Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.
Federica
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Sun Nov 19, 2023 3:39 pm Thanks Federica, these are great points. Actually, it relates to the LB-RB discussion as well, since one-sided LB thinking is exactly the kind that desires to hurriedly scroll through thoughts without taking much responsibility for controlling them.

Related to that, a tactic I have employed recently is to start my morning on the computer by switching the keyboard and the mouse, so I use the mouse (and the scrolling wheel) with my left hand for at least 15-30 min (I am right-handed). Incidentally, this may also harmonize the intellect more with RB functions, since the latter is associated with left-hand control (but I am not too sure about that). For one thing, it serves as an intentional gesture that I am committed to slowing down the scrolling intellect and doing things on the computer more purposefully. It also supports this intention by making it more difficult for me to indulge the temptation to scroll through things in a hurry, open a million different tabs, switch my focus between several different tasks in rapid succession, etc. In this way, we can start to find small yet important and creative ways of chipping away at our rushed and careless thinking tendencies.

Thanks for the idea, Ashvin. I like your exercise, I think it's good to make the cognitive process, from the sensory experience to the concept, more explicit. Using the mouse with the less familiar hand forces us to pay more attention to percept, thought-image and concept. As I see it, this is the main benefit. I wonder if the other aim, to "harmonize the intellect more with RB functions" does not imply some materialistic premises, or at least a spatialized view, that implicitly prompts us to imagine our head more spiritual and elevated on its right side? In any case, for me the exercise is probably too soft. I am right-handed, but only moderately, and controlling the mouse with the left hand is only slightly uncomfortable. Maybe something that has to do with specularity would be more challenging in my case. I'm really bad at those things.

About the left and right brain hemispheres, I think it's really important that you have explicitly warned against the risk of being misled by these characterizations that focus on associating functions with areas of the brain. I feel the question "How are the activities of the hemispheres different?" is one of those that implicitly contain some assumptions of materialistic nature, and is therefore quite 'dangerous' to delve into without precautions. You have provided the caveat, but I would maybe add another layer by specifying that, in the description:
Ashvin wrote:If we were to put it in esoteric terms, the LB is basically associated with the Ahrimanic intellect that wants to 'spectrum analyze' all holistic ideas at the level of their most fragmented concepts and perceptions. It is highly adapted to pursuing Earthly purposes and functions related to our lower impulses, feelings, and thoughts (that is obviously necessary and is the basis for all modern science/tech). Interestingly enough, the LB is associated with the right hand and Ahriman is considered the right-hand path of evil. The RB can be associated more with the Luciferic impulse to expand out from Earthly details and encompass everything as a whole. It is associated more with imagination and intuition. The key thing is to find the Middle Path that spirals these two together, so that the LB and obey the inflowing wisdom from the RB and the RB can use its higher insight to serve the LB's task of gradually spiritualizing the Earth.
...it is a question of standard imagination and intuition, not of imagination and intuition in the sense of higher cognition. As I understand it, to a preponderant extent, the brain is where standard cognition is cooked, and the hemispheres have scarce relevance in that. The researchers who wrote the cell simulation paper in the cell intelligence thread definitely and extensively used both hemispheres. At the same time, their thinking activity was rational, intellectual and "from the side".
Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interactions into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit. Does it make sense?
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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AshvinP
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Sun Nov 19, 2023 5:37 pm
AshvinP wrote: Sun Nov 19, 2023 3:39 pm Thanks Federica, these are great points. Actually, it relates to the LB-RB discussion as well, since one-sided LB thinking is exactly the kind that desires to hurriedly scroll through thoughts without taking much responsibility for controlling them.

Related to that, a tactic I have employed recently is to start my morning on the computer by switching the keyboard and the mouse, so I use the mouse (and the scrolling wheel) with my left hand for at least 15-30 min (I am right-handed). Incidentally, this may also harmonize the intellect more with RB functions, since the latter is associated with left-hand control (but I am not too sure about that). For one thing, it serves as an intentional gesture that I am committed to slowing down the scrolling intellect and doing things on the computer more purposefully. It also supports this intention by making it more difficult for me to indulge the temptation to scroll through things in a hurry, open a million different tabs, switch my focus between several different tasks in rapid succession, etc. In this way, we can start to find small yet important and creative ways of chipping away at our rushed and careless thinking tendencies.

Thanks for the idea, Ashvin. I like your exercise, I think it's good to make the cognitive process, from the sensory experience to the concept, more explicit. Using the mouse with the less familiar hand forces us to pay more attention to percept, thought-image and concept. As I see it, this is the main benefit. I wonder if the other aim, to "harmonize the intellect more with RB functions" does not imply some materialistic premises, or at least a spatialized view, that implicitly prompts us to imagine our head more spiritual and elevated on its right side? In any case, for me the exercise is probably too soft. I am right-handed, but only moderately, and controlling the mouse with the left hand is only slightly uncomfortable. Maybe something that has to do with specularity would be more challenging in my case. I'm really bad at those things.

About the left and right brain hemispheres, I think it's really important that you have explicitly warned against the risk of being misled by these characterizations that focus on associating functions with areas of the brain. I feel the question "How are the activities of the hemispheres different?" is one of those that implicitly contain some assumptions of materialistic nature, and is therefore quite 'dangerous' to delve into without precautions. You have provided the caveat, but I would maybe add another layer by specifying that, in the description:
Ashvin wrote:If we were to put it in esoteric terms, the LB is basically associated with the Ahrimanic intellect that wants to 'spectrum analyze' all holistic ideas at the level of their most fragmented concepts and perceptions. It is highly adapted to pursuing Earthly purposes and functions related to our lower impulses, feelings, and thoughts (that is obviously necessary and is the basis for all modern science/tech). Interestingly enough, the LB is associated with the right hand and Ahriman is considered the right-hand path of evil. The RB can be associated more with the Luciferic impulse to expand out from Earthly details and encompass everything as a whole. It is associated more with imagination and intuition. The key thing is to find the Middle Path that spirals these two together, so that the LB and obey the inflowing wisdom from the RB and the RB can use its higher insight to serve the LB's task of gradually spiritualizing the Earth.
...it is a question of standard imagination and intuition, not of imagination and intuition in the sense of higher cognition. As I understand it, to a preponderant extent, the brain is where standard cognition is cooked, and the hemispheres have scarce relevance in that. The researchers who wrote the cell simulation paper in the cell intelligence thread definitely and extensively used both hemispheres. At the same time, their thinking activity was rational, intellectual and "from the side".
Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interactions into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit. Does it make sense?
Federica,

It was probably not too helpful to bring in the LB-RB distinction, because you are correct that our normal physical intuition can easily get misled by it. But since it has now been raised, let me try to clarify how we can understand it from a spiritual perspective. Some of what I write here is rooted in my intuitively reasoned inferences without direct experiential confirmation, so I am happy for any of it to be modified or corrected. Clearly, there is some relation between spiritual processes and spatial orientation, although it is probably more subtle and complex than we imagine it to be. When we locate the Cosmic forces streaming in from the 'periphery' of the celestial spaces, for ex., there is certainly some concrete basis for that. One of the main problems is we tend to identify the physical organism in space as a localized representation of our personal spiritual activity. That is why for ex. BK would speak of the physical body as a direct representation of an 'alter'. A more helpful approach is to contemplate the depth structure of ideational activity that finally imprints itself onto the physical landscape including our physical organism. 

As we know from esoteric science, our physical organism is actually an image of the Cosmos as a whole (remember it has been shaped by the etheric, astral, and ego forces). So we can elucidate the nature of the former by considering the latter. We could start by looking at the sphere of Culture. Let's say we are driving down the highway with a bunch of other cars, walking down a city street with a bunch of shops, or in the grocery store. We could say that most of our experiential stream will consist of encountering encrusted intentions and desires. The cornucopia of meats, baked goods, plant-based products, soda beverages, cereals, etc. all reflect to us the quite unhealthy desires of modern humans. Same thing with all the crazy-looking vehicles out there with their custom features. If we were to travel back to much more ancient times in the dawn of culture, we would find the ideas and desires encrusted in the cultural institutions, practices, buildings, etc. were more harmonious with and reflective of Cosmic spiritual intents. 

In that sense, when we eat certain types of foods like Twinkies, we can call them 'unhealthy' because we are actually interacting with encrusted lower desires (i.e. certain elemental beings of the astral world). We shouldn't feel it is "materialistic" to find spiritual influences in these material substances - actually, it is more materialistic to deny them any spiritual influence. We should also start thinking about the spheres of Nature in a similar way, including the natural processes and components of our physical organism (including life processes). They are the encrusted manifestations of temporally extended Cosmic Ideas. Once we get beyond a certain threshold of the higher animal kingdom, the spheres of Nature are almost directly reflective of Cosmic intents and their harmonious rhythms. When we interact with these domains of Nature, we are actually interacting with spiritual beings and influences. 

It is our selfishly conditioned soul-life that creates the disharmony between holistic spiritual activity and the manifest world we perceive and interact with. The physical organism itself would reveal these Cosmic intents to us if not for the disorderly soul life. So what you say here absolutely makes sense:

Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interaction into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit.

The physical brain itself was structured by the Cosmos so as to allow a continual dialogue between the Earthly tasks carried out by humans and the Cosmic intents. This dialogue takes place with the lower kingdoms as well but they are more unwilling conversation partners. The brain allows us to condense thought-perceptions that reflect our spiritual activity back to us, so we discover our own will in the entire process by which reality evolves and find an orientation for voluntarily participating in that process. Our ancestors were clearly using their brains (and hearts) to develop religious practices, social arrangements, etc., but their waking consciousness was more attenuated to the RB than ours is. The LB was still a baby at that point from the cognitive perspective. It passively received higher impulses and images and instinctively condensed these into pictures and concepts that could be communicated. The higher activity of the RB is still with us but it has become mostly dormant and subconscious.

When we are driving down the road, for ex., the LB allows our spiritual activity to focus in clear-cut concepts on where we are going, what directions to take, what we are going to do when we get there, and so forth, but if a driver comes out of nowhere and cuts us off, the RB allows us to react almost instantaneously. Sometimes we react to such events before we even register perceiving anything with the senses. Our normal physical intuition conceives of that as an 'instinctive reaction', but in reality is it as if the Cosmic spiritual activity of the RB encompasses all the relevant states of being and karmic factors and then intelligently directs our will in a certain direction. Esoterically, we could say embedded in the RB are the forces of our Guardian Angels. Similarly, we may come upon some decision to make in the outer world and the voice of conscience approaches us, instructing us in no uncertain terms that we should do it or avoid it. We could say the RB is more attuned to this voice of conscience, which is the Voice of our higher spiritual members

Yet as long as we remain unconscious of this continual dialogue with the forces of our higher self, the intellect begins conceiving this higher self as comprised of lower animalistic and mechanical 'instincts'. As the Buddha said, "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” Since we need to become progressively more responsible for shaping our soul life, and eventually also our life and physical processes, if we don't become more conscious of how those functions are already carried out for us within our physical organism and associated WFT processes, we will eventually reshape our organism in the image of our current mechanical conceptions of it. In that sense, we need to become more conscious of what the RB (as outer physiognomy of Cosmic spiritual forces) is already doing for us as a living expression of Cosmic forces. Right now the scientists dimly explore that through 'split brain studies' and related intellectual research, but we can endeavor to experientially explore those Cosmic forces without the LB intellectual mediation. 

It is true that when we seek higher modes of cognition, we need to liberate our spiritual activity from the brain processes. In a sense, we need to withdraw our personal thinking activity from these processes so the Cosmic activity can think through them, and we aim to remain conscious while that occurs and experience how our higher self participates in this Cosmic structuring of the Earthly domain. Then we start to realize that our brain activity is actually the decohered reflection of spiritual activity that utilizes our whole body to cognize and perceive (outwardly and inwardly), and to bring karmic streams of destiny to fruition on Earth. The brain activity we perceive is the collapsed 'wavefunction' of spiritual activity that flows through the heart and the larynx, for ex. That can be compared to what Steiner speaks about when discussing how the Earth dialogues with the Cosmos when we are sleeping (when our own activity has withdrawn) by thinking through our physical-etheric organism. 

As well as the human beings think with their brains, the earth thinks with these sleeping human bodies. It perceives continually during the day — and the percipience consists in the fact that it is shone by the sun from the universe, this is the perception of the earth — and at night it processes thinking what it has perceived. The earth thinks, the clairvoyant says, and it thinks using the sleeping human beings. Every sleeping human being becomes as it were a brain molecule of the earth. Our physical body is established so that the earth can think with it if we ourselves do not use it.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
Federica
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:36 pm Federica,

It was probably not too helpful to bring in the LB-RB distinction, because you are correct that our normal physical intuition can easily get misled by it. But since it has now been raised, let me try to clarify how we can understand it from a spiritual perspective. Some of what I write here is rooted in my intuitively reasoned inferences without direct experiential confirmation, so I am happy for any of it to be modified or corrected. Clearly, there is some relation between spiritual processes and spatial orientation, although it is probably more subtle and complex than we imagine it to be. When we locate the Cosmic forces streaming in from the 'periphery' of the celestial spaces, for ex., there is certainly some concrete basis for that. One of the main problems is we tend to identify the physical organism in space as a localized representation of our personal spiritual activity. That is why for ex. BK would speak of the physical body as a direct representation of an 'alter'. A more helpful approach is to contemplate the depth structure of ideational activity that finally imprints itself onto the physical landscape including our physical organism. 

As we know from esoteric science, our physical organism is actually an image of the Cosmos as a whole (remember it has been shaped by the etheric, astral, and ego forces). So we can elucidate the nature of the former by considering the latter. We could start by looking at the sphere of Culture. Let's say we are driving down the highway with a bunch of other cars, walking down a city street with a bunch of shops, or in the grocery store. We could say that most of our experiential stream will consist of encountering encrusted intentions and desires. The cornucopia of meats, baked goods, plant-based products, soda beverages, cereals, etc. all reflect to us the quite unhealthy desires of modern humans. Same thing with all the crazy-looking vehicles out there with their custom features. If we were to travel back to much more ancient times in the dawn of culture, we would find the ideas and desires encrusted in the cultural institutions, practices, buildings, etc. were more harmonious with and reflective of Cosmic spiritual intents. 

In that sense, when we eat certain types of foods like Twinkies, we can call them 'unhealthy' because we are actually interacting with encrusted lower desires (i.e. certain elemental beings of the astral world). We shouldn't feel it is "materialistic" to find spiritual influences in these material substances - actually, it is more materialistic to deny them any spiritual influence. We should also start thinking about the spheres of Nature in a similar way, including the natural processes and components of our physical organism (including life processes). They are the encrusted manifestations of temporally extended Cosmic Ideas. Once we get beyond a certain threshold of the higher animal kingdom, the spheres of Nature are almost directly reflective of Cosmic intents and their harmonious rhythms. When we interact with these domains of Nature, we are actually interacting with spiritual beings and influences. 

It is our selfishly conditioned soul-life that creates the disharmony between holistic spiritual activity and the manifest world we perceive and interact with. The physical organism itself would reveal these Cosmic intents to us if not for the disorderly soul life. So what you say here absolutely makes sense:

Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interaction into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit.

The physical brain itself was structured by the Cosmos so as to allow a continual dialogue between the Earthly tasks carried out by humans and the Cosmic intents. This dialogue takes place with the lower kingdoms as well but they are more unwilling conversation partners. The brain allows us to condense thought-perceptions that reflect our spiritual activity back to us, so we discover our own will in the entire process by which reality evolves and find an orientation for voluntarily participating in that process. Our ancestors were clearly using their brains (and hearts) to develop religious practices, social arrangements, etc., but their waking consciousness was more attenuated to the RB than ours is. The LB was still a baby at that point from the cognitive perspective. It passively received higher impulses and images and instinctively condensed these into pictures and concepts that could be communicated. The higher activity of the RB is still with us but it has become mostly dormant and subconscious.

When we are driving down the road, for ex., the LB allows our spiritual activity to focus in clear-cut concepts on where we are going, what directions to take, what we are going to do when we get there, and so forth, but if a driver comes out of nowhere and cuts us off, the RB allows us to react almost instantaneously. Sometimes we react to such events before we even register perceiving anything with the senses. Our normal physical intuition conceives of that as an 'instinctive reaction', but in reality is it as if the Cosmic spiritual activity of the RB encompasses all the relevant states of being and karmic factors and then intelligently directs our will in a certain direction. Esoterically, we could say embedded in the RB are the forces of our Guardian Angels. Similarly, we may come upon some decision to make in the outer world and the voice of conscience approaches us, instructing us in no uncertain terms that we should do it or avoid it. We could say the RB is more attuned to this voice of conscience, which is the Voice of our higher spiritual members

Yet as long as we remain unconscious of this continual dialogue with the forces of our higher self, the intellect begins conceiving this higher self as comprised of lower animalistic and mechanical 'instincts'. As the Buddha said, "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” Since we need to become progressively more responsible for shaping our soul life, and eventually also our life and physical processes, if we don't become more conscious of how those functions are already carried out for us within our physical organism and associated WFT processes, we will eventually reshape our organism in the image of our current mechanical conceptions of it. In that sense, we need to become more conscious of what the RB (as outer physiognomy of Cosmic spiritual forces) is already doing for us as a living expression of Cosmic forces. Right now the scientists dimly explore that through 'split brain studies' and related intellectual research, but we can endeavor to experientially explore those Cosmic forces without the LB intellectual mediation. 

It is true that when we seek higher modes of cognition, we need to liberate our spiritual activity from the brain processes. In a sense, we need to withdraw our personal thinking activity from these processes so the Cosmic activity can think through them, and we aim to remain conscious while that occurs and experience how our higher self participates in this Cosmic structuring of the Earthly domain. Then we start to realize that our brain activity is actually the decohered reflection of spiritual activity that utilizes our whole body to cognize and perceive (outwardly and inwardly), and to bring karmic streams of destiny to fruition on Earth. The brain activity we perceive is the collapsed 'wavefunction' of spiritual activity that flows through the heart and the larynx, for ex. That can be compared to what Steiner speaks about when discussing how the Earth dialogues with the Cosmos when we are sleeping (when our own activity has withdrawn) by thinking through our physical-etheric organism. 

As well as the human beings think with their brains, the earth thinks with these sleeping human bodies. It perceives continually during the day — and the percipience consists in the fact that it is shone by the sun from the universe, this is the perception of the earth — and at night it processes thinking what it has perceived. The earth thinks, the clairvoyant says, and it thinks using the sleeping human beings. Every sleeping human being becomes as it were a brain molecule of the earth. Our physical body is established so that the earth can think with it if we ourselves do not use it.


Ashvin, what you have written makes sense for the most part. On your example of walking in a supermarket, or driving in a stream of other cars: yes I have certainly noticed what you describe. I am helped here by experiences in various parts of the world. The noticeable differences attract attention to the motivating desires in each case. On a lighter note, about the “crazy-looking cars with custom features”, I did find them a bit crazy in the US, in some places more than in others. You may know it from experience, but if not, I absolutely assure you we don’t have comparable car-habits in Europe. :)

Ashvin wrote:We shouldn't feel it is "materialistic" to find spiritual influences in these material substances - actually, it is more materialistic to deny them any spiritual influence. We should also start thinking about the spheres of Nature in a similar way, including the natural processes and components of our physical organism (including life processes).
Here I believe I understand the reasons well, but I don’t see why you mention it. I don't deny that there's spiritual influence, surely not. I understand there is meaning in the fact that we have two brain hemispheres, and surely that meaning can be precisely inquired with spiritual exploration (goes without saying, completely beyond my possibilities). What I was finding risky is to somehow interpret the LB-RB functional differences highlighted by science as a reflection of respectively normal and higher cognition. In other words, that one side is more spiritual than the other (I am actually still unsure if this is exactly what you are saying). I may be wrong, but I believe I can know that this is not the case, even without having the capacity to explore the nature of the micro-macro-cosmic connection manifesting in the brain's physical and functional structure. It is related with the idea of symmetry, the idea of symmetry of the head in particular, and with what spiritual science says in relation to the pituitary gland, among other things.

So I have difficulties with the thought that, in the historical development of humanity, our left brain has developed while our right brain has become dormant. I still think we do use both hemispheres actively today - the RB is not dormant. Simply, in the majority of people, the RB is currently a servant of standard, intellectual cognition, which does comprise intuition and imagination in common sense. What's dormant today are the spiritual organs, rather than half of the brain, or at least that’s how I see it.

By the way, I wonder if your example of the RB being activated subconsciously when a driver comes out of nowhere and cuts us off, is correct. I believe conventional science would say it's the reptilian brain, or limbic system - which is neither RB or LB - that would take control in such a case. In this sense, I find the statement “the forces of our Guardian Angel are embedded in the RB” restrictive, and I believe those forces don’t necessarily descend into our brain. They condense at a higher level, then our whole brain (why RB?) perceives their consequences, rather than embedding the forces in its processes. I am reminded of Steiner’s example of the man who takes a walk in the mountain and is saved from the unpredictable fall of a big stone by an inner voice, inducing him to step on the side of the path. In that case it’s not a question of reacting unconsciously, like when a car pops up and we do the right thing without reasoning it out. It’s an external intervention that completely bypasses our normal brain functions. Then the brain catches the effects that manifest as earthly thoughts. Another example: someone comes too late to the airport, misses the flight, and the plane later crashes.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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Cleric K
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Cleric K »

The LB-RB brain is indeed tricky because we can never isolate one half and say "I'm now thinking with my right brain only" (this has been expressed before with the fractal yin yang). It can be argued that this is so even in split brains. We can imagine this as the fact that when we cut a magnet in half we still get double poled magnets and not separate N and S monopoles.
Image
And this is really the great difficulty, because no thought that we can think can be grasped as a monopole, even when we assume that we have isolated the pure left or right brain activity.

They way I see it is that the brain is the tool which allows us to decompose the monolithic soul imagery into polar opposites, which when condensed further we call mental images (thoughts). In a way this is the reverse direction of what Hegel did. He was climbing the polarities, uniting them one by one, striving for the root of the conceptual fractal. Even though he couldn't perceive it from a higher standpoint, he had balanced the two petal lotus in the head. Of course, he hadn't balanced the World itself but only the concepts of the world experienced in the head. In the other direction, the double organ of the head if what allows us to analyze the Cosmic soul experience into a scale-spectrum of polarities.

But here we come to the problem of bistability. So to speak, it is as if we snap to one side and perceive through its lens the other. Like seeing light through darkness or darkness through light. Trying to solve the problem from within the bistable condition can be nerve racking because we can never separate the two poles. And for this reason we should strive to find the verticality of spiritual activity (or as Ashvin mentioned, the flow that goes through the heart, larynx and is perceived in its double images in the head). The polarity is not only in the head, the soul world is also based on polarities, sympathies and antipathies. Yet these are related to the direction of our flow of becoming, not the contents of the soul experience. The latter, even though infinitely rich, still has a somewhat monolithic, fluid character. The Earth aeon is characterized with that the soul experience itself becomes decomposed into a spectrum, and especially after the division of the sexes, this spectrum is experienced as weaved of polar relations. This becomes problematic when we anchor the "I" in the bistable states.

These days I watched the last video from SH.



In a roundabout way it is connected with the LB-RB topic because simplicity and complexity are also polar opposites. It is interesting how SH identifies the problem with complexity, yet she still hopes for the new math which will be able to handle it.
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AshvinP
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2023 2:48 pmHere I believe I understand the reasons well, but I don’t see why you mention it. I don't deny that there's spiritual influence, surely not. I understand there is meaning in the fact that we have two brain hemispheres, and surely that meaning can be precisely inquired with spiritual exploration (goes without saying, completely beyond my possibilities). What I was finding risky is to somehow interpret the LB-RB functional differences highlighted by science as a reflection of respectively normal and higher cognition. In other words, that one side is more spiritual than the other (I am actually still unsure if this is exactly what you are saying). I may be wrong, but I believe I can know that this is not the case, even without having the capacity to explore the nature of the micro-macro-cosmic connection manifesting in the brain's physical and functional structure. It is related with the idea of symmetry, the idea of symmetry of the head in particular, and with what spiritual science says in relation to the pituitary gland, among other things.

So I have difficulties with the thought that, in the historical development of humanity, our left brain has developed while our right brain has become dormant. I still think we do use both hemispheres actively today - the RB is not dormant. Simply, in the majority of people, the RB is currently a servant of standard, intellectual cognition, which does comprise intuition and imagination in common sense. What's dormant today are the spiritual organs, rather than half of the brain, or at least that’s how I see it.

By the way, I wonder if your example of the RB being activated subconsciously when a driver comes out of nowhere and cuts us off, is correct. I believe conventional science would say it's the reptilian brain, or limbic system - which is neither RB or LB - that would take control in such a case. In this sense, I find the statement “the forces of our Guardian Angel are embedded in the RB” restrictive, and I believe those forces don’t necessarily descend into our brain. They condense at a higher level, then our whole brain (why RB?) perceives their consequences, rather than embedding the forces in its processes. I am reminded of Steiner’s example of the man who takes a walk in the mountain and is saved from the unpredictable fall of a big stone by an inner voice, inducing him to step on the side of the path. In that case it’s not a question of reacting unconsciously, like when a car pops up and we do the right thing without reasoning it out. It’s an external intervention that completely bypasses our normal brain functions. Then the brain catches the effects that manifest as earthly thoughts. Another example: someone comes too late to the airport, misses the flight, and the plane later crashes.

There are a lot of considerations here, and I will try to return to a few of them after I have contemplated it more. But I think it would be useful to first ask a couple of questions of you, Cleric, or anyone else who wants to weigh in (with a brief commentary).

It has to do with what you indicated in the bold sentence above. And I would plainly acknowledge what Cleric wrote - that we can't take any one thought and say "this is an RB thought" or "this is an LB thought". We are always teasing these polar distinctions apart out of our own convenience for speaking about them and gaining insight. With that said, how would you describe the relationship between LB and RB simply based on the research of modern cognitive science (without any materialist assumptions)? Does it have anything to do with our hysteresis-like polar experience of reality? If so, what terms would you use to characterize the differentiation? I don't think it requires any higher cognitive research to get a basic intuitive orientation to such questions.

Again, I think this video by IM is a great reference point to answer such questions (and he makes it clear both hemispheres are needed in our reasoned and imaginative thinking experience). Of course, it's possible that IM has made certain inferences that are incorrect, but I have no reason to suspect that is the case right now. He is obviously speaking from years of considered research in this area. What IM says and his overall advocacy of balancing the 'mirrors of the head organ', seems to also fit with what Cleric pointed out in the last post -

"They way I see it is that the brain is the tool which allows us to decompose the monolithic soul imagery into polar opposites, which when condensed further we call mental images (thoughts). In a way this is the reverse direction of what Hegel did. He was climbing the polarities, uniting them one by one, striving for the root of the conceptual fractal. Even though he couldn't perceive it from a higher standpoint, he had balanced the two petal lotus in the head."

In fact, it seems to me that this balancing is often what we discuss on this forum in terms of how to approach spiritual ideas in our thinking, i.e. how to make the latter more fluid and living when approaching the symbolic World Content. Of course, like Hegel, IM doesn't seem to have gone far enough yet to realize this balancing of the mirrors in the head organ, i.e. the attentional capacity and disposition towards the content of experience, is only the lowest-order (horizontal) imbalance and doesn't address the higher-order (vertical) imbalances in the actual creative flow of our experience. The latter requires the "I" to awaken before thinking gets caught in the bistable states, so it can gain higher insight into the sympathies and antipathies, etc. that push and pull us around subconsciously and decohere into the content of our normal thinking-states.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
Federica
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2023 6:24 pm There are a lot of considerations here, and I will try to return to a few of them after I have contemplated it more. But I think it would be useful to first ask a couple of questions of you, Cleric, or anyone else who wants to weigh in (with a brief commentary).

It has to do with what you indicated in the bold sentence above. And I would plainly acknowledge what Cleric wrote - that we can't take any one thought and say "this is an RB thought" or "this is an LB thought". We are always teasing these polar distinctions apart out of our own convenience for speaking about them and gaining insight. With that said, how would you describe the relationship between LB and RB simply based on the research of modern cognitive science (without any materialist assumptions)? Does it have anything to do with our hysteresis-like polar experience of reality? If so, what terms would you use to characterize the differentiation? I don't think it requires any higher cognitive research to get a basic intuitive orientation to such questions.

Again, I think this video by IM is a great reference point to answer such questions (and he makes it clear both hemispheres are needed in our reasoned and imaginative thinking experience). Of course, it's possible that IM has made certain inferences that are incorrect, but I have no reason to suspect that is the case right now. He is obviously speaking from years of considered research in this area. What IM says and his overall advocacy of balancing the 'mirrors of the head organ', seems to also fit with what Cleric pointed out in the last post -

"They way I see it is that the brain is the tool which allows us to decompose the monolithic soul imagery into polar opposites, which when condensed further we call mental images (thoughts). In a way this is the reverse direction of what Hegel did. He was climbing the polarities, uniting them one by one, striving for the root of the conceptual fractal. Even though he couldn't perceive it from a higher standpoint, he had balanced the two petal lotus in the head."

In fact, it seems to me that this balancing is often what we discuss on this forum in terms of how to approach spiritual ideas in our thinking, i.e. how to make the latter more fluid and living when approaching the symbolic World Content. Of course, like Hegel, IM doesn't seem to have gone far enough yet to realize this balancing of the mirrors in the head organ, i.e. the attentional capacity and disposition towards the content of experience, is only the lowest-order (horizontal) imbalance and doesn't address the higher-order (vertical) imbalances in the actual creative flow of our experience. The latter requires the "I" to awaken before thinking gets caught in the bistable states, so it can gain higher insight into the sympathies and antipathies, etc. that push and pull us around subconsciously and decohere into the content of our normal thinking-states.


Ashvin,

I admit I was hoping to read some form of answer to the questions I asked above. Never mind, I will try to adress your new question. But first, since you insist that Cleric and IMcG concur in saying that every thought process involves both brain lobes, please note that I never had the least problem with that. You are the one who stated:


- When we are driving down the road, the LB allows us to do one thing and the RB another

- Our ancestor’s waking consciousness was more attenuated to the RB than ours is

- The higher activity of the RB is still with us but it has become mostly dormant and subconscious

- The forces of our Guardian Angel are embedded in our RB



and have spoken of the “cosmic spiritual activity of the RB”.


Anyhow, to your new question: I did watch the video, but I have not read even one scientific paper on split brains or differentiated activities of the two lobes, so what use would there be in me trying to report the conclusions of state-of-the-art cognitive research on this topic? It would only be less precise, less knowledgeable, less contextualized than the research itself, and useless.

What I can tell you instead is the following. I have ZERO experiential knowledge of the differentiated activity of my brain. (Do you have any?) I also have ZERO supersensible direct, higher knowledge of that same differentiated activity through soul-spiritual exploration. I only have a general idea of what is nicely summarized in the video you have linked based on cognitive research. Moreover, I have never encountered any references to LB and RB in Steiner or in any other spiritual scientific writings (of course it could be just my ignorance here, however, I have just searched the phrase “right brain” in the Steiner Archive, and there is only one match, in which it is question of something that both lobes do).

Now, you have to tell me for what reason I should conclude - from scientific research only, that I am moreover not familiar with - that our right lobe, just because it is said to be more intuitive and large-spectrum, has a “higher activity”, or is more spiritual? For what reason should I imagine that the RB operates at the 'what-we-are-doing-with-our-thinking' pole of the hysteresis process? (Note, what Cleric says about polarities, is not the same as saying that the RB operates at the concentrated pole of the hysteresis)

I certainly find no justification to do that, for myself. Science tells us that the heart is a pump, but you don’t infer spiritual conclusions based on that. You do quite the opposite. Then why do you do it for the brain lobes? If your answer is that it’s through direct higher cognition, then fine, but if not, well I don’t think there is much justification to state what you have stated.

With all this being said, I maintain that I am justified in thinking that both lobes are physical, both lobes cooperate in standard cognition and that neither lobe can be considered more spiritual or higher than the other. This thought can’t make any sense to me, neither does it to imagine that the right lobe is higher, but dormant. if I try to really think this crooked human brain with one spiritual side and one lower side, it's so improbable that it's even painful. Now, after reading Cleric’s take on the reason for the presence of two lobes, I think it fits well with the idea that the symmetry and formation of the physical head wouldn't allow for such akward imbalance.

From what Cleric says, I understand that the two lobes are a reflection on the sensory sphere of spiritual activity that has to manifest in form of spatially and temporally decohered polarities, on the physical plane. The lobes are both at the same dense and gross level of material manifestation. They spread out in opposite directions the higher interpay of thought principles and thought forces, horizontally into the sensory realm.

When Sabine expresses her hyper-materialistic thoughts about the future of science, she is equally using both lobes. She couldn’t come up with a video like this without an equal contribution of her LB and RB (as I have explained, here I am inferring based on what I generally hear from research combined with what Cleric said). That her soul has a preference for materialism, doesn’t exclude that she equally puts at work both left and right brain capacities, and that they are both quite awake in her. Her soul has a preference for complexity, manyness, multiplicity, materialism, but her physical brain has to function as a whole and has to rely on both lobes, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to be subtly humorous as she is, to balance quite artistically the various components of the video, to distill some drama in the story line with good cyclical pace, to select relevant but not always obvious references and examples, etcetera. All this still ranges inside the sphere of physical thinking, brain-based thinking. There is no detachment towards the etheric or the soul-spiritual levels.

In a similar way - to come back to your question on hysteresis - when we read TCT and consider the hysteresis, we can apprehend it in our physical brain as expression of a fundamental polarity, and I accept Cleric’s thought that our separated lobes make this articulation possible in our normal cognition, or reflect it. A completely different thing is to turn off the computer, engage in spiritual training, and become able to transcend that initial understanding by moving upstream the spiritual flow of becoming. In which case I believe we leave behind both lobes, equally, to the extent that we progressively don’t need to encompass polar opposites anymore.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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AshvinP
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2023 10:46 pm
AshvinP wrote: Mon Nov 20, 2023 6:24 pm There are a lot of considerations here, and I will try to return to a few of them after I have contemplated it more. But I think it would be useful to first ask a couple of questions of you, Cleric, or anyone else who wants to weigh in (with a brief commentary).

It has to do with what you indicated in the bold sentence above. And I would plainly acknowledge what Cleric wrote - that we can't take any one thought and say "this is an RB thought" or "this is an LB thought". We are always teasing these polar distinctions apart out of our own convenience for speaking about them and gaining insight. With that said, how would you describe the relationship between LB and RB simply based on the research of modern cognitive science (without any materialist assumptions)? Does it have anything to do with our hysteresis-like polar experience of reality? If so, what terms would you use to characterize the differentiation? I don't think it requires any higher cognitive research to get a basic intuitive orientation to such questions.

Again, I think this video by IM is a great reference point to answer such questions (and he makes it clear both hemispheres are needed in our reasoned and imaginative thinking experience). Of course, it's possible that IM has made certain inferences that are incorrect, but I have no reason to suspect that is the case right now. He is obviously speaking from years of considered research in this area. What IM says and his overall advocacy of balancing the 'mirrors of the head organ', seems to also fit with what Cleric pointed out in the last post -

"They way I see it is that the brain is the tool which allows us to decompose the monolithic soul imagery into polar opposites, which when condensed further we call mental images (thoughts). In a way this is the reverse direction of what Hegel did. He was climbing the polarities, uniting them one by one, striving for the root of the conceptual fractal. Even though he couldn't perceive it from a higher standpoint, he had balanced the two petal lotus in the head."

In fact, it seems to me that this balancing is often what we discuss on this forum in terms of how to approach spiritual ideas in our thinking, i.e. how to make the latter more fluid and living when approaching the symbolic World Content. Of course, like Hegel, IM doesn't seem to have gone far enough yet to realize this balancing of the mirrors in the head organ, i.e. the attentional capacity and disposition towards the content of experience, is only the lowest-order (horizontal) imbalance and doesn't address the higher-order (vertical) imbalances in the actual creative flow of our experience. The latter requires the "I" to awaken before thinking gets caught in the bistable states, so it can gain higher insight into the sympathies and antipathies, etc. that push and pull us around subconsciously and decohere into the content of our normal thinking-states.


Ashvin,

I admit I was hoping to read some form of answer to the questions I asked above. Never mind, I will try to adress your new question. But first, since you insist that Cleric and IMcG concur in saying that every thought process involves both brain lobes, please note that I never had the least problem with that. You are the one who stated:


- When we are driving down the road, the LB allows us to do one thing and the RB another

- Our ancestor’s waking consciousness was more attenuated to the RB than ours is

- The higher activity of the RB is still with us but it has become mostly dormant and subconscious

- The forces of our Guardian Angel are embedded in our RB



and have spoken of the “cosmic spiritual activity of the RB”.

Federica,

I brought up Cleric's post as more of a 'correction' (or at least elucidation) to my own clumsy descriptions, not yours. I realized that my characterizations may have implied a sharp boundary between when we are "using the LB" or "using the RB", rather than the polarity existing at some level within every thought.

Here is one way we could think about it - remember when you had to dissect frogs in biology class (I'm not sure if that was a thing in your area, but it was in mine)?


Image


We can also relate this approach to the alchemical salt process that Klocek speaks about. Most would say that dissecting the frog in this manner is an entirely salt process, an intellectually driven fragmenting process for piece-by-piece analysis. Yet, at the same time, if this process is carried out within the context of a more holistic Idea of finding archetypal patterns between the inner physiological relations of various organisms and their parts, there is also an alchemical sulfur process at work. At any time, the experimenter wholly engrossed in dissecting the frog could awaken to this greater context of his efforts, which is already present in potential, and thereby establish a more harmonious balance. 

Or, put even more simply, we could think about the fact that the most fragmented and dense thought-perception of 'physical atom' also embeds the highest holistic forces of the Cosmos. So we can't ever truly isolate the salt process (LB) from the sulfur process (RB), or the atom-concept from the Intuitive forces of the Cosmos, yet we can obviously speak of this differentiation and highlight certain aspects depending on what part of our overall intuitive context we are trying to elucidate.

Anyhow, to your new question: I did watch the video, but I have not read even one scientific paper on split brains or differentiated activities of the two lobes, so what use would there be in me trying to report the conclusions of state-of-the-art cognitive research on this topic? It would only be less precise, less knowledgeable, less contextualized than the research itself, and useless.

What I can tell you instead is the following. I have ZERO experiential knowledge of the differentiated activity of my brain. (Do you have any?) I also have ZERO supersensible direct, higher knowledge of that same differentiated activity through soul-spiritual exploration. I only have a general idea of what is nicely summarized in the video you have linked based on cognitive research. Moreover, I have never encountered any references to LB and RB in Steiner or in any other spiritual scientific writings (of course it could be just my ignorance here, however, I have just searched the phrase “right brain” in the Steiner Archive, and there is only one match, in which it is question of something that both lobes do).

Now, you have to tell me for what reason I should conclude - from scientific research only, that I am moreover not familiar with - that our right lobe, just because it is said to be more intuitive and large-spectrum, has a “higher activity”, or is more spiritual? For what reason should I imagine that the RB operates at the 'what-we-are-doing-with-our-thinking' pole of the hysteresis process? (Note, what Cleric says about polarities, is not the same as saying that the RB operates at the concentrated pole of the hysteresis)

I certainly find no justification to do that, for myself. Science tells us that the heart is a pump, but you don’t infer spiritual conclusions based on that. You do quite the opposite. Then why do you do it for the brain lobes? If your answer is that it’s through direct higher cognition, then fine, but if not, well I don’t think there is much justification to state what you have stated.

This is like saying I have zero experiential knowledge of the North and South poles of the Earth's magnetic field, so I can't form any intuitive orientation to its spiritual significance. We really need to remember what we are doing in our thinking, including our 'non-experiential' conceptual thinking, when approaching the World Content to integrate the latter within our intuitive context.

We could compare it to what we do when watching a movie that tries to build a very internally consistent plotline with character dialogue and behaviors. We may be completely unfamiliar with the plot, never having experienced the situation the characters find themselves in, yet we can still spot the parts of the storyline, events, dialogue, etc. that are logically consistent and those that are inconsistent. When something pops up that is entirely inconsistent with the overarching Idea of the story, we can sense the disharmony. And if there is a new reveal that suddenly shines a higher light on all the previous details of the story, making them more harmonious, we can sense that too. There is nothing that prevents us from doing a similar thing with our thinking through spiritual scientific ideas at the conceptual level, although it certainly takes more patience and more effortful approaches from many different angles.

That the heart is a 'pump' is a materialistic conclusion imposed on scientific observations - it is actually a failure to observe the inner processes carefully enough and reason through them impartially. Contrast that to people like Michael Levin who, although still firmly within the standard scientific paradigm, forms a much different intuitive orientation to what is going on at the cellular, tissue, and organ levels. That is similar to what we encounter with IM and his cognitive scientific research. He pushed through the materialistic conclusions that unsurprisingly boxed themselves into a corner, and instead, he continued to observe the experimental research carefully and develop a more holistic intuitive orientation to what they revealed. With our overarching intuition of the 'storyline' of spiritual evolution described by spiritual science, we can do the same thing and take the observations even deeper than people like Levin and IM, even at the conceptual level.

I am not asking you to provide any state-of-the-art conclusions on anything at this point. I am simply asking whether, if you accept the current research as valid for the time being, what labels would you use to characterize that marked differentiation (if not physical and spiritual, earthly and cosmic, fragmented and holistic, etc.)?

With all this being said, I maintain that I am justified in thinking that both lobes are physical, both lobes cooperate in standard cognition and that neither lobe can be considered more spiritual or higher than the other. This thought can’t make any sense to me, neither does it to imagine that the right lobe is higher, but dormant. if I try to really think this crooked human brain with one spiritual side and one lower side, it's so improbable that it's even painful. Now, after reading Cleric’s take on the reason for the presence of two lobes, I think it fits well with the idea that the symmetry and formation of the physical head wouldn't allow for such akward imbalance.

From what Cleric says, I understand that the two lobes are a reflection on the sensory sphere of spiritual activity that has to manifest in form of spatially and temporally decohered polarities, on the physical plane. The lobes are both at the same dense and gross level of material manifestation. They spread out in opposite directions the higher interpay of thought principles and thought forces, horizontally into the sensory realm.

When Sabine expresses her hyper-materialistic thoughts about the future of science, she is equally using both lobes. She couldn’t come up with a video like this without an equal contribution of her LB and RB (as I have explained, here I am inferring based on what I generally hear from research combined with what Cleric said). That her soul has a preference for materialism, doesn’t exclude that she equally puts at work both left and right brain capacities, and that they are both quite awake in her. Her soul has a preference for complexity, manyness, multiplicity, materialism, but her physical brain has to function as a whole and has to rely on both lobes, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to be subtly humorous as she is, to balance quite artistically the various components of the video, to distill some drama in the story line with good cyclical pace, to select relevant but not always obvious references and examples, etcetera. All this still ranges inside the sphere of physical thinking, brain-based thinking. There is no detachment towards the etheric or the soul-spiritual levels.

In a similar way - to come back to your question on hysteresis - when we read TCT and consider the hysteresis, we can apprehend it in our physical brain as expression of a fundamental polarity, and I accept Cleric’s thought that our separated lobes make this articulation possible in our normal cognition, or reflect it. A completely different thing is to turn off the computer, engage in spiritual training, and become able to transcend that initial understanding by moving upstream the spiritual flow of becoming. In which case I believe we leave behind both lobes, equally, to the extent that we progressively don’t need to encompass polar opposites anymore.

By asking these questions about the spiritual functions and significance of our physical organism, and effortfully exploring them, we are doing the preparation for 'transcending' the completely brain-bound thinking. It is hardly of any benefit to say the lobes are gross and dense material manifestations that we leave behind on the higher path, and that's about all there is to it (until we gain clairvoyance). That's not of any benefit and it is also misleading. The point is not to leave behind the sphere of brain-conditioned polar opposites but to spiritualize it, to spiral the poles together so they work off of each other in a more harmonious unity. Then the higher polar processes condensed into concepts within the physical brain are progressively unveiled through the balanced head-organ. When we ascend to higher cognitive states, we can only experience the perspectives of higher beings in so far as they intersect with our own. Nothing actually flows into our waking experience by 'bypassing' the brain. It's simply that we don't register most of that flow - it is aliased by our lower soul conditioning.

In that sense, Sabine is not nearly as awake to her RB-LB capacities as she could be, and neither are the rest of us. Just look at the intricate complexity of the physical brain (in terms of its functioning, although even its material structure is an imaginative wonder) - does it seem like something that was fashioned over countless ages only to be left behind? There is great untapped potential in the etheric and higher forces of the brain. These latent forces can only be made transparent through our efforts.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
Federica
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat May 14, 2022 2:30 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am Federica,

I brought up Cleric's post as more of a 'correction' (or at least elucidation) to my own clumsy descriptions, not yours. I realized that my characterizations may have implied a sharp boundary between when we are "using the LB" or "using the RB", rather than the polarity existing at some level within every thought.

Here is one way we could think about it - remember when you had to dissect frogs in biology class (I'm not sure if that was a thing in your area, but it was in mine)?


Image


We can also relate this approach to the alchemical salt process that Klocek speaks about. Most would say that dissecting the frog in this manner is an entirely salt process, an intellectually driven fragmenting process for piece-by-piece analysis. Yet, at the same time, if this process is carried out within the context of a more holistic Idea of finding archetypal patterns between the inner physiological relations of various organisms and their parts, there is also an alchemical sulfur process at work. At any time, the experimenter wholly engrossed in dissecting the frog could awaken to this greater context of his efforts, which is already present in potential, and thereby establish a more harmonious balance. 

Or, put even more simply, we could think about the fact that the most fragmented and dense thought-perception of 'physical atom' also embeds the highest holistic forces of the Cosmos. So we can't ever truly isolate the salt process (LB) from the sulfur process (RB), or the atom-concept from the Intuitive forces of the Cosmos, yet we can obviously speak of this differentiation and highlight certain aspects depending on what part of our overall intuitive context we are trying to elucidate.


Ashvin,

Yes I agree with this. Any activity - like dissecting a frog (I didn't have to do that in school!) or any other activity one can carry out in the world - is in this respect neutral, and it’s only how we choose to approach it in our body-soul-spirit that makes it more or less intellectual, more or less spiritual. I think making a Youtube video on a scientific topic is another good example of activity. So, as you say, we can't isolate our lobes, yet, there is differentiation of thinking activity.
This being said, you are leaving unanswered the main point: do you maintain that the reality of this differentiation of spiritual activity reflects in our brain in a way that makes it half spiritual and half material, half higher and cosmic and half lower and intellectual?

AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am This is like saying I have zero experiential knowledge of the North and South poles of the Earth's magnetic field, so I can't form any intuitive orientation to its spiritual significance.
Not at all, Ashvin. Not the slightest bit. Have you only read my sentences in half? Suffice to read them in full, and my previous post above as well, to see that in each of them I did form explicit intuitive orientation about the differentiation between lobes. Read what I wrote about Sabine. I even put a subtitle there! “as I have explained, here I am inferring based on what I generally hear from research combined with what Cleric said”. If that is not forming intuitive orientation, I wonder what it is, in your words? What I did not form - and you still have to explain why and how you did - is the idea that the RB has a higher, cosmic activity, while the LB operates at a lower level. Therefore, I don’t find any acceptable ground for your patronizing remark:
AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am We really need to remember what we are doing in our thinking, including our 'non-experiential' conceptual thinking, when approaching the World Content to integrate the latter within our intuitive context.
If you could explain what you were doing with your thinking when you approached the world content in the form of cognitive research, and integrated it in your intuitive context ending up with a crooked human head, featuring a cosmic, dormant half on the right side, and a gross, active half on the left side, that would be great.


AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am I am not asking you to provide any state-of-the-art conclusions on anything at this point. I am simply asking whether, if you accept the current research as valid for the time being, what labels would you use to characterize that marked differentiation (if not physical and spiritual, earthly and cosmic, fragmented and holistic, etc.)?

Notice, to accept the current research and distinguish "observation" from "materialistic conclusions" would require reading the research carefully. I can imagine that, in many cases, even that would be insufficient. Beyond that, I think I already answered this question, in general terms, and with examples. But let me try again in yet another formulation: the RB is synthetic, the LB is analytical. The RB is zoomed out, the LB is zoomed in. The RB taps into our intuitive context at large, the LB focuses on the one question at hand. The RB is creative, artistic, poetic, the LB is productive, structuring, prosaic. In this way, through the LB-RB differentiation, we can understand polarities through the sensory sphere, for example "earthly-cosmic". This does not mean that the differentiated brain operates with its two lobes at the two edges of the earthly-cosmic polarity! All this remains completely within the modes of standard cognition, bound to the sensory sphere. It's sense-bound thinking.

AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am It is hardly of any benefit to say the lobes are gross and dense material manifestations that we leave behind on the higher path, and that's about all there is to it (until we gain clairvoyance). That's not of any benefit and it is also misleading. The point is not to leave behind the sphere of brain-conditioned polar opposites but to spiritualize it

First, It has the great benefit to call out your idea of a cosmically asymmetrical human brain, made of two lobes fundamentally different in nature. We could also notice, this idea is not supported by what Cleric wrote about the nature of the two lobes!

Second, the bold is not true. You repeat yourself, which I often appreciate, except when you repeat false conclusions. It seems necessary to quote my own post: “If I try to really think this crooked human brain with one spiritual side and one lower side, it's so improbable that it's even painful. Now, after reading Cleric’s take on the reason for the presence of two lobes, I think it fits well with the idea that the symmetry and formation of the physical head wouldn't allow for such awkward imbalance.”

Third, if you don’t like the words “bypass” and “leave behind”, take “eliminate” as in “eliminate all that our understanding (which is connected with the brain) comprehends”. I should immediately say, this is exact wording by Steiner, before you complain about the word “eliminate”. Or take “set thinking absolutely free from the cerebral organ”. Before you say that we have to spiritualize the cerebral organ and not to seek absolute liberation from it, let me point out this is exact wording by Scaligero.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 4:34 pm Ashvin,

Yes I agree with this. Any activity - like dissecting a frog (I didn't have to do that in school!) or any other activity one can carry out in the world - is in this respect neutral, and it’s only how we choose to approach it in our body-soul-spirit that makes it more or less intellectual, more or less spiritual. I think making a Youtube video on a scientific topic is another good example of activity. So, as you say, we can't isolate our lobes, yet, there is differentiation of thinking activity.
This being said, you are leaving unanswered the main point: do you maintain that the reality of this differentiation of spiritual activity reflects in our brain in a way that makes it half spiritual and half material, half higher and cosmic and half lower and intellectual?

AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am This is like saying I have zero experiential knowledge of the North and South poles of the Earth's magnetic field, so I can't form any intuitive orientation to its spiritual significance.
Not at all, Ashvin. Not the slightest bit. Have you only read my sentences in half? Suffice to read them in full, and my previous post above as well, to see that in each of them I did form explicit intuitive orientation about the differentiation between lobes. Read what I wrote about Sabine. I even put a subtitle there! “as I have explained, here I am inferring based on what I generally hear from research combined with what Cleric said”. If that is not forming intuitive orientation, I wonder what it is, in your words? What I did not form - and you still have to explain why and how you did - is the idea that the RB has a higher, cosmic activity, while the LB operates at a lower level. Therefore, I don’t find any acceptable ground for your patronizing remark:
AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am We really need to remember what we are doing in our thinking, including our 'non-experiential' conceptual thinking, when approaching the World Content to integrate the latter within our intuitive context.
If you could explain what you were doing with your thinking when you approached the world content in the form of cognitive research, and integrated it in your intuitive context ending up with a crooked human head, featuring a cosmic, dormant half on the right side, and a gross, active half on the left side, that would be great.

Federica,

This is not what I call 'forming intuitive orientation', but rather forming rigid conclusions about the 'nature' of the lobes (and the physical sensory organism in general) because we have deemed the deeper intuitive orientation - which is an ongoing process of asking questions and exploring them in our intuitive reasoning - something that can only be usefully approached through clairvoyance. That then leaves us in a position where we can either remain completely silent on the topic, or we can only make very broad judgments that influence our thinking about the topic in subtle ways. I hope what follows makes this more clear.

Federica wrote:
AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am I am not asking you to provide any state-of-the-art conclusions on anything at this point. I am simply asking whether, if you accept the current research as valid for the time being, what labels would you use to characterize that marked differentiation (if not physical and spiritual, earthly and cosmic, fragmented and holistic, etc.)?

Notice, to accept the current research and distinguish "observation" from "materialistic conclusions" would require reading the research carefully. I can imagine that, in many cases, even that would be insufficient. Beyond that, I think I already answered this question, in general terms, and with examples. But let me try again in yet another formulation: the RB is synthetic, the LB is analytical. The RB is zoomed out, the LB is zoomed in. The RB taps into our intuitive context at large, the LB focuses on the one question at hand. The RB is creative, artistic, poetic, the LB is productive, structuring, prosaic. In this way, through the LB-RB differentiation, we can understand polarities through the sensory sphere, for example "earthly-cosmic". This does not mean that the differentiated brain operates with its two lobes at the two edges of the earthly-cosmic polarity! All this remains completely within the modes of standard cognition, bound to the sensory sphere. It's sense-bound thinking.

AshvinP wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:40 am It is hardly of any benefit to say the lobes are gross and dense material manifestations that we leave behind on the higher path, and that's about all there is to it (until we gain clairvoyance). That's not of any benefit and it is also misleading. The point is not to leave behind the sphere of brain-conditioned polar opposites but to spiritualize it

First, It has the great benefit to call out your idea of a cosmically asymmetrical human brain, made of two lobes fundamentally different in nature. We could also notice, this idea is not supported by what Cleric wrote about the nature of the two lobes!

Second, the bold is not true. You repeat yourself, which I often appreciate, except when you repeat false conclusions. It seems necessary to quote my own post: “If I try to really think this crooked human brain with one spiritual side and one lower side, it's so improbable that it's even painful. Now, after reading Cleric’s take on the reason for the presence of two lobes, I think it fits well with the idea that the symmetry and formation of the physical head wouldn't allow for such awkward imbalance.”

Third, if you don’t like the words “bypass” and “leave behind”, take “eliminate” as in “eliminate all that our understanding (which is connected with the brain) comprehends”. I should immediately say, this is exact wording by Steiner, before you complain about the word “eliminate”. Or take “set thinking absolutely free from the cerebral organ”. Before you say that we have to spiritualize the cerebral organ and not to seek absolute liberation from it, let me point out this is exact wording by Scaligero.

Let's take the spatial domains of the Cosmic expanses and a shopping mall as an example. In a very concrete sense, these stand in a polar opposite relation to one another (the shopping mall, of course, is a reflection of normal sensory-based human soul life). When we look up at the starry expanses on a clear night, we still perceive it through our senses and normal concepts. Yet anyone who is paying somewhat close attention to their inner life can clearly sense the meaningful difference between this experience and the experience of being immersed in thronging crowds of people looking to express their lower impulses during the Christmas season. We can sense the meaning of immensity, order, harmony, faithfulness, selflessness, and many similar qualities in the Cosmic expanses. The sensory experience of the Cosmic expanses can actually bring a feeling of levity into our soul life as opposed to the oppressive feeling of gravity we have when bouncing off of people rushing into stores for whatever selfish purposes, born from a disorderly soul context.

Contemplating the Cosmic expanses does not itself lead us into higher cognition, nor does attenuating our thinking organism to the RB functions IM has delineated and you have agreed with in your own reasoning. No one ever claimed that it is equivalent to higher cognition in some isolated way and, if that was the sole basis of your original comment in response to mine, then there is nothing further to discuss. However, some of your comments here suggest there is also a deeper issue involved. The RB attenuation is not irrelevant to our seeking of higher cognition, just as what we expose ourselves to in normal sensory experience is not irrelevant. In fact, it is very relevant to all of our conceptual preparation and soul purification work. That is a good reason to think through these dynamics more holistically, i.e. with more RB attenuation, so we don't end up forming flawed conclusions from the language of certain texts. It is enough to notice that the process of 'liberating spiritual activity' is temporally extended across the nested rhythms of our existence. It is through these expansive/contractive rhythms, as also discussed with Guney, that we grow our TFW organism into the higher realms.

People may use "eliminate the senses" or "liberate from the cerebral organ" in a certain context, which is fully justified for that context, but it is for us to orient towards that language, i.e. to the inner experiences they are pointing to, in a more holistic way for the context we are exploring so it doesn't become misleading. Our thinking needs to become more synthetic, zoomed out, tapping into the intuitive context at large, creative and artistic, etc. Then we will be in a better position to discern that the physical sensory plane and all its functions in our conceptual life are vital for higher development. Not only is it necessary to do purification work and conceptually prepare for higher meditative experiences, but it is also necessary to actually fulfill our spiritual tasks for Earthly evolution. From a higher vantage, these are discerned as practically one and the same thing. We have discussed the reasons before several times. Here is an angle from Cleric that I found really helpful. 

In this sense - yes. Maybe it's simply better to look at things as rhythmic process of analysis and synthesis. This is iterative process. The intellect analyzes, reason synthesizes. My point above was to guard against imagining that the synthesis of E=mc2 is the final step and leads directly to some "True Concepts". In fact, in itself it would lead to a dead end. It must be analyzed again and then synthesized in a higher form.

For example, we already have the concept of God/One Consciousness/Absolute/Idea and so on. This is certainly some kind of synthesis. But still, in our current thinking this synthesis can not reach the perspective from which the world indeed is seen as manifestation of the Idea. In other words, our thinking idea of the Idea might be fractally similar to it but is not yet the full Cosmic reality of the Idea. Otherwise we would be able to see (not theoretically but as the actual process) how the World proceeds from the small idea in our mind. We can indeed see partially how the world proceeds from the Idea but we need the higher forms of consciousness.

So evolution proceeds in iterative fashion. We synthesize towards the Idea but there's something imperfect in this synthesis. It still doesn't make perfect sense of everything. Then we bounce back and analyze again, then we synthesize again. Ideally, every iteration leads to more complete consciousness of the Idea. We can see this metaphorically in the plant. The plant synthesizes the seed. It packs its being there. Yet this synthesis is not yet the Idea in its all encompassing nature. So the seed analyzes again, which leads to growing, differentiating. From the process a new synthesis, new seed is extracted. This is an image of the incarnational rhythm, embedded into the even larger evolutionary rhythms. We continually try to synthesize the Idea of the Cosmos. This continues after death, although no longer in purely intellectual thinking. Instead, our whole being is the manifestation of the living idea that we try to synthesize. We reach up to a point where we can no longer make greater sense and then the World begins to grow again from the Idea-seed that we are. We analyze the Idea into a World and try to extract from it a more perfect seed, which can make perfect sense of the World.

When our sensory experience starts to become the concrete expression of Cosmic intents - the intents that structure the layers of our be-ing so that we would be experiencing a certain thing, in a certain way, at a certain place and time - it makes little sense to continue speaking of that sensory experience as flattened, dense, horizontal, or generally as an obstacle to our higher cognitive development. In fact, the brain-bound thinking can then be experienced as the greatest boon for our inner development. We start to realize how much latent potential was remaining dormant within the sensory sphere due to our own inner limitations and how much more we can creatively engage with that experience to ascend its gradient of potential towards the perfectly sensible Comsic Idea. 

Cleric and Steiner have spoken before of how the moment of death (embedding all our life experiences) becomes the anchor point from which we expand into the Cosmic spheres after death. It is a similar principle here - the balanced head organ is continually acting as an anchor point for our initiatic journeys into the higher spheres, from which we obviously return to the sensory sphere. In that sense, everything we have experienced through our brain-sensory organism up to that point is relevant for each journey into higher cognitive states and what we can discover through them - what insights we can gain into our holistic stream of becoming. The only reason to stress the RB over the LB right now is because we have become clearly imbalanced towards the latter (and that ironically includes mystically inclined people when evaluating normal sensory experience), so it takes much more active effort in that domain to restore the balance.

We need to struggle to keep these more holistic facts in our intuitive orientation when contemplating the significance of normal Earthly experience, so we aren't forced to rely on premature judgments.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
Federica
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat May 14, 2022 2:30 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Esoteric knowledge for skeptics

Post by Federica »

Ashvin,
Your post seems to me inundated with judgments, and you turn concepts and words around at your momentary convenience. Apologies for giving up trying to empty this flooded field with a spoon.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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