Experiencing Steiner

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

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Experiencing Steiner

Post by Anthony66 »

I'm curious whether others have the same experience of Steiner as what I do.

On one hand, I'm captivated by Steiner's essential insights - e.g. thinking as a spiritual activity, thinking as a world creating activity. I find the material in PoF and KoHW deeply stimulating and energizing.

On the other hand, I often listen to the podcast, "Rudolph Steiner Audio", which features various readings of Steiner's works. Here I find much of the material, shall I say, odd. The concepts seem so foreign to my mind, so quaint, so old-fashioned, so hard to understand. The reasoning seems to belong to a former age, so orthogonal to what one find in academic publications today.

Do others have this experience?

I decided today that it's probably not helpful to me at this point to try to digest the broader Steiner corpus. I'll stick to the essential material. Maybe at a latter time if I've developed some element of higher cognition I'll come back.
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Re: Experiencing Steiner

Post by Federica »

I have listened to some of the "Rudolf Steiner Press Audio" episodes on Youtube as well, but I have now stopped. I guess I don't believe in audiobooks and podcasts for this type of ideas (although I appreciate the effort, the channel/podcast surely is a great resource for some). It's convenient, of course, but I have realized that the content inevitably flows at someone else's pace, not at our own, and we are encouraged to surf on the ideas superficially. The tone is not ours, the pace is not ours, if we don't get it as we would like on first listening, chances are we'll still let it roll, and our need for understanding is easily diverted, or at least this is my experience. There is no real active effort comparable to when we need to push forward the reading out of our own initiative. In this sense, video is better than podcast in my opinion, it creates some more engagement, but still not as good as text reading, for this type of content. For this type of content, we need a less sense-based experience (podcast) and a more cognition-based, creative experience (written text) where we are more active with our thinking, and also feeling.

Additionally, it must be considered that the way one illustrates concepts in front of a live audience is different from how one writes the same ideas as a chapter of a book, so the unfolding of concepts will be different from a book anyway. Thirdly, because the habits and customs of lecturing have changed in 100+ years, I think it's useful to imagine oneself in that audience, at that time, within that cultural context. I usually do that when I read a lecture and I often end up surprised by the modernity of ideas and context elements, when they can be inferred. Only rarely it has happened that I noticed something I considered old-fashioned.

But I can understand your experience, in connection to listening to the podcasts. Control question: do you have the same odd impression when you happen to read lecture excerpts, or full lectures, from text on the Steiner archive?
As I see it, there's a dissonance, or contradiction, between the time-bound experience of listening, that makes us take in the Steiner podcast in a 'mind stance' similar to the one we have when listening to the news report or to a colleague, and the spirit of ideas requiring some dedicated focus, attention, and intention, to be able to take shape again, and materialize in our space in a coherent and beneficial way. It also requires a mood of gratitude, openness, and presence, that is difficult to produce in the typical situations when one listens to audio productions as a way to take advantage of time management options, or when one is too tired to read from text (not saying that you do that, only that for me it does not work for these reasons).

“If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
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Re: Experiencing Steiner

Post by findingblanks »

I feel it's a good sign to be having a complex reaction to Rudolf Steiner. I certainly do as well. But it sounds like you have a sense of the topics that you connect to, so, yeah, just keep chasing those and paying attention to your heart. Lots of rich material in them there hills :)
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