In this book the attempt is made to give a systematic description of the methodology which underlies anthroposophy and which, at the same time, constitutes its essential core. This methodology has on the one hand a universal and on the other hand a subjective character – by virtue of its anthropocentric nature. It shows how the modern human being with his capacity for thinking in concepts can qualitatively transform the character of his thinking – and thereby also of his consciousness – by ascending from reflection to perceptive thought, and with the help of ‘the power of judgement in beholding’ (anschauende Urteilskraft) can perceive the ideas directly within the objects – just as this was possible for Goethe.
Such a transformation of the character of his thinking leads the human being to a metamorphosis of his own self, and ultimately also of his own species. And it is for this, above all, that anthroposophy provides a basis in method. It shows how humanity through the course of a long evolution has, in a certain sense, arrived at a threshold and also a point of crisis, in which it becomes evident that the creative forces of abstract thinking are exhausted. This crisis can be overcome and the threshold crossed by each single individual only if he is able to transform the quality of his thinking through the forces of a strengthened ‘I’-consciousness.
This metamorphosis leads the human being to freedom. For this reason he can only realize it himself in full independence – in contrast to the evolutionary metamorphoses of the past, thanks to which he first became an upright, then a speaking and finally a rational being (homo sapiens), and in which he was carried by nature and by the general cultural development.
On this path the methodology of anthroposophy will provide invaluable help. This methodology can become the single unifying methodology of all modern sciences, as it describes the unitary sensible-supersensible reality. The subjective side of the methodology is expressed in the fact that its own reality arises only insofar as it is realized through each individual human subject, corresponding to the transformation of consciousness he has achieved individually. It assumes a special form in each human being. In order to master it, an assimilation of it in the form of knowledge is not enough: it needs to be learnt through practice. Theory and practice of this methodology have been given in the best and at the same time the simplest form by Rudolf Steiner in his ‘Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity)’.
G. A. Bondarev’s book contains, therefore, a complete structural analysis of this work, in which Rudolf Steiner presents the fundamentals of his theory of knowledge. Thinking takes place in the ‘Philosophy of Freedom’ (Spiritual Activity) through the movement of sevenfold metamorphosis. A living experience of this thought structure constitutes the practical part of the methodology of anthroposophy.
- (Translated from a description of the German edition by Graham Rickett)
I am forwarding some posts that I made a couple
of weeks ago to the Yahoo "Anthroposophical
Methodology" e-group. This is a private
e-group, but since all these posts are mine, I
feel free to put them into the public domain.
You see, I went fishing for some criticism, but
I didn't catch any.
In his new book, Key to Life, he provides a sketch of the important yet underrated work, The Philosophy of Freedom, by 19th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.
PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 05, 2010 – Some philosophy books need a companion guide so that non-philosophy types can read, understand and enjoy the work as much as those who are scholars of the field. Author Iddo Oberski has done just that. In his new book, Key to Life, he provides a sketch of the important yet underrated work, The Philosophy of Freedom, by 19th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Key to Life will help new readers make sense of the essential ideas of Steiner’s book and prepare them for working through the detailed account itself.
Steiner’s book delves into the age-old question of freedom of will and one key strand in his approach is the experiential exploration of the nature of thinking. Topics such as this can often be difficult to understand when written by an academic for an academic audience. Grasping the key ideas in Oberski’s book Key to Life will inspire readers to dive into Steiner’s book and read it without encountering major obstacles. Pick up your copy of Key to Life today so that you, too, can understand and truly appreciate Steiner’s 19th-century book about the philosophy of freedom.
Key to Life (ISBN: 978-1-60911-865-5) will be available August 3, 2010 for $10.95 and can be ordered through the publisher’s Web site: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/KeyToLife.html
Or at www.amazon.com or http://search.barnesandnoble.com
About the Author:
First-time author Iddo Oberski is originally from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is now a lecturer at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Throughout his studies in neurobiology, primatology and education, he always thought that a real knowledge of the human being was possible. In Steiner’s book, he felt he finally got some answers.
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Mon, 09/13/2010 - 2:39pm.
Wibke Reinstein is one of the choices in this “Rudi-Quiz” which appears on the back page of the latest newsletter of the Youth Seminar in Stuttgart, Germany. (a kind of Foundation Year Study in Anthroposophy)
In what I write next in my journal no one should think that I am not intimately familiar with these imbalances in the spiritual development of the ego. I know them well - too well in point of fact - having succumbed to them more than once. From another point of view, these often appear as various degrees of hubris.
If such excesses result in experiences that wake us up, they are a benefit ... if not, obviously then we are a danger to ourselves and others.
The problem comes in large part because of the existence of "talent". All of us have various kinds of "gifts", which we have not so much earned, but possess as an aspect of the Creation and the normal differentiation (individuality) that goes along with this process. We are not all alike in any number of ways, and we can observe this in many phenomena. One person is more easily able to make friends. Another has hands that with less effort can sculpt clay. A third has an ear for music, and can remember heard tunes and verses with accurate ease.
Rudolf Steiner was hugely talented. Our comparative mind tends to make us think that this makes him better than us, which is true in a little way (obviously we are all better at some things, and not so good at others). In the larger scheme of things, such gifts are also a burden, because in Steiner's case, he had to live a life of "separation", mostly due to the fact that others could not find a right relationship to his "talent" and elevated him to the level of a minor deity out of their own confusion.
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Sat, 09/04/2010 - 12:07pm.
Ladies and gentlemen of the PoF blog and the entire Steiner Internet Multiverse!
Before I proceed with my revelations of such a world historic magnitude as I promised, I would first like to reassure you all that my posting here is ultimately aimed at pointing out the sometimes subtle fallacy of metaphysical realism expounded by many anthroposophists as we read in Chapter 10 of PoF.
We learn in anthroposophy that Rudolf Steiner gave a kind of generic reincarnational “rule of thumb” stating that human being would usually incarnate twice during a Post-Atlantean epoch (2,160 years), once as a man and the other as a woman. (Man being the karma of woman and woman the karma of man as described in a lecture May 26, 1910 GA 120 http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ManfKarma/19100526p01.html
However, he also stated that in times of great upheaval and transformation, nodal points in our evolution, that the rule could be superseded and high initiates would reincarnate rather more frequently than once a millennium. But in addition to this special phenomenon he also spoke of a certain lofty being called a Bodhisattva, who is on his/her journey to become the next Buddha, i.e. the Maitreya Buddha. Using very approximate dates, we have the previous Bodhisattva becoming Gautama Buddha, ca. 600 BC. 5,000 years from that takes us to 4400 AD and the mid-point is 1900 AD, which Steiner refers to as the end of Kali Yuga, itself a 5,000 year span. Timeline here:
Kali Yuga start---------------------------------Kali Yuga end///////////////////////// 3100 BC-----------------600 BC--------------1900 AD ----------------4400 AD
///////////////////////////Gautama B.-------------------------------------Maitreya B.
The “rule” for this particular Bodhisattva being is that he/she reincarnates once every century, for a total of [ (7 x 7) + 1 ] = 50 incarnations to make the 5,000 year Buddha bonanza.
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Wed, 09/01/2010 - 4:24pm.
Let me introduce you the greatest rising super-star in the anthroposophical firmanent today and demonstrate his commitment to the Philosophy of Freedom. His name is Sebastian Gronbach. He lives in Cologne (Koeln) Germany and his book Missionen: Geist bewegt – alles! (Missions: Spirit Moves --- Everything!) has been published by the prestigious anthroposophical house Verlag Freies Geistesleben.
He is a 40 year old 3rd generation Anthro --- whose grandpappy knew Steiner --- who has taken not only the German anthroposophical world by storm, but more importantly he’s “cracking the cult barrier,” as it were, and driving Steiner’s ideas public and mainstream.
Submitted by Tom Last on Thu, 08/26/2010 - 10:11am.
I am working on the Chapter 3 video and came up with this list of questions answered in Chapter 3.
3-1 How does the observation of thought compare to the observation of other things? 3-2 How does thought compare to feeling? 3-3 How does thinking compare to our thinking personality? 3-4 How does the observation of thought compare to the observation of present thinking? 3-5 How does knowing our thought compare to knowing other things? 3-6 How does a thought process compare to brain activity? 3-7 How certain are we of our thoughts compared to other things? 3-8 How does thinking about thought compare to thinking about other things? 3-9 How does the creation of thought compare to creating other things? 3-10 How does unconscious thought influence the observation of thought compared to its influence when we observe other things? 3-11 How does the study of thought compare to the study of consciousness? 3-12 How can I be certain whether my thought is right or wrong?
Submitted by Tmasthenes on Wed, 08/25/2010 - 2:30pm.
Ladies and gentlemen of the English speaking Steiner Internet Universe.
Through all my 34 years of anthropoposhy, I knew deep down in my cozy Gemuet that it would be my destiny as mild-mannered reporter for a great Akasha Chronicle to break the story of identifying Rudolf Steiner in his long-awaited next incarnation in the 21st century. And here is that story.
Submitted by Tom Last on Thu, 08/05/2010 - 3:55pm.
Goethe writes to Jacobi: “God has punished you with metaphysics and set a thorn in your flesh, but has blessed me, on the other hand, with physics."
What Goethe wants to see is the essential being of things that expresses itself within his world of ideas. The mystic also wants to know the essential being of things by immersing himself in his own inner being; but he rejects precisely that innately clear and transparent world of ideas as unsuitable for attaining higher knowledge.
The mystic believes he must develop, not his capacity for ideas, but rather other powers of his inner being, in order to see the primal ground of things. Usually it is unclear feelings and emotions in which the mystic wants to grasp the essential being of things. But feelings and emotions belong only to the subjective being of man. In them nothing is expressed about the things. Only in ideas do the things themselves speak.
Mysticism is a superficial world view, in spite of the fact that the mystics are very proud of their “profundity” compared to men of reason. The mystics know nothing about the nature of feelings, otherwise they would not consider them to be expressions of the essential being of the world; and they know nothing about the nature of ideas, otherwise they would not consider them shallow and rationalistic.
Mystics have no inkling of what people who really have ideas experience in them. But for many people, ideas are in fact mere words. They cannot acquire for themselves the unending fullness of their content. No wonder they feel their own word husks, which are devoid of ideas, to be empty.
--Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science, XVIII Goethe's World View in his Aphorisms in Prose
It is with some reluctance that I take up this next task, and were it not for the love I feel for Rudolf Steiner and his legacy, I’d not bother. His work was meant for modern humanity, and the clear fact is that the activities of the General Anthroposophical Society in the 20th Century failed to deliver on that promise. Steiner’s The Philosophy of Freedom is still unknown in the modern University (and among the members and friends as a followed practice). Goethean Science is not recognized even by the Goethe Institute, nor widely studied in the Anthroposophical Society. And, the membership, in terms of numbers, remains tragically small and stagnant.
The problem - such as there can be described a problem - is that the impulse to Anthroposophy is still incarnating. It is “in process”, and we mis-conceive this impulse if we think that with Steiner the whole “process” was brought to a state of finish. Others must participate in this work which from the beginning was to require centuries to unfold (Steiner said something on the order of 400 years).
Submitted by Tom Last on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:18pm.
(2:31) A short discussion about the value of grasping the concept of the free spirit that is presented in the Philosophy of Freedom. This is a test recording with Tom Last and Joel Wendt to explore the idea of producing audio recordings of people discussing the Philosophy of Freedom. I edited the 15 minute recording to remove pauses, stuttering, nonsensical rambling and ended up with 2 minutes and then speeded it up to remove the slow talking.
Submitted by Tom Last on Thu, 07/08/2010 - 2:56pm.
The description of everyday thinking in this post sounds like an example of part 4 in the What Is Knowing? series: LIVING THE UNREFLECTIVE LIFE. A good way to learn about thinking is to observe someone who has undergone training in pure thinking; such as an Engineer, Scientist, or Computer Programmer. -Tom
BLOG: Are you a Romantic?
The Inside of Everything by Jeff Carreira
“Does not the world produce thinking in the heads of men with the same necessity (that) it produces the blossom from a plant?” Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom
In my post called Out of My Head I described a spiritual experience I had in which my seat of awareness seemed to “fall” out of my head and float freely in space. From that vantage point it became clear to me that my mind was a thought producing machine. Thoughts and feelings spontaneously arise in mind and their arising stimulates the arising of other thoughts and feelings, and so on, and so on. What I have thought of as the “act of thinking” is merely my observation of the spontaneous generation of thoughts.
James commented saying that he found this idea fascinating. He then posed the question that if it’s true that “I don’t think thoughts; they just spontaneously arise in the mind” then what is thinking? By “thinking” I mean what seems to be the deliberate, focused, process aimed at understanding something. Would you say that thinking also arises spontaneously?
We walk into a room and the room contains a plant. As we go into the room and the plant comes into our awareness particular thoughts are stimulated in our brain. Maybe we are in a friend’s house and the sight of the plant stimulates a thought to pop out of our own mind that reminds us that we need to water the plants in our own house. Maybe the sight of the plant pops a thought in our mind that we should buy a plant for our mother for her upcoming birthday. Are we thinking these thoughts? Can we really take credit for them? Thinking when seen this way is not an activity that we engage in, but a growth process that we witness.
Are “we” thinking? Or is thinking happening and we are watching it happen? Let us say that right now I ask you to deliberately think about what you had for breakfast. Watch how you “think”?
When I posed that question to myself just now initially I was blank. The raising of the question wasn’t enough stimuli to make me remember what I had for breakfast this morning. But just asking it did remind me of eating an English muffin recently for breakfast, but that memory was quickly followed by a thought that I had the English muffin yesterday not today. Then I “deliberately” turned my attention to an inner image of the breakfast table where I thought that I had had breakfast this morning. The image of the breakfast table brought into my mind stimulated a thought that I had eaten breakfast with a friend this morning sitting in the grass. Then I deliberately pictured myself and the friend sitting together and that image stimulated an image of the fruit, cheese and coffee that we were having for breakfast together. This all happened in the blink of an eye and I wasn’t even totally aware of my part it in it, but it is fairly accurate of how I “remembered” what I had for breakfast.
If you examine what I have just described you won’t find me “producing” any thoughts directly. What I actually do is call to mind memories in the form of images or past thoughts of different things that are related to the thought I want to have appear. Then I allow those memories to stimulate thoughts until the right one pops out. I keep doing this until I “see” that the thought I was looking for has been produced.
Submitted by John Ralph on Wed, 07/07/2010 - 5:44am.
What would John Dewey and Rudolf Steiner have said to one another about education?
Although they were contemporaries, they never met. Jacque Ensign (Department of Education Studies, University of Virginia) has concocted a lively fictional conversation about education between John Dewey and Rudolf Steiner here, courtesy of the ever-surprising online anthroposophical journal from Argentina, The Southern Review.
Jacque Ensign writes:
John Dewey and Rudolf Steiner were contemporaries who each launched radical worldwide educational approaches: Progressivism and Waldorf schools. Each wrote and spoke about his philosophy and formulated concrete ways to put it into practice in schools. Steiner wrote over sixty books and 6,000 essays, lectures, and articles. Dewey was such a prolific writer that whole books have been published as Dewey bibliographies. In many respects, Dewey and Steiner differed greatly in their philosophies and methods, but they also shared some common premises about education. With many professional parents sending their children to Waldorf schools, it is time to look at Waldorf education from a Deweyan perspective.Read on…
Submitted by Tom Last on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 8:43am.
Rudolf Steiner sews together a variety of views in The Philosophy of Freedom. I want to produce a new video series that goes through the book that would be good enough to be recommended by a lot of people. I have looked at crude animation and other forms of presentation.
Steiner collected the views of others. Most the views in POF are probably on an online video somewhere. These videos could be found and fit together with commentary to produce a new version of POF, a POF movie. It wouldn't be of value for thought-training but it could convey the ideas in POF which would clear up a lot of misrepresentations about anthroposophy. Any ideas?