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Enlace al capítulo aquí. La conciencia es el escenario donde el concepto y la observación se encuentran y establecen una relación recíproca… por el hecho de dirigir su atención hacia la observación tiene conciencia de los objetos, al dirigir su pensar sobre sí mismo tiene consciencia de sí mismo o autoconciencia. Así pues OBSERVACIÓN y PENSAR son los dos pilares del conocimiento. En el capítulo 3 Rudolf Steiner realizará una exposición sobre EL PENSAR.

  • La primera observación que hacemos sobre el pensar es: que es el elemento no observado de nuestra vida mental habitual. Y esto ocurre así porque el pensar es enteramente nuestra actividad: lo que yo mismo produzco no lo observo. Lo que no produzco yo mismo entra en mi campo de observación como objeto.
  • La segunda observación sobre el pensar es: que jamás puedo observar mi pensar actual, sólo después puedo transformar las experiencias que he hecho sobre el proceso de mi pensar en objeto del mismo. Porque yo produzco el pensar, conozco las características íntimas de su desarrollo y la manera en que se desenvuelve.
  • La tercera observación sobre el pensar es: que lo único que guía la asociación de mis pensamientos es el contenido de estos pensamientos (y nunca los procesos fisiológicos de mi cerebro) Esta observación es un requisito imprescindible para hacer surgir el “estado excepcional”. El estado excepcional consiste en observar lo que yo mismo produzco: algo cuyo agente soy yo mismo. Este es el punto firme para la explicación del resto de fenómenos del mundo. "YO SOY" es la actividad mediante la que "yo mismo" como ser pensante doy a mi existencia el contenido específico, basado en mí mismo, de la actividad pensante. (Yo soy el que soy)
  • La cuarta observación sobre el pensar es: que al hacerlo objeto de observación no nos vemos obligados a hacerlo con algo cualitativamente distinto (como en el caso de las bolas de billar), sino que podemos permanecer dentro del mismo elemento (la actividad pensante). Para la observación del pensar creamos primero nosotros mismos un objeto de observación mediante la actividad pensante. Todos los demás objetos dados existen sin mi actividad, como en el caso de las bolas de billar.

 Así pues, hay que observar el pensar de manera neutral, sin relación con un sujeto pensante ni con un objeto pensado: pues “sujeto” y “objeto” son términos formados por el pensar.

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Enlace al capítulo aquí. ¿Cómo formo la decisión en mí? O ¿cómo tomo decisiones conscientes? La consciencia presupone SEPARACIÓN. El Mundo que percibo no forma parte de mi Yo. Aquí se expone la visión DUALISTA: Yo / Mundo; Espíritu / Materia. El MATERIALISMO es una visión MONISTA que considera el mundo unicamente como materia, por el contrario el ESPIRITUALISMO considera que todo es espíritu. Para Rudolf Steiner el mundo es una unidad indivisible que sólo se presenta “separado” a nuestra conciencia. Sólo cuando integro el "contenido” del mundo al “contenido” de nuestros pensamientos restablecemos la unión de la que nosotros mismos nos hemos apartado, ya que el Ser Humano no está organizado unitariamente. ¿Cómo puede manifestarse el mundo dualmente si es una unidad indivisible? Investiguemos dónde se produce dicha separación en nuestra conciencia. 

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Cap. 1. El Actuar Humano Consciente.

Enlace al capítulo aquí

El  primer capítulo recorre todas las respuestas a favor y en contra a la pregunta ¿Es el Ser Humano  espiritualmente libre en su pensar y en su actuar, o se encuentra sujeto al dominio de la necesidad natural? La respuesta que ofrece Rudolf Steiner a esta pregunta (originalmente formulada omitiendo los polos opuestos espiritual-natural*) está condicionada al estudio de la “conciencia” pues el actuar humano, elevado de lo puramente natural, presupone un motivo consciente. Luego para responder a la pregunta debo estudiar primero cómo formo la decisión en mí.


(*) En la primera edición del libro en 1894 se formula la siguiente pregunta ¿Es el hombre libre en su actuar y en su pensar, o está dirigido por una férrea necesidad?

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Filosofía de la Libertad. Una introducción.

Voy a comenzar una serie de posts en el blog con la intención de que cada POST sea una elaboración de un capítulo del libro. Así con los comentarios vuestros, iremos completando o rectificando, enriqueciendo en definitiva. El libro que utilizaré es la traducción al Castellano de Blanca Sanchez de Muniaín que también podéis encontrar en Rudolf Steiner Archive aquí

El libro consta dos partes: Ciencia y Realidad de la Libertad.
En la primera parte Rudolf Steiner supera la visión del mundo como una realidad inalcanzable al conocimiento humano con la siguiente afirmación: “Mediante la penetración de la percepción por el pensar alcanzamos la realidad”. En la observación de la actividad pensante encontramos lo que en el mundo está separado: percepción y concepto. Así pues el pensar es la única experiencia en donde podemos justificar el Realismo Ingenuo.

En la segunda parte trata de responder a la pregunta ¿puede la consciencia humana que surge de la determinación de los conceptos mediante las percepciones, realizar en sí misma la libertad?

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The three conceptions about perception

Perception is any content I am aware of. It's not a physical object, but still it occupies my consciousness. Due to lack of knowledge in the field of consciousness (Despite all rumours, consciousness hasn't been explained) it's hard to say in precise terms what kind of object a perception is.

Introspectively, everybody has come to have a perception, not one, but billions. The bell of the church, the image of my hands typing this words on the keyboard, a feeling of worry that the rain will not stop, and so on. In what, I experienced as one of the most challenging chapter of the Philosophy of Freedom (chapter IV), we encounter three conceptions about perception. 

The most basic is the naive conception which says:

In my perceptions, the reality is given to me. I grasp the world as it is. 

The objections to this conception have given counterexamples that show one can have very different perceptions about the same thing, that contradict themselves. Think at the scientists from the ancient times. They believed the Earth is the center of the world, and the Sun moves around it. That's how they perceived the things from down here. Copernicus had a very different perception (I'm not very familiar with how he made this discovery), but the truth is nowadays we can have the perception which shows the Earth moving around the Sun. etc.

The second one is the Berkley-conception or subjective-idealism or immaterialism. This is a strange and thought-provoking conception. This conception says that what we perceive does not have a real existence. And it's not, as we'll see, because our sensory-systems are defective that this thing is happening, but it is because there aren't things out-there that we could perceive. The world has no existence. This Englishman with weird ways of seeing the world says and beliefs that only spirits exist and those spirits are creating these perceptions in their heads, they generate all the time perceptual-content. Or, he accepts, the Divine Being itself might be adding this content in these many consciousness. 

Moving forward to  the kantian conception.This conception does not agree with the Berkley conception, in one respect: the non existence of the world. According to the kantian conception there is a world, there are objects, beings, substances, etc. But the thing (the sad thing) is we can not grasp the real world. 

Due to the latest discoveries from physics, psychology and physiology, a belief in the imperfection of our senses has been adopted by many scientists and people. The three sciences mentioned have showed all kinds of cases where human beings were having abnormal perceptions. Someone could not see colors. A cured blind man declared he had very different ideas derived from his tactile perceptions about the objects around him, than the ones he got from his visual perceptions. Even Rudolf Steiner gives us reasons to worry and doubt. He shows our sensible perceptions are dependent on the place we are. The trees from the end of the alley look much shorter when I'm far away from them, then they look when I'm right next to them. But then even the sensory organs are faulty. We don't see the world. We grasp only what this perceptions-systems generate in our consciousness.

The Kantians make all kind of speculations about how the perceptive-process functions. Right from the start, they say, the perception-organ modifies the outer element, the real element with which it interacts, and than the chain of nerves, transmitters and even the central nervous system don't stop from changing the changed real element again and again. In the end the brain is causing individual sensations to appear in the soul, the soul takes all that and projects it over the objects outside. 

The falling of this baroque edifice of arguments is produced by the simple reflection of Rudolf Steiner, the healer of the mind and the Savior of reality.  

Rudolf Steiner points to a very elementary fact. The Kantians talk about all those things as if they had a privileged access to the reality, as if their perceptive-organs were not like everybody else. They talk so sure about what is going on in our eyes and how this faulty eyes of ours deform what the reality is trying to show to them and than they continue talking like this about our brain, our nerves and even about the interaction of the brain with the soul, and in all this talk they forget all the time that they are not different, they are like everybody else. So what they perceive as being the eye, the nerves, the brain, the soul, etc.. all of them are just the result, the fabrication of their own faulty system of perceptions, just illusions. 

Their conception fails because it undermines itself. 

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Here are names for the kinds of thinking discussed in the first 7 chapters in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom. With every shift in the level of consciousness, what we call thinking undergoes a change. In chapter 1 a rational debate occurs about whether we are free or not. In chapter 7 various theories of cognition are discussed, then Monism is show to remove all the limitations of cognition making wholistic thinking possible.  

Chapter 1 Conscious Human Action
RATIONAL THINKING Level of consciousness - will
Rational debate is a discussion about what we should believe. Both sides give arguments for some belief and defend that belief from objections.

Chapter 2 Desire For Knowledge
SPECULATIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - feel
Speculative thinking expresses human curiosity about the world. It transcends experience, but the chapters one-sided views lack experience of the world or the inner connection.

Chapter 3 Thinking in Understanding The World
REFLECTIVE THINKING -Level of consciousness - thought
Reflective thinking is reflection on thinking itself, on the mind and its activities. It is based on contemplation and introspection.

Chapter 4 The World As Perception
REACTIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - perception
Thinking immediately reacts to our observation by adding a preconception, and we consider the object and the preconception as belonging together forming our world of first appearance.

Chapter 5 Knowing The World
CRITICAL THINKING Level of consciousness - concept
We refute our initial impression of the world with critical thinking to discover the concept that corresponds to our perception.

Chapter 6 Individuality
INDEPENDENT THINKING Level of consciousness - mental picture
Independent thinking individualizes the universal concept by forming mental pictures.

Chapter 7 Are There Limits To Cognition?
WHOLISTIC THINKING Level of consciousness - cognition
Wholistic thinking endeavors to remove the limits of cognition in order to integrate all the parts into a whole.

 

 

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How is Rudolf Steiner trending on the web? The Google trend chart below shows him sinking from year to year faster than the Anthroposophical Society. I came to the conclusion in 1989 that unless Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom was presented to the world in a contemporary way it would disappear, but I didn't go as far as predicting the disappearance of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner's work needs a rebirth from outside the Anthroposophical Society as this graph has disqualified them as the rightful heirs of Steiner.* If The Philosophy Of Freedom can be renewed all of his work has a chance, as freedom is the core understanding of his work.

 Movements like Waldorf education may continue but they will become merely another institutionalization of the original living impulse as long as freedom is not understood. A few Waldorf self-appointed authorities already have seized the name "Waldorf" and made themselves its owner to enforce Waldorf dogma.

I have an important message for you if you are waiting for someone else to stand up for freedom. Not enough people are involved at this time to make much difference. Most anthroposophists are better at driving people away with narrow-minded Steiner doctrine than broadening his work. And his work hasn't been presented in a way to make it relevant to daily life.

The good news is that a few dedicated people could make a difference. Dedicated means that the first time you get your feelings hurt you don't quit. It means that the first time you realize how ignorant you are to think you can explain Steiner's principles you have enough courage to keep trying. It means that when you realize nobody else seems to give a damn and you yourself are no guru who can enlighten anybody you keep going. I suppose you have to be the kind of fool who says give me and others freedom or give me nothing.

*The Anthroposophical Society in America has appointed a new position of Director of Development to move the society forward.

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Difficulties in thinking the POF

I am a lazy nature,

I have to pull myself like I'm pulling a huge rock to start thinking the thoughts R. Steiner wrote in his POF

A certain pain-sensation appears

As if something in me says "Not again! Not that! Not that alone activity!"

But then I already know because I already experienced the thinking outside of the physical brain

That clarity, that clear self awareness that I'm weaving thoughts, I, for that I'm coming again.


I warm up with simple concepts like "Freedom". I dig up my memory, my human organization, for traces of what this concept means to me. Like in adolescence, freedom meant being able to go wherever you want, drink alcohol, make love and so on. But than, I try to update the concept to what it really is.

What are your difficulties in thinking the Pof?

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moral maxim

Can someone give me examples of moral maxims?

I'm trying to understand this paragraph:

"While I am performing the action I am influenced by a moral maxim in so far as it can live in me intuitively; it is bound up with my love  for the objective that I want to realize through my action."

Thanks

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Was Rudolf Steiner An Anarchist?


This is from an 1898 letter from Rudolf Steiner to John Henry Mackay

Individualist Anarchism
Hitherto I have always avoided using even the term “individualist anarchism” or “theoretical anarchism” for my world view. For I put very little stock in such designations. If one speaks one’s views clearly and positively in one’s writings: what is then the need of also designating these views with a convenient word? After all, everyone connects quite definite traditional notions with such a word, which reproduce only imprecisely what the particular personality has to say. I utter my thoughts; I characterize my goals. I myself have no need to name my way of thinking with a customary word.

If, however, I were to say, in the sense in which such things can be decided, whether the term “individualist anarchist” is applicable to me, I would have to answer with an unconditional “Yes.”

The state believes people can only get along if one tells them: you must be like this. And if you are not like that, then you’ll just have to — be like that anyway. The individualist anarchist, on the other hand, holds that the best situation would result if one would give people free way. He has the trust that they would find their direction themselves. Naturally he does not believe that the day after tomorrow there would be no more pickpockets if one would abolish the state tomorrow. But he knows that one cannot by authority and force educate people to freeness. He knows this one thing: one clears the way for the most independent people by doing away with all force and authority.

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Pure Thinking In Everyday Life?


Normally pure thinking is recognized in fields such as mathematics and philosophy. Michael Muschalle makes the point in his "Goethe, Kant and Intuitive Thinking in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity" that we use pure thinking in every single act of knowledge on a daily basis. Pure thinking is thinking in universal concepts. So the concept "door" that does not refer to a specific door but to all doors in a universal concept.

I examined a recent experience in thinking wondering how I had arrived at a practical idea. I entered a room and a child was seated at a table with crayons who had started a crayon drawing, but the child's attention was being diverted to a pile of small plastic eyes used for gluing onto craft projects. I felt a discomfort as I wanted the child to continue with the art project and not have their attention split between two things.

My attention focused on the drawing and the pile of eyes next to it. My thinking had in mind the pure concept "drawing" next to the pure concept "eyes". Thinking intuition then discovered a relationship between the two, a common element between them which was the pure concept "animal". Animal relates to the drawing because you can draw an animal. Animal relates to eyes because an animal has eyes. This universal link found on the level of pure concepts was particularized in the concrete imagination-picture of drawing an animal and then using glue to attach the plastic eyes to the drawn animal. In this way the child could combine the two separate activities into one craft project.

After making this suggestion a person in the room said, "What a good idea!" By learning about how we get ideas through the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom and observing our thought processes we can experience more useful practical ideas in our everyday life. The ideas may not be that profound but they can improve a day.

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Not My Will, But Thy Will Be Done - Really?


Not My Will, But Thy Will Be Done?

Throughout the religious world, including anthroposophy, you hear the words, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” The religious leaders encourage us to submit our own will to obey a higher authority. Many people accept this as sensible considering we all make many bad decisions and the general desire to avoid taking responsibility for choices. After having difficulty reaching the “Divine will”, most then look to some wise human to bestow the Divine wisdom upon them.

POF 10.0 Eventually the conviction dawns on you that your authorities are, at bottom, human beings just as weak as yourself.

Of course the key factor is the “thy will” that should guide us, who or what is it? Anthroposophy will explain it with lofty spiritual theory that will confuse you until you fall back to your innocent childhood faith in higher authority or you won't bother trying to understand it but just accept that it confirms your childhood faith.

How can we mature enough to make our own decisions and take full responsibility for our choices? This begins with clear thinking so we can do our best to act out of our own highest knowing, which is our own highest authority.

The Philosophy Of Freedom has no need for the comfort food of religion, but just describes what it is to be a fully mature human being. Beginning with our particular life situation, we can discover the universal principles at work in it, and then reach our thinking and feeling into the realm of universal ideas to reflect. At this level intuitive insight works better. Its not about obeying “voices” as the lunatic, or gut feelings originating in pizza, but comprehending our insights. These new ideas become ideals when it motivates our action. We take what we have learned in our unbiased refection and imaginatively translate these ideals into specific action.

Because they are "our" insights we will be empowered. If we follow the ideas of another authority (Divine or human) we will lack power and will have to continually fall limply to our knees whining for help. 

When you are ready to remove the extra fluff, you find everything right here, as a responsible human being, what The Philosophy Of Freedom calls an ethical individualist. That's just my opinion.

POF 10.8 The moral laws which the Metaphysician is bound to regard as issuing from a higher power have, according to the upholder of Monism, been conceived by men themselves.

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How an action is born?

(Chapter Nine - The Idea of Freedom)

I'm preoccupied by the 3 concepts used by Rudolf Steiner to explain action:

1.Mobile (or driving force - permanent determining factor of the individual)

2.Motive (or the temporary determinant of will)

3.Characterological disposition

1. Those can be the driving force of an action: lusts or desires /feelings / representations/ concepts/ pure concepts.

One question about the driving force is why are they the permanent determining factor of the individual? Is it because one lives for a long period of time (sometimes maybe a lifetime) with the same desires/lusts, he has the same feelings in certain situations and he always reacts in the same way to them, and the measure of one's experience is limited so one can have just a limited amount of representations of "what to do" in different situations - so he does just those actions about which he has a representations?

2. Motives, says Rudolf Steiner, can be either representations or thoughts. A representation or a thought is a motive, only if it made a human being make an action, otherwise is just a candidate for a motive.

The example in the book is: the representation of going for a walk in the next half an hour. This is the candidate for being the motive of an action.

Now, the characterological disposition (c.d.) enters the scene. From what I read, I understood that the c.d. is a group of mental objects of different types: representations, concepts, mental pictures and feelings. (Representation being a individualized notion or a mental picture).

Ok.

So when the candidate for being a motive enters one's consciousness,  objects from one's c.d. come to validate or invalidate the candidate. 

In the example from the book those objects that come to validate the candidate are: one's idea about the utility of walking, the value of one's health and in the end the feeling generated in me by the representation of taking a walk in the next half of hour.

*One thing that I forgot to say about c.d. is that is more or less permanent.

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thinking is living in spiritual content

Intuition, says R.S, is living in spiritual content and is what defines thinking. If you come to accept this, says R.S, you come to realize that the human organization (I read this as: the human brain) doesn't influence thinking, contrary to the common sense opinion. For example in the contemporary philosophy of mind, the reductionist would give this kind of explanations to sensations: the sensation of pain is the excitation of the c-fibers from the brain - and I suppose they had a similar conception on what thinking is.

Steiner says that thinking takes as a point of start the human organization, but then it makes it stop what it does and is occupying its space. Is maybe hard to imagine what  is happening in the head when you think. But when I think most intensely sometimes I feel as I'm above my head and there's this flow of energy pouring in to me from above, and sometimes I start even to hear some non physical sounds that sound more like a wind blowing through a hole. The usual counter-image of thinking (as R.S calls it and which he describes as lifeless) stops its activity and makes place for real thinking! 

Another phenomenological observation that I made is that when I read the  brain is making thinking (the common opinion) something in me was quite satisfied with that thought. And most of my life, my double was very satisfied with the materialism-conception. I do wonder why :)

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The Crossroads Film

I found the transcript for the Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview. It is located here. The video calls for a new worldview to solve the many world problems. I want to examine their solution and relate it to the solution presented in the Philosophy Of Freedom. The film maker wants to start a conversation and is even suggesting remixing of this video to produce your own video.

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© Tom Last 2017