I've been thinking lately that it's not as easy to overcome Critical Idealism in my thinking patterns as it first appeared to be. For one thing, I don't always recognize this type of thinking. I just go along with my day, making decisions about the mundane facts of farm life: how many carrots to send to market, which harvest list to put out first, how to encourage people to take responsibility for details. Are these decisions based on Critical Idealism? Or if I get annoyed with the way someone speaks to me but then remember how tiredness brings out the impatience in us all, is that Critical Idealism as well?
A Realist might say, what a silly dilemma this is! My thinking, in general, works for my everyday life. The farm functions smoothly, sales are great, people enjoy working here. When conflicts come up, I can almost always find both sides of the situation and set my emotional attachments aside. It's only because a lot of other stuff in the world seems messed up and scary that I worry about the fact that my thinking is pretty much just like everybody else's, only with different subject matter and a slightly different perspective.
What if it's true what Steiner said in his Autobiography, that Critical Idealism has driven the spirit from the objective external world? The Realist might counter, we can't miss what we never had. If trees and stones never spoke to me, because they had their tongues cut out by some crusty old philosopher long before I was born, then I'm hardly going to bother about their silence now.
I'm starting to look at my thinking in much the same way I look at the enthusiasm so many people have about bio-fuels: there's something wrong with this picture. Not just slightly wrong, but really dangerously wrong. I have this recurrent image of walking along a woodsy road and passing a humongous tree. The tree's branches bend low to the ground, hiding what's under them. But there's something sticking out from under them, a kind of round, pink boulder, which passersby have strewn with flowers, as if in homage. My attention is caught too, but not in an admiring way. For I see that it's no boulder at all, but a toe, and that it's connected to the unseen foot of an unseen sleeping Giant, who's just about to wake up. I've always understood this about bio-fuels, but now I'm starting to understand it about some of my own thinking processes as well. It doesn't matter how they're presented or how they're decorated or how much admiration and applause they receive from people who don't know what it is they're looking at.
Steiner was determined to overcome Critical Idealism in his own thinking, and once he'd done so, he recorded his experiences for us in Truth and Knowledge and in the Philosophy of Freedom. I've become more and more determined to do the same, but don't know where to begin. I suppose this intuition of the form of the unseen reality is a step in the right direction.