There is a lot of speculation in the media and elsewhere about the recent killing of Bin Laden by Navy Seals in Pakistan. Did it really happen? How much lattitude did the Seals have? Is or was it morally right? Most of the thinking on these questions is weak and reactive, and I want to explore this social phenomena in an effort to illuminate certain capacities of thinking, including ethical individualism, as this event can serve as an important lesson regarding thinking and Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.
Several decades ago, a man by the name of Eric Berne engaged in an interesting experiment. He was a practicing psychiatrist, and thought it might be possible to take those experiences and points of view, and render them in a much more ordinary language than otherwise common to the discipline. As a result he wrote a book Games People Play, and eventually was born Transactional Analysis. This system of thought gave birth to the idea of three ego states (threefoldness?): Child; Adult; Parent; and, four life positions (fourfoldness?) I'm OK, your Ok; I'm not OK, your OK, I'm OK your not OK; and I'm not OK, your not OK.
after some years of not paying attention to the hints of various folks, I recently bought a copy of Steiner's Anthroposophy: a fragment, and then following some examination of that book I decided to write my own introduction as a substitute for the existing ones, which I had found wanting ...
Submitted by John Ralph on Wed, 01/05/2011 - 9:41am.
This was sent to me as a New Year's gift. "A seed is a very small thing." I have no idea who wrote it but it rings true.
A seed is a very small thing.
You plant it, and in that secret place under the earth, if feeds from the soil, it breaks, and then a shoot comes up from the ground.
This small shoot seeks the light as it grows, and in time, it turns into a large tree. If you had not been told, you would not believe this tree came from such a small thing that once was hidden in the depths.
We cannot see what happens under the soil, because it is hidden from our eyes. Only the seed is present when the change happens. But eventually we see a tree, which cannot be ignored.
We do not consider the strength that resides within the seed because it is such a small thing. But we cannot ignore the tree.
This is an illustration of a certain belief that we fall into very easily, because it makes sense when we first think about it. It is the idea that our private lives should not matter to anyone but ourselves.
We look at our private lives as hidden from view, and we think they add no meaning whatsoever to the lives we live in public.
We say things like "whatever a man does in his private life is nobody's business."
Even more so, whatever a man thinks in his own head, in the deepest recesses of his mind, has little or no influence on the way that he behaves in public.
The truth is that those things which we do in private, even our thought life, matter more than anything else we do in life.
Because our private thoughts are like seeds.
They are planted in our heads. During that time, no one but we are able to
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Sun, 11/21/2010 - 10:23pm.
Pardon my native New Yawk Anglo-Saxon, but I had to encapsulate the sentiments of Saul Bellow toward Owen Barfield as he expressed them in the letters they exchanged in the 1970’s --- letters which now appear in the new book of Bellow’s Collected Letters.
Here’s the review in the NY Times Review of Books:
Saul Bellow’s Quest for the Vernacular Sublime
I’ll give you “vernacular sublime” all right! I quote below the section about Bellow corresponding with Barfield and how Bellow finally tells Barfield --- in a much more polite and civilized way than I do --- to take Steiner, as it were, and shove him up Barfield’s bombastic British bio-dynamic butt!!!
But then the reviewer notes Bellow’s “turn to PoF” (metaphorical not literal) by praising Bellow’s “Declaration of Independence” from the doctrine of anthroposophy as well as Barfield’s prissy condescension to and haughty rejection of Bellow’s own artistic expression of his own ethical individualism.
Hopefully I have understood enough of this site correctly so that I'm not infringing on any existing rules for journal entries. I think this area may be a good place for verbalizing thoughts and ideas as I read and contemplate this book.
I have read Frihetens philosophie before but as I'm sure everyone who has read it is aware, one reading doesn't necessarily mean very much. In these days when our thought processes are so overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by every flitting electronic impulse, it just seems that a nice counteractive might be moments of separation from the common rabble and perhaps facilitate some new neuronal connections (or the spiritual equivalent).
On the other hand, I wonder if this time spent will be productive--one could be out doing socially productive deeds, n'est-ce pas?
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 4:42pm.
I was all set to write Wibke Reinstein off as just another Steiner reincarnation wannabee --- with a flair for self-promotion and semi-New Age vagueness --- but then I happened to see a new entry on her Facebook discussion page
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Mon, 10/11/2010 - 12:24pm.
The Anthroposophical Prison Outreach Program has been flourishing for at least the last 8 years. Here is their homepage
Here is the PDF copy of their latest newsletter with dozens of responses from prisoners all across the USA writing in about the positive effects anthroposophy is having on and in their lives.
On page 8 of the 12 page newsletter, I came across this Illinois prisoner’s short book review of PoF.
“Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path – wow! Not what I expected. This was the most purely philosophical study I have ever encountered. It’s the book I’ve been searching for since I discovered philosophy of any kind. The ideas developed in this study (I don’t know what else to call it) about freedom of will, monism and pure thought were extremely fascinating and reached far beyond what I have ever considered. The book was one of the most difficult I have ever read and required of me rereading of some paragraphs and chapters as I progressed – but was so very worth it. It opened me to an entirely new school of thought. Don’t be surprised if I request this book again in the future for further study.” --- Joseph, Galesburg, IL
I have long maintained --- for linguistic reasons alone --- that the correct translation for PoF should be The Philosophy of Inner Freedom. Now reading that review from someone who is literally a “captive audience” for the book, someone whose external freedom is curtailed, helps to validate my translation.