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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  • What Is The Source Of Knowledge And Morality?
    According to The Philosophy Of Freedom Rudolf Steiner's answer is Pure Conceptual Thinking which is attainable by any normal human being without any special training. Once a person orients themselves to this understanding then its just a matter of deepening one's capacity of intuition by practicing conceptual thinking in everyday life.

    For example, It seems I have always been inclined toward conceptual thinking so in a normal conversation with someone that will start in the everyday talk about specific life events, I will start bringing in universal concepts that relate to the conversation and soon both of us have ascended into the world of pure concepts. The person would be some what startled about the conversation if they were not used to it and maybe consider it "deep". I didn't understand what really was happening until I studied the Philosophy Of Freedom. But it just shows how most anyone can begin with an ordinary mundane conversation and ascend into the super-sensible world of pure concepts.

    POF references about lifting oneself to the conceptual sphere
    The highest stage of individual life is conceptual thinking without reference to a specific perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept out of the conceptual sphere through pure intuition. Such a concept initially contains no reference to specific percepts. If we enter into willing under the influence of a concept referring to a percept— that is to say, a mental picture—then it is this percept that determines our willing through the detour of conceptual thinking. If we act under the influence of intuitions, then the motive power of our action is pure thinking. Since it is customary in philosophy to designate the capacity for pure thinking as “reason,” we are fully justified in calling the moral driving force characteristic of this stage practical reason. POF 9.4

    The purpose of my reflection is to construct concepts of the process (billiard game). I connect the concept of an elastic ball with certain other concepts of mechanics, and consider the particular circumstances prevailing in the given case. I try, in other words, to add to the process which takes place without my participation, a second process that takes place in the conceptual sphere. POF 3.0

    The goal consists in the realization of ethical aims that are grasped purely intuitively. Humans achieve such aims to the degree that they possess any capacity to lift themselves to the intuitive-conceptual content of the world. 9.9 original POF

  • Kant talked about Divine Understanding that was not possible for the human being. Goethe and anthroposophists talk about intuitive perception of the super-sensible that is only possible for the extremely evolved human being (not you!). Steiner brings it all down to earth in The Philosophy Of Freedom and points out that intuitive perception of the super-sensible is active and working within every simple human act of knowledge. Pure concepts are super-sensible. Modern science has applied pure thinking and intuition, got their narrow-minded questions answered, and exploded with knowledge. Goethean science has reached for questionable theory and produced for the most part nothing (flow-form fountains?). Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is the way to advance knowledge, not Goethe's way which is different than Steiner's way. Michael Muschalle in his Goethe, Kant and Intuitive Thinking in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy declares this achievement of Steiner's an epistemological revolution of copernican dimensions.

    "For Steiner, the moment of super- sensible experience, for which Goethe struggled so hard and held to be the prerequisite of knowledge of organic nature, is already present in principal in every single act of knowledge and must necessarily be present to be able to speak about knowledge at all." Michael Muschalle

    "One must take seriously here what, for Kant, is connected with the concept of intellectual intuition, in order to be able to appreciate the full range of consequences of what Steiner is stating here in the dry jargon of epistemology, which is nothing else than that this actively perceiving, super-sensible divine understanding, as Kant sees it, which is directed to the being, the spiritual foundation that underlies the world of appearances, and which Kant attributes to a world that is completely beyond all human possibilities, is for Steiner already present and active when a human being simply seeks to find a relationship between any two elements existing in the world. This is why I said earlier that Steiner pulls Kant's divine understanding down from heaven to earth, and does so in a much more fundamental and radical manner than did Goethe. Steiner goes so far as to assert that this divine element can be found in every simple human act of knowledge. This achievement of Steiner's can be termed an epistemological revolution of copernican dimensions." Michael Muschalle

  • In the Philosophy Of Freedom knowledge and morality originate in pure thinking. Steiner used many terms similar to pure thinking. Trying to sort it out I came up with this.

    Pure Thinking is:
    sense-free thinking in that it is detached from anything sense-perceptible.
    conceptual thinking in that the content of pure thinking is concepts and ideas.
    universal thinking in that the concepts are universal or general in nature and do not refer to anything specific.
    intuitive thinking in that concepts are given by intuition.

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