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A READER'S JOURNAL
What Is Anthroposophy?
3 Lectures, July 20-22, Dornach, GA#225
Introduction by Christopher Bamford (Translated along with Mado Spiegler)
Published by Anthroposophic Press/MA in 2002
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2006
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The 32-page Introduction by Christopher Bamford gives the best overview of Rudolf Steiner and his works that I have found anywhere. How could this polymath genius of philosophy, drama, education, architecture, sculpture, and occult matters remain hidden from the world at large for over a century? It is ironic that Steiner endeavored to make public and open those occult matters that had been hidden under lock and key of the mystery schools, only to have his work remain hidden itself for so long. One answer is that there exists a cultural inertia which any new revelation must overcome, and it can only do so with the passage of time. Bamford offers us two additional reasons:
[page 1] First, Steiner accomplished so much and in so many different fields that it is difficult to categorize him in any conventional manner. Second, he swam unapologetically against the stream, affirming the primacy of the spirit against the ruling dogma of materialism.
In addition, Steiner, born a Catholic, remained a Christian all his life, but a dramatic event happened in his life when around the turn of the twentieth century, he began to ponder "the evolution of Christianity with spiritual perception." You see, Steiner was a mystic, with native clairvoyant abilities from early childhood, so far as we know. Then one day the light dawned on him:
[page 5] "A conscious knowledge of true Christianity began to develop within me. Around the turn of the century, this knowledge grew deeper. The inner test occurred shortly before the turn of the century. This experience culminated in my standing in the spiritual presence of the Mystery of Golgotha in a most profound and solemn festival of knowledge."
Steiner was a most extraordinary Christian, one who took nothing on the word or reports of others, but relied upon his own personal experience. Others may write that he was a Theosophist or a Gnostic, claims one can lay to an inadequate study of his life and works, but Bamford, who has studied these in detail, lays it out directly and emphatically thus:
[page 5, 6] In other words, as he described himself, Rudolf Steiner was an Anthroposophist and taught Anthroposophy from the start and never deviated from it. What Steiner did and taught is, from this point of view, Anthroposophy. From this point of view the two Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy are interchangeable.
In brief, anthroposophy refers to the wisdom (sophia) of the full human being (anthropos). It is a way of knowledge which "leads the spiritual in us to the spiritual of the universe." (Page 6) The phrase "spiritual science" is a synonym for anthroposophy coined by Steiner. The term anthroposophy itself was first coined by the Welsh alchemist and mystic Thomas Vaughan in the seventeenth century. (Page 10) Steiner saw it as a middle path between anthropology and theosophy and described it this way:
[page 13, 14] If anthropology can be likened to a traveler in the lowlands who gets an idea of the area by going from place to place and house to house, and if theosophy can be likened to the view we can get of the same area from the top of a hill, then anthroposophy can be likened to our view from the slope of a hill, where we can still see the various details, but they come together to form a whole.
Steiner was in a unique position to view the spiritual up the hill and the material down the hill and to bequeath us, via his spiritual science, the linchpin that connects the spiritual and material into one unified, functional whole. When he got started, two people played an important role in his life. First, he met Felix Kogutski, an itinerant herb-gatherer, who showed him how to enter the secrets of nature.
[page 15] "He carried on his back a bundle of healing herbs; in his heart, however, he carried the results of what he had gained from nature's spirit."
Second, he met a Master who took him under his tutelage. Steiner never revealed his master's name, but, as Bamford puts it, Steiner received from his Master "the directive to build a bridge to spiritual cognition starting from contemporary 'scientific' consciousness." (Page 15)
In his book, Truth and Knowledge, which could be considered a prologue to his later Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner offers us a way of understanding truth as the product of human thinking, not merely something pre-existing that we come to understand through thinking. He thereby establishes human thinking as one of the primary products of our human existence. The thoughts of a single human being can thereby be considered that person's primary property(1) when produced freely out of an individual activity. Steiner clearly states in this next passage that products of the human spirit would not exist if we did not create it ourselves individually.
[page 16, 17, quoted from page 11 of Truth and Knowledge] Truth is not, as is normally assumed, an ideal reflection of something real, but is the product of the human spirit, created by an activity which is free; this product would exist nowhere if we did not create it ourselves. The object of knowledge is not to repeat in conceptual form, something that already exists. Rather it is to create a completely new sphere which, when combined with the world of sense constitutes complete reality. Thus humanity's highest activity, its spiritual creativeness, is an organic part of the universal world process. The world-process should not be considered a complete, enclosed totality without this activity. The human being is not a passive onlooker in relation to evolution, merely repeating in mental pictures cosmic events taking place without his participation; he is the active co-creator(2) of the world-process and cognition is the most perfect link in the organism of the universe.
Bamford explains that during the time period 1914-1918 Steiner was busy "Recognizing and Overcoming Evil". (Page 21, 22) He was also building the first Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland during the period of the Great War (WWI). During the laying of the foundation stone for the building on a drizzly, thundering night, Steiner read the macrocosmic Lord's Prayer. I first encountered that prayer when I read Steiner's The Fifth Gospel and used it later when I studied Adam Bittleston's book, The Lord's Prayer. Here is my synthesis of the ideas I have pondered over many times since studying those books.
[Excerpt from my review of The Fifth Gospel]
In his twenty-fourth year, Steiner reports that Jesus visited a pagan worship site where the people hailed him as a priest come to revive their ancient place of worship. As Jesus neared the altar the people pushed him onto it and demanded he perform an offering service for them. Jesus fell face down on the altar as if in death, and the people scattered in fear. Jesus heard the ancient voice of the Bath Kol saying to him these enigmatic and powerful words:
[page 51 of The Fifth Gospel]
The evil holds sway.
Witness of egoity freeing itself.
Selfhood guilt through other incurred.
Experienced in the daily bread.
Wherein the will of the heavens does not rule.
Because man separated himself from your realm.
And forgot your names.
You Fathers in the heavens.
Note how the macrocosmic Lord's Prayer contains the Lord's Prayer, but it is backwards. As we read the bottom phrase, we can see the beginning of the Our Father :
Our Father [You Fathers] Who Art in Heaven [in the heavens]
Here you have the Our Father prayer for our Cosmos [the region surrounding our Sun and Solar System]. Our Father is of our Cosmos. Our Heaven. But in the heavens surrounding our Cosmos are other local cosmos's comprising the macrocosm, thus the phrase "You Fathers in the heavens". Each cosmos has a Father in its heaven, we can surmise from this revelation. The macrocosmic Lord's Prayer contains statements of what is. On the other hand, the Our Father is a prayer, a petition, to help us deal with the what is.
Let us take the macrocosmic prayer in order from top to bottom, and notice how the Our Father we know evolves from it and reveals the seven bodies of the full human being. [The macrocosmic prayer will be in bold italics and the Our Father in bold. The macrocosmic prayer in this book on page 21 has a slightly different translation than the one from The Fifth Gospel which I will use below. But I add the AUM to its beginning as Christopher Bamford does.]
There are complete thoughts in each word.Of AUM we can only say that it is a mystery. If you intone the words slowly and expressively, you may feel its essence. That short three-letter word seems to contain all the sounds in one syllable the ALL THERE IS. And it was out of the ALL THERE IS that we humans came into being. From that AUM reality a small section of empty space in the remote reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy was formed into what we now call our cosmos, our home in the universe. When we say AUM we recognize the ALL THERE IS that we owe our very existence to. AMEN means "So be it." in the sense God in Genesis spoke after each Day of Creation when He saw what He had done, "It is good." It is good for us to pray the Lord's Prayer and fitting that we close with reminding ourselves, "It is good."
"The evil holds sway." We can not have evil without the "I am" or "I" therefore evil holds sway because we each have an "I" and "Ego" with which we have freedom to decide. Evil is to Man as manure is to a garden, Steiner tells us in Founding a Science of the Spirit. We see here the final petition of the Our Father, which deals with the I or Ego, and presents our plea for help in dealing with evil in our lives productively:
"Deliver us from evil." [I]
"Witness of egoity freeing itself" describes how in times of trial, our "I" strives to separate and free itself from the temptation which lures our astral body which is the part of us which can feel pleasure and pain and is therefore subject to temptations from that realm of experience. [Astral]
We see here the penultimate petition of the Our Father, which deals with the Astral Body:
"Lead us not into temptation" [Astral]
"Selfhood guilt through other incurred." brings to mind how in our interactions with ours we incur guilt when we consciously trespasses against others. We cannot have guilt without memory and our etheric or life body is the repository of our memories. Here we encounter the next petition of the Our Father, which deals with the Etheric Body:
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." [Etheric]
"Experienced in the daily bread." All the above occurs to us because we have a physical body which requires sustenance like that we get from bread which feeds our physical body. We are physical because we are humans in the Earth Epoch of evolution and we require bread to survive.
"Give us this day our daily bread" [Physical]
"Wherein the will of the heavens does not rule." As we are human beings existing on Earth in a physical body, the absolute will of the Divine does not penetrate us as it does the spiritual hierarchies (the angelic realms), thus we come to pray:
"Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" [atman or Spirit Body]
"Because man separated himself from your realm." By our fall into materialism which began with the first "hard man" Adam whose very name means hard we have separated ourselves from the angelic and divine realm, and thus we pray to be re-united with that realm in that day when "the Sun will rise nor set no more":
"Thy Kingdom come" [buddhi or Life Spirit]
"And forgot your names." We pray that we will always remember Thy Hallowed Name. A Hallowed or Beloved Name belongs to a process of deep thought through which we can enter and share the life and purpose of the Being named. Through this process our thought does not remain a shadowy picture received from outside; it becomes an active agent in the world, and through the selfless use of our inner resources, and thereby reveals to us the meaning of the world, which would otherwise remain a great unanswered question.
"Hallowed be Thy Name" [manas or Spirit Self]
"You Fathers in the Heavens." This is the macrocosmic Lord's Prayer, so spoken to all the Heavens in the universe which sparkle their presence in the dark night sky. In this Cosmos, our own Home in this Solar System, with this Sun, our humankind has been brought forth. So we speak to the Father who has brought us thus forth:
"Our Father, Who Art in Heaven"
Without Rudolf Steiner, we would not have come to understand the spiritual depths in the one prayer which Christ Jesus specifically directed each human being to say. With Steiner's help, we can see clearly the path we each must take from the material world to the spiritual world. Bamford explains:
[page 25] Steiner's description of Jesus' experience of the "macrocosmic Our Father" provides a clue to its inner meaning . . .
Echoing the definition of anthroposophy as the path of knowledge that connects the spiritual in the human being with the spiritual in the universe, Steiner says: "The realization dawned in Jesus . . . 'What I have to tell human beings is not how the gods prepared the path from the spirit to the Earth, but how humanity can now find the path that leads from the Earth to the spirit.' "
One of the things which had turned me off when attempting to read theosophy books was the presence of sesquipedalian descriptive words from Eastern religious traditions. Steiner set about to replace the obscure jargon of theosophy with simple and direct words of his spiritual science, anthroposophy. For example, he came up with words for the spiritual hierarchies which were descriptive of their function: Spirits of Form, e.g., replace the Exusiai and Spirits of Wisdom the Kyriotetes. By chopping away the encrustation of obscure terminology he helped to modernize our understanding of the spiritual world.
[page 27, 28] As far as the language now used to describe anthroposophy was concerned, it became more direct, down-to-earth, and jargon-free. Above all, Steiner sought to free anthroposophists from a kind of petrified intellectualism that had set in. He began to emphasize anew the realm of feeling and the heart. He spoke of human faculties like memory, imagination, love, and dreams without occult paraphernalia. It was a breath of fresh air. At the same time, he became more explicit about the mission of anthroposophy, which was to serve under the sign and the service of the Archangel Michael. The task of the Michaelic age was that the heart should begin to have thoughts. Though never stated, this theme weaves implicitly and importantly throughout the lectures of the last two years [RJM: Bamford refers to the final two years of Steiner's life, 1923-1925].
Often in prefaces and introductions to books containing Steiner lectures we are warned that these are not books but lectures, and as such they often require background knowledge that the new reader of Steiner's works may not possess. Here Bamford sees the half-full side of this situation: how Steiner in his transcribed lectures can be imagined to be speaking personally to each reader today. Like Thomas Paine did when he spoke to the British subjects in the Colonies in 1775, Steiner requires only a little "Common Sense" of the reader, rightly understood.
[page 33] Because these are lectures and Steiner is speaking as it were one-to-one with every member of the audience, addressing them as friends, we can given a little imagination feel that, almost eighty years later, we too, as readers, are being addressed individually. . . . We can follow him because he speaks to us in our humanity and addresses our "common sense." This phrase has come to mean something like a shared pragmatism, but its original meaning (and the sense in which Steiner often uses it) is more like "healthy human understanding." This state of mind is open, unprejudiced, and empathic. It allows the truth and reality of what is being said to emerge naturally. It listens.
Listen: The three lectures of this book deal with 1) The Physical Perspective, 2) The Psychological Perspective, and 3) The Spiritual Perspective.
In the Physical Perspective lecture Steiner says, "I will limit myself to the very first phase of life after passing through the gate of death." The four bodies of Man are the physical, etheric, astral, and I. During sleep periods, the four bodies separate into two bundles: the physical and etheric bodies remain attached while the astral and I separate.
[page 34, 35] The physical and etheric bodies separate from the astral body and the "I." However, the physical and etheric bodies do remain closely connected with each other and inseparable, and the same is true of the astral body and "I." These two constitute, as it were, two tightly knit wholes.
These two bundles come together during day-time consciousness and separate in twain at night when we are unconscious. This is repeated daily until we die, and then a different process occurs. The physical body is left behind and the remaining three bodies remain united while the etheric body undergoes a dramatic conversion.
[page 36, 37] This happens as follows. Imagine that, after death, the whole etheric body is turned inside out like a glove so that the inside, the part that touches the skin, is now on the outside. . . . The whole etheric body gets turned inside out. As the transformation occurs, the etheric body expands astonishingly fast. It becomes immense and spreads out immeasurably into the universe.
Our experience fills, not with sense impressions (like the red color of a rose), but instead with how "the redness of the rose formed within us as a concept."
[page 38] On Earth, in earthly life, we used to allow our gaze to glide from rose to rose. As we moved from rose to rose we formed representations of them within our soul: first one rose, then another, and yet another. Now they succeed each other, weaving in lightning waves, as if in the living process of becoming, not as roses, but as ideas, inner realities. These enter our inner life as if we were in a sea of events.
We begin to see and to understand how our soul life develops upon Earth and how our earthly life develops out of the cosmos. We see that we are in fact "children of the universe."
[page 38] Indeed, as everything we that we experience on Earth grows into the immeasurable, the cosmos, and as we ourselves grow outward with it, we realize that what was formed within us in our life on Earth was likewise formed built out of the universe.
Our bodies, mine sitting here and yours sitting there reading this, have all their cells changed in the course of seven or so years, that much is known by materialistic science. What Steiner adds is that the heart and other organs are "renewed out of the ether" of the cosmos over an equivalent period of time. The substances we eat create the etheric forces which renew our body's organs.
[page 41, 42] Therefore, nine or ten years ago, everything sitting here was still in the heavens. It was in the heavens, in the stars. In fact, whatever matter remains behind and pervades where etheric forces should by rights have been working, we find a predisposition toward illness. Illness is caused by the presence within us of physical matter that remained . . . Deep insights into the nature of illness are gained when we understand how matter can remain stuck, instead of being expelled, as it should have been. Any substance we absorb as physical matter is meant to be eliminated again. If it remains in the organism, it becomes a cause of illness.
Steiner ends his lecture on "The Physical Perspective" with a look at psychoanalysis in preparation for his next lecture, "The Psychological Perspective." Back in 1841 when Karl Rosenkrantz shared his thoughts which were to generate the new field of psychology, people spoke of "unborn souls living in limbo in the background of the soul, struggling to come to existence." To describe the same thing in Steiner's time 80 years later, they spoke of "hidden regions in the depths of the soul" which could be revealed in dreams or other methods of probing one's unconscious. Steiner comically compares the held value of dreaming in Rosenkrantz' day to our own day.
[page 46] Dreams are fleeting things; they do not influence one's life much. People in those days filled their waking life with other things. Nowadays, on the other hand, people sleep through many other things, because they want to keep awake for psychoanalysis and related subjects.
He closes with a caveat against engaging in polemics or discussions with those who are embedded in physical reality he says in effect, "You can't discuss things with a snorer!"
[page 46] Polemics are like a person fast asleep in a room, snoring away, while another person, who is awake, goes to great lengths to try and get the snorer to understand what is being said. But the sleeper is not to be awakened and sleeps on. . . . . It is just as difficult for people to understand each other if they are each asleep to the other realm and are only awake to their own.
If one is to approach material scientists to awaken them to the value of anthroposophy, one must be awake to the value and importance of materialistic science, and specifically understand how the field of materialistic science is included in the scope of anthroposophy. Steiner here, as in every other place I have encountered, speaks with great respect of materialistic science. It is excellent and important within the scope of its enquiry, and errs only when it debases the field of anthroposophy without the due diligence it would do for any of its own fields of science.
In the Psychological Perspective lecture Steiner asks us to ponder a question he had asked himself some forty years earlier, "Who is the most intelligent person today?" The answer may surprise you: it was Eduard von Hartmann, who wrote "The Philosophy of the Unconscious" in 1869. The proof that Steiner felt that way toward Hartmann can be found in Steiner's first book, "Truth and Knowledge," which was dedicated to Hartmann "with the warm regard of the author." What was it about Hartmann that Steiner admired so much? Here was a man of the highest intellect who was able to conceive of the spiritual world's existence!
[page 52] He penetrated human consciousness as it is attached to the earth. But he saw this attachment as the attachment to a human physical body. Because he was clever, he did not deny the spirit. As I said, he was very intelligent. However, he placed the spirit in the sphere of the unconscious, in what can never support a body or enter into intimate union with the physical world, and which therefore, because it is always extraphysical that is, purely spiritual can only be unconscious. . . . [His] philosophy is a philosophy of the spirit, but a philosophy of the unconscious spirit.
It occurred to Steiner that an "unconscious spirit can never penetrate any reality outside itself except through a physical human body" and this implies "that the intellect that rises to establish the unconscious lacks love." (Page 52) Lacking love leads to lacking soul.
[page 53] Wherever there is no place for love, anything of a soul nature gradually disappears. Hence we can sense of an atmosphere of lovelessness in the best productions of the later nineteenth century on whose shoulders our own civilization now stands.
Apparently our current civilization in the nascent twenty-first century is still standing on those broad shoulders because one can find evidence of soullessness in every daily newspaper, often on a national scale where a gunman goes on a rampage killing people in shopping malls, churches, schools, and office buildings. Von Hartmann's philosophy led him to imagine that our soul-spirit did not merge with our physical body. From other writings of Steiner we know that one can see with clairvoyant vision when a portion of one's etheric body is detached or otherwise not fully immersed in the physical body. During waking consciousness this occurs when there has been some physical injury and there will always be pain at the location where the etheric body is missing. The phenomenon of one's arm or leg "being asleep" is an example of a time when the etheric body can be spied as poking out from the dormant limb. Then when the limb begins to awaken, who has not felt the sharp "pins and needles" experience as the etheric body re-enters the limb and brings it to life and normal sensation again.
[page 54] If our spirit-soul were not merged with our physical body, but instead lived cut off from it, our soul would experience unfathomable, intolerable pain. Pain arises when an organ does not function correctly and the organ becomes sick and we are excluded from a part of our physical body If we were kept out altogether, we would, if I may put it this way, literally be "extraphysical," out of the body, and we would suffer unspeakable pain. Each morning when we wake up, the threat of this suffering is to some extent present. We overcome it by submerging into our physical and etheric bodies and uniting ourselves with them.
Von Hartmann was attacked for his landmark book by all prominent scientists of his time. His response to critics who called him a dilettante was to write a scathing critique of his own book under the pseudonym Anonymous. The very same scientists who criticized von Hartmann who refused to accept him as one of them praised the anonymous author, even saying, "Tell us who you are, and we shall accept you as one of us." Now we catch a glimpse of the reasons for Steiner's warm regard for von Hartmann.
[page 56] Yesterday, I had to say that psychoanalysis was "dilettantism squared." Today we might say, because soul qualities always multiply themselves, that von Hartmann's intelligence was "intelligence squared," intelligence multiplied by itself.
Let no one think that, when we leave behind our etheric body in our physical body upon falling asleep, we take with our astral body and I (Ego) the better part of our knowledge. Rightly understood, the etheric body is "the paragon of all wisdom in the earthly sense and in much higher senses too." Steiner explains why we can consider our etheric body as "concentrated wisdom."
[page 57] From the perspective of true knowledge, then, we cannot deny that when we leave our physical and etheric bodies behind at night, the two that we leave behind are much more intelligent than we are when we inhabit them. After all, as far as our "I" and astral body are concerned, we are respectively children of the more recent Earth and Moon stages of the evolution of the Earth. On the other hand, the etheric body goes back to the earlier evolutionary stage of the Sun and the physical body goes back to the first evolutionary stage of Saturn. We cannot today in our "I" and in astral body measure ourselves against the sum of wisdom amassed by our etheric body in the course of its Sun-Evolution.
Our physical body experiences gravity which pulls it toward the Earth, but our etheric body is a light, flowing body. In children one observes how they delight in running around in circles in their many games it is their etheric body which leads them to enjoy this constant activity. The etheric body loves moving in circles. In adults the existence of the etheric body shows up at times when we are lost in the woods or in a fog and we find ourselves having circled back to our original position this is caused by our etheric body unconsciously leading us literally around in circles.
To understand the plant world, we need to learn to use our etheric body without our physical body. How can we do that?
[page 58] We do it gradually, by means of inner exercises, we transform ourselves from beings who prefer because of their physical bodies to live in the element of gravity into beings who can learn by means of the light to live in the element of lightness or "levity."
Plants, Steiner tells us, "are not so much pushed up out of the Earth as they are pulled out of the Earth by the sky." And this: "When we truly grasp our etheric or formative-force body, we rescue our souls from the Earth." (Page 59) We are pulled up from the gravity of earthen forces into the levity of light forces of the sky. We are ready to see things from a spiritual perspective, which brings us to the third and final lecture of this book.
There was a popular cartoon by Gary Larson called The Far Side. In it, he achieved a kind of surrealistic humor in a single panel cartoon strip which became wildly popular. It was like Larson was looking at the other side of reality that no one else had been looking at. Thinking, Steiner tells us in this lecture, has two sides to it, a front and a back, and if we consider thinking as what we do when we represent our sensory life, we are only looking at the behind side of the process of thinking.
[page 69] If we consider only the content of ordinary waking consciousness, that is thoughts about the outer world, it is as if for some reason we could only look at a person from behind. Imagine being able to see people only from behind! You would come up with all kinds of ideas about them that would not necessarily be very satisfying. You would then, if I may so say, be extremely curious and eager to know how people look from the front. For you would be certain that the back had a front; and that precisely the front, the other side, was the most expressive side of earthly beings.
What is the far side of thinking which we do not normally experience in our ordinary thinking?
[page 70] Ordinary thinking only produces shadowy thoughts in us. It is the back of thinking. The creative force of thinking, on the other hand, forms our thinking apparatus; it builds up our brain and our whole nervous system. This thinking is the creative force of the etheric, formative-force body. It is the other side of thinking.
Rightly understood, this side of "thinking is an inner activity, not a ghostly replica of the outer world."
[page 70] To become aware of the activity of thinking, all we need to do is, as it were, retract our orientation toward the outer world and turn instead toward our own inner activity, to what we are thinking.
When we understand the activity of thinking in this way, we also understand what human freedom is.
Steiner's Truth and Knowledge began his exposition of the relationship between thinking and freedom which he carried into full bloom in his landmark book, Philosophy of Freedom. When we understand what freedom is, we also understand what morality is. This point was first impressed on me by my study of Andrew Joseph Galambos' work on Volitional Science in which he develops definitions of freedom and morality so one can clearly understand the connection of the two processes. Galambos was a materialistic physicist, a rocket scientist, who found that the world needed freedom more than it needed rockets, so he devoted his life to the study and teaching of the process of freedom. His definitions found their sharpest critics from those scientists who saw that those definitions were not derivable from physically observable data. For the exact same reason, I suspect his definitions would have been prized by Rudolf Steiner because they operated out of the very process of freedom as a spiritual activity that Steiner prized and explained so masterfully in his Philosophy of Freedom. Steiner would certainly have recognized those definitions as Galambos primary property. Galambos, rightly understood, described in his work a practical method for implementation of the threefold society which Steiner had been unable to get implemented before he died. The works of both Steiner and Galambos invoke thinking as a spiritual activity a spiritual process of which Galambos was unconscious and Steiner was conscious.
[page 70] Furthermore, when we understand thinking in this way, we also understand the nature of morality the morality that penetrates human beings, weaving through them and welling up within them.
This is what I wanted to communicate in my Philosophy of Freedom. I wanted to communicate this understanding of thinking as active element as pure activity in contrast to thinking filled with external sensory images. I wanted to make this inward movement understandable.
Dreaming expresses a power of the soul which exists in us. Not because of some perceived usefulness of the dream many dreams are chaotic but rather because of the "very fact that the images can be formed [in us] in the first place". (Page 71) This dream-forming power is weak by itself, creating only momentary images, but when it meshes its gears with the physical and etheric bodies, it strengthens and creates in us memories. If we write down our memories in a journal, we know that only a portion of what happens to us can be written down. If we tried to simply describe what we are doing at a single moment, it is, rightly understood, impossible. We would get into an infinite regress of writing, "I'm describing what I'm doing which is describing what I'm doing which is . . . etc." So we are forced to select what we write by necessity. Compare our etheric body to a memoir writer and the brain to the paper on which the memoirist writes his notes. Our physical body with its brain can hold some of the memories, which we can later recall, but the etheric contains everything which happened, even those details which did not get "written down" in our brain. The events of the day, which are impressed into our etheric body, get stored into the physical body during the process of dreaming. The dream force is our personal memoirist.
[page 72] What does the dream-forming power do as it gets stronger? It forms in us memory, recollections. Memory is nothing but the dream force incarnated in the physical and etheric bodies. Diving down into the physical body, the dream force is inserted into the ordering of the physical world. But now it no longer forms the chaotic stuff of dreams. It forms recollection in the physical world, the stuff of memory.
We could remember nothing if we did not bring dream and the dream force out of sleep into the physical body. For in the physical body, the dream force becomes the force of memory, of recollection.
But at night the astral body takes the dream force outside the physical body and it gets merged into the macrocosmic world outside. So far as I can tell, this is the very process by which the Akasha Chronicle is built up. It is like a living book containing all the events and intentions of every human who ever existed in one grand volume which is readable with spiritual sight. Each night our dream force deposits our daily record into this Chronicle which constitutes a majestic spiritual world.
[page 73] This majestic world is the cosmic counterimage of what rises and falls in your memories in solitary meditation. Your memory life is the microcosmic counterimage of this macroscopic, gigantic, majestic weaving and flowing of images that our dream force passes through when the astral body is plunged in the things and processes of our cosmos.
Steiner reveals to us the three soul-forces: our etheric body's thinking-force as the font of freedom, our astral body's dreaming-force as the font of memory, and lastly we come to our I or Ego body's love-force as the font of morality. Our soul can thus be said to contain 1) freedom, 2) a life of memory, and 3) a force of love. (Pages 74, 75)
Everyone has lost some loved one at some point in one's life, and we all deal with such loss in unique ways. Some of us have good memories of the loved one which makes them feel bad when they recollect them, because the person is not here. Others with the same good memories, recollect themselves being in the physical presence of the loved one and feel good. But we all preserve those good and bad memories after a loved one has gone from the physical world.
[page 75, 76] We preserve the memory of a beloved one who has died beyond death. We carry the person's image in our soul. We combine the sensory impressions that we received when the person was alive with what remains when their sensory experience is taken away from us. We continue to live with the dead in memory with all the power and intensity of our soul to the point that we no longer need the support of external sensations. We try to bring such a living quality to these memories that it may seem as if the dead were there, with us, as if truly living as if we had a direct apprehension of their "livingness." We remain conscious that we bear these things in our memory, but we connect it with the force that came about as the result of the strengthening of the astral body the force that we received through our "I," the force of love. We carry this intense love for the dead over and beyond the grave. Previously we were able to develop the force of love under the influence of sensory stimulation. Now we became capable of connecting the force of love with the image that is no longer aroused by the senses.
Those of us that are blessed with the ability that Steiner describes above may be given a rough time by those who can only sob and grieve and pine away for a loved one. They get upset because they perceive us as being un-caring whereas the exact opposite is the truth. Our loved one, yes, has died to the physical world, but that loved one can remain, with a little practice, a living presence of lovingness and good feeling, by following the process that Steiner outlined above.
[page 76] You preserve the memory of the dead (which can no longer be stimulated by the physical and etheric bodies) and hold it so intensely and animatedly that you are able to unite it with intense love. One of the first steps toward liberating the "I" and the astral body from the physical and etheric bodies while awake rests precisely in the memory that we can preserve of the dead.
The veneration of saints by the Catholic Church provides an opportunity for us to liberate our astral body and our "I" if we will learn to contemplate the saint's image in the same way we contemplate a living person. If we could learn to do this fully, we could be shocked to find ourselves having stepped momentarily over the threshold into the spiritual world and perceive the dead person as present in full reality. (Page 76, 77) Some people will not experience the appearance of a dead loved one who is present in full reality as a shock at all they will be unconscious that the person had actually died. This may be due to senility, dementia, or various age-related diseases which cause loss of memory. Their so-called disease can be seen from the other side as a calculated albeit unconscious way of protecting themselves from the shock they would otherwise experience. This way of interpreting these experiences that many aged people have with their deceased loved ones is deprecated by establishment science, and its cohorts in the medical community prescribe drugs to prevent their "sick patients" from having what they label as "hallucinations" or "wild imaginings".
Note how contemporary science ignores the reality of people who step into the spiritual world consciously (like Steiner) or unconsciously (like those with Alzheimer's), preferring to substitute its own illusion ("hallucination") in the place of reality. Such science tries to bury reality in order to protect its own dogma. A dog buries its bone in the darkness to safeguard its livelihood. Rightly understood, reality is a bone buried by dogma to safeguard its livelihood. We have freedom, but to the extent the dogma of science has buried reality to protect itself, if we are unaware of this deception, we are forced to deny our freedom as full human beings, our freedom as a Man(3).
[page 77] But we deny our freedom. We deny it under the authority of contemporary science. Why? Because contemporary science sees only the mechanical, where what comes earlier is always the cause of what comes later. Therefore this science states dogmatically that everything must have a cause. It dogmatically affirms causality. Because causality must be correct, because we swear by causality as a dogma, we deafen ourselves to the feeling of freedom. reality is buried in darkness to protect dogma in this case the dogma of a powerful science exercising its authority.
The great delusion of our time, what Owen Barfield called the Great Tabu, is that the spirit comes first and activates the physical, but no reputable physical scientist can keep a job who acknowledges that openly and publically. Even Carl Gustav Jung came to understand that his "Archetypes" were in fact spiritual beings, and yet he never wrote of his understanding for fear of retribution from his colleagues. It was only on his deathbed that he revealed this fact to a close friend. Steiner reveals the presence of this delusion, and the scientific establishment, by ignoring Steiner and calling him names like "gnostic mystic", keeps Steiner's revealed reality hidden in a dark place where few will dare to enter given the warning signs posted by King Science: "ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO DARE ENTER HERE!" Let that sign remind you of why you may have never heard of what Steiner reveals in this book and in particular in the page 79 passage below.
[page 79] The spirit incarnates in the physical. If the spirit forgets itself, if the spirit is only conscious of the physical, it will seem as if the physical activates what is actually activated by the spirit. This is the great delusion of our time.
In other words, the ghost enters the machine, the machine springs to life, and science says, "See! The machine has created life!" Today thousands of scientists in various fields of biology, artificial intelligence, etc, are trying to create life, and their products so far have gone and will continue to go inevitably the way of Frankenstein's monster.
Is science so bad? No, it is really good, in its own way, in its own field of investigation of the physical world. As a college-trained physicist I know the good that science does it was to learn about science's boon that I studied physics instead of some engineering discipline. It was pure knowledge I was after, not some applied job skills. Steiner readily and universally acknowledges the good of science. The good comes when science sheds light on its area of expertise, the bad comes when science casts a dark shadow over areas of expertise outside the purview of science. That's when dogma buries the bone of reality out of sight.
We know computerized machines can play chess, operate large power and chemical plants, and even compose poetry. My thought about computers composing poetry is this: I am not impressed by that, but if a computer could select good poetry from bad, then I would be impressed! One must possess a soul in order to appreciate good poetry. Until Microsoft begins to sells "Soulware" instead of Software, I think we are safe from any insightful computer-generated or computer-selected poetry. And from any other machine containing a soul.
The other thing a machine cannot do, no matter how sophisticated its artificial intelligence, is to love. Science and love, like vinegar and oil, simply do not mix. You can shake and stir them together and they seem to mix, but soon it becomes obvious that only superficial, temporary mixing ever occurred When materialistic science talks of love, it is talking about sexual attraction, not love. Steiner even explains how to confirm that this is so:
[page 79] It is fair to say that you should read through all the current literature from end to end and, whenever the word "love" appears, replace it with the word "eroticism" or "sexual love." For "sexual love" is all the materialistic thinking knows of love. Denial of the spirit turns the force of love into an erotic force. In many areas, not only has the genius of love been supplanted by its lowly servant eroticism, but also its counterimage, the demon of love, has stepped in. The demon of love appears when something that was at work in human beings as divinely willed is taken over by human thinking and torn from spirituality by intellectuality.
Through science, by denying the Genius of Love, we have replaced it by the Demon of Love. Steiner says it clearly, "The genius of an age always appears in the form of its demon, for the demon steps in wherever the genius is denied." (Page 79) We have freedom and that includes the ability to deny our own being. We have science which fosters its own livelihood by encouraging us to deny our own being its dogma buries selective portions of our reality in the dark, underground, and guards it with a warning sign that few dare to ignore (4).
[page 80] It is in the power of human beings to deny their own being. They deny it when they sink down from the genius of love to the demon of sexuality by which I mean above all the way our present time feels these things, the way they are mostly present.
Rudolf Steiner is our guide who points out the warning signs and then leads us, if we freely decide to continue, to the graveyard where the bone of reality has been buried by the dogma of science and religion. We follow him there to exhume the living reality which has been buried alive for millennia and bring it out into the light of day where we may bask in its warmth-filled Light.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. This is normally called intellectual property, but calling it primary property places it in the spectrum of primordial, primary, and secondary property which leads from human life itself, to thoughts and ideas which derive from a human life, to everything else which derives from those thoughts and ideas in a human life. These names and definitions were first created by Andrew Joseph Galambos and represent his primary property. They have far-reaching implications for human living and society. See Steiner book, Towards Social Renewal.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. This idea of Man as the full human being or anthropos being a co-creator with the Divine comes presently to the fore in the Russian recluse, Anastasia, and is expressed best in this book, Co-Creation, Book 4 of the Ringing Cedars Series.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. My use of "Man" is simply a shorthand for "full human being" or anthropos, a basically gender-neutral expression which includes all women as well as men. A description of the dark forces of science and religion involved in burying reality from Man for millennia can be found in the Ringing Cedar Series of books, especially Book 6: The Book of Kin.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
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