Helpful guidance to reconnecting the discourse on feelings back to thinking. Then in the details of your reasoning I get stuck…
AshvinP wrote: ↑Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:19 pm Feelings by themselves never reach beyond the personal to the transpersonal. That is reflected in language. When an object makes me happy, like a tree, I say "this tree makes me happy" or "I am happy about this tree." When I discern the meaning of its form, I say, "this tree is growing" or "this tree is dying". The "I think" is there but almost always remains implicit, silent in the background. The more I contemplate the meaning of the tree, the less likely the thought-statement will simply be a means of expressing my own desires and feelings rather than expressing something meaningful about the tree itself.
You seem to make a neat separation between being happy about the tree and getting to the meaning of the tree. If I am happy about it, it’s for my personal desires and feelings, while if I look at the meaning of the tree, it's a higher level spiritual activity. But couldn’t it be that looking at the meaning of the tree is the (only) means by which I can be happy about the tree? By the way, being ‘happy about the tree’ or ‘the tree makes me happy’ sound as concessions to language (yes, we say these things) that doesn’t really reflect the reality of the feeling…
We have to be happy first, open to happiness first, and in that state we can then look at the tree and let it be the catalizer, the litmus paper, the burning attractor of our feeling of happiness and joy. I would say that at that moment we have to integrate and balance a piercing, thoughtful look at the tree and its ramifications in the substratum of meaning (wise choice to take a tree as an example) in other words, we have to integrate a strongly intentional thought that wants to grasp what the seal is doing, with a flat, unfocused, encompassing ‘thinking mood’ that tries to stay open to connections, to new entries or intuitions in the thought sphere, open to the bigger picture that could emerge in slightly clearer terms. That would be, referring back to my ‘phenomenology of thinking’ from the other thread, a thought process that is both very intentional and unfocused. When we do that integration, we are opening the floodgates for a feeling of joy and happiness to pervade the experience. Do you see any way to reconcile this with your take? Is it another case where we are saying similar things?
Why would they be incorrect? That scientist would be occupied with a laser-focused thought process, that aims at extracting from the object how it behaves in connection to what it is made of by zooming in, both literally and abstractly on that ‘external object’ that would engulf thinking. But the intentionality in it (the awareness of thinking itself in that process) would be low. So it would be a hyper-focused thought process with low intention (by intention, I mean the willing attempt to stay conscious of the weaving in meaning/ of the seal). How would that type of thinking by itself engage the scientist's soul?
AshvinP wrote: ↑Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:19 pm Our own thinking is the hardest for us to take notice of because it is always active and focusing its energy on the object of its activity. It runs quietly in the background, submerging itself into whatever it is contemplating. And because of that sacrifice, we become self-aware in the world, yet we also forget that we are thinking. We start to feel we have immediately discerned meaning from simply being aware, simply willing, simply feeling, simply looking at outer perceptions, simply absorbing revelation from scripture, etc. Thinking forgets what it is doing while focusing only on what it is thinking about.
Again, I see a gradient here, where intentionality has a spectrum, and the level of thought submersion into whatever the thought is contemplating is almost completely free to vary at any given point on that spectrum. (I am trying to guard myself from making this into a theory and from trying to confirm it as such before I check it in experience, I hope I did so, I cannot be fully sure, maybe I did it fragmentarily, can you please help me here?)
Sure I have to humbly and seriously work on my ‘thinking fitness’ but I am glad I don’t feel ‘annoyed with this long post because it is forcing us to think carefully about our own thinking’. That would equal total paralysis…
AshvinP wrote: ↑Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:19 pm
Our thinking is now lost in perceptions, dragged around by them passively, and we cannot locate our own soul in any of these perceptions. We devote all energy to these fragmented perceptions and none to Thinking itself. What is the way out? When we contemplate the spiritual, we are necessarily contemplating our own thinking - the Spirit is none other than Thinking. This can't be done in any materialized way - devout religious people contemplate the "spiritual", but really it's the spiritual recast into sensory phenomena through rigid literal-mindedness. So they are mostly contemplating sense perceptions again, being dragged around by them. Instead, we can begin to study spiritual science - a field of inquiry rooted in heartfelt investigation of supersensible domains of soul and spirit. We call follow the logic carefully with our thinking - which is then thinking contemplating its own supersensible nature. This is what Steiner does in PoSA continuing into spiritual scientific writings and lectures.
We can also do focused thinking meditations where we actively will our thinking of certain images not found in the sense-world. This allows for our Willing activity (what we are doing) and our Thinking activity (what we are thinking about or perceiving) to spiral together, and the images can also get Feeling involved if they are of a devotional spiritual nature and we join them with prayer. These things don't require money, great IQ, or even much time at first. But they do require a sacrifice of purely abstract speculating and opinionating, which we mostly do for our own curiosity and pleasure, without any higher ideal - such as Divine Love - to motivate and orient the intellect. They require us to stop forming absolute conclusions about the "essence" of the Cosmos, and rather look inwards at our own impure soul qualities and discern how they obstruct the flow of the fiery Spirit through us and into our thoughts, so as to obscure that essence from us. We can then embark on a limitless quest to discover this essence from within in the most living way imaginable.
I have a trade-off between on one hand catching up here, reading and re-reading the threads and the essays, responding to posts and probing thinking in this active way, and on the other hand stepping back, taking time to try exercises and try meditate. I am clearly drawn to the first for now, but do you think it's an indulgence?