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A READER'S JOURNAL
Jeshu ben Pandira, GA# 909
Who Prepared the Way for an Understanding of the Christ Impulse

by
Rudolf Steiner
Two Lectures in Leipzig in 1911
Published by Anthroposophic Press in 1942
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©1998

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These two lectures are devoted to answering the following question which Steiner posed in the opening of the first lecture:

[page 2] Can even the ordinary person, possessed of no clairvoyant capacity, observe something in the soul, experience something, which bears a relationship to the higher realms?

To answer this question Steiner points to three soul-aspects of our lives that exist outside the physical world. These are our conceptual life, our emotional life, and our impulses of will. These components of our soul life are invisible, are apart from our sensory inputs, and are independent of each other while closely tied together. Our conceptual or thought life is available to us during our waking life, but goes away when we fall asleep. He says that "concepts unaccompanied by emotions weary us" - this explains why I find it difficult to read heavy conceptual material at night, often falling asleep while reading it. On the other hand, Steiner says "that which strongly affects our feelings prevents us from falling asleep." That's the novel that causes powerful emotions to rise in you - not a good one to read yourself to sleep with; go for the dry conceptual tomes for that.

Jeffrey Graham, in a post to ISBC wrote about the Internet,

Sometimes you forget just how powerful this medium is because you're so busy trying to exploit it. My recent posting Re: Management Consulting hit a nerve, if one can believe the mail that I have received. That posting was a "throw away" posting. I use that term in the sense that I responded only because it triggered an emotional reaction within me. On some occasions, I speak from knowledge and experience. On some occasions, I speak from the heart. It continues to amaze me that speaking from the heart always has a greater impact on other people.

What Jeffrey did was to wake people up, to arose their emotions and that led to their responding to his post. In this non-anthroposophical person we find a clear description of and understanding of the differences between the two soul components of concepts and emotions.

Does it seem strange to say that our thoughts, feelings, and will impulses are super-sensible? Here's how Steiner describes this important tenet of spiritual science:

[page 8] Thoughts cannot be seen. We see the rose bush at first by means used in ordinary physical perception; but, when the beholder turns aside or goes away, the image of the object remains in him. He does not see the object but he can form a mental image of it. That is, our thought life is something supersensible. Completely supersensible are our emotions; and our will impulses, although they are transmuted into actions, are none the less something supersensible. But we know at once likewise, when we take into consideration everything which has now been said, that our thought life not permeated by will impulses is least closely connected with us.

Thoughts can lead us no further than into the astral world [See ARJ Spiritual Beings] , in its Spiritual Hierarchies Table , Kingdom 1 under [human participation].] Our feelings or aesthetic ideals can lead us into a relationship with the Lower Devachan, and our will or moral impulses can lead us into one with the Upper Devachan. If one ponders the Table, one comes to understand that the cosmic time periods that separate us from the Vulcan stage of human evolution are bridged immediately in the moment that we exercise our will impulses, for that act brings us into a relationship with the Upper Devachanic world. Our standing in front a beautiful work of art that grabs our attention and evokes our aesthetic feelings, brings us into a here and now relationship with the Venus stage of our future human evolution, which will only come many eons from now. Likewise when we ponder a mathematical equation or try to decipher a problem in quantum physics, we are brought into a relationship with the astral world that will exist in the future as the Jupiter stage of human evolution, our next evolutionary step. From these considerations one can come to understand how it is possible for a human being to place oneself in any of the epochs of our evolution from the primeval epoch of old Saturn to the farthest future epoch of Vulcan.

Steiner says that our relationship with these four worlds means that we have a relationship with the beings of these four worlds. One would readily agree that we have a relationship with beings of the first world, the physical world. The beings of the other three worlds are shown on the HUMAN row of the Table . They are Astral - Angels, Lower Devachanic - Archangels, and Upper Devachanic - Archai. Paraphrasing Steiner slightly on page 17, "One escapes from being a materialist by comprehending that the higher worlds exist even when we cannot see them in a sensible manifestation but must evolve up to them in order to behold them."A child in grammar school will believe that high school exists even though the child has never been to high school. The higher worlds exist similarly for us humans who exist on the physical plane of earth and have never been up to the higher worlds, up until now.

In the early 1980's I took two courses in Volitional Science from Dr. Andrew J. Galambos in which I came to understand the principle of freedom that he originated would lead to the condition where every intellectual person who became fully aware of the principle would become perforce a moral person. Coming from a purely materialistic point of view, Dr. Galambos expounded his principles in an exquisite form of spiritual activity that matched with the basic principles expounded by Rudolf Steiner in his Philosophy of Freedom, which he preferred to have titled Philosophy of Spiritual Activity for his American readers. Those who have taken the same courses in Volitional Science, V50 and V201, would have to agree with Rudolf Steiner's statement below, made in a lecture he some fifty years before Dr. Galambos created his courses:

[page 21] And, whereas it is still entirely possible today that a person may be very keen intellectually but immoral, we are approaching a time when it will be impossible for any one to be at the same time intellectually shrewd and immoral. It will be impossible for mental shrewdness and immorality to go hand in hand.

As powerful as Dr. Galambos's ideas are, there is a danger that his principles may be applied monistically and materialistically and fade away in a couple of generations. Steiner warns us of a weakening of the will that faces anyone "who takes over a materialism ready-made"or " who merely associates himself with these theories." He says:

[page 27] By means of a monistic and materialistic world view it is possible to maintain only two generations of person with strong wills. Materialism can satisfy just two generations: the one that founded the conception and the pupils who have received it from the founders.

Matherne's Rule #12 says: From now on, EAT-O-TWIST! You'll never get over it. EAT-O-TWIST is an acronym for Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. If that sounds fatalistic, it's not any more so than if you were to visualize a new house, contract an architect, give the plans to a builder, and then stand before the completed house that looks just the way you supposed it would look beforehand. With the phenomenon of karma we have only to place the various stages of the execution of the plan over possibly several lifetimes, so that you currently are living in a lifetime where you have no doubt forgotten about the things you did in a previous lifetime, and that it is your task to undergo the undoing of in this lifetime. Paying off your karmic debt, put simply. Or read how Steiner puts it for us:

[page 23] What is the meaning of making karma a real content of life? This means that - not merely as a theory but in a living way - when our own sorrow or the sorrow of another comes to us, when we experience joy or the heaviest blow of fate, we shall really be fully aware that, in a certain higher sense, we ourselves have given the occasion for this painful blow of fate; that is, the development of such a mood as to accept an experience of joy with gratitude, but also to be clearly aware, especially in regard to joy [which we should view] as a gift of God and to say to ourselves: The joy which comes to meet us today ought to kindle in us the will to work in such a way as to take into ourselves the forces streaming to us through this joy, and to apply these usefully. We must look upon joy as a sort of prepayment on account of the future.

That is, we should look upon occasions of joy as an opportunity to improve our future lifetime by storing up future experiences of joy as surely as during our past lifetimes we stored up a karmic debt of suffering. Our evolution to the next level is dependent on our learning this basic lesson of karma.




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