mystics. I have read his book Dawn of Mysticism at the Modern Age and thought it was really insightful. I think a lot of people, including people who adopt the spiritual evolutionary view of Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Gebser, etc., still fail to think through the implications of that view when it comes to Eastern and Western mystical tradition. Steiner is always factoring in that cognitive evolutionary perspective.

Your bold comment makes me think you have read PoF and generally agree with his phenomenology of Thinking (spiritual activity)?

Anyway, I just wanted to lay those out for now and return to them tomorrow. Feel free to correct anything I have written in the meantime.
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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

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Another of Don's criticisms of Steiner is that, I quote, "he doesn't seem to understand much if at all about the One and the Many or That which is beyond both", which is a key understanding at the core of Aurobindo's explication of 'exclusive concentration' in The Life Divine. So along with this is the implication that Steiner lacks Aurobindo's insights in this regard. Therefore it is necessary to have a grasp of Aurobindo's understanding of the One and the Many, and That which lies beyond, if it is to be compared to whatever alternative Steiner offered. As such, for those interested, here is the chapter titled: Exclusive Concentration of Consciousness-Force and the Ignorance which Don referenced above.
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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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:13 pm Another of Don's criticisms of Steiner is that, I quote, "he doesn't seem to understand much if at all about the One and the Many or That which is beyond both", which is a key understanding at the core of Aurobindo's explication of 'exclusive concentration' in The Life Divine. So along with this is the implication that Steiner lacks Aurobindo's insights in this regard. Therefore it is necessary to have a grasp of Aurobindo's understanding of the One and the Many, and That which lies beyond, if it is to be compared to whatever alternative Steiner offered. As such, for those interested, here is the chapter titled: Exclusive Concentration of Consciousness-Force and the Ignorance which Don referenced above.

Thanks for adding this, Dana.

After browsing the link, it seems like Aurobindo is generally describing the polar essence of Reality (One-many), which we often comment on here. Steiner also discusses the polarities of spiritual essence and evolution at length in various places. I will have to take another look to see if any of Aurobindo's details are at odds with Steiner, or maybe Cleric or Scott can comment.

The main difference, as usual, is that these things remain very abstract for all other thinkers, while they are concrete and specified for Steiner. For ex., he speaks of how the physical forces in the human body are always leading to decay, yet the etheric life-force counteracts this while it is attached to the physical (before death). His specified details about physical, etheric, and astral bodies, and about the polarities of the physical and spiritual realms in general, is due to his development of higher cognition. One may challenge the results of this "occult science", but I cannot see how that is done until one either develops higher cognition or challenges the very existence of higher cognition in the first place (or challenges the existence of spiritual reality, which is basically materialism or Schop philosophy of blind Will, and I don't think anyone involved on this thread holds to either of those). Consider this excerpt from Outlines of an Occult Science:

Steiner wrote:It can become clear that the observation of the visible world presents riddles that can never be solved out of the facts of that world themselves. They will never be solved in this way, although the science concerned with these facts may have advanced as far as is possible. For the visible facts, through their very inner nature, point clearly to a hidden world. Whoever does not discern this closes his mind to the riddles that spring up everywhere out of the facts of the sense world. He refuses to perceive certain questions and riddles; he, therefore, thinks that all questions may be answered by means of the sensory facts. The questions he wishes to propound can indeed all be answered by means of the facts that he expects will be discovered in the future. This may be readily admitted. But why should a person wait for answers to certain things who does not ask any questions? Whoever strives for an occult science merely says that for him these questions are self evident and that they must be recognized as a fully justified expression of the human soul. Science cannot be pressed into limits by forbidding the human being to ask unbiased questions.

The opinion that there are limits to human cognition that cannot be overstepped, compelling man to stop short before an invisible world, must be replied to by saying that there can be no doubt about the impossibility of finding access to the invisible world with the kind of cognition referred to here. Whoever considers that form of cognition to be the only possible one cannot come to any other opinion than that the human being is denied access to a possibly existent higher world. Yet the following may also be stated. If it is possible to develop another kind of cognition, this then may well lead into the supersensible world. If this kind of cognition is considered to be impossible, then we reach a point of view from which all talk about a supersensible world appears as pure nonsense. From an impartial viewpoint, however, the only reason for such an opinion can be the fact that the person holding it has no knowledge of this other kind of cognition. Yet how can a person pass judgment upon something about which he himself admits his ignorance? Unprejudiced thinking must hold to the premise that a person should speak only of what he knows and should not make statements about something he does not know. Such thinking can only speak of the right that a person has to communicate what he himself has experienced, but it cannot speak of the right that somebody declare impossible what he does not know or does not wish to know. We cannot deny anyone the right to ignore the supersensible, but there can never be any good reason for him to declare himself an authority, not only on what he himself can know, but also on all that a man can not know.

In the case of those who declare that it is presumptuous to penetrate into the domain of the supersensible an occult-scientific exposition has to call attention to the fact that this can be done, and that it is a transgression against the faculties bestowed upon man if we allow them to stagnate, instead of developing and making use of them.
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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:56 pmThanks for adding this, Dana.

After browsing the link, it seems like Aurobindo is generally describing the polar essence of Reality (One-many), which we often comment on here. Steiner also discusses the polarities of spiritual essence and evolution at length in various places. I will have to take another look to see if any of Aurobindo's details are at odds with Steiner, or maybe Cleric or Scott can comment.
My own very simplistic view would be that, as opposed to Aurobindo, Steiner offers far more in terms of focusing on the ideational activity of Consciousness, that being inextricable from its essence, rather than focusing on some explication of the seeming One><Many paradox—which BK addresses with his 'dissociation' hypothesis—although perhaps Steiner does address that theme. So yeah, perhaps Cleric or Scott could fill in some details of what Steiner offers in that regard.

As with Don, I'm ambivalent about Steiner's claims of clairvoyant insight into so-called occult knowledge. However, I'm equally ambivalent about claims of 'occult' knowledge referenced in passages I've come across such as this ...
Here, the Mother Mira Alfassa , using her occult insight, gives a more graphic illustration of the immense power these beings wield and the formations they put out to gain control over the unsuspecting and unwashed masses.

"In this swarming mass, I noticed the presence of some slightly more conscious wills – wills of the vital plane – and I saw how they try to awaken a reaction in the consciousness of human beings to make them think or want, or if possible, do certain things.

For example, I saw one of them trying to incite anger in someone so that this person would deliver a blow – a spiritual blow. And this formation had a dagger in his hand (a vital dagger, you see, it was a vital being: gray and slimy, horrible), he was holding a very sharp dagger which he was flaunting, saying, ‘When a person has done something like that (pretending that someone had done an unforgivable thing), this is what he deserves …’ and the scenario was complete: the being rushed forward, vitally, with his dagger.

And it is ALWAYS like that! They are always pestered by HORDES of little formations that are absolutely swarming and disgusting, each one making its … nasty little suggestion. Take these movements of anger, for example, when someone is carried away by his passion and does things which, in his normal state, he would never do: he is not doing it, it is done by these little formations which are there, swarming in the atmosphere, just waiting for an occasion … to rush in.

And yet people CONSTANTLY live in that atmosphere! They live in it. Only when they rise above are they NOT in it. Or else there are those who are entirely below; but those are the toys of these things, and their reactions are sometimes not only unexpected but absolutely dreadful – because they are puppets in the hands of these things.

Those who rise above, who enter into a slightly intellectual region, can see all this from above; they can look down at it all, keep their heads above and breathe; but those who live in this realm …

If you are annoyed, for example, if someone says something unpleasant to you and you react … It always happens in the same way; these little entities are there waiting, and when they feel it’s the right moment, they introduce their influence and their suggestions. This is what is vitally symbolized by the being with his dagger rushing forward to stab you – and in the back, at that! Not even face to face! This then expresses itself in the human consciousness by a movement of anger or rage or indignation: ‘How intolerable! How … !‘ And the other fellow says, ‘Yes! We shall put an end to it!’"
As we've discussed elsewhere, the epistemological challenges presented by these claims is not insignificant.
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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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

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Soul_of_Shu wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:16 pm
AshvinP wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:56 pmThanks for adding this, Dana.

After browsing the link, it seems like Aurobindo is generally describing the polar essence of Reality (One-many), which we often comment on here. Steiner also discusses the polarities of spiritual essence and evolution at length in various places. I will have to take another look to see if any of Aurobindo's details are at odds with Steiner, or maybe Cleric or Scott can comment.
My own very simplistic view would be that, as opposed to Aurobindo, Steiner offers far more in terms of focusing on the ideational activity of Consciousness, that being inextricable from its essence, rather than focusing on some explication of the seeming One><Many paradox—which BK addresses with his 'dissociation' hypothesis—although perhaps Steiner does address that theme. So yeah, perhaps Cleric or Scott could fill in some details of what Steiner offers in that regard.

As with Don, I'm ambivalent about Steiner's claims of clairvoyant insight into so-called occult knowledge. However, I'm equally ambivalent about claims of 'occult' knowledge referenced in passages I've come across such as this ...

As we've discussed elsewhere, the epistemological challenges presented by these claims is not insignificant.

From what I can discern, Aurobindo is mostly laying out the metaphysical case for One-many Divine in that link. I cannot really see anything there which contradicts the polar involutionary-evolutionary understanding of Goethe, Coleridge, Steiner, Barfield, etc. And it seems like he also places a fair deal of importance on the Ideational aspect of the Divine - "Nature, in every energy of material Nature, there is, we know, a secret soul, a secret will, a secret intelligence at work, other than the mute self-oblivious form, the Conscient — conscient even in unconscious things — of the Upanishad, without whose presence and informing conscious-force or Tapas no work of Nature could be done... In that true truth of itself it is an involved Consciousness and Knowledge evolving back to itself, but it is dynamically effective as an Inconscience and an Ignorance." I really enjoy his writing there.

The thing about the "occult knowledge" is that we need to start with the basic philosophical roots of knowledge, rather than starting with the intricate details outlined by someone like Steiner (or anyone else) and then wondering whether they "make sense" to us. Do we accept the Kantian ontic-epistemic divide or not? Do we accept that abstract intellect, as most experience it now, is the summit of human cognition or not? In my opinion, we only make fruitful progress if we answer these foundational questions for ourselves and, only then, start to consider the implications for a spiritual reality. A major obstacle for most is that we assume the way of knowing sensible reality available to normal perception-cognition will be the exact same for spiritual reality, if it exists. Then it feels really odd that someone could go around exploring the spiritual realms like we go around the physical world deriving the details that are written about, but that is an artifact of our own flawed assumptions. Consider another passage:

Steiner wrote:The following objection is often heard in regard to the statements of occult science: “These latter do not offer proof; they merely assert this or that and say that occult science ascertains this.” The following exposition will be misjudged if it is thought that any part of it has been presented in this sense. Our endeavor here is to allow the capacity of soul unfolded through a knowledge of nature to evolve further, as far as its own nature will allow, and then call attention to the fact that in such development the soul encounters supersensible facts. It is assumed that every reader who is able to enter into what has been presented will necessarily run up against these facts. A difference, however, is encountered with respect to purely natural scientific observation the moment we enter the realm of spiritual science. In natural science, the facts present themselves in the field of the sense world; the exponent of natural science considers the activity of the soul as something that recedes into the background in the face of the relationships and the course of sensory facts. The exponent of spiritual science must place his soul activity into the foreground; for the reader only arrives at the facts if he makes this activity of the soul his own in the right way. These facts are not present for human perception without the activity of the soul as they are — although uncomprehended — in natural science; they enter into human perception only by means of soul activity. The exponent of spiritual science therefore presumes that the reader is seeking facts mutually with him. His exposition will be given in the form of a narration describing how these facts were discovered, and in the manner of his narration not personal caprice but scientific thinking trained by natural science will prevail. It will also be necessary, therefore, to speak of the means by which a consideration of the non-sensory, of the supersensible, is attained. — Anyone who occupies himself with an exposition of occult science will soon see that through it concepts and ideas are acquired that previously he did not possess. Thus he also acquires new thoughts concerning his previous conception of the nature of “proof.” He learns that for an exposition of natural science, “proof” is something that is brought to it, as it were, from without. In spiritual-scientific thinking, however, the activity, which in natural-scientific thinking the soul employs for proof, lies already in the search for facts, These facts cannot be discovered if the path to them is itself not already a proof. Whoever really travels this path has already experienced the proving in the process: nothing can be accomplished by means of a proof applied from without The fact that this is not recognized in the character of occult science calls forth many misunderstandings.
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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Ashvin, thanks for the post previous to this, which I found helpful ... I'm also curious as to what the proponents of Steiner might make of this from Aurobindo on the soul's complete emergence ...

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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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Incidentally, while not really apropos to the topic, there are some other very enjoyable readings of Aurobindo and others on the youtube channel wherein the above reading was found.
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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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

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Soul_of_Shu wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:29 pm Ashvin, thanks for the post previous to this, which I found helpful ... I'm also curious as to what the proponents of Steiner might make of this from Aurobindo on the soul's complete emergence ...
Dana,

It could be helpful if you pointed to a specific timestamp in the video where this idea is discussed.

Generally, the spiritual scientific view takes the monist position of one unified ontic Reality seriously (as discussed in solipsism essay - see especially last quote from Steiner pasted also below). So, if one starts from givens of experience, or even from concrete Wisdom traditions, without many abstract assumptions piled up from the beginning, and employs sound logical reasoning, there is no possibility for major deviations in understanding. With intellect only, one will come to the sort of understanding Aurobindo has, which is very accurate, eloquent, and aesthetic, but painted in very broad strokes. So I doubt any of Aurobindo's general ideas actually conflict with Western esoteric spiritual understanding.

Steiner wrote:This makes it explainable to us how people can have such different concepts, such different views of reality, in spite of the fact that reality can, after all, only be one. The difference lies in the difference between our intellectual worlds. This sheds light for us upon the development of the different scientific standpoints. We understand where the many philosophical standpoints originate, and do not need to bestow the palm of truth exclusively upon one of them. We also know which standpoint we ourselves have to take with respect to the multiplicity of human views. We will not ask exclusively: What is true, what is false? We will always investigate how the intellectual world of a thinker goes forth from the world harmony; we will seek to understand and not to judge negatively and regard at once as error that which does not correspond with our own view. Another source of differentiation between our scientific standpoints is added to this one through the fact that every individual person has a different field of experience. Each person is indeed confronted, as it were, by one section of the whole of reality. His intellect works upon this and is his mediator on the way to the idea. But even though we all do therefore perceive the same idea, still we always do this from different places. Therefore, only the end result to which we come can be the same; our paths, however, can be different. It absolutely does not matter at all whether the individual judgments and concepts of which our knowing consists correspond to each other or not; the only thing that matters is that they ultimately lead us to the point that we are swimming in the main channel of the idea.
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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:13 pm Dana,

It could be helpful if you pointed to a specific timestamp in the video where this idea is discussed.
Well the excerpt from The Life Divine is about the threefold process by which the soul completely emerges in its human expression, to which the entire passage is pertinent. So an excerpt of the excerpt would not have covered it all.
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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Re: Steiner and Aurobindo: Comments and Criticisms

Post by donsalmon »

Hi guys:

Let me preface this by saying when it comes to intellectual discussion (I know there's a lot of intuition involved here but there's a lot of surface intellect as well; not a criticism or judgment just an observation) my interest is almost entirely in challenging the materialist view - which, as you know, as I've been saying this since I first came across BK's work in 2013, I think he should have confined himself to and not attempted to come up with an alternative for which - I'm going to get a lot of flak for this - I didnt' think he was qualified for then and still don't think he is now. I hasten to add - he's just about the best out there these days in terms of criticizing materialism, but the alternative, not so much.

Quick point - Ashvin, not sure where you got the idea I object to the idea of spiritual hierarchies in general; as far as I know that's universal in genuine spiritual texts. Regarding Krishna or Christ (both avatars) or, mythical or not, Rama for that matter, I just can't go into intellectual detail here. - admittedly again, probably too strong an emotional bias - I'll demonstrate: "Steiner's view on Krishna is really hardly a level beyond Qanon.". That may end that part of the conversation (I of course implicitly assume we don't have Quanon supporters here; I think I'm misspelling it too but I don't have the energy to check; hmm, maybe Don is Q!)

As far as detail, have you read much of Sri Aurobindo? In 2000, I began plowing through over 2000 documents (I'm not exaggerating; I counted to make sure; lost them ALL when, on the moving day out of New York City, I THOUGHT I had copied everything on one of those 1990s zip drives; left the computer in our 2nd Avenue lobby for literally 30 seconds, and it, of course, was stolen)

Anyway, among those documents were numerous ones on Steiner (and directly from PoF) that I had collected. By then I had spent a summer studying Henri Bortoft, a physicist/anthroposophist, had extensively studied Arthur Zajonc (and talked with him), former Anthroposophical society president) browsed hundreds of books at the Steiner book store on, I think, 15th street? and attended numerous discussion groups at that store.

Not impressed. Sorry. And I know, that's not helpful, but I already warned you, it's been some years since I've been drawn to having intellectual conversations about these things; just seems pointless. Either you see or you dont. Sorry to be so dramatic.

Boy I'm really rambling (this is reflective of my resistance of getting the analytic mind involved)

Ok, I'll get to the point.

If you want to know where to find the goods in Sri Aurobindo, look in the old version of Letters on Yoga (I think it's from the 1970s - in any case, it's available free online at www.aurobindo.ru (sorry, I should provide a link, but you know, just reading it isn't going to do anything; you can find all this out by, sorry, looking within - or really, all around)

The section, starting on page 243 or 238 or therabouts - is "Planes and Parts of of the Being.". Actually, there's an opening 4 or 5 pages where he explains the fundamentals of consciousness. I read that in 1976 (after haing studied Steiner for some 4 years) and immediately realized, "That's it. The whole universe is there and you really don't need to read anything else if you get it.". Still feel the same way 45 years later.

which brings to mind one more thing that might make my perspective clear. I read Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem - a biography of Sri Aurobindo that goes through the whole sadhana and philosophy of Integral Yoga. I had had a vision of the work I was to do in this lifetime in my late teens, and it involed some kind of spiritual psychology. 6 years later, somewhere in the chapter on Consciousness, I recognzied this as something I had worked with when living in India in the 1930s and 40s (yes, another incarnation).

And I immediately thought, "well, it's been done. I guess I'll have to find something else to do in this life.". And for. years, really, years, I would show people this book = even people who had been associated with Sri Aurobindo for years, even people WHO WERE WELLKNOWN FOR WRITING ABOUT INTEGRAL YOGA - and I could see they really had no idea what it was really about.

In 1998, I made contact wtih a psychiatrist who lived at the Aurobindo Ashram since the mid 1970s. He was the most brilliant, intuitive writer on Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga psychology I'd ever met or read. I wrote him one day and said, "Finally, someone I can talk to who really understands this stuff.". He wrote back and said the same thing." BUT BUT I wrote, you've been there, in the Ashram, in touch with all those writer sin Auroville?"

no, very very few really had any idea what Sri AUrobindo was really pointing to.

So I confine mmy talking to deconstructing materialism. I prefer to do it at a middle school level. Talk about basic neuroscience - forget quantum physics. Talk about the insane idea that neuroscientists have had for nearly 200 years that color, soudns, aren't real and are created in some thing they've cooked up called a "physical" brain. The funny thing is nobody believes this when they hear about it - I've talked to commited atheists, physicalists who hae never thought it through, and when they first hear about it they don't believe it. All you have to do is lead them step by step to see they are right and the neuroscientsits are wrong, and that's it.

Beyond that, look within.

So I talk about practice instead of philosophy (www.RememberToBe.Life). A simple sort of dualist start (like the Buddhists, skillful means and all that.

To close wtih steiner, I had several conversations with Robert McDermott over the years. I met him in 1980 when he was still involved with Sri Aurobindo.

I ran into him again when he gave the very first talk at the New. York Open Center. I said to him, "Steiner, are you kidding?". He replied, "I'm an intellectual. I like details and I pretty much absorbed all Sri Aurobindo had to say.'

wow. It's been 46 years and I think there may be a sentence or two somewhere in the 30 volumes of Sri Aurobindo and 17 volumes of the Mother (plus the other 13 volumes of Mother's Agenda) that I actually understand. Then I write to my other friend who actually understands Sri Aurobindo, and he explains to me why I'm wrong. This is why I have abandoned intellectual converations about these things.

Sorry!

I hope my ramblings didn't drive you all crazy. Meanwhile, I'm maybe less than a week from finishing our sleep course and I'm thinking the music may be the. key to lucid dreaming. So if anybody wants to try a parapsychology experiment, get our sleep coure, learn to lucid dream, and we can all agree to meet up somewhere and later compare notes.

That should be fun!
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