C3 Standing On The Clarity Of Pure Thinking
The Philosophy Of Freedom By Rudolf Steiner
Chapter 3, Thinking As The Instrument Of Knowledge
"To transform the unfree realm into the realm of free activity is the task of self-development."
Standing On The Clarity Of Pure Thinking
• Harness the unique power of thinking as a crucial tool to learn, understand, and predict the world around you, fostering personal growth, self-awareness, and mastery over your life by overcoming bias and personal subjectivity with pure reason.
This self-actualization principle emphasizes the importance of the transparent clarity of the thought we produce as a basis for comprehending the world. By combining observation and thinking, we deepen our understanding, make predictions, and develop our own individual perspectives. Engaging in selfless contemplation of the world and of our thought, enables us to objectively analyze complex situations, make well-informed decisions, and effectively navigate the challenges of life with clarity and insight.
Summary of Chapter 3 Thinking As The Instrument Of Knowledge
Thinking and Its Role in Self-Actualization
The process of self-actualization, which involves realizing one's full potential and pursuing personal growth, is significantly influenced by the ability to think effectively. As an instrument of knowledge, thinking offers unique benefits that can enhance self-understanding, foster resilience, and strengthen interpersonal connections.
By reflecting on our experiences, we develop a more profound comprehension of our own selves, including our values, desires, and aspirations. This self-understanding enables us to make informed decisions that align with our core beliefs, leading to a more authentic and fulfilling life. Moreover, by cultivating awareness of our thought patterns, we can better identify and address areas in which we can grow, both personally and professionally.
In addition to self-discovery, thinking is crucial for overcoming obstacles and adapting to change. By employing critical thinking skills, we can analyze challenges from multiple angles, devise creative solutions, and learn from setbacks. This resilience helps us to continually evolve, even in the face of adversity, and ultimately contributes to our ongoing self-actualization.
Thinking also plays a significant role in fostering empathy and building meaningful relationships with others. By considering diverse perspectives and engaging in active listening, we can better understand the emotions, beliefs, and experiences of those around us. This heightened sense of empathy not only strengthens our interpersonal connections but also contributes to our emotional intelligence, an essential component of self-actualization.
Thinking serves as a powerful catalyst for self-actualization. By leveraging our thinking skills, we can enhance self-understanding, navigate challenges with resilience, and forge deeper connections with others. Embracing thinking as an essential tool in our personal development journey empowers us to unlock our full potential and lead a more enriching life.
Carla was a college freshman who had always been curious about the world around her. She loved to explore new ideas and concepts, but she often found herself overwhelmed by the amount of information available. As she delved deeper into her studies, she realized that simply observing the world wasn't enough to fully understand it. She needed to use critical thinking and analytical skills to make sense of it all.
At first, Carla struggled to apply these skills. She would read a text or listen to a lecture and feel lost in a sea of information. But as she continued to practice, she found that her understanding grew. She could see patterns and connections that she never noticed before, and she started to feel a sense of empowerment. By using her own reasoning abilities to learn, she was no longer reliant on others to tell her what to think.
As Carla continued to develop her thinking skills, she also began to pay more attention to her own thought processes. She noticed how her biases and beliefs influenced her thinking, and she started to question whether these biases were helping or hindering her understanding of the world. By observing her own thinking, she was able to identify areas where she needed to improve and develop a more objective approach to her life.
Carla began experiencing the benefits of disciplining her thinking. By entering the conceptual realm where thought is guided by thought, she was able to rise above her personal biases and prejudices with pure reason. She could see the world more objectively and anticipate future events more accurately. This gave her a sense of clarity and direction that she had never experienced before.
As Carla continued to practice these skills, she realized that she was not only growing intellectually but also personally. She was gaining a deeper understanding of herself and her place in the world. With each new insight, she felt more empowered to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. Self-actualization was a continuous process of growth and development that is not only possible but is also deeply rewarding in practical life.
How can you cultivate the practice of observing your own thinking process to improve your decision-making capabilities and overcome biases that may be limiting your potential?
Chapter 3 Thinking As The Instrument Of Knowledge
3.0 Thinker Predicts - From spectator to thinker.
Observing a billiard ball transfer motion to another ball doesn't allow us to influence the event. The second ball's motion is determined by the first. As spectators, we cannot predict the second ball's motion until it occurs. However, when we reflect and establish concepts related to the event, we engage in a conceptual process that depends on our active involvement and can then predict the motion of the ball.
We wish to establish the fact that we feel compelled to seek concepts and connections that relate to objects and events given independently of us. And the fact that our thinking activity appears to be ours. The question is, what do we gain by finding a conceptual counterpart to an event?
Identifying the corresponding concepts for an event clarifies the connections between its details. Observation alone can only follow an event as it happens, but understanding the connections requires thinking. By discovering these concepts, we can predict outcomes even when we cannot observe the event. The connections between objects and events become evident when observation is combined with thought.
Observation and thinking form the basis of human spiritual striving and intellectual pursuit. Various primal polarities have emerged, but the opposition between observation and thought is the most fundamental.
Philosophers cannot gain knowledge without thinking and must express their principles in conceptual form. Thought may play a supporting role in the occurrence of world events but has a leading role in forming views about them.
We need observation because of the way our minds perceive objects and concepts as separate. We can only access objects through observation, and neither observation nor thought alone can provide a complete understanding. Both are essential for us to comprehend the world around us.
Steps to Standing on the Clarity of Pure Thinking
□ Step 3.1 Exceptional State - From the everyday state to the exceptional state.
The difference between observing everyday objects and events, and observing one's thoughts, lies in the approach and the state of mind. Observing everyday objects, like a table or a tree, occurs when they enter our experience, whereas observing our thoughts about these objects requires stepping back from the immediate impressions of the world outside and introspectively entering an exceptional state. Observing a thought process involves applying the same method of observation used for studying other world content, only the attention is directed inward. This distinction highlights the difference between the "everyday state," where we observe the world and think about it and the "exceptional state," where we recall a past thought process and think about that.
Scenario: Riding on a Bus
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist rides a bus, observing the passengers, the route, and the passing scenery while speculating about the lives of the riders and thinking about all the litter on the city streets.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: Upon arriving home the rider closes the door to their den, closes their eyes and focuses on recalling their thoughts as best they could during the bus ride, reviewing their thoughts that normally go unexamined.
Scenario: Dropping Child Off at School
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist drops their child off at school, observing the school environment, teachers, and other students while worrying about their child's social and educational well-being.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: The parent parks their car and spends a moment recalling the thoughts that were kindled during the drop-off, objectively observing these thoughts that had filled their mind.
Scenario: Attending a Religious Service
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist attends a religious service, observing the rituals, participants, and atmosphere while thinking about death and an afterlife.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: They remain in the pew after the service and concentrate on recalling the thoughts they had during the event, studying the insights they had experienced.
Scenario: Painting a Picture
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist paints a landscape, observing the colors, shapes, and textures, while considering how to capture the essence of the scene on the canvas.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: The artist takes a step back, closing their eyes, and quietly reviews the thoughts that entered their mind while painting. These thoughts usually go unnoticed.
Scenario: Listening to a Podcast
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist listens to a podcast episode, focusing on the content and ideas presented by the speakers, and forms opinions on the topic.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: The listener pauses the podcast and takes a few moments to recall the thoughts they had while listening. They observe these thoughts in their mind's eye, studying the thoughts that were kindled by the program.
Scenario: Argument with Wife
Stage 1 - Everyday state: The materialist engages in a disagreement with their wife, observing their partner's angry expressions and listening to their arguments while countering with their own side of events.
Stage 2 - Exceptional state: The husband takes some deep breaths, turns inward and focuses on recalling the thoughts they had during the conversation, calmly observing them without attaching emotions to them.
□ Step 3.2 Active "I" - From passive feeling to active reflection.
The difference between "passive feeling" and "active thinking" lies in the way they relate to the objects being observed and how they reveal information about the observer. Passive feelings, such as pleasure, are directly triggered by the object and occur involuntarily. When we observe these feelings, we gain insights into our own personality and how we relate to the object. On the other hand, active thinking requires our conscious effort to form concepts related to the observed object. When we think about an object, we do not reveal information about ourselves; rather, we focus on understanding the object itself. Asking why an event evokes certain concepts does not make sense, as the focus lies on the event and not on our internal response. In summary, passive feelings provide insights into our relationship with objects, while active thinking aims at understanding the objects themselves.
Scenario: Reading a Poignant Book
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist is relaxing while reading a touching novel and suddenly feelings of empathy and understanding well up within them. These feelings indicate they have the kind of personality that is able to connect with others' emotions and experiences.
Stage 2 - Active "I": Later they actively think about the novel's themes, calling up the concept of "emotional resonance." By thinking they learn about the power of literature to evoke empathy and insight in its readers.
Scenario: Visiting a Historical Site
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist visits an ancient temple and is overwhelmed by a profound sense of awe and wonder. This feeling expresses their personal appreciation for cultural and historical heritage.
Stage 2 - Active "I": By actively reflecting on the historical site, the concept of "legacy" is called up, and they recognize the lasting impact of past civilizations on the present.
Scenario: Witnessing a Spiritual Practice Different from Their Own
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist observes people engaging in a spiritual practice different from their own, feelings of judgment and superiority just happens to them, indicating their personal struggle to appreciate other spiritual paths.
Stage 2 - Active "I": Later they set aside time to actively reflect on the spiritual practice and the concept of "pluralism" arises, pointing out the importance of respecting other spiritual paths and recognizing the common goals they share.
Scenario: Comedian Jokes
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist hears a comedian make jokes about different races and genders during a stand-up performance, impacting them with feelings of offense and indignation, revealing their personal sensitivity to social issues and a tendency to quickly judge others.
Stage 2 - Active "I": They actively enter deeper reflection on the context of the comedy show which calls up the concept of "satirical commentary," enabling them to understand that the comedian's intention is to use humor to address and challenge societal issues, rather than perpetuate discrimination.
Scenario: Witnessing a Co-worker's Promotion
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist sees their co-worker getting promoted, which triggers feelings of resentment and jealousy that just happens to them, revealing their insecurity about their own abilities.
Stage 2 - Active "I": They later actively think about the co-worker's promotion leading to the concept of "meritocracy," and they are reminded of the importance of hard work and dedication to achieve professional success.
Scenario: Observing a Wealthy Individual
Stage 1 - Feelings kindled: The spiritist passively observes a wealthy individual parking an expensive car at a retreat, which triggers personal feelings of victimhood and envy, revealing something about their personality. They are discontented with their own financial situation.
Stage 2 - Active "I": They later actively think about wealth and examine the concept of "financial success" that appears. The learn something by thinking, recognizing the various factors, such as hard work and opportunity, that are necessary to attain financial status.
□ Step 3.3 Think About Object - From express feeling to express thinking.
The key difference between "expressing feelings" and "thinking contemplation" lies in the focus of the observer's attention. When expressing feelings, the observer's attention is directed towards their relationship with the object, emphasizing their personal experience or emotional response. In contrast, thinking contemplation is an activity where the observer's attention is solely on the observed object, not on their own thought process or personal connection to the object.
In everyday mental life, thinking often goes unnoticed because it is our own activity. When thinking, we usually forget about the thinking process itself and instead focus on the object being observed. This focus on the object is thinking contemplation, and during this process, our attention is not directed towards our own thinking activity but rather the object we are thinking about. As a result, when we express our thoughts about an object, we generally do not mention our thinking process, but rather describe the object itself. This unique nature of thought makes it distinct from other mental activities, such as feelings, which reveal information about our relationship with the objects being observed.
Scenario: New restaurant dish
Stage 1 - Express feeling: Trying a new dish at a restaurant, the realist expresses their dislike for the dish, finding the flavors unfamiliar and overpowering, not what they were used to.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: After fully immersing themselves in the dish, taking the time to savor each ingredient and how they interact with one another, they identify the dish as "fusion cuisine."
Scenario: Visiting an Urban Park
Stage 1 - Express feeling: The realist feels a sense of relaxation and contentment upon entering a well-maintained urban park, expressing their appreciation for natural spaces within bustling city environments.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: By directing their full attention, in contemplation, to the park's landscape design, they identify the various plant species, layout of walkways, and placement of benches, declaring the park design is based on a Japanese garden theme.
Scenario: Examining an Antique Clock
Stage 1 - Express feeling: The realist is captivated and intrigued by an antique clock, expressing their long time fascination with the craftsmanship and history of clocks.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: Moving up close to examine it, they place their full attention upon it, and talk about the clock's intricate pendulum mechanism, Roman numeral dial, and mahogany casing, naming the specific materials, Art Deco style, and period of its creation.
Scenario: Observing a Modern Sculpture
Stage 1 - Express feeling: The realist initially feels confusion and curiosity when looking at an abstract modern sculpture, expressing their personal preference for more traditional and recognizable art forms.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: Placing their full attention upon the sculpture in contemplation, they focus on the sculpture's shape, materials, and construction, noting cubism and asymmetry in the observed details.
Scenario: First impression
Stage 1 - Express feeling: Meeting a new coworker for the first time, the realist forms a negative opinion about the coworker, finding their demeanor off-putting as the kind of person they don't like.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: The realist spends more time getting to know the coworker, closely observing their interactions with others and their work ethic. When they discuss the co-worker with their manager, the manager asks what they think. They mention the coworkers productive work ethic.
Scenario: Opinion piece
Stage 1 - Express feeling: Reading the headline on an opinion piece on a controversial topic, the realist quickly expresses their disagreement with the article's perspective, becoming upset after recognizing the source is an extremist media outlet.
Stage 2 - Express thinking: After reading the article thoroughly, examining the evidence and thinking about the arguments presented, they declare that the article is in support of election integrity which is critical for sustaining democracy.
□ Step 3.4 Think About Thought - From create thought to think about thought.
The primary difference between "present thought" and "contemplation of thought" is the timing and the ability to observe the thought process. Present thinking refers to the thoughts being actively produced in the current moment, which cannot be observed directly as they are being formed. In contrast, contemplation of thought is the act of observing and reflecting upon past thoughts or thought processes, whether they are our own, someone else's, or even imagined scenarios. It is thinking about thinking.
It is impossible to simultaneously create and observe thoughts. One must first engage in the act of thinking before reflecting upon the thoughts produced. This idea is illustrated by the example from the Book of Genesis, where God creates the world in six days and only afterward contemplates the creation. Likewise, in our thinking process, we must first generate thoughts before we can examine and analyze them through contemplation.
Scenario: Social Gathering Anxiety
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist gets anxious every time they're invited to a social gathering, producing a sequence of thoughts about how they won't have a good time and will be awkward around others.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: They reflect on these thoughts and recognize a pattern of negative self-talk and a tendency to assume the worst-case scenario. They learn the importance of challenging their anxious thoughts, being more open to positive experiences, and embracing social interactions as opportunities for growth.
Scenario: The art of letting go
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist can't stop thinking about a past relationship that ended poorly. They consider the emotional baggage they still carry and ponder how to move forward and heal.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: Reflecting on these thoughts the idealist realizes that letting go involves accepting that both pain and joy are essential aspects of the human experience, which ultimately leads to a deeper sense of inner peace and resilience.
Scenario: The paradox of vulnerability
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist thinks about a recent moment of vulnerability, initiating a series of thoughts about the emotional risks associated with vulnerability and wondering about the benefits of embracing vulnerability in their relationships.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: Thinking about these thoughts, the idealist gains the profound insight that vulnerability, despite its risks, is the cornerstone of true intimacy and trust, and that by embracing their own vulnerability, they encourage others to do the same, fostering deeper and more authentic connections.
Scenario: Scientific Advancement
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist reads about ideas of groundbreaking scientific discoveries and theories, and imagines the potential impact on society and human understanding.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: The idealist concentrates on the scientific theories, examining the underlying principles, evidence, and potential applications, aiming to develop a deeper appreciation of the scientific process and its potential to drive progress.
Scenario: Rethinking Intuition
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist reads a book about intuition. The main idea of the book is to rely on your gut feelings when making decisions, your ability to instantly get an understanding of something without needing to consider other people's opinions about it or take time to think it over.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: The idealist questions these thoughts, by thinking about them they discover a potential flaw in relying solely on intuition. While intuition can be useful, there is a risk of gut feelings being influenced by personal biases or emotions. They conclude its essential to also consider rational analysis and objective information in the decision-making process to minimize the impact of biases or emotions.
Scenario: The Pursuit of Happiness
Stage 1 - Produce thought: The idealist listens to a lecture about the pursuit of happiness. The speaker states that happiness is the ultimate goal in life and it is true that wealthy people are happier.
Stage 2 - Think about thought: The idealist reflects on the author's life philosophy and questions the belief that happiness is the ultimate goal in life. Their experience indicates that the pursuit of a goal often involves much more pain than pleasure yet we struggle on.
□ Step 3.5 Know Concept - From creating thought to knowing thought.
When we generate our thought process through our creative activity, we understand the key aspects of its progression and the details of how the process unfolds. What we can only deduce indirectly in all other observations - the factual context and the connection between individual elements - we know directly when it comes to thought.
In the case of observed phenomena, such as the relationship between lightning and thunder, the understanding is indirect because we must go beyond the immediate observations to establish the connection between them. This often involves additional investigation or analysis to uncover the underlying principles or laws governing their relationship.
On the other hand, "knowing thought directly" refers to the immediate understanding of the connections between concepts in our own thought process. Since we create these thoughts ourselves, we have direct access to the rationale and details of how these connections are formed. This intimate knowledge allows us to grasp the relationships between concepts instantly, without the need for additional investigation. The clarity of these connections is inherent in the concepts themselves, regardless of whether the concepts are entirely accurate or not.
Scenario: Analyzing traffic patterns
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematically-minded person observes traffic patterns during their daily commute, sets up a chart with columns headed with the concepts; traffic density, average speeds, and timings for the purpose of recording traffic data.
Stage 2 - Know thought: By gaining on site knowledge of key traffic concepts, they calculate the best times to drive minimizing travel time and fuel consumption.
Scenario: Human behavior in public spaces
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematically-minded person studies people's behavior in a public space and creates these principles: people maintain a certain distance from others, they tend to follow set paths, and they congregate in certain areas.
Stage 2 - Know thought: The mathematist's detailed and contextual understanding of these principles enables them to design public spaces with the subconscious rules of human behavior in mind, potentially reducing congestion and creating more comfortable, efficient urban environments.
Scenario: The efficiency of household chores
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematically-minded person analyzes household chores and forms these principles: some chores require more time, others need less effort, and some can be done simultaneously.
Stage 2 - Know thought: By having a clear and direct understanding of these principles they create a chore schedule based on time, effort, and simultaneous task completion, that free up significant amounts of time for other activities, leading to the development of a chore-optimization app that could help others achieve similar results.
Scenario: The dynamics of a conversation
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematically-minded person studies conversations and forms the concepts: interruptions disrupt the flow, a balance of speaking and listening is important, and nonverbal cues provide additional information.
Stage 2 - Know thought: With their thorough understanding of the dynamics of conversation, they gain insights into effective communication strategies and develop a communication training program that improves interpersonal relationships, workplace communication, and conflict resolution.
Scenario: The patterns in raindrops
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematist observes raindrops falling on a window. They create thought by calculating the size and frequency of the raindrops, as well as the paths they take down the window.
Stage 2 - Know thought: Using their calculations of raindrop size, frequency, and paths, the mathematist creates a mathematical model that simulates raindrop patterns on surfaces. This model allows them to predict patterns and explore new insights on fluid dynamics and natural phenomena.
Scenario: The geometry of shadows
Stage 1 - Create thought: The mathematist observes shadows cast by various objects. They develop a series of thoughts on angles, light sources, and the shapes of the objects.
Stage 2 - Know thought: The mathematist's knowledge of their thoughts on angles, light sources, and object shapes allows them to develop a geometric model of shadow formation. This model contributes to a deeper understanding of light propagation, reflection, and refraction, which can be applied to other areas of optics and computer graphics.
□ Step 3.6 Pure Thinking - From physiological basis of thought to pure thinking.
The clear understanding of the thought process is not dependent on our knowledge of the physiological foundations of thinking. The focus is on examining our mental activity as the subject of observation, rather than the physical processes occurring in the brain. When studying the thought process, we are not concerned with how one brain activity influences another, but rather the rationale behind connecting certain concepts, like lightning and thunder. Introspection shows that in linking thought with thought I am guided by the content of my thoughts. I am not guided by physical processes in the brain.
In a less materialistic time, this distinction might not have needed clarification. However, in this era it is important to emphasize that thinking can be discussed without delving into brain physiology.
Many find it challenging to comprehend the concept of pure thinking. Those who equate thinking with the brain's secretion of thoughts, like saliva from salivary glands, do not grasp the idea presented here. Only by entering the exceptional state described can one surpass materialism and become conscious of what remains unconscious in other mental activities.
Scenario: Planning a vacation destination
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The brain's reward system, including the nucleus accumbens, engages, while the hippocampus retrieves memories of past vacations, and the prefrontal cortex assesses the emotional appeal and practicality of different destinations.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is choosing a vacation destination. They consider their preference for a relaxing beach holiday, the need for affordable travel options, and research on budget-friendly beach destinations. B. Based on the content of the thoughts, they decide to vacation at the Coral Beach Resort in Cancun.
Scenario: Solving a puzzle
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The parietal lobe processes visual and spatial information, allowing the visualization of possible solutions to the puzzle.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is solving a puzzle. They consciously analyzes patterns, colors, and shapes to piece together the puzzle in the most efficient way possible. B. The solution to the puzzle is determined by their thought-content.
Scenario: Selecting a college major
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The rationalist's brain processes personal interests and job market demand using the prefrontal cortex, while the amygdala assesses the emotional appeal of various majors.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is selecting a college major. They consciously consider their interest in technology, love of problem-solving, and the job market demand for tech professionals. B. Their selection of a computer science major is determined by their thought-content.
Scenario: Adopting a pet that suits your lifestyle
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The prefrontal cortex weighs pros and cons of different pets while the amygdala evaluates potential emotional attachment.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is choosing a pet that suits their lifestyle. They consciously think about their small apartment, their preference for a low-maintenance pet, and concludes that adopting a small animal would be the most suitable choice for their lifestyle. B. Based on the content of their thoughts, they decide to adopt a cat.
Scenario: Predicting the impact of a new city policy
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The frontal lobe and temporal lobe work together to process new information, apply logic, and make predictions.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is predicting the effects of a new city policy on local businesses. They consciously think about how the new policy increases taxes on local businesses, how higher taxes will reduce profit margins, and that reduced profit margins may lead to business cost-cutting measures. B. Based on the content of their thoughts, they predict that the new policy could negatively affect local businesses.
Scenario: Evaluating the efficiency of a new computer program
Stage 1 - Physical activity in brain: The brain engages the frontal lobe and hippocampus to process new information, compare, and make decisions.
Stage 2 - Pure thinking: A. The reason linking the rationalist's sequence of thoughts is to understand if a new computer program will improve their work efficiency. They consciously consider the new programs claim to automate repetitive tasks, the rationalist acknowledges they spend a significant amount of time on repetitive tasks, and the program has good reviews from other users. B. Based on the content of their thoughts, they conclude that the new computer program is likely to improve their work efficiency.
□ Step 3.7 "I" Think - From thought-content of my thinking activity to identity and purpose.
For anyone capable of observing thought, which is within the reach of every normal individual, this observation is of utmost importance. They confront their own activity, fully understanding its origin, conditions, and relationships. By doing so, they secure a point of reference that can be used to explain all other world phenomena with a reasonable chance of success.
All other things and events exist independently of the individual. It is unclear whether they are real, illusory, or dream-like. However, one thing is absolutely certain: our thinking exists because we produce it ourselves. In thinking, we can grasp ourselves within the world, engaging in the activity that is most personal.
As a thinker, we possess the unique ability to confirm the existence of our thoughts, as they are a direct product of our own activity. This certainty in thinking provides a starting point for further exploration of the existence and nature of other phenomena in the world. By observing thought, we not only gain insights into our own selves but also establish a stable basis for understanding the relationships and connections between various objects and events.
Scenario: Examining the Impact of Radical Ideologies
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist independently studies the history and development of radical ideologies, their influence on social movements, and the resulting societal upheaval and violence that often ensue.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: The psycheist uses their acquired knowledge of extremist ideologies to draw attention to the authoritarian dangers of left-wing politics, embracing the individual identity of a freedom advocate. Their purpose is driven by promoting political discourse that is grounded in rationality, free speech and respect for individual rights, aiming to create a more informed society.
Scenario: Discovering the Art of Storytelling
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist independently researches various storytelling techniques, narrative structures, and the history of oral tradition across cultures.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: Identified by their unique storytelling voice, their storytelling knowledge and skill gives them purpose by connecting with others, preserving cultural heritage, and educating future generations through engaging narratives.
Scenario: Cultivating an Ethical Fashion Sense
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist delves deep into the ethics of modesty in fashion and how it has evolved over time, analyzing the different cultural influences that have shaped modest fashion, and exploring the potential of incorporating modesty into contemporary fashion design.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: They develop a unique personal style based on this knowledge that combines elements of modesty with modern fashion sensibilities. Designing clothing that emphasizes modesty allows wearers to express their ethical values of modesty, humility, and self-respect. They embrace this distinctive fashion sense as an integral part of their individual identity, finding purpose by starting a fashion blog to share their perspective.
Scenario: Unique Artistic Skillset
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist independently studies various art forms, techniques, and history to develop a unique artistic skillset, such as learning about the fusion of classical music and electronica.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: Creating a personal artistic identity by combining knowledge of learned elements, like producing experimental music, they use this as a platform to inspire others, providing a meaningful life purpose.
Scenario: Problem-Solving Abilities
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist independently studies advanced problem-solving techniques and strategies, like mastering various forms of logic and lateral thinking.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: Utilizing their knowledge of problem-solving skills to tackle complex issues in different fields, they establish an individual identity as an innovative thinker, and contribute to meaningful advancements in society.
Scenario: Personal Philosophy
Stage 1 - Individual thought-content: The psycheist independently studies various philosophical traditions, ethical theories, and worldviews to develop a well-rounded understanding of human thought and values.
Stage 2: Identity and purpose: They form a personal philosophy based on this knowledge, live according to these principles, and engage in meaningful discussions with others, thus shaping their identity and life purpose around intellectual exploration and moral growth.
□ Step 3.8 Realm Of Thought - From intermixing thought with observation to think about thinking.
When we observe thought, we introduce something to our field of observation that usually goes unnoticed, while the method of observation remains the same as when observing other things. Staying within the realm of thought we expand the range of observed objects without adding to the number of methods used.
The addition of thought goes unobserved when we focus on other things, intermixing with world events and blending with the act of observation itself. However, when observing our thought, the overlooked element comes to light in the background.
When constructing a web of thoughts around an independent object, we go beyond mere observation, raising questions about our right to do so and if our thoughts relate to the object. Contemplating thinking itself dissolves these questions, as we don't add anything unfamiliar to our thoughts, eliminating the need for justification.
By remaining within the realm of thought, we can effectively examine and understand unique qualities of thinking. Self-reflection leads to a clearer understanding of how our thoughts interact with objects and events in the world, providing insight into our perceptions and the connections we make between different aspects of our experiences.
Scenario: Spirituality of a Shared Meal
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist participates in a family gathering and considers it just an opportunity for socializing and enjoying food, not noticing that they've mixed this thought into their perception of the event, causing them to miss the possibility of a deeper spiritual connection with family members.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: Entering into pure thought, the pneumatist contemplates the spiritual aspects of sharing a meal, recognizing it as a symbol of unity, nourishment, and gratitude.
Scenario: Overlooking Spiritual Significance
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist has a chance encounter with an old friend but assumes it's merely a random occurrence. They later realize that by mixing the "random occurrence" thought into their perception of the event, they missed the potential spiritual significance of the reunion.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: The pneumatist enters into pure thought, reflecting on the spiritual significance of encounters, contemplating the possibility of destiny and the interconnectedness of people's lives.
Scenario: Misinterpreting a Child's Joy
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist sees a child's joy as they play and, thinking the joy is merely the result of the child having fun, fail to realize that imposing this thought onto the observation actually hindered their ability to perceive the deeper spiritual essence of the child's joy.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: Entering into pure thought, the pneumatist ponders the pure, spiritual essence of childhood joy and how it represents an unburdened connection to the divine.
Scenario: Spiritual Resonance of Music
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist listens to a piece of music and appreciates it only for its melody and rhythm, not noticing that by imposing this thought onto their experience of the music, they missed the opportunity to connect with the spiritual essence of the composition.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: The pneumatist enters into pure thinking to contemplate the spiritual power of music, recognizing its ability to evoke deep spiritual emotions transcending the boundaries of personal experiences, allowing our spirit to soar beyond the limitations of everyday thoughts and concerns.
Scenario: Misunderstanding a Symbolic Artwork
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist observes a painting depicting a lone tree and views it merely as a representation of nature. Because they are unaware that their thought of the painting as merely a representation of nature has become entwined with their perception, they fail to fully immerse themselves in the profound insights the artwork has to offer.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: The pneumatist removes themselves from life's distractions to think about thinking and reflect on the spiritual symbolism of the tree, realizing that it represents growth, resilience, and the interconnectedness of all life.
Scenario: Significance of a Dream
Stage 1 - Intermixing thought with observation: The pneumatist has a vivid dream involving a symbolic animal, but dismisses it as a random nighttime fantasy, not realizing that by immediately mixing their thought of a meaningless dream with their perception of the dream, they may have missed an opportunity for self-discovery.
Stage 2 - Thinking about thinking: The pneumatist takes a moment to reflect on the potential spiritual meaning of the dream, exploring the symbolism of the animal and the insights it might offer into their own spiritual growth and development.
□ Step 3.9 Create Thought - From know, then create to create, then know.
Nature already exists, and to recreate it, one must understand the principles governing its origin. To create it again, we would have to imitate the conditions of existence found in the existing one. This process of imitation, which precedes the recreation, requires prior knowledge of nature. However, creating a completely different nature would demand its creation without applying prior knowledge of the existing one.
In contrast, when it comes to thinking, we achieve creation before knowledge, something that is impossible with nature. If we waited to know thinking before engaging in it, we would never think at all. We must boldly engage in thinking and only afterward, through introspection, gain knowledge of what we have done. We first create thought, and then make it the object of observation in order to know it.
The perplexity we experience with things arises because we are not involved in their creation. We merely find them before us. However, with thought, we know how it is brought about. This is why thinking serves as the most fundamental starting point for studying any world event.
Stage 1 - Know, then create: The monadist psychologist graduates with an education that includes the impact of cultural differences on communication styles and its effect on the formation of interpersonal relationships (know), and then applies this knowledge to help clients overcome mental health challenges (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: After years of research, the brilliant psychologist has a breakthrough and discovers a promising cognitive behavioral therapy (create). The next step is to gain knowledge of this new therapy by thoroughly assessing its relevance for their clients and how to integrate it into their existing therapeutic approach to promote well-being and personal growth (know).
Stage 1 - Know, then create: After years of listening and playing jazz the monadist musician learns the basic principles of jazz theory (know), and then applies this knowledge to compose music and create harmonious Jazz arrangements (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: In a burst of inspiration the musician creates a new genre or style of music (create), and afterwards analyzes it to gain knowledge of its potential for expanding their artistic expression and influencing their existing musical creations by developing a unique and evolving sound (know).
Scenario: Home decorator
Stage 1 - Know, then create: The monadist decorator learns the principles of interior design in a training program (know), and then uses the principles to create visually appealing and functional living spaces (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: The cutting edge decorator immerses themselves into decorating theory, combining elements of minimalism and maximalism (create), and then steps back to evaluate its potential for unique and striking interior designs that will challenge conventional design norms (know).
Scenario: Fitness enthusiast
Stage 1 - Know, then create: The monadist trainer learned the established principles of proper exercise form and technique (know), using these principles to create effective workout routines that promote health and well-being (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: The experienced trainer develops a new fitness theory that combines elements of different exercise disciplines to create a holistic approach to physical fitness (create), and then gains further knowledge of it by deciding how it could be applied to help people achieve their fitness goals more efficiently (know).
Stage 1 - Know, then create: The monadist journalist learned the standard principles of investigative reporting (know), and then applied this knowledge to write original stories uncovering and exposing corruption, fraud, and other wrongdoings (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: The innovative journalist discovers a new approach to utilizing data to provide evidence-based analysis (create), and then gains knowledge of it by assessing its potential for enhancing the depth and accuracy of their reporting (know).
Stage 1 - Know, then create: The monadist chef mastered the principles of French cuisine (know), and then used this knowledge to create traditional French dishes for a fine dining restaurant (create).
Stage 2 - Create, then know: The nontraditional monadist chef creates a new culinary theory that combines the flavors and techniques of two distinct cooking styles (create), and then gains knowledge of what they have done by evaluating its place within the vast range of culinary traditions (know).
□ Step 3.10 Self-Supporting Thought - From initial unconscious view to independent conscious analysis.
When we initially observe something, our unconscious mind often adds its own interpretation, which may be different from the reality. However, when we consciously analyze the same thing later, we might discover new insights or understandings that are more accurate and independent of our initial, unconscious impressions.
When you observe your own thought, you're examining what you've personally created, and it doesn't change simply because you're observing it. Our perspective on our own thoughts is more accurate than anyone else's understanding. There's no reason to prioritize any perspective other than your own when considering your thoughts.
Thought serves as a self-supporting starting point in our quest to understand the world. Thought offers a self-sustaining principle, as it is generated by itself. The question is whether we can grasp anything else by means of thought.
Scenario: Space Exploration
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist instinctively feels the excitement around space exploration and, without questioning, initially agrees with the potential for human progress.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: Deliberating further, the dynamist contemplates the idea of instead focusing on the vast frontier of inner exploration, suggesting that it could lead to a deeper understanding of our place in the universe and a more dynamic, harmonious existence.
Scenario: Political Activism
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist spontaneously sees the widespread support for political activism as a means for social change and, without questioning, agrees with its potential for a better world.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: Examining what it actually takes to build a better world the dynamist forms their own independent view, envisioning a more spiritually awakened society with minimal government intervention, recognizing that a free people will build a better society. A self-reliant populace emphasizing the significance of personal responsibility will naturally create a better more harmonious society that fosters individual self-development.
Scenario: Entertainment Industry
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist automatically observes the popularity of the entertainment industry and, without questioning, agrees with its potential for providing enjoyment and relaxation.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: Raising questions, the dynamist forms their own opinion and envisions a future where, rather than depicting the lowest levels of human existence, art and entertainment serve a higher purpose inspiring individuals with hero's representing the highest human ideal of a man and of a woman, encouraging the viewer to reflect on their lives, and engage in meaningful conversations, thus fostering the growth of dynamic, thoughtful personalities.
Scenario: Scientific Discovery
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist unconsciously acknowledges the value of scientific discoveries and, without questioning, agrees with their potential for improving human life.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: The dynamist ponders the idea of merging scientific inquiry with spiritual wisdom, forming the view that a more holistic understanding of reality could lead to transformative breakthroughs in human knowledge and the growth of dynamic, insightful personalities.
Scenario: Economic Growth
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist automatically observes the general enthusiasm for economic growth and, without questioning, agrees with its benefits for society.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: After engaging in independent thinking, the dynamist proposes a more pro-human oriented economy that prioritizes the development of human potential by focusing on the well-being, personal growth, and creativity of individuals. This approach would involve nurturing talent, fostering a sense of purpose, and encouraging life-long learning.
Scenario: Work-Life Balance
Stage 1 - Initial unconscious view: The dynamist impulsively observes the popular trend of prioritizing work-life balance and, without questioning, agrees with its potential for improving well-being.
Stage 2 - Independent conscious analysis: Raising questions, the dynamist forms their own view and proposes an alternative approach that focuses on finding purpose and fulfillment in work, leading to a more integrated, satisfying life experience and the development of a more dynamic, passionate personality.
□ Step 3.11 Examination Of Thinking - From immediate thoughts to principles of thinking.
Before trying to comprehend objects, it's vital to first concentrate on the correctness of our principles of thinking and establish whether thoughtful reflection can offer insights into the matter. It's important to scrutinize thinking objectively, without involving a thinking subject or thought object. Recognizing the necessity to understand thinking before anything else is crucial.
To explain the world using concepts, we need to begin with what is most immediate and personal to us. We start with the present moment and progress from later to earlier elements.
The approach in Geology transitioned from explaining the earth's current state through catastrophe fables to investigating ongoing processes and using backward reasoning to understand the past. In a similar manner, a philosopher can only achieve their goal by commencing from the last occurrence in time, which is thought, and treating it as the starting point in theory.
Scenario: Formation of a Waterfall (Native American Myth)
Stage 1 - Myth based reasoning forward: According to a Native American myth, a waterfall was formed when a tribe's chief threw a huge rock into a river to protect his people from an evil spirit. The rock caused the water to cascade over it, creating the waterfall.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist observes the present waterfall and then uses evidence-based reasoning to reason backward by examining the area's rock layers, erosion patterns, and water flow. They find that the waterfall was formed due to the erosion of softer rock layers beneath a harder, more resistant rock layer. Over time, the water in the river eroded the softer rock, causing the harder rock layer to collapse and create a sudden drop in the riverbed, resulting in the waterfall.
Scenario: Missing Wallet
Stage 1 - Speculation based reasoning forward: The tourist is upset that their wallet is missing and assumes that it was stolen by a pickpocket while they were in a crowded area. They begin by considering the crowded location of the crime as the starting point and try to reason forward, speculating about the pickpocket's appearance, timing, and possible escape route. However, without concrete evidence or a clear understanding of the situation, they are unable to accurately reconstruct the events leading to the missing wallet.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist begins with the present moment, and reasons backward by retracing their steps, considering the last time they used the wallet and where they might have misplaced it. They eventually find the wallet tucked in the pocket of a jacket they wore earlier.
Scenario: The Nature of Reality - Simulation Hypothesis
Stage 1 - Speculation based reasoning forward: The philosopher speculates about the nature of reality based on the abstract principle that we live within a simulation. They attempt to deduce the behavior of objects and phenomena by imagining how they are generated and controlled by an advanced computer program or a simulated universe. However, this approach lacks empirical grounding and does not provide a comprehensive understanding of reality.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist shifts their focus to the present experience of human cognition. They begin by examining how humans perceive and understand reality through their senses and thought processes. By reasoning backward from thought, the philosopher investigates whether there are any empirical indicators or patterns in human cognition that might suggest a simulated reality. This investigation leads to a more nuanced understanding of the nature of reality, incorporating empirical evidence and insights from cognitive science and information theory, while also considering alternative explanations for the observed phenomena.
Scenario: Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory
Stage 1 - Myth based reasoning forward: The feminist accepts the myth that human society was matriarchal—"woman-centered" and goddess-worshipping—from the Paleolithic era until sometime around 3000 BCE and that the shift to today's patriarchal society resulted from the deliberate suppression of female leadership. Starting with this myth they reason forward trying to identify instances of this suppression throughout history but fail to provide a clear explanation for the current social structure.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist begins by examining today's society and then uses evidence-based reasoning to reason backward tracking the development of social structures, gender roles, and power dynamics throughout history. Its found that men held more power because they were more valuable in the market economy. The jobs of the past rewarded physical strength and endurance, something men have more of than women. Society is the result of complex historical, cultural, and economic factors, rather than the suppression of a matriarchal past.
Scenario: Myth of Systemic Racism Origins
Stage 1 - Myth based reasoning forward: The Race Studies professor accepts the myth that slavery is a product of Western civilization and attempts to link all instances of systemic racism to this origin. Starting with this myth they reason forward to today's racism trying to find evidence of a connection, but are unable to explain why systemic racism exists in various cultures and societies around the world, suppressing people of all colors—white, black, brown, yellow.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist begins by examining instances of today's racism and then reasons backward using evidence-based reasoning taking into account the history of slavery, various civilizations, time periods, and cultural contexts. They find that slavery was a fact of life throughout the ancient world, including slavery of Africans by fellow Africans. Western ideals played a significant role in ending slavery. Western Enlightenment ideals questioned authority and sought to elevate human rights, liberty, happiness, and toleration. The British Slavery Abolition Act of 1834 suppressed the slave trade worldwide and the American Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in the United States.
Scenario: Myth of Inequality - Disparity Due to Discrimination
Stage 1 - Myth based reasoning forward: The political activist accepts the myth that any disparity in income, education, or opportunity among different social groups is solely due to discrimination. Starting with this myth they reason forward to today's instances of group disparity trying to identify instances of discrimination as the cause for all observed disparities but fail to provide a comprehensive explanation for the wide range of inequalities present in society.
Stage 2 - Empirical reasoning backward: The phenomenalist investigates the specific instances of disparity and then reasons backward by examining various factors of disparity such as education, family stability, cultural values and expectations. They find that disparities are often the result of a complex interplay of multiple factors other than discrimination, concluding that if we truly want to raise the living standards for everyone, we must promote equality of opportunity—not spend our time policing equality of outcome
□ 3.12 Rightly Applied Thought - From right or wrong thought To rightly applied thought.
Some people argue that we can't be certain whether our thoughts are correct or incorrect. Thoughts are facts, and it is pointless to label a fact as right or wrong. The primary concern should be whether thought is being applied appropriately. The purpose of "The Philosophy Of Freedom" is to demonstrate the extent to which the application of thought to the world is accurate or inaccurate.
It is reasonable for someone to question our capacity to understand the world through thought; however, it is perplexing that anyone could doubt the validity of thought when examined in isolation, in itself, prior to its application to the world.
Scenario: Identifying a Bird
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: Two sensationalist birdwatchers spot a bird. They closely observe its shape, size, coloration, and behavior but disagree about its species. They argue over whose identification is correct, each presenting valid visual and behavioral features to support their claims.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: They acknowledge the validity of each other's thoughts based on their personal observations. After consulting a bird identification guide and considering the bird's habitat, they find that only one of them has correctly applied their thought to identify the bird in this specific situation.
Scenario: Interpretation of a Movie Scene
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: Two sensationalist friends watch a movie scene together and have different interpretations of what they perceive as the characters' motives. They argue over whose interpretation is correct, each presenting valid perspectives of character development.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: They acknowledge that both interpretations are generally valid points. After discussing the overall narrative, the movie's themes, and the character development, they find that one friend's interpretation aligns more closely with the context of the story, thus being correctly applied to this specific movie.
Scenario: Analyzing a Political Debate
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: Two sensationalist friends watch a political debate and form opposing opinions about which candidate performed better. One accusing the candidate of being an extreme right-winger while the other claims the candidate merely supports a free country. They argue over whose assessment is correct, each presenting arguments and counterarguments clarifying their position.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: They acknowledge the validity of each others opinions in themselves, but they are discussing a specific debate. After discussing the candidates' responses to specific questions and their overall vision for the country, they find that one friend's evaluation is more consistent with the debate's key moments and has correctly applied their thought to this specific debate.
Scenario: Interpreting a Poem
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: The sensationalist student reads a poem in class. The students listen and offer different interpretations of its perceived meaning. They argue over whose understanding is correct, each presenting valid evidence from the text to support their viewpoints.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: The teacher acknowledges the validity and knowledge of poetry in the students opinions. After discussing the poem's context, literary devices, and the poet's intentions, the class finds that one student's interpretation aligns more closely with the poem's overall message and has correctly applied their thought to this specific poem.
Scenario: Deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphics
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: Two sensationalist egyptologists discover an ancient tomb with hieroglyphics on the wall and disagree about its implications for the history of Egypt. They argue over whose interpretation is correct, each presenting valid evidence from other sources to support their claims.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: They acknowledge the scholarly validity of both possible interpretations in themselves. After reviewing the historical context, the document's author, and the events surrounding the document's creation, they find that one egyptologist's interpretation is more consistent with the available evidence and has correctly applied their thought to this specific tomb.
Scenario: Assessing a Musical Performance
Stage 1 - Right or wrong thought: Two music critics attend a concert becoming immersed in the performance but have opposing views its quality. They argue over whose assessment is correct, each presenting interesting critiques of the concert.
Stage 2 - Rightly applied thought: Both critics agree on their perception of the quality of the performance. After discussing the performer's technique, the composition, and the overall impact of the performance, they find that one critic's evaluation is more accurate in light of the performance's strengths and weaknesses and has correctly applied their thought to this specific concert.
"The one that matters most is the knowing doer—the one who acts out of knowledge."