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A READER'S JOURNAL
Jung & Steiner
The Birth of A New Psychology
Foreword by Robert Sardello
Published by Anthroposophic Press/NY in 2002
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2004
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About fifteen years before I encountered Rudolf Steiner I had been reading and studying the works of Carl Gustav Jung. I was impressed by the scope of his research and his writings. I took a class in painting mandalas from a Sufi named Vera who came to New Orleans. I later gave classes teaching mandalas to college art students. My wife and I have a collection of mandala drawings which can be painted in with colored markers. We have used these often in weekend labs as a meditation and self-knowledge device. I read Gerhard Wehr's biography of Jung in 1990 and many other works by and about Jung (1) . Through my journeys into discovery of Jung's work, I came at last to a startling conclusion, one that was completely unexpected to the physicist me at the time: the reality of the psyche. Those five words can hardly express the impact that discovery had on me. I trembled, I felt the shaking of the foundations of my world view, and I held on for dear life as the skyscraper walls of my carefully constructed abstract concepts of the world came tumbling down. Inside of me was a real, living psyche like a living vine growing out of the dead vase which had hidden it, up until now (2).
I owe an enormous debt to Jung who cleared the view of my spiritual horizon and prepared me for the next great encounter in my life, with Rudolf Steiner. My path to Steiner was much more tortuous than my path to Jung, and equally fruitful. My first impression of Rudolf Steiner was a recondite author of a few obscure books on the bottom shelf of the Golden Leaves Bookstore. The proprietor's method of stocking her bookstore was if someone ordered a book from her, she would order an extra copy for the shelf. I bought a couple of the Steiner books and tried to read them. Couldn't do it. What he said made no sense to me. I put the books on my shelf and years later tried again. I managed to finish one or two and since I had by the time begun reviewing books as I finished reading them, the reviews of those early books are available. They are short, terse, and show little insight into Steiner's work for the very good reason that I still didn't know what he was talking about actually. I had been reading lectures he gave to audiences who were familiar with the foundations of his work. Me, I was wandering in a new wilderness without a guide. When the Internet started up, I found a group of people who were familiar with Steiner's work and they directed me to his basic works and I began to read them in earnest and I found that what I had been searching for during all those hours I had spent in bookstores of all kinds was what Steiner was writing about the reality of the spiritual world. He had actually gone further than Jung and I was ready to follow along his path. My reading and reviewing of Steiner's works are too numerous to outline here, except to point you to my books, A Reader's Journal, Volume I and Volume II. Volume I was available for a short time in hardback, and since then both volumes have been available on-line. Volume I has the short reviews and Volume II has detailed and longer reviews. (As of 2012, I have read and reviewed over 186 Steiner Books.)
With that prologue, I can explain why this book by Gerhard Wehr is such an important book to me: he ties together the works of Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner. This pulling together of the two is something I had been doing in my own mind over the years as I read Steiner's works. I could begin to discern some of the connections, but wondered if anyone would agree with me on them. As I began to read the book, I found the confirmation I had sought, first in Robert Sardello's Foreword, then in Hans Erhard Lauer's Lectures, and then in Gerhard Wehr's comprehensive comparing and contrasting of Jung and Steiner works.
Wehr is amply suited to the task of tying together the work of these two men. He wrote the definitive biography of Carl Jung and is a student of the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner, anthroposophy. The importance of Wehr's work is accentuated by the presence of the Foreword by Robert Sardello who has innovated a "Spiritual Psychology" which embraces the works of both Jung and Steiner and the three lectures by Han Erhard Lauer in which he looks at the answers to the riddles of the soul as given by Jung and Steiner.
To the first sentence of Robert Sardello's Foreword, I can say Amen!
[page 7] Psychology is vastly misunderstood in our time.
Until I discovered, with Jung's help, the reality of the psyche, I vastly misunderstood the field of psychology. I thought it was about understanding concepts. Too many, far too many for the good of our society, psychologists are out in the world, working after having received degrees with their abstract concepts intact, and one can easily discern in world events the disastrous effects of their feeble attempts to administer to a psyche about whose reality they haven't a clue, up until now.
[page 7] Psychology is vastly misunderstood in our time. It is regarded either as a therapeutic endeavor or as a rather meaningless scientific discipline that tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to model itself after the physical sciences.
A model is an abstract concept it lives solely in the mind. Like an architect's model of a new building, it can be useful for bringing the products of the architect's mind to fruition. But it cannot help us to experience the architect who stands before us as a human being! The difference between the architect's model and the architect is the difference between a psychology of abstract concepts and a psychology which acknowledges the reality of the psyche. Sardello thanks both Jung and Steiner for their unique contributions to achieving this infusion of reality into the field of psychology.
[page 7] Thanks to Jung, the field has been ennobled, and the word "psychology" has been somewhat restored as the discipline of the soul. A true discipline is far more than an academic area of interest. One takes up a discipline, enters it one becomes it. It then becomes a way of knowing oneself and knowing the world.
[page 7, 8] Thanks to Steiner, the possibility exists of taking this discipline of the soul and placing it within the context of understanding the place and work of the human being in the whole cosmos. The kind of psychology that could come from working through the whole of Jung and Steiner in an inner, experiential way is a practical psychology. It is not confined to the therapy office but is rather the work of living a conscious soul life.
If it seems to you that I devoted a lifetime of study to Jung and Steiner, you are right. And Sardello says that they are both worth a lifetime of study.
[page 7, 8] Both Jung and Steiner have given us a cosmology within which we can see ourselves soulfully. That is why both are worth lifetimes of study. We should not make our task easy by considering these two individuals as only providing systems that agree in certain ways and diverge in others. Nor should we try to simply determine which one to follow. Both decried followers, but hoped to see independent workers inspired by their efforts.
Carl Jung said to an associate that he could never be a "Jungian", referring to what certain of his followers called the field they saw him creating. Jung was an iconoclast he broke traditions, broke new ground, he led, he didn't follow, not even himself. Rudolf Steiner admonished his audiences time after time to ascertain for themselves the truth of what he talked about. One need only look at the various Jungian and anthroposophical societies to see the effect or lack thereof of Jung and Steiner's admonitions.
In my blissful youth I blithely skipped over such folderol as Prefaces, Forewords, Introductions, Appendices, and Notes. Those of you similarly blessed will save yourself about a hundred or so pages of reading in this 336 page book. (Of course you will be similarly blessed with a shallow view of the book.) This next passage will tell you some of what you missed by skipping Sardello's 24-page Foreword. He refers to Wehr's "synoptic" method in this book by which he, instead of comparing and contrasting Jung and Steiner's words, he "sets the core meaning of each beside the other." And "Out of the tension something new comes into being."
[page 9] Jung & Steiner, for all its merits, does not push this method as far as it could. In this introduction, I want to push it even further to begin to show the outlines of a new psychology, a spiritual psychology that emerges from holding the tension of the opposites of depth psychology and Anthroposophy (3) without seeking resolution.
Sardello tells us that the central element which can join depth psychology and anthroposophy is "the image of the Grail" which is the core myth at the center of the two fields. What is important is that the Grail is seen as an individual quest that one undertakes. One cannot be a follower when one is on a Grail quest, which lead us to Sardello's admonition:
[page 10] But unless their endeavors are seen as quests, each of these two very strong conceptions of the human future is bound to gather dogmatic disciples.
Both Jung and Steiner wrote an autobiography, and Sardello tells us how different the two biographies are.
[page 11, 12] Jung is characterized by an innerness without which dedication to soul life is impossible. His whole autobiography is written as an inner biography, an entirely new form of biography, a memoir of the soul. Steiner's biography, on the other hand, is completely external, so objective that it is downright dull. It belongs to the genre of esoteric spiritual biographies where it is not uncommon for the writer to speak of his own life in the third person. So here is one tension to hold: soul as inwardness, spirit as being out in the world.
Sardello likens Jung and Steiner as two suns. Jung's sun is the imaginal one and Steiner's sun allows us to "apply this imagination to the forming of the world."
[page 13, 14] In the past the experience of two suns signified extreme danger. Like Pentheus, one might go off the deep end. The right capacities must be formed. We cannot jump into this kind of consciousness. We need to undergo the throes of transformation, and the way to go about radical change of capacities is found in the written work of Jung and Steiner. Their writing is completely unlike other writing. You can't go through it and come out the same. However, they need to be read together or in tandem, and read with the whole of one's being, not just through the intellect.
In other words, if you don't read with the whole of your being, you are trying to understand the architect by examining his model with your mind. A model goes in one's mind like water goes into a vase. The vase holds the water in it in the shape of the vase. That's the intrinsic nature of content it takes on the shape of the container which holds it. A follower of Jung or Steiner is like a vase holding their works in the follower's shape. To be considered as process, one must incorporate what is taken within and change as a result of its ingestion, as when a dehydrated runner takes in fresh water and springs to life once more. The runner does not hold the water as content, but rather absorbs it into her body and changes thereby. What distinguishes the inanimate vase from the animate runner is the ability the runner has to incorporate water into her being. Similarly the animate runner is able to incorporate "different worlds of consciousness spirits, angels, gods" into her soul and be changed thereby.
[page 15] Soul is not a container of contents but the inherent capacity for perceiving spiritual realities. We are soul and spiritual beings, not beings with a soul and a spirit. . . . We are like harps, sounding when the beings of the soul and spiritual worlds sound.
To understand the soul and spirit as process and not content means that one has no easy way of distinguishing the two. Content we can distinguish easily we merely describe the difference in the sensory data between the two contents. Water and alcohol might look the same in a vase, but one will smell distinctly different. Spirit and soul are best understood as processes for which we have no sensory data to distinguish them. Sardello explains how this makes it difficult to define soul and spirit easily:
[page 16] Everywhere I have taught for the past fifteen years, someone inevitably asks me to define soul and spirit and tell how they differ. Such a question goes nowhere because it shifts something known and felt to the level of the ordinary intellect, where it cannot be answered. The question assumes that there is some way out of the confusion other than finding deeper ways into the question's substance.
Now we are in a position to talk about Jung and Steiner vis-à-vis "archetype" and their different understanding of the term. Sardello tells us how by pulling the two together, he is able to form his spiritual psychology.
[page 17] Jung seals soul off from the world and unwittingly promotes self-absorption. Taken alone, Steiner's perspective leads to a literalizing, unimaginative, sometimes manic working to bring practical endeavors of a spiritual nature into the world, expecting that artistic endeavors, rather than conscious soul work, will answer the soul's needs. When we hold both the spirit and soul perspectives together, we have spiritual psychology.
And he is able to give the best, in the sense of the most concise, way of distinguishing soul and spirit using the process aspects of Self, soul, and spirit. In the diagram at right I have shown how Jung's processes of Self and soul relate to Steiner's processes of "I" and spirit.
[page 17] The Self can be imagined as soul at the border of spirit. The "I" can be imagined as spirit at the border of the soul.
There was one area where Jung stayed out of the realm of content in his work, and that was in his understanding of what an archetype was. At least he never admitted any differently in his writings. I came across a piece in a news item somewhere a couple of years ago, perhaps after Sardello wrote the words below. It quoted a close friend of Jung's who said that, a couple of years before his death, Jung had admitted to him privately that "archetypes are spiritual beings" but said he had been afraid to say so publicly. What Jung did to strengthen his claims for the archetypes was to build on the solid scientific foundation of Kant's epistemology. That limited Jung to speaking of the phenomenal world and blocked him from speaking about the noumenon. He was left to describe transcendent reality with what Sardello calls, "the truth within."
[page 20] This is why Jung posited the existence of the archetypes but would never say anything of their reality beyond what could be said "psychologically."
On the other hand, Steiner makes it clear that he speaks of spiritual beings and that archetypes in Jung's sense are ways of talking about a spiritual reality.
[page 20] Steiner does have a clear notion of the transcendent and goes after it with incredible descriptive capacities along with an accuracy of observation equal to that of any scientist.
It was exactly his ability to describe spiritual realities as a scientist that endeared Steiner to me and kept me coming back for more and more until I began to perceive the reality that he describes in his works. Soon the reality he described became for me a better way to understand both the spiritual and the material worlds. Over the years I have found that what he calls "spiritual science" meshes completely with "materialistic science" without contradicting it one whit!
And yet, without Jung's contribution, Sardello discerns that Steiner's spiritual science turns into dogma. What is this added something that Jung's work provides?
[page 20, 21] This is where Jung comes in as absolutely necessary. He shows how to find the way into and inhabit the interior of thing. Without Jung, I propose, Anthroposophy becomes the dogmatic application of the ideas of a remarkable individual without inner understanding.
Since I came to Steiner after immersing myself in Jung, I must exempt myself from an ability to judge what might have happened had I come to Steiner first. But I tend to agree with his proposal above. I have certainly seen ample indications that way too few anthroposophists are able to bring the processes of Jung to an understanding of the insights of Steiner. Many views held by anthroposophists have turned my stomach over when I heard them. It was to me as if their center of gravity was displaced, as if one of the horses were missing from their two-horse chariot and they were going in circles and unaware of that fact. If you try to straighten out the path of someone going in circles, you will disturb their momentum, and they will feel their stomachs turning over. Sardello noticed exactly such a thing happen.
[page 21] A number of years ago I spoke to a large gathering of Anthroposophists, introducing a basic view of spiritual psychology as being founded in Jung and Steiner. The address was met with little enthusiasm; in fact, I could hear a number of stomachs turning over.
In this next passage Sardello ingeniously points out the process nature of soul. He calls up the image of the vase that I used above as a container filled with water as a metaphor for a soul filled with images. That would be focusing exclusively on the content nature of soul, something he finds in Wehr's book. I find it amazing that Wehr allowed a critical review of his book to appear as its Foreword. It was a courageous act of soul on Wehr's part to include such a Foreword, indicating that he was searching for soul, using a soul process himself.
[page 21, 22] The problem of seeing soul in terms of the picture content of myths, memories, and stories is unfortunately perpetuated somewhat by Wehr, who often uses content-oriented language in his text. Speaking of the soul as having contents gives the impression of some kind of container filled with images. Yet soul, at least in part, concerns the act of picturing, not the picture contents. Myths too are not picture contents, but worlds of picturings; that is, if you take myths as still living. If myths are now completed and dead, then indeed all we have left are the corpses, the picture contents.
This next subject takes me to something I call "remember the future" which you can read about at Matherne's Rule #36: Remember the future. It hums in the present. Simply put, something happens in the present that signals you about a future event. The most common expression of this ubiquitous, but usually unacknowledged process, is what is known as "love at first sight." Until I discovered "remember the future", I didn't have any way to explain the process of love at first sight. If we are only able to remember things of the past, then love at first sight is unexplainable except as some accident. But if "remember the future" works, then when one meets for the first time a person who will become one's lifetime (or some significant portion thereof) companion, then one will pick up a feeling, an attraction, a humming if you will during that first meeting that would be otherwise unexplainable. Matherne's Rule #2: You never know until you find out is applicable here. Think about it: only after you have lived with the person for some time will you look back and recall that surge of feeling during your first meeting. And only when you do look back will you call it "love at first sight." You never know until you find out. The key is that the remember-the-future process is a feeling, not a thought. It is a process (something that happens inside of you) not a content (some thought that fills your mind). When you learn to recognize that hum that signals a long-time connection, whether it's with a future spouse, house, automobile, or vacation site, you can begin to make decisions based on what's best for you at some future time that you otherwise would have no information about. Most people when this humming occurs are too busy, calculating and figuring what's best, to notice the humming. The result is what's known in the retail business as buyer's remorse. If you're lucky you can take your purchase back for a full refund. Try doing that with eleven years of your life married to the wrong person, and yet know that those eleven years were a necessity for the person you were going to become.
Steiner said in his lectures entitled, Learning to See Into the Spiritual World:
[Page 38, Steiner] One must get used to feeling pain in one's soul when something is not right, and to finding that something that is correct gives one a spiritual joy.
This feeling of joy in one's soul, or attraction, or humming is what Sardello calls below, "the soul's apprehension of a time current from the future." Especially when it is a feeling of spiritual joy.
[page 22] Learning to imagine in terms of picturing rather than pictures is one of the most important things I have learned from Steiner. In his most profound work on the soul, A Psychology of Body, Soul, and Spirit, he describes how soul functions. Among the most significant aspects is the soul's apprehension of a time current from the future. This is the picturing act I am talking about. It does not concern a content, because the future coming toward us has no content. The moment it does have a content, it is necessarily from the past; this is a reflection occurring in the etheric body, where there is something like pictures from the past, both personal and archetypal. But this time current from the future is something real and actual. The future here concerns the possibilities of our being. While the notion sounds remote, it is not.
I have an example to show how this time current from the future works. I had trouble starting my car. I was told it was the transmission safety switch and all I had to do was put it into Neutral and the car would start. It worked that way for several months. One day, my friend, Brian, called and unexpectedly invited me to lunch. After lunch, my car wouldn't start, no matter what I did with the gear shift. I let Brian drive off and called AAA to tow my car to the dealer which was only 2 miles away. The tow, being under 3 miles, cost me nothing. I had the problem repaired and it turned out to be a defective ignition switch, which could have gotten me stranded far away from a dealer. Since I live well over 3 miles from the dealer, if it had happened in my garage or any of the other places I might have driven, it would have cost me something. But it happened on that one day that I was, by chance, within 2 miles of the dealer and cost me nothing. This time current was heading towards me, and Brian, without being conscious of it, selected the one place and time to meet that best matched the time current from the future of the ignition switch going bad.
It is important that you select friends who have a good sense of those time currents from the future, as it will make your world work better. If your world has a lot of kinks in it currently, you can usually find the kinks are coming many times from friends who have a lot of kinks in their world. It is not enough to get the kinks out of yourself to make your world work smoothly you need to move to those friends who have the least number of kinks in their world, because, just as they are part of your world, you are part of their world. Like Steiner said later in his lectures noted above:
[Page 39, Steiner] You must continually be spitting out what is bad, spiritually, if your spirit is to remain healthy.
From my research, I find that the "astral body of the soul" referred to in the passage below communicates with the soul by feelings and the "etheric body of the soul" communicates with the soul by pictures. This would explain the feeling-communication which I find accompanies the phenomena I call "remember the future."
[page 22, 23] Each act that we do is internally connected with the whole of our life and expresses itself as belonging to the whole. But much of that whole has not yet happened. This is the time current from the future, and in A Psychology of Body, Soul, and Spirit, Steiner calls this current the astral body of the soul. It is picturing in the process of coming-to-be. The life of the soul is being formed out of the whole of the cosmos: "astral" comes from a root meaning "star." This world is open, unfinished. The pictures as content memories, but also archetypal images are from the past, from what has already happened. Steiner speaks of this current as the etheric body of the soul. The pictures of the etheric body are completed, done. They are not necessarily dead and gone; they still live on but are closed to new meanings. I thus make a distinction between the soul's immersion in fate how we are shaped by the past and the soul's immersion in destiny how we are shaped from the future. Jung's psychology belongs more to the former, Anthroposophy more to the latter. Spiritual psychology works with both at once, but tries to be conscious of the difference.
To help sort all these concepts out, see the diagram below which arranges them in an easy-to-remember fashion. Note I use FATE to denote the intersection of the shaping from the past which Sardello calls "fate" and the shaping from the future which he calls "destiny".
Like Sardello, I wish to mine the valuable lectures by Hans Erhard Lauer which are included as an appendix. (Page 25) As a consequence, I skipped from page 25 to the lectures on pp 261 through 319 and read them before continuing with the Foreword. All told, I had read over a hundred pages of text before I reached the first words of Wehr's Preface:
[page 33] The rationale for a book like this cannot be given in a short or even a long preface. A work like this, which must be regarded as an experiment, has to be seen as part of a whole.
Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner were contemporaries both resided in Switzerland after Steiner moved to Dornach near Basil around 1913. For about a dozen years they lived only an hours train ride apart, and yet, so far as we know, neither met the other during their lifetimes. Given that each of these pioneers was teaching many of the same things, albeit under different names, it seems strange that their paths never crossed. Wehr explains the reason this way:
[page 36] The pioneer simply does not have the time and strength to pay proper attention to the apparent competitor; occasionally, his attitude is one of disregard or even condemnation. It is only too easy then for pupils and overeager disciples, remembering their master's "anathema," to consider the work of the assumed competitor inconsequential.
Clearly this happened on both the depth psychology side and on the anthroposophical side, and continues until today. Undoubtedly this work by Wehr, Sardello, and Lauer will reach many on both sides who will be given new impetus to broaden their parochial outlook from now on. It will provide a basis for the beginning of a factual dialogue.
[page 38] A factual dialogue between Anthroposophy and Jungian psychology has so far never been conducted. From the side of Anthroposophy there are only a few works that could contribute to such a dialogue. For the most part we have apologetic, critical remarks in which the author refers to Steiner's rejection of psychoanalysis and considers a serious study of the material to be superfluous. Representatives of the Jungian school have also shown little interest thus far in occupying themselves with the results of Steiner's work or any of his suggestions.
It is interesting that, even though there has been little in the way of factual dialogue, both sides have addressed similar issues, often with similar results.
This next fear reminds me of the fear that sailors in pre-Columbian times exhibited of "falling off the edge of the world" when sailing west into the Atlantic Ocean. Modern people have exhibited a similar fear when attempting to understand the human being while allowing themselves only the sensory-based sciences as their tools. The royal shipping lane aka via regia to the spiritual world is the unconscious, and it engenders fear along the way in those who possess the preconceived notion that if one proceeds too far, one will fall of the edge of the world.
[page 40] There is another fundamental problem to which Jung and Steiner both referred frequently a characteristic fear that seizes people when they are faced with the supersensible. "We are used to thought patterns founded on sense observation and experimentation, and we fear falling prey to nebulous, fantastic ideas when they are not anchored in what we can learn from our sense impressions, our way of measuring and weighing things." Steiner points out that people shy away from the complete rethinking that is required if one wants to attain accurate spiritual-scientific knowledge. "Out of unconscious fear they accuse Anthroposophy of being fantastic, when in reality Anthroposophy wants to proceed in the realm of the spirit just as cautiously as natural science does in the physical world."
Jung acknowledges the fear that appears in the face of the unconscious when he says: "Fear and resistance are the signposts that stand beside the via regia to the unconscious, and it is obvious that what they primarily signify is a preconceived opinion of the thing that they are pointing at."
When some kin folk arrive for a visit, we are familiar with them and welcome them we have no fear of them as we know what to expect from them. When a stranger or alien arrives, we do not know what to expect. Our welcome is tempered by caution, concern, and even fear. For moderns today, given their 600 years of inculcation into the ways of the materialistic world, with the concomitant alienation from the spiritual world, the fear of approaching the spiritual world has become quite great. Steiner does not minimize the fear, but points out that as any fear, the fear of the fear is greater than the fear of the thing itself. It is the fear of the unknown, the uncognized, and the cure is to cognize the thing that is unknown, the spiritual world.
[page 41] For modern people, estranged as we are from the supersensible world, this fear acquires a special significance. Steiner writes: "Before cognizing it, the spiritual world is something quite foreign to the soul. It has no attributes that the soul can experience in the sensory world." Therefore there are no safeguards, there is no possibility of confirming one's impressions as a scientist does in the sense world. "Thus the soul may find itself facing the spiritual world and see there only a complete 'nothing.' In this case, the soul feels as though it were looking into an endless, empty, deserted abyss. This feeling of facing the abyss a kind of dread actually exists in the depths of the soul. At first, the soul is unconscious of these depths. The soul feels only that this experience of dread is related to fear; and that it lives in this fear without knowing it." In this connection Steiner speaks of "materialism as a psychological phenomenon of fear" and sees in this an "important chapter in psychology."
Wehr quotes von Wiezsäcker as saying, "The key we have lost is precisely the key to the human being." Like in the Sufi story where Nasruddin is searching for the key on the ground outside his house and his friend comes to help him. "Exactly where did you drop the key, Nasruddin?" his friend finally asks. "Inside the house," Nasruddin replies. "Then why are you looking out here for it?" his friend asks incredulously. "Because out here there is more light." Nasruddin replies. Like Nasruddin in the story, we look for the key to the human being outside under the fluorescent lights of modern science where we claim there is more light when we need to be looking inside where we lost it.
Rudolf Steiner was born in the early days of the railroad and telegraph, two inventions that were shrinking the world faster than any invention before or since. His father worked in a railroad station using the telegraph, a scientific invention which fascinated young Rudolf, even though he had had visionary experiences from early childhood. The question which arose in Rudolf's mind was similar to one that beset my mind a century later as a physicist.
[page 53] The question arose in the young boy's mind that was to occupy him in the future: "How can one gain certainty of the reality of a spiritual world without denying the world in which the laws of modern natural science and technology prevail?"
Steiner from an early age had a atavistic clairvoyance, "a last remnant of an ancient clairvoyance". What was important was not his gift, but his "attitude toward the gift and what he did with it." He proceeded to cognize it or "to penetrate this mysterious phenomenon with clear understanding." He was like a Faraday of the spiritual world who instead of toying with electric and magnetic phenomena, found a way to put them to use.
Steiner writes in his autobiography:
[page 53] "My interest was drawn strongly toward the mechanical quality in that existence, and I realize that this interest always tended to obscure the deep bond of sympathy that my young heart felt with that charming and majestic natural world in which the train always subject to the mechanical disappeared in the distance."
This cartoon at right can be thought of as depicting Rudolf Steiner examining that vanishing point where the railroad train disappeared in the distance.
Carl Jung's father was a Protestant pastor and theologian, as was his uncle, but being in midst of such experts did not help Jung to get any answers to the questions he posed. He said, "everywhere in the realm of religious questions I encountered only locked doors." Who knows what lies behind the locked doors of dogma?
Recently I went fishing in the Hopedale Lagoon near my home. The man who handled the boat launch crane told me about a day he had gone fishing with his brother out in Lake Robin. They saw an incredible "hill in the middle of the lake." Curious, they drove the boat to that hill and when they arrived in the middle of the hill, they were surrounded by a huge school of black drum, very large, 40 pound-size, four-foot long drum. The drum surrounded their boat and they had to leave to keep from being pounded by the swirling frenzy of the large fish. From a distance they had seen a hill in the middle of the lake, something he claims never to have seen before or since. In the middle of the lake, it was the mass of schooling fish that had created the elevated height of water in the middle of the lake. I thought about this story when I read this next passage:
[page 60] A spiritual interpretation of the Bible also recognizes the image of the lake or the sea as the region whence Christ comes to meet his disciples when they see him walking on the water. "To the height of the lake" he sends them to cast their nets. The sea and the archetypal flood play important roles in many myths.
As I read about Steiner's elation with discovering geometry at a very early age, I searched my memory banks to see if I had any equivalent experience. I did not encounter Euclid's geometry per se until my tenth year of school, but I do remember taking apart a clock when I was about four or five years old and studying all its gears as I put it back together, cognizing how each must work. As I look back now, I realize that I was studying geometry in motion as a four-year-old.
Steiner was sent to a Technical School where one went to study science and technology, and Jung was sent to a Gymnasium for schooling in the liberal arts. Each man was able to balance the other side of his education at a later time. The liberal arts appealed to what Jung called his No. 2 personality and science to his No. 1 personality.
[page 66] Finally, Jung found in psychiatry the field where his number one and number two personalities could be reconciled. "Here alone the two currents of my interests could flow together and in a united stream dig their own bed. Here was the empirical field common to biological and spiritual fact, which I had everywhere sought and nowhere found. Here at last was the place where the collision of nature and spirit became reality."
Steiner's path was determined the day he discovered geometry.
[page 67] Mathematics remained significant for me as the foundation of my entire efforts for knowledge. After all, mathematics offers a system of mental images and concepts built up independently of all external sensory experience. Nevertheless, I repeatedly told myself that it is precisely these mental images and concepts that allow one to approach sensory reality and discover its inherent laws. One comes to know the physical world through mathematics, but to do this one must first let mathematics emerge from the human soul.
To understand this next quote, one needs to know that spiritualism was in vogue in Steiner's day séances where spirits came to tip tables and to present all kinds of sensory data were the rage and that this kind of sensory approach to the spiritual world turned him off because he could perceive the spiritual world directly and thus could see through the folly of spiritualism.
[page 68] Like Jung, Steiner was completely on his own in his search for truth. "No one wanted to hear about it. At most, someone would come forward with something spiritualistic; then I was the one who did not want to listen. To me, it seemed an absurd way to approach the spiritual."
Jung, on the other hand, embraced spiritualistic approaches and often participated in séances and similar phenomena. Which leads Wehr to comment:
[page 69] Here the contrast between Steiner and Jung apparently cannot be bridged. From Steiner's viewpoint, Jung seeks advice from people who are experimenting with atavistic soul forces, a method Steiner finds absurd. From Jung's standpoint, Steiner overvalues the rational function of thinking. Both these assertions, which are voiced from time to time by adherents of one camp or the other, miss the mark.
As befits their inner and external approaches to the world, Jung had an inner guide or guru he called Philemon, while Steiner discovered an external one via the "herb-gatherer Felix" who led him into an encounter with the "Master."
[page 70] "My Felix was only a messenger, so to speak, of another personality who used him as a means to stimulate in the soul of the youth [RJM: Steiner himself, referred to in the third person], standing as he was in the midst of the spiritual world, an interest in the regular, systematic things one has to know in the world."
In a paroxysm of cosmic irony, the wish Jung expressed in his biography for a real, live guru was easily within his grasp, only as far from him as from Küsnacht to Zürich at times.
[page 73] "In my darkness . . . I could have wished for nothing better than a real, live guru, someone possessing superior knowledge and ability, who would have disentangled for me the involuntary creations of my imagination."
That real, live guru was Rudolf Steiner. They were destined not to meet and one can only speculate why their meeting never happened.
[page 73] One must concede that a person with the knowledge and skill that Jung sought did exist, and was at work very nearby just at that time. He lectured in Zurich several times in those years, speaking about, among other things, Anthroposophy and psychology in 1917, before Jung's dark times came slowly to an end. But the potentially fateful encounter did not and could not occur. Apparently, their contrasting inner necessities spoke clearly in these two earthly lives, even though they were full of remarkable parallels. Perhaps an outer guru could not have been as effective as Jung's inner guru, who appeared to him at time to be "physically real." Who can judge?
Though they never met, Steiner admitted that psychoanalysis was "one way for people to emerge from materialism" and try "to reach some knowledge of the soul." He also commented in the same lecture on Jung, saying that while he himself was interested in the underlying reality, Jung focused on relieving the psychological suffering:
[page 83, Steiner] "Jung approaches the matter as a physician. It is important that patients are treated psychologically and therapeutically from that standpoint."
Steiner's negative comments about depth psychology or analytical psychology stem from the early stage of the field in 1917 (when Steiner was commenting on them in two of his lectures) more than any serious defect in the field. (Page 84) To his credit, "Steiner did grant that the psychoanalysts had overcome the starkest materialism by recognizing the existence of the psyche as real." (Page 89) As I mentioned earlier, this was the recognition I came to from my study of Jung's work (4).
In 1879 an event occurred that Steiner called the "fall of the spirits of darkness" or "fall of the dragon". This fall coincided with the beginning of the reign of the Archangel Michael whose job is to slay the dragon. This next passage by Wehr takes on mythic aspects when one recalls the story of Jason, who in his search for the Golden Fleece, must slay a dragon, collect its teeth, plow a field with a team of fearful oxen, plant the dragon teeth, and then slay the deadly monsters that grow out of the dragon teeth.
[page 89] Upon the "fall of the dragon" followed the "seed of the dragon's teeth": the First and Second World Wars and their aftereffects.
One can easily see that those sown dragon teeth are yet sprouting around the world today and modern Jasons are kept busy incarnating and slaying the monsters of war as they grow to maturity.
Jung and Steiner both spoke German as their native language, but at a deeper level, Wehr is able to say, "Jung and Steiner spoke different languages." (Page 90)
[page 90] They held divergent views about the world, their own relationship to the history of the human mind, the tasks that each had set for himself, and the aim each was pursuing.
Steiner began, for convenience of lecturing to readily available audiences, as a Theosophist, but he taught his own message, not that of Theosophy. He showed disdain for the high-faluting view of the Theosophist who "maintains a more 'elevated' level from which to view the world" than the human being. In the next passage, Steiner gives us a concise description of anthroposophy.
[page 91] Anthroposophy, on the other hand, wishes to stand "at the halfway point, looking both down and up." According to this description, Anthroposophists do not feel themselves above exploring the "lower world," the physical plane, with the same devotion as the "higher worlds." . . . "Anthroposophy . . . may be characterized as the wisdom spoken by us as human beings when we are between God and nature, and allow the human being in us to speak of what is shining into us from above and of what is projecting into us from below. "Anthroposophy is the wisdom that human beings speak."
This next passage by Steiner contains the amazing metaphor of thinking as melting. Anyone who has been in a chemistry laboratory knows that a common first step in doing a chemical analysis is to melt the substance. He suggests that we imagine that the "process of understanding an object by thinking about it" to be like melting a substance in a lab to study its liquid form. This brings to mind the painting by Salvador Dali with the pocket watch melting half away no doubt Dali spent a lot time trying to understand that watch by thinking about it and painted the result.
[page 96] Only because sense-perceptible things are nothing other than condensed spirit beings can we human beings who can lift ourselves up in thought to the level of spirit beings think about and understand them. Sense-perceptible things originate in the spirit world and are simply another manifestation of spirit beings; when we formulate thoughts about things, we are simply inwardly directed away from their sense-perceptible forms and toward their spiritual archetypes. Understanding an object by thinking about it is a process that can be compared to melting a solid body so that chemists can study it in its fluid form.
EAT-O-TWIST is an acronym for "Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To" which I created about twenty years ago. By the phrase "supposed to" I mean simply "thought to". When we suppose something will turn out a certain way, we provide thought energy which, while only a thought form, is formative of the thing in the sensory world. Steiner tells us that when someone enters the spiritual world those thought forms are visible and are experienced as reality.
[page 96, 97] That which is merely thought while we are in the physical body can then be experienced in full reality. "The thought appears to us, not as a shadow hiding behind the things, but as a living reality that creates the things. We are in the thought workshop, so to speak, where earthly things are shaped and formed."
There are two aspects of soul in the human beings that Steiner describes, a static aspect and a dynamic aspect. In the diagram below, which I created to illustrate these aspects, the roots are the physical body, etheric body, and astral body. The leaves contain the static aspects of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul. The flower contains the three dynamic aspects of spirit self, life spirit, and spirit body. In between the roots in the physical world and the flower in the spiritual world is the soul through which the "I" operates. Keep this diagram before you as read the next passage and it should help you to follow the complicated construction of the human being as a self-transforming physical-psychic being. Other than the physical body which is filled with minerals during the current Earth Epoch, no parts of the human being can be inspected, analyzed, or understood by any science using only sensory data.
[page 98] Basic anthroposophical works contain detailed descriptions of the fourfold human being. They also make further distinctions regarding the relationship of physical, etheric, and astral body to the "I." According to its ability to have sensation, intellect, and consciousness, the soul is differentiated into the sentient, intellectual, and consciousness soul. This arrangement could be called the static aspect of the soul.
The dynamic aspect is found in the fact that the human being is capable of transforming the physical-psychic being by receiving impulses from the spiritual world. "Within the human soul, the 'I' flashes up, receives the impact of the spirit, and thus becomes the vehicle of the spirit body [ Geistmensch or 'spirit man']. Thus we each take part in three worlds the physical, the soul, and the spiritual worlds. We are rooted in the physical through the material-physical body, ether body, and soul body; we come to flower in the spiritual world through the spirit self, life spirit, and spirit body, but the stem, which roots at one end and flowers at another, is the soul itself." As one can see, in the anthroposophical scheme the human being is not just the sum of its parts. Therefore, the human can never be defined as a complete being. On the contrary, we are forever changing. We manifest as a spiritual-psychical process that also includes the physical aspect.
Now I must admit something which has been obvious to me if not to my readers over the years I have written reviews of Steiner's works. I have struggled mightily over the years to understand the various nine parts of the human being. A static chart such as appears in I-9, page 558, 559 of The Burning Bush by Edward Reaugh Smith, is useful in cataloging the totality of 9-Fold human being, but it is a content table and the human being is a dynamic, self-transforming, physical-psychic being which bridges three worlds. With the help of the diagram above (Click Here to open it in a separate window for easy viewing while reading), it is possible to create in our imagination a dynamic, transforming image of the human being in metamorphosis by analogy with the plant as it grows from a seedling, into a leaved plant, forms a flower, builds a seed for its future life, and then dies. (This way of seeing a plant as a living dynamic process is one that Goethe innovated the Urpflantze.) One can watch in one's imagination as the roots of the human are built up, first the physical body in the Old Saturn Epoch, then the etheric body during the Old Sun Epoch, then the astral body during the Old Moon Epoch. With the separation of the Moon as we know it today from the Earth as we know it today, we entered the Earth Epoch as we moved upward in the diagram above ground level (the lower horizontal line). As we entered the Earth Epoch, we had the beginnings of our I Am or I which was able to flash up and receive impulses from the spiritual world. We here began the static aspect of our human existence as we moved through the sentient soul whereby our soul understands the world through the senses primarily as the humans during the time of the early Egypto-Chaldean civilizations did. The second leaf was added with the advent of the Greco-Roman times when the human soul began to understand the world through intellectual constructs and philosophy and later the other sciences were formulated by human beings. The third leaf was built during the current, Fifth Post-Atlantean Cultural Epoch, the German-European Epoch, which began in 1453 A. D. and continues through today. It is the consciousness soul "leaf" that is beginning to show itself in human beings today that leads us to call this period the Consciousness Soul Age.
At this point we have only covered the static stage of a plant's growth all we have observed is the addition of one leaf after another; one leaf replicated again and again. The life cycle of a plant cannot terminate in this static leaf replication stage or the plant will disappear from the surface of the Earth when it dies, never to return. The plant must enter a terminal stage of growth during which the leaf at the tip of the stems of the plant begin to change shape, color, and function until they become what we know as a flower. The flower will only appear when the entire plant is at its fullest development of the static stage. The flower will take the plant into the dynamic stage during which the flower will form structures, colors, and scents to attract beings with astral bodies to the plant who can observe the plant at its peak of growth and trigger the flower's mechanism for recording its blueprint for reproducing itself in a tiny object we call a seed. Then the plant dies.
A human being will go through this same dynamic process as the plant as described in the previous paragraph. The "I" will receive impulses from the spirits hovering above the highest human level, the "I", and use these impulses to operate upon its astral body, purifying it into a spirit essence which is the first circle of petals of the flower of the human being, the spirit self (manas). When this occurs, the human being has entered the third world, the world of spirit, shown by the upper horizontal line in the diagram. Next the "I" receives impulses from the spirit world and operates on the etheric body, purifies it into the next circle of petals of the flowering human, the life spirit (buddhi). Finally the "I" works on the most adamantine of all the three lower bodies, the physical body, and purifies it into spiritual essence called the spirit body (atman).
At this point, the human flowering is completed the seed produced by the "I" and fertilized by the spiritual world departs from the flower and seeds the world of the spirit. This is the process that completes what Edward Reaugh Smith calls The Soul's Long Journey in the title of his book on "How the Bible Reveals Reincarnation". The human being has graduated from the wheel of incarnations and will not return to a physical existence on Earth. The human being has experienced the final resurrection, the resurrection of the body the purification of the physical body into spirit body in that day when sun and stars will rise and set no more.
Neither Steiner nor Jung claimed to have all the answers, nor did they ask their audiences and readers to believe every word they said. Steiner said, "I beg you not to give credence to these things because I say them, but to test them by everything known to you from history, above all, what you can learn from your own experience . . . . In this age of intellectualism I do not appeal to your belief but to your capacity for intelligent discrimination." Jung said, "Work in this field is pioneer work. I have often made mistakes, and had many times to forget what I had learned. But I know and am content to know that as surely as light comes from darkness, truth is born of error . . . Not the criticism of individual contemporaries will decide the truth or falsity of my discoveries, but future generations. There are things that are yet true today, perhaps we will not dare to find them true, but tomorrow they will be." (Quotes from page 104)
Focusing on science, I had skipped any classical education, and it was my study of Steiner's work that has recently interested me in the study of Greco-Roman history, culture, myths, and drama. The deeper I have gone into my study of these fields, the greater has been my appreciation of the truths Steiner spoke about the evolution of humankind and, in particular, the evolution of its consciousness, which can be clearly discerned in the ancient records of Herodotus, Homer, Virgil, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, and others. As I listen to the academic retrodiction of current levels of consciousness back into the distant path, I cringe as Steiner must have cringed as he read similar materials in his youth. One cannot understand the past unless one is willing to melt it down in the crucible of thought and to allow the events of the past to pour into one's mind the way it poured into the minds of Agamemnon, Heracles, and Achilles. The so-called "gods" or "immortals" of ancient Greece were those humans who retained their memories from one incarnation to the next, an ability that had begun to fade away. As these long memories faded away, the process of writing came into being to replace them. Oral epics passed down for hundreds or thousands of year were turned into written epics which required a way of talking about those who had the super-human memories and abilities to see into the spiritual worlds they were called "gods". These "gods" had many of the characteristics of humans for the very reason that they were human. For example, Thetis knows that her son Achilles will die because she can see his karmic destiny, not because she is a prescient, immortal god, but because she is a woman who retains the ancient clairvoyance which allows her to see what the Achilles did during a previous incarnation and discern what he must do in this one. Without Steiner's words to guide me, I would have completely missed this insight and others, which many of my professors get close to in their lectures, but stumble right past them as if they didn't exist, because they don't exist in their textbooks and specialized dogmas.
[page 107] According to Steiner's description, the gods withdrew from the forces of nature. The abduction of Persephone is also an image of this event. Consequently, the old atavistic clairvoyance came to an end and the guidance of humankind through instinct had to take on a new form. From now on, spiritual guidance had to come from the place where the sacred, soul-transforming drama was performed: the ancient mysteries: "Originally the gods bestowed morality upon men along with the forces of Nature; then the forces of Nature more or less withdrew, and later the gods substituted a moral law in a more abstract form through their messengers in the Mysteries. When man became estranged from Nature he needed a more abstract, a more intellectual morality, hence the Greeks looked to their Mysteries for guidance in their moral life, and in the Mysteries they saw the activities of the gods, as previously they had seen their activity in the forces of Nature. For this reason the earliest Greek period attributed the moral law to the same gods who were at the back of the forces of Nature."
From my studies, it is clear to me that the etheric body permanently records the images that are perceived occasionally in real-time by the astral body. Steiner calls it "mirroring" but the process is clearly one of recording for later play-back. Consider all the video tapes you've made for home movies. The movies sit in the cassettes waiting for you to view them. On those occasions, when you do view them, your viewing is similar to the astral body "calling images" from the etheric body.
[page 108] "It is the ether body which brings to the point of vision, to perception, the images called forth by the astral body. What man perceives of the goings-on in his own astral body is what is mirrored from him by his ether body." . . . For now, it is clear that from the anthroposophical viewpoint, the sphere of the unconscious can be understood as a phenomenon that lets us connect mythological picture content with anthropological facts.
The evolution of humankind has resulted in the birth and growth of ego-consciousness in the past 2,000 years, and concomitant with this growth of ego-consciousness came a fading away of "the old, instinctual perception and the mythical creation of pictures containing profound wisdom." (Wehr on page 108) He sums it up succinctly by saying, in effect, that spiritual science processes can reveal to us the spiritual realities that would else only show themselves in myths of whose import we would be unconscious.
[page 108] For now, it is clear that from the anthroposophical viewpoint, the sphere of the unconscious can be understood as a phenomenon that lets us connect mythological picture content with anthropological facts.
Another thing whose import we are unconscious of is what goes on inside another person's will and other processes that are below their consciousness. Steiner reminds us to respect other people's unconscious processes as an "innermost sanctuary" into which we do not trespass we do not accuse them or attribute reasons for their actions, we do not bodily force actions from them, we do not coerce them we allow ourselves to influence them solely by cognition, that is, we present the facts as we see them and allow them to decide for themselves. Early on in my study of Steiner I noticed that he hardly ever used injunctive words such as "must" or "ought" or "should" when offering information. To use an injunction presupposes you have some knowledge of a person's inner sanctum that empowers you to prescribe some behavior to be followed, or to proscribe some behavior to be avoided. When someone's process matches their content, as congruently as Steiner's does, that person exudes a credibility that cannot be produced any other way. There are many ways to gain influence over a person's will, but only one healthy way, as Steiner sees it:
[page 111] "The only healthy way to gain influence over another person's will is through cognition."
As I point out in my Childhood of Humanity essay, there is a transition point in our lives at five years old. It is a time before which we can recall few, if any, cognitive memories. Cognitive memories are simply what we usually call memories, but I use the modifier to distinguish normal memories from doylic memories. Doylic memories are memories of events which occurred before the onset of cognitive memory capability around five. A doyle is a pre-five memory that contains a record of the complete state of one's physical body at the time of some event. That records contains respiration rate, heart rate, settings of the various internal organs and glands (kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, thyroid, etc), muscle tonus of every muscle group, and the location and movement of the body and its various muscles in space (proprioceptive perceptions). For example, speaking is a doyle which includes the location and motion of jaw and throat muscles, modulation of the respiratory rate, diaphragm tension and motion, and auditory feedback through the Eustachian tubes, just to name the major components of speech-production that are stored as doyles before five years old. Oriental speakers of English as a second language who have trouble enunciating the consonant R sound had no doyles stored for it before five years old. Those who merely heard or spoke a clear R sound once before five will have no trouble later, as adults, speaking it as well as a native English speaker. Thus, the reason why first generation Chinese-Americans manage to speak excellent English.
Doyles are a one-step-learning process because they are stored during a time in a child's life when they are closely connected with the higher spiritual hierarchies. That time during a child's life corresponds to an early developmental phase of humankind during which adult humans were as closely connected to the same hierarchies as our pre-five children are today. It was during that phase of evolution when all events which occurred to humans were stored as doyles at all stages of their life, from infancy to maturity. As humans began to use the higher cortical functions provided by the expanding outer cortex of their brain, the neocortex, the age at which doyles were stored began to fall until it reached today's age of five years old. What did remain was the effects of those doyles stored before five. Thus a person who learns to speak a language before five will know how to speak that language for the rest of her life. The doylic memories fall into the background or subtext of our lives and the cognitive memories rise to become the foreground of our consciousness.
Steiner tells about this evolutionary progression this way:
[page 113, 114] . . . in the first years of our lives our souls as well as our whole being are much more closely connected with the spiritual worlds of the higher hierarchies . . . We work on ourselves with a wisdom that is not in us, a wisdom that is more powerful and comprehensive than all the conscious wisdom we acquire later. . . The wisdom at work in children does not become part of our consciousness in later life. It is obscured and exchanged for consciousness. In the first years of life, however, this higher wisdom functions like a "telephone connection" to the spiritual beings in whose world we find ourselves between death and rebirth. Something from this world still flows into our aura during childhood. As individuals we are then directly subject to the guidance of the entire spiritual world to which we belong. When we are children up to the moment of our earliest memory the spiritual forces of this world flow in us. . .
See also the page 114 quote in the Table Section below that compares Steiner and Jung's views on the Unconscious and Spiritual Worlds. Wehr quotes Steiner on page 116 as saying, "to know the forces at work in early childhood is to know the Christ in us," and Wehr adds, "It is possible to find the Christ 'without recourse to any historical documentation'." Those authors who seek to find the historical Christ engage in an Ahrimanic materialistic endeavor which tends to direct their readers attention away from the reality of the Christ in the present moment.
This next passage lays out clearly that Steiner saw the macrocosm of human evolution in the microcosm of a single human life. Studying the evolution of brain structures from the root brain, limbic brain, cortex, and neocortex over aeons of time may be extraordinarily difficult, but if we were able to accomplish such a thing in a comprehensive fashion, it is my earnest opinion that we would learn no new facts that cannot be uncovered by studying the growth of a single human today from conception to maturation. The presence of a time, around five, in a human's life, when doylic memories are no longer stored because cognitive memories have risen to replace them indicates to me that there was a time in human evolution when cognitive memories arose as a novel human capability. This capability began to fill more and more of the human lifetime until we arrived at the situation today where all post-five-year-old memories are solely cognitive memories. In other words, while doylic memories are only stored prior to five and retrieved thereafter, cognitive memories are both stored and retrieved past the age of five years old.
[page 117] "Thus, the next higher world of the spiritual hierarchies guides the entire evolution of humanity; it works both on the individual in childhood and on humanity as a whole. The angeloi, or superhuman beings of this realm, are one level above us and reach directly up into the spiritual spheres. From these spheres they bring to earth what works into human culture. In the individual, this higher wisdom leaves its imprint on the formation of the body during childhood, and it formed the culture of ancient humanity in a similar way."
Not being an official anthroposophist, I have little contact with what names under-informed people give to Steiner's spiritual science or "anthroposophy" a word he coined from the Greek words for the full human being, anthropos, and knowledge, sophia. I recall a friend who insisted "everything Steiner said can be found in the writings" of some Buddhist author whose name I don't recall today. An engineer will oil his wheels, but eventually, when the wheels of a rusty caboose freezes, the engineer has to cut loose the caboose as I did this friend. I found that his full teacup could hold no more knowledge about the spiritual world. Wehr, in this next passage, gives us some of the quaint polysyllabic phrases other folks have hurled at anthroposophy as epithets or simply crude attempts to characterize something they had not taken the time to understand. Anyone who has broken a bronco knows that if you get thrown in your first attempt, you don't take that as a sign the horse is bad or unbreakable. It's only through successive mountings of the horse that the horse is able to teach the trainer how to ride him during his learning phase. Unless you make several attempts to ride or understand Steiner, you will likely call him by some epithet that will reflect more on you than on Steiner.
[page 121] As Steiner has shown using the example of Goethe, the spiritual must not be sought "behind" the outer appearances. For the attentive observer, it manifests within them. The observation that spiritual science is, or wants to be, a continuation of natural science is very important, because all too often one meets with the misconception that Anthroposophy is either a "modern gnosis" or a pseudo-mystical mixture of certain theosophical ideas, or even a Western variation of an Eastern syncretism. But as I will explain later on in this book, Anthroposophy is not a modernized version of ancient occultism.
Steiner was in many ways a bridge builder between spiritual science and natural science. He showed the greatest respect for natural science, and, never once to my knowledge, disparaged the efforts of natural science so long as it made pronouncements within its own realm of the physical, observable world. It may surprise some to know that the age of the Earth is one of those pronouncements of natural science which takes it into the realm of metaphysical speculation and prediction. Using a similar technique by which natural scientists arrive at a calculation of 3 billion years for the age of the Earth, they could equally speak the condition of a 30-year-old man's body over 300 years ago by extrapolating backwards in time. Their projections may be accurate, but the man had not yet been born at the time. The same is true for the Earth. Scientists make projections and calculations via extrapolation for the condition of the Earth millions and millions of years ago during a time the Earth did not exist in its present form as a mineral-filled, solid body.
[page 123] On the other hand, he [Steiner] saw the necessity of building bridges between Hegel's pure experience of thinking and Goethe's intuitive experience of the idea behind the phenomena of nature. Here we find the beginning of a new understanding of the thinking process, which we will have to address later on. By activating a sense-free thinking, Steiner finally sought to cross the boundaries that had been drawn since the nineteenth century by Kant's Theory of knowledge.
Jung was a people helper not a philosopher of the mind. His typology helped him to help people. He saw that there were two direct ways of accessing information: one from the sensory world and the other from the spiritual world. He called this direct input of information irrational, not because it was wrong, skewed, illogical, absurd, undependable or any of the common definitions of the word irrational. He simply meant by irrational this: "not mediated by the rational functions." His two irrational functions were the sensate and the intuition. What were the rational functions? He saw two rational functions two dramatically different modes of understanding the world in a rational, logical fashion: one way involved thinking and the other way involved feeling. For some the idea that feeling can be considered as a rational function will be hard to accept. Men tend to consider women to be irrational because women are usually strong feeling types. Such thinking will lead one astray when studying Jung. Both thinking and feeling are rational modes of understanding the world and of making rational decisions.
To a thinking-type man it will be difficult to understand that a woman will balance two feelings and choose the one that rationally appeals to her on a feeling basis. Faced with an identical situation, the thinking-type man will make calculations and balance projected outcomes in the world to arrive at a decision, ignoring any feelings he has about either choice. He ignores the feelings because, as a thinking type, his feelings are unconscious to him most of the time, especially during decision-making. For a feeling-type woman, her feelings are what are most conscious to her at every step of the process while the possible outcomes are unconscious. When a feeling-type woman is blind-sided by a feeling-based decision gone awry, an observing man might say, She didnt think! Perhaps she didnt think but she did feel. She made a rational feeling decision. When a thinking-type man is blind-sided by a rational decision he made which went awry, an observing woman might say, The unfeeling SOB! He just ignored everyones feelings! Perhaps he didnt feel but he did think. He made a rational thinking decision.
One can only imagine the difficulty Jung had in creating a comprehensive depth psychology in which all four types of functions were equally respected and addressed. Wehr cautions that, "One must not conclude from this that he undervalues thinking. Rather one could say that Jung wanted to avoid an overvaluation of rational thinking." (Page 125) After all he was writing mostly to an audience of thinking-type males at the time. There are feeling-type males and thinking-type females in our society, but these have too often been treated as derogatory stereotypes, up until now.
Steiner's approach was different and it is difficult to align any part of it directly with Jung's four functions. The best I can do is posit that Steiner would have seen the irrational functions of sensate and intuition as representing ways of perception, and the rational functions of thinking and feeling as ways of what he called thinking. Wehr summarizes it thus: "Working with Steiner's theory of knowledge, one learns that it takes perception and thinking to arrive at true knowledge." (Page 126) And he goes on thusly:
[page 126, 127] In any case, as Steiner emphasized early on in his anthroposophical activity, spiritual knowledge is not attained by deductive thinking. "The power of the intellect chases away the spirit, but if the power of the intellect itself can be developed to become the faculty of Imagination, then we can approach the spirit once more."
Likely, Steiner found the paradigm for how to harness the faculty of Imagination in the works of Goethe when he was chosen to edit the Weimar archives as a young man. To understand how Goethe thinks, one could start off imagining how a grade school teacher today might draw a plant on the board: a stem, a couple of leaves, a flower at the top represented by a circle in the middle with five or six petals coming off the circle. The child will be instructed to color in the leaves in green, the flower in yellow, etc. This way of representing plants will create adults who are unable to understand Goethe's method of cognition by which he sees the archetypal plant (Urpflanze) before him as a living organism moving constantly between one form to another. First a single leaf, then more leaves that leave behind a stem, then leaves at the terminal of the stem change shape and color and structure to form a flower, which eventuates in a seed and death of the plant.
This is the archetypal structure we used above in the Three Worlds Diagram to help us to understand the human being in terms of its complete life cycle during the Earth Epoch. It is to Goethe's method of cognition, updated and extended by Steiner, that we owe our ability to think in this fashion. One cannot overestimate the importance of the contributions of Goethe to our understanding of the world of natural science and spiritual science!
This Goethean cognition is not something that someone else can teach you it is likely that nothing in your prior schooling has prepared you for its truth. And finding its truth will require you to do things you have never done before. It truly requires a bootstrap process which merges observation and thinking into unified cognition. It is a process one must bring forth within oneself.
[page 131] The truth appears within the human mind as it approaches the world observing as well as thinking. For "man cannot ask for any other knowledge than the one he brings forth of himself. Whoever looks 'behind the things' for their real meaning has not made it clear to himself that any quest for meaning in the world stems only from man's need to penetrate with his thoughts what he perceives. The phenomena speak to us, and our inner being speaks when we observe the phenomena."
What does this way of thinking have to do with Jung? Wehr makes it crystal-clear the similarities of Jung and Goethe. Given Steiner's connection to Goethe, the connection is made by inference between Steiner and Jung.
[page 132, 133] The similarity between Jung's and Goethe's mental attitudes is often astounding. Steiner gave a description of Goethe's singular mental constitution that could to a degree also apply to Jung: "It was possible for Goethe to bring his thinking, his emotions, and his entire soul into such motion that he would not only observe outer things and arrive at normal, intelligent conclusions about natural laws, but could at the same time observe the inner life of the natural phenomena and their metamorphoses."
There is a need to look at, feel, and delve into the three processes that Steiner calls: Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. It is especially important that we not confuse what Jung calls "intuition" with what Steiner calls "Intuition". For Jung, intuition is a direct perceiving of the spiritual world when it happens to one, it comes as a "bolt out of the blue" and suddenly some revelation dawns in one. One knows something that cannot be explained rationally, which is one of the reasons Jung called his "intuition" function an "irrational" function. It may make perfect sense after it arrives in one's mind, but there is no way it could have been deduced from what was known before it arrived. Jung's "intuition" therefore can be seen to be a higher category than Steiner's "Intuition" for the very reason that an "intuition" may come from any or all of the processes of Imagination, Inspiration, or Intuition. In Steiner's terms these three are conscious processes that one learns with one's cognition, but in Jungian terms, a "leak" from the unconscious world in some combination of the three conscious processes of Steiner may enter one and be called an "intuition." Someone to whom this is a preferred mode of operation would be called by Jung an "intuitive type." Thus said, I have stated my reasons for disagreeing with this broad statement of Wehr in which he obfuscates more than he reveals:
[page 149] What Jung calls "intuition" is an irrational psychic function and has nothing to do with Steiner's concept.
In the section entitled "The History of Human Consciousness", Wehr writes about the metamorphosis of consciousness over time, what I prefer to call, after Owen Barfield, the "evolution of consciousness." All too often I find that authors and professors of ancient civilizations and religion talk as though the metamorphosis of consciousness over time did not occur and act thereby as if for them the evolution of consciousness were a function whose value was zero or delta(E) = 0. In this next passage Wehr tells us how this retrodiction of the current stage of consciousness to a previous time (delta(E) = 0) is interjected into our way of thinking by well-meaning writers and thinkers:
[page 152, 153] Both cultures and historical epochs will only be seen in their true significance when we can determine the prevailing configuration of their consciousness. Often this factor is not even addressed. We come across historical writings, especially in church and religious history, whose authors quietly assume that the level of human consciousness has always been the same.
Jung required for his analytical psychology an "Archimedean point" outside to understand the psyche if he was to retain his adherence to Kant's theory of knowledge. Unable to find such a point, he had to admit, "For the psyche no such outside point exists only the psyche can observe the psyche." This shows up in such statements as this one: "The religious view understands the imprint as the working of an imprinter; the scientific point of view understands it as the symbol of an unknown and incomprehensible content." Only in his later discovery of the process he called "synchronicity" did he posit an objective soul background. Wehr says, "Jung came to the conclusion that 'the world inside and outside ourselves rests on a transcendental background'." (Pages 171, 172)
Steiner saw that in natural science proof is something that is brought in from the outside like an Archimedean point upon which a lever can be placed to move the world.
[page 176] In spiritual-scientific thinking, however, the activity applied to proving something in natural-scientific thinking is already present in the search for the facts. We cannot find these facts if the path that leads to them does not constitute a proving process in itself. Anyone who really follows his path already experiences the element of proof, and nothing more can be accomplished by a proof applied from outside. . . . The only thing that is crucial for spiritual schooling is what happens within the soul of the student. The analogous conviction has led analytic psychology since Freud to demand that part of a student's training must include a personal analysis. This cannot be replaced by any exam or academic diploma.
What exactly was Steiner's mission? Wehr gives us two passages that reveal what he thought that mission to be. The first is from a letter and the second one appeared in his book, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.
[page 188] "I will put my trust in the power that will make it possible for me to lead 'spirit-pupils' on the path of development. This will have to be my sole inaugural deed."
The second is incorporated below the above passage on page 188, but I include it in full as it appears in my review of Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts in which it appears as No. 1 (Wehr's quote is in italics for reference):
[page 13] 1. Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge Anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.
In the first Harry Potter book, J. K. Rowling showed a deep understanding of what she was about when she gave it the title, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" a title which sadly got dumbed down into "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for the American reader. The Harry Potter series are all about the maturation process in the soul of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of his classmates and teachers. The change of name indicates to me that the individuation process in England is a slightly more conscious process than in America where it is considered to be more of a "magical" process requiring a "sorcerer's stone".
[page 196] Jung employs the stages of the alchemical process as an expression for the psychotherapeutic opus, the process of individuation. In particular, Jung interpreted the alchemical process of preparing the lapis philosophorum, the "philosopher's stone," as projection of individuation. This interpretation enabled him to gain a better understanding of maturation processes in the soul.
Jung said that the Self is "the goal of life" and the "full flowering" of the individual which process is called individuation.
[page 201, 202] This remark is noteworthy because it is made in reference to the aim of individuation, and because Steiner also talks about his "second, superior self" in the context of the problem of human destiny. When he said that an inspiration is felt in the depth of the soul that flows from the "other self" he did not mean that the influence came in the form of thoughts or ideas, but that "deeds" were involved. According to Steiner's statements, a special dynamic is at work here. "It is this 'other self' that leads the soul to the details of its life destiny and evokes its capacities, tendencies, and talents. The 'other self' lives in the entire destiny of a human life. It accompanies the self that is conditioned by birth and death, and shapes human life with all its joys, exaltation, and pain."
Supersensible consciousness discovers a dynamic spiritual reality that causes or rather creates what the Hindus describe with the word karma. "The course of our life is inspired by our own permanent being, which continues from life to life. This inspiration works in such a way that the destiny of one earthly life is the consequence of previous lives. You learn to recognize yourself as another being, so to speak, different from who you are in sensory existence. This being manifests itself in sensory existence only through its effects." If we are looking for a psychological term for what is meant here, the "unconscious" comes to mind. We would have to talk about a destiny-forming force of the unconscious, of a force that not only calls forth ideas and images, but also creates "synchronicities" that manifest at very specific moments as outer events, as illnesses, accidents, or significant meetings with other people. This force shapes our destiny and at the same time helps us to gain an understanding of our life.
In my memoir entitled "The Soul Captain Chronicles" the "someone wiser" that sought out the things which led me to my destiny (and continues to do so to this day) returns to take me on a return trip into my past to look at some of the adventures that he had taken me on. Just as happened to me during my first pass through these events, he gives me amnesia so that I have no knowledge of what is going to happen until they happen. My Soul Captain, knowing in advance that I would have avoided some events had I known in advance about them, gives me complete amnesia for what things he has lined up for me in this lifetime. As a result, many of the events that seem unfortunate at the time they happen to me turn out to be very fortunate given the wisdom of hindsight.
[page 202] With the help of the force that slumbers in our subconscious, we layout our life's path from the moment of our birth, and even more so when we begin to say "I" to ourselves, in such a way that it crosses another person's path at a certain time. . . . This is not contradicted by the fact that often a person may find so little satisfaction with his life. If he could dearly see all the factors, he might well find that they could be satisfied. Just because waking consciousness is not as smart as the subconscious, it misjudges the events that are caused by the latter and says to itself: "Something unfortunate has happened to me." In reality, the wisdom of his subconscious had wished for this event to happen, even though in his waking judgment he considered it unfortunate. Knowledge of these deeper connections can lead to the realization that "someone wiser" has sought out those things that become one's destiny.
Recently I came across a great quotation of Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." That quote came to my mind when, on page 210, Wehr documents the various charges leveled at Jung and Steiner's work: "modern alternative religion", "psychologizing esoteric teachings", etc. He sums it up more politely than Swift did:
[page 210] It is understandable that those researchers who, as a result of their special farsightedness, tend to step out of the narrow confines of a specialty are attacked by the experts. But it is only right that the experts should go to the trouble of finding out what was intended by the assumed illegitimate overstepping of these confines.
Which reminds me of another quotation, from Herbert Spencer: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance that principle is contempt prior to investigation." To merge Swift and Spencer's words: what distinguishes an expert from a dunce is that the dunce will exhibit "contempt prior to investigation."
Both Jung and Steiner argued against applying the techniques of Yoga in our lives. The techniques were appropriate for human beings constituted differently than humans today. Our current level of human development is not suited to application of the specialized breathing techniques of some forms of Yoga. The study of Yoga is recommended, but its application is advised against by both men. Jung:
[page 226] "I say to whomever I can: Study Yoga; you will learn an infinite amount from it but do not try to apply it, for we Europeans are not so constituted in a way that we apply these methods correctly. . ."
About Steiner, Hermann Beckh writes:
[page 214] It is Steiner's achievement to have pointed out that consciousness based on reason, which for modern humanity is the starting point for all further development, was for the ancient Indians a distant goal.
Why would one arrive at a distant goal from a previous incarnation and then show disdain for the sought-for boon when it appears? Jung says while those of the East may "orient" themselves, we of the West should "occident" ourselves. (Page 230)
Similarly, the argument that Anthroposophy is just a New Age Gnosis completely overlooks the evolution of humankind since the time the original Gnostics appeared when humankind was developing its first leaf on the Ur-Human Tree (See Three Worlds Diagram). Humankind is today developing its spiritual or consciousness soul, the highest of the three leaves of static soul development. Thus Steiner says:
[page 233] "Anthroposophy cannot be a revival of the Gnosis, for the latter depended on the development of the sentient soul; while Anthroposophy must evolve out of the spiritual soul . . . a new understanding of Christ and the world."
Many times in my job and career life I found little satisfaction with my choice of physics as a career. It was not until I had studied Steiner deeply that my choice of physics became clear to me. The crux of the matter is illuminated by this quote from Steiner:
[page 233] "Christianity will not be understood until it has penetrated into all our knowledge, right down to the realm of physics."
Hans Erhard Lauer in his Appendix Lectures does a great job of summing up how Steiner understood the impact of the Christ Event on the world:
[page 310, 311] Now the events described in the Gospels can certainly be looked at as symbolic pictures of inner experiences that the personality of Jesus had to undergo: the baptism in the Jordan, passion, death, burial, and resurrection into the full glory of the spirit. These are reminiscent of the experiences the initiates had in the old mystery temples.
However, they do not only have inner, symbolic meaning. They were real events of cosmic significance: the incarnation of a God in human flesh. The birth, life, death, and resurrection are real events, fully visible and played out on the stage of history. This is the profound significance of the events in Palestine; they are doubly meaningful. They were inner, mystical experiences for the person Jesus of Nazareth, but they were also historical events not only in the banal sense that the man Jesus lived and had a spiritual awakening that enabled him to do certain amazing deeds for which he was then punished by the death on the cross. No, they are much more: they represent a "metahistorical" cosmic fact. Through the "Mystery of Golgotha," as Steiner has called the whole sequence of events, the basic situation of human beings in regard to themselves and to the spiritual world has been altered.
Lauer's lectures are not to be missed. The first lecture on Depth Psychology will be a review for Jungians and the second lecture on Anthroposophy will be a review for Anthroposophists, but the third lecture is required reading for both as he brings them into a creative juxtaposition which sheds light on both the disciplines and their authors' intent.
[page 314, 314] Understood in the above sense, Anthroposophy stands on specifically Christian ground. That is why it could arrive, by means of the unique path of spiritual training, at the highest stage of knowledge that is possible in our time: initiation. This corresponds to the completion of the human individuation process in Jung's terminology. At this highest stage of knowledge it was also possible to recognize the fact of human reincarnation. This answers the age-old riddle of the relationship of the individual human Self to the collective consciousness of the species.
Jung's psychology has not been able to give a satisfactory answer to this riddle. There are instances where Jung asserts the absolutely individual character of the Self. There are other situations, however, where he makes the Self the representative of the collective unconscious of the species. This ambivalence is again the consequence of Jung's inability to go beyond the soul realm in his scientific endeavors. Thus the recognition of the "metahistorical secret", as I called it a few moments ago, was not possible for him.
Spiritual science has been able to affirm that the inner core of the human being, the "I" is indeed an individual, unique from all other individuals. However, since the "I" in its repeated incarnations, takes part in all cultural epochs and acquires all the knowledge necessary for further development, it is in this sense a citizen of the whole world, not just of one epoch. In this sense the human is a universal being. It would be wrong to call this universality collective, species-bound. Rather it should be called metahistorical, because it takes part in the whole of humankind's development through all stages of history.
JUNG STEINER Pages 1. Archetypes spiritual beings 101, 163, 304 2. individuation Initiation 103, 142, 181, 187 3. Self I Am 155, 182, 245 4. Unconscious Spiritual World 114, 140, 166, 303 5. Mysterium coniunctionis Intuition 149 6. Shadow, projection double, Guardian of Threshold 101, 205, 245 7. Active imagination Imagination 197, 307
With this quote, the review proper ends, and we will move to a match-up of Jung and Steiner concepts which will serve as a handy reference table for those who require such things. Besides, when learning something new, I always say that it's best to know all about it before you start or before you end, as in the case of this review.
With that in mind, I have extracted seven key aspects of Jung and Steiner's works and laid them side-by-side for you with the pertinent quotations from the book. First I will list them in a Table and then provide the quotations. The items in the first six rows are comparable for Jung and Steiner. The last items of "active imagination" and "Imagination" are different processes which might be thought to be comparable due to the similarity of the names given them. As you go into the table and the text associated with each concept, keep in mind what Hans Erhard says on page 307, "Depth psychology is aimed at therapy, Anthroposophy at higher knowledge."
After the Table and explanatory material I have included a short conclusion to the review.
1. Archetypes Spiritual Beings
To understand Jung's concept of archetype, one must understand the concept of shadow, those repressed, neglected, negative, rarely acknowledged parts of our character, basically all the parts one considers to be inferior in oneself. In Jung's four-part typology, once you have identified the dominant type, the inferior type will be the one on the opposite side and there will reside the shadow. (See my Jungian reviews with "Type" or "Typology" in the title.) The psychological process known as projection is related to shadow in that if one becomes aware at all of one's shadow, it usually occurs by projecting those inferior parts of oneself onto another person or collective entity. What you most dislike about someone else is what you are doing yourself out of your awareness. This one thought, fully understood and applied, can alone reduce the level of stress in the world. When someone upsets you, you have a marvelous opportunity for understanding and accepting the shadowy parts of yourself. The shadow is an example of unconscious content that resides in the ego, and thus is individual, but Jung also brought to our attention an example of unconscious content that resides out in the world. Wehr says, "It is Jung's great pioneering achievement to have studied this layer in a scientific manner. He called it the collective unconscious." The collective unconscious shows itself to the world via archetypes. Jung's comments are in quotes in the next passage.
[page 101, 103] "The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived, and it takes its color from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear." In a footnote the author adds for clarification: "One must, for the sake of accuracy, distinguish between 'archetype' and 'archetypal ideas'. The archetype as such is a hypothetical and irrepresentable model, something like the 'pattern of behaviour' in biology." One could say in Jung's sense that the archetypes, while remaining unobserved themselves, cause archetypal representations that show up in the human field of awareness. Archetypes are in truth the precondition for these representations. To put it differently, archetypes can be called factors and motives that have the ability to arrange psychic elements into certain images or pictures, in a way that can only be recognized by their final effect. They exist preconsciously and may well constitute the dominant structures of the psyche altogether. While the archetype itself rests, unobservable, deep in the unconscious, the archetypal picture of the individual person is recognizable.
[page 163] In a comparatively early essay, "The Contrast Between Freud and Jung" (1929), Jung, anticipating later development, expressed what he saw as his future path: "We moderns are destined to see the spirit again, that is, to have archetypal experiences."
[page 304] In Jung's psychology of the complexes, the spiritual is decidedly more evident. It is represented by the collective unconscious and the world of archetypes. Even so, it does not appear here in its true form and reality, but clothed in the soul element in the form of projections.
2. Individuation Initiation
Jung's process of individuation involves the discovery of oneself as a unique individual in the middle of a sea of expectations and projections showered upon one by family, friends, and society. The easiest way I've found to distinguish Jung from Freud is this: Freud tried to fix broken people so they would fit into society, and Jung tried to break people who fit into society so they might thereby become individuals. People who reached middle age with a huge hole in their lives came to Jung to find out what it was that they were missing. They came to find themselves, to become individuated. He offered a new birth. In their first birth they came out of their mother's womb fresh into the world. In their second or new birth they came out of the womb of society fresh into world.
[page 103] Jung defines this process thus: " . . . Individuation, therefore, is a process of differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. Individuation is a natural necessity inasmuch as its prevention by leveling down to collective standards is injurious to the vital activity of the individual.
[page 142] Later we will have to speak about the individuation process, which can be seen as an equivalent to the path to initiation.
[page 181] For Jung, a life has only been truly lived and fulfilled if it has become "a criterion of the spirit." We enter the realm of the spirit at the moment when the door is opened to meaning. Whoever finds meaning does not find an additional item in the world of things; they also don't find a fragment, nor the long sought-after "missing link." To find meaning is to find wholeness. Basically, all human existence, living as it does in a climate of absurdity, tends toward wholeness. One finds this tendency already in the initiation rites of primitive humanity, even though it is hardly lifted into consciousness. Jung sums it up: "Every life is ultimately the realization of a whole, which means of a Self. That is why one can also call this realization individuation."
[page 187] Both Jung and Steiner have described the way to [self-realization], each in his own way. For Steiner, who sees his Anthroposophy as a modern initiation science, the path to "knowledge of higher worlds" is a path of initiation where knowing is of utmost importance. Jung speaks of individuation as a process, occasionally as a path, that leads to maturation and psychic wholeness. "Individuation means to become an individual being. If we see our individuality as our innermost, ultimate, incomparable uniqueness, we become our true Self. Therefore one could translate individuation also as 'becoming oneself' or 'self realization'."
3. Self "I Am"
[page 155] For human consciousness it is of the greatest importance that only the "I am" of the Christ makes human "I-consciousness" possible. ("I-consciousness" for Steiner means approximately the same as the "Self" does for Jung). To connect oneself with this Christ-Self is a task that could be called the "individuation process" of humankind. (This must not be confused with the "world mission" of the church!) This "entering of Christ into the world" means that the "I" or Self will "gain complete governance over the world."
Thus, in Steiner's lectures on the Gospel of Luke, we read, "In the Luke Gospel's account of his life, Christ Jesus clearly indicates that the new element of I-consciousness has entered human evolution. We must simply understand what we read. The Christ tells us that in earlier times, the spiritual world did not flow into the self-aware human 'I', but only into human physical, etheric, and astral bodies. In other words, a degree of unconsciousness was always necessary for divine spiritual forces to flow into human beings. This state of affairs, however, was meant to change."
[page 182] Jung no doubt advanced beyond the reality of the psyche to the reality of the spirit; however, he does not offer a knowledge of soul and spirit.
[page 245] Without doubt, Jung's concept of the "Self" corresponds with Steiner's "true I" and his "other self," as long as we do not overlook the fact that both concepts are used in different contexts. The same applies to the anthroposophical analogy to Jung's concept of the shadow. Steiner actually introduced two terms for this concept. He calls the experience of one's own self before the gates of the spiritual world the "Doppelganger," the double. The other name is the "guardian of the threshold." Steiner uses this term in order to point out a certain function of the double. "It stands like a guardian in front of that world, refusing entry to anyone not yet suitable for entering. The double can therefore be called 'the guardian of the threshold to the world of soul'."
4. Unconscious Spiritual World
[page 114] Consider Steiner's statement that the "spiritual worlds of the higher hierarchies" not merely some relatively minor spirits "reach into the soul of the child and, out of their wisdom, give form to the physical body of the growing human being."
[page 114] Obviously we are dealing here with creative forces that are of an archetypal nature insofar as they guide the "becoming" of a human being. This is done out of a wisdom that is not only far superior to normal consciousness but is unknown to it. Of this wisdom Jung says, "The unconscious is the ever-creative mother of consciousness. Consciousness grows out of the unconscious in childhood just as it did in primeval times when man became man."
When we compare following Wehr's lead Steiner's and Jung's understanding of the "unconscious" we find that Steiner enters the field of the unconscious with his techniques while Jung observes what "leaks out" of the unconscious into the world. First Steiner's words, then Jung's:
[page 140, 141] "Before one can comprehend the true reality of the world one has to create a soul condition that can relate to the supersensible. . . Only the transformed consciousness can see into the world where the human lives as a supersensible being, a being untouched by the decay of the physical organism." While Steiner penetrates into the "unconscious world" with the help of imaginative consciousness, Jung choose a different, more indirect way. He allows the "creations of the unconscious" to speak to him and compares them by means of so-called amplification with similarly motivated phenomena of religious and spiritual history.
[page 166] Spirit, as Steiner understands it, is not identical with Jung's unconscious; rather, the call of the spirit sounds from an initially unconscious sphere into our consciousness. In this way the spirit enters into communication with the conscious "I" that is embedded in the soul.
Hans Erhard Lauer in the Appendix says:
[page 303] For Anthroposophy, the so-called unconscious is nothing else but the veiled, undiscovered spiritual element. When seen in this light one has to admit that depth psychology does indeed have to do with the spiritual in the human being.
5. Mysterium coniunctionis Intuition
[page 149] Therefore intuition in Steiner's sense is of sacramental character. On another level, we encounter the same reality in its psychological aspect of uniting two opposites in Jung's mysterium coniunctionis. It is no coincidence that Jung was able to work with this theme, which touches on the very deepest human mysteries, only in his very last creative period. But it is still not identical with Steiner's stage of intuitive consciousness.
6. Shadow, projection double, Guardian of Threshold
[page 101] (If consciousness becomes aware of the shadow at all, it often sees it as "projections" from the darker side of the psyche without realizing what it really is.)
[page 205] the "shadow." This is what Jung calls the problem that confronts the analysand when she discovers the heretofore unconscious negative or shadow side in her psyche. This has to be accepted and integrated into the whole person. Later on we will go into more detail about the shadow, which is reminiscent of the "Guardian of the Threshold" or the figure of the "double" encountered on the anthroposophical path.
[page 205, 206] Much as the unconscious shadow is often projected onto other persons, the anima projection of a man, for instance, occurs when he projects his own ideal anima, of which he is quite unconscious, onto a woman his destiny presents to him. He is then attracted to her.
[page 245] See quote in 3. Self above.
7. Active imagination Imagination
The two aspects of Jung and Steiner's work, which seem at first glance to be similar, turn out to be different. This passage highlights the difference:
[page 197] The main difference here is that Steiner's imagination comes about as a result of the special thought-exercises and thereby constitutes a form of enhanced consciousness above and beyond normal waking consciousness. In contrast, Jung's active imagination can be viewed as a hovering between waking and dreaming. It still takes place within ordinary consciousness.
In practice, active imagination works in such a way that images, concepts, and thoughts are produced that do not stem from "arbitrary, playful daydreams, but aim to reconstruct the inner logic of events that nature unfold in the soul."
Jung's active imagination is only partially conscious while Steiner's Imagination is fully conscious as befits the consciousness soul age we are in. Hans Erhard Lauer in the Appendix writes:
[page 307] For Jung it was important to enter as much as possible into the realm of the unconscious that lies precisely between full waking consciousness and dream consciousness. Imagination in the sense of Anthroposophy happens entirely in the sphere of clear, enhanced consciousness.
Both Steiner and Jung begged their followers not to take their words as dogma, but rather to test them, to actively apply the recommended processes to their lives, to their world, and to notice the results. If one finds the results to be agreeable, that is a kind of proof which is built upon a foundation of rock. A proof that will yet be standing when the winds of time have blown away the sands from the foundations of dogma.
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1.Books by or about Jung which I have read and reviewed:
Jung: A Biography by Gerhard Wehr
A Life of Jung - A Biography by Hayman, Ronald
C. G. Jung - Lord of the Underworld by Colin Wilson
Jung & Hesse by Miguel Serrano
Personality Types Jung's Model of Typology by Daryl Sharp
Consciousness, Vol III of Psychology of C. G. Jung by C. A. Meier
Individuation A Study of the Depth Psychology of Carl Gustav Jung by Josef Goldbrunner
A Little Course in Dreams A Basic Handbook of Jungian Dreamwork by Robert Bosnak
Jung's Typology Franz: The Inferior Function; Hillman: The Feeling Function by Marie L Von Franz and James Hillman
Jungian Symbolism in Astrology by Alice O. Howell
Jungian Synchronicity in Astrological Signs and Ages by Alice O. Howell
The Archetypes in the Collective Unconsciousness by Carl Gustav Jung
Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Gustav Jung
On the Nature of the Psyche by Carl Gustav Jung
Psychological Types by Carl Gustav Jung
Two Essays on Analytical Psychology by Carl Gustav Jung
The Undiscovered Self by Carl Gustav Jung
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2.See Angel & Vase painting by Maureen Grace Matherne at right.
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3.As a physicist, I realize that "physics" as a science is not capitalized. To capitalize "Anthroposophy" seems to me to focus on the aspects of his spiritual science that Steiner admonished us to avoid. So, other than in quotes such as this one, I eschew the use of capitals for either depth psychology or anthroposophy.
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4.A friend, Finbarr Lismore, wrote me of a reported connection of Carl Jung's wife with anthroposophy. With his permission, here's Finbarr's comments:Gheel House was an anthroposophical initiative in Kimberton, PA, dedicated to serving "mentally ill," "emotionally troubled" adult women. Gheel House was named after a town in Belgium that in the 1700s-1800s was famous because it allowed their "strange" citizens to wander freely in the community and every attempt was made to "normalize" their lives, and keep them integrated as much as possible with the rest of the folk. The man who ran Gheel House for a while, when I was the resident counselor there, was named George Keegan. He was a member of a group in the area that meet off and on, reading Steiner and Jung. George said he read somewhere in a footnote and heard it from and old German man who lived at Camp Hill, Kimberton, that Jung used to complain because his wife was involved with some anthroposophical group and would come to him with anthroposophical ideas and would "pester" him with them. I can't remember the name of the old German man, but he was a leader in that Camp Hill, Kimberton community for many years, and later his younger wife was also a leader there. This man was probably 84 years old in 1994, so he was born in about 1910. He grew up around anthroposophists and spent his whole life involved with anthroposophy.
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