Study Course Steps 2.1 To 2.12

8212849092?profile=RESIZE_930x

Chapter 2 The Fundamental Desire For Knowledge
Striving For True Knowledge

CHAPTER THEME: True Knowledge - We gain knowledge of the world in two ways; observation and thought. This individualization process splits our being into two parts and sends us on a quest to reconcile our thoughts with the world. True knowledge unifies observation and thought --reconciles the split-- when individual insight discovers the essence of nature within (the cooresponding concept) that belongs to the self and also to the world, each in his own way. While I am seeing nature outside, the cooresponding concept arises from within (conceptual intuition).

Theme: True Knowledge
topic 2.1: Materialism
topic 2.2: Spiritualism
topic 2.3: Realism
topic 2.4: Idealism
topic 2.5: Materialistic Idealism
topic 2.6: Indivisible Unity
topic 2.7: Contrast Self
topic 2.8: Feeling Impulse
topic 2.9: Know Nature Within
topic 2.10: Something More Than "I"
topic 2.11: Descriptions Of Consciousness
topic 2.12: Facts Without Interpretation

2.0 Desire For Knowledge
True Knowledge
From Separating 'Self and World' TO Unifying 'Self and World'

 "Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case." TPOF 2.0

 

Wall Of Separation
As children we felt ourselves to be one with Nature. But as soon as we begin to have thoughts, we question the world and desire answers. The mental process then splits our world into two parts: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world. In the building up of our thought-content we erect a wall of separation between ourselves and the world. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides, Self and World. Our childhood unity is lost and we confront the world as separate individuals.

Feeling Harmony And Unity
But we never lose the feeling that we belong to the world, that the universe is a unity embracing both Self and World. This feeling for harmony makes us strive to bridge the separation and guides our return by expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with our attempts to reconcile the two sides. While I am seeing Nature outside of me, I feel something more of Nature within me. This feeling is a guide to the inner truth that is pressing toward manifestation.

Bond Of Connection
While it is “thought” that separates us from the world, it will be “thought” that reconnects us with it. Our life is a continuing search for the unity between ourselves and the world. Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal. Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we restore our lost childhood bond of connection —on a higher level. Inner truth resolves the separation between Self and World because the inner concept that corresponds to the outer world belongs not only to the Self, but also to the World. In their own way each one's inner truth can satisfy the desire for knowledge.

     
STEP 2.1 Materialism
From one-sided materialism To shift away from self
3293861254?profile=original

One-Sided Materialism
Outer Truth: Materialism can never provide a satisfactory explanation of the world. For every attempt at an explanation must begin by forming thoughts about the phenomena of the world. So Materialism starts with thoughts about Matter and material processes. In doing so, it already has two different kinds of facts before it: the material world and the thoughts about it. The Materialist tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely material process. The Materialist attributes the power of thinking to Matter, instead of to himself.

  

Shift Away From Self
Inner Truth: How does Matter come to reflect upon its own nature? Why is it not perfectly content to be the way it is, and simply go on existing as it is? The Materialist has turned his attention away from the identifiable subject, from his own Self, and instead occupies himself with the nebulous and indeterminate nature of Matter. Here the same problem comes up again. The materialistic theory cannot solve the problem, it can only shift it to another place.

     
STEP 2.2 Spiritualism
From one-sided spiritualistic theory To material world is never found
3293861396?profile=original

One-Sided Spiritualistic Theory
Outer Truth: What of the Spiritualistic theory? The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself.

 

Material World Is Never Found
Inner Truth: From all that it achieves by its own spiritual effort, the material world is never found. This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to produce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do this either in knowledge or in action, as long as it regards its own nature as exclusively spiritual. It seems as if the Ego had to concede that the world would be a closed book to it, unless it could establish a non-spiritual relation to the world.

     
STEP 2.3 Realism
From one-sided realism experience of external world To need material things To realize idealistic intentions
3293858831?profile=original

One-Sided Realism Experience Of External World
Outer Truth: If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience Mind can have no content.

 

Need Help Of Material Things To Realize Idealistic Intentions
Inner Truth: Similarly, when we carry out actions, we have to realize our intentions on the real, practical level with the help of material things and forces. In other words, we are dependent on the external world.

     
STEP 2.4 Idealism
From one-sided idealism w/o experience To does away with external world
3293859323?profile=original

One-Sided Idealism W/O Experience
Outer Truth: The most extreme Spiritualist or, better said, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole edifice of the world from the “Ego.” What he has actually accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the world without any experiential content.

 

Does Away With External World
Inner Truth: As little as it is possible for the Materialist to do away with the Mind, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do away with the external world.

     
STEP 2.5 Materialistic Idealism
From accept both materialism and idealism To mind and matter paradox
3293858936?profile=original

Accept Both Materialism And Idealism
Outer Truth: A curious variant of Idealism is the theory of F. A. Lange presented in his widely read “History of Materialism.” Lang accepts that the Materialists are right in declaring all phenomena in the world, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes. Conversely, he also accepts that Matter and its processes are the product of thinking.

 

Mind And Matter Paradox
Inner Truth: This would mean our thinking is produced by material processes, and material processes are produced by our thinking. When translated into concepts, Lange’s philosophy is a conceptual paradox. This makes it an equivalent to the tale of the bold Baron Münchhausen, who holds himself up in the air by his own pigtail.

     
STEP 2.6 Indivisible Unity
From indivisible unity of matter and mind To can't explain two-fold manifestation
3293860748?profile=original

Indivisible Unity Of Matter And Mind
Outer Truth: The third form of Monism is the one that finds, even at the simple level of the atom, Matter and Mind are already united

 

Can't Explain Two-Fold Manifestation
Inner Truth: But nothing is gained by this either, for here again the question that actually originates in our consciousness is shifted to another place. How does the simple entity come to manifest itself in two different ways when it is an indivisible unity?

     
STEP 2.7 Contrast Self
From contrast ourselves as “self” To microcosm-macrocosm (we in nature, nature in us)
8215591854?profile=RESIZE_930x

Contrast Ourselves As “Self”
Outer Truth: Contrary to all these theories is a fact that must be emphasized. It is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.” Goethe has given classical expression to this in his essay “Nature”, even though his way of speaking may sound at first completely unscientific. “Living in the midst of her (nature), yet are we strangers to her. Ceaselessly she speaks to us, yet betrays not her secrets.””

 

Microcosm-Macrocosm: We In Nature, Nature In Us
Inner Truth: But Goethe also knows the other side: “Human beings are all within her, and she in each of them.”

     
STEP 2.8 Feeling Impulse
From feel within nature To feeling impulse (outer working of nature in us)

Feel Within Nature
Outer Truth: It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we exist within Nature and belong to her.

  Feeling Impulse (outer working of nature in us)
Inner Truth: This feeling impulse can only be the outer working of nature living in us too.
     
STEP 2.9 Know Nature Within
From dualist speculation about interaction of nature and mind To find essence of nature within
8215669058?profile=RESIZE_930x

Dualist Speculation About Nature And Mind
Outer Truth: Dualism considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature. No wonder it cannot find the connecting link. We can find nature outside us only if we first know her within us. We will not speculate about how Nature and Mind interact.

  Find Essence Of Nature Within
Inner Truth: We must find the way back to her. While it is true we have torn ourselves away from Nature, we must have retained something of her in our own being. We must seek out this essence of Nature in us, and then we will discover our connection with her once more. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide. This marks out our path of inquiry. We will probe into the depths of our own being, to find there the elements we retained in our flight from Nature.
     
STEP 2.10 Something More Than "I"
From merely “I” To something more than “I"
8215706665?profile=RESIZE_930x

Merely ‘I’
Outer Truth: “Here we are merely ‘I’.

  Something More Than “I"
Inner Truth: The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the problem. We must reach a point where we can say, “Here we are no longer merely ‘I’, here is something more than ‘I’.
     
STEP 2.11 Descriptions Of Consciousness
From academic terms of psychology and philosophy To descriptions of consciousness we all experience
8215747882?profile=RESIZE_930x

Academic Terms Of Psychology And Philosophy
Outer Truth: The inclusion of a few statements about attempts to reconcile Mind and the World have been used only to clarify the actual facts. For this reason, I have not found it necessary to use terms such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy.

 

 

Descriptions Of Consciousness We All Experience
Inner Truth: I expect some who have read this far will not find my presentation to be in accordance with "the present standing of scholarship." I can only reply that I have not been concerned with scholarship of any kind, but rather with simple descriptions of what we all experience in our own consciousness.

     
STEP 2.12 Facts Without Interpretation
From scholar interpretations of consciousness To facts without interpretation
8215771480?profile=RESIZE_930x
Scholar Interpretations Of Consciousness
Outer Truth: To object that the above discussions have not been scholarly would be like quarreling with the reciter of a poem for failing to accompany every line at once with aesthetic criticism. I am not concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but with how we experience it from moment to moment.
  Record Facts Without Interpretation
Inner Truth: Ordinary consciousness does not know the sharp distinctions of scholarship. So far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life.

 

   

Next Chapter

Corresponding Concept
While I am seeing nature outside of me it can only be something more of nature, the corresponding concept within me, that is itself pressing toward manifestation. By penetrating to the depth of our own being the corresponding concept is discovered which reveals itself to us as
belonging not only to the self but also to the world.

In the next chapter, “Thinking As An Instrument Of Knowledge”, we will look within and investigate the conceptual essence of Nature given to us as thought.

     

BOOK TEXT

2. THE FUNDAMENTAL DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE

Two souls, alas, dwell within my breast,
Each withdraws from and repels the other.
One is bound to earth with primal, passionate zest,
Clinging with every fiber of its being;
The other soars, spurning the dust,
Ever wings its voyage to lofty meadows of the blest.
(Faust I, lines 1112-1117)

2.0 Desire For Knowledge
[1] With these words Goethe expresses a characteristic deeply rooted in human nature. The human being is not a self-contained whole. He always demands more than what the world itself offers. Nature gives us needs, among them are some left to our own activity to satisfy. Abundant are the gifts we have received, yet more abundant are our desires. We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know.

We look twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest, the second time in motion. We are not satisfied with this observation. Why, we ask, does the tree appear first at rest and then in motion? Every look at the natural world raises questions. Every phenomenon we meet is a new problem to be solved. Every experience is a riddle. We observe a creature similar to the mother animal emerging from the egg, and ask the reason for this similarity. We observe a living being grow and develop to a certain degree of perfection, and seek the underlying causes. Nowhere are we satisfied with what nature displays before our senses. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts.

[2] The something more we seek in things, exceeds what is given to us in immediate observation. What we add splits our entire existence into two parts. We become conscious of our opposition to the world. We place ourselves over against the world as an independent being. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.

[3] We erect this wall of separation between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness lights up within us. But we never lose the feeling we belong to the world, that a bond connects us to it, and that we are beings whose place is not outside, but within the universe.

[4] This feeling makes us strive to bridge the opposition. And in the final analysis the entire spiritual striving of humankind consists in bridging this antithesis. The history of the spiritual life is a continuous quest for the unity between ourselves and the world. This aim is pursued equally by religion, art, and science. The religious believer is dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance. He seeks in the revelations granted him by God, the solution to the world problem which his Self sets before him. The artist seeks to embody into his material the Ideas of his Self, in order to reconcile the spirit that lives in him with the outer world. He, too, feels dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance and seeks to build into it that something more which his Self, transcending mere appearance, contains. The thinker seeks the laws at work in the world of phenomena. He strives to penetrate with thinking what he learns by observing. Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.

The whole of what I have described here is found historically in the contrast between the one-world theory, or Monism, and the two-world theory, or Dualism. Dualism pays attention only to the separation between Self and World brought about by human consciousness. Its whole effort is a futile struggle to reconcile these two sides, which it calls Mind and Matter, Subject and Object, or Thought and Appearance. The Dualist feels there must be a bridge between the two worlds, but is incapable of finding it.

Monism pays attention only to the unity and tries either to deny or to gloss over the opposites, present though they are. Neither of these two points of view can satisfy us, for they do not do justice to the facts. The Dualist sees in Mind (Self) and Matter (World) two essentially different entities, and cannot therefore understand how they can interact with one another. How should Mind be aware of what goes on in Matter, seeing that the essential nature of Matter is quite alien to Mind? Or how in these circumstances should Mind act upon Matter, so as to translate its intentions into actions? The most absurd hypotheses have been propounded to answer these questions. 

The position of the Monists, so far, has not been much better. They have tried three different solutions. Either they deny Mind and become Materialists; or they deny Matter in order to seek their salvation as Spiritualists. Or else they claim Mind and Matter are inseparably united even in the world’s simplest entities, so it is not surprising to find these two forms of existence present in the human being, since after all, they are never found apart.

2.1 Materialism
[5] Materialism can never provide a satisfactory explanation of the world. For every attempt at an explanation must begin by forming thoughts about the phenomena of the world. So Materialism starts with thoughts about Matter and material processes. In doing so, it already has two different kinds of facts before it: the material world and the thoughts about it. The Materialist tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely material process. He believes thinking takes place in the brain in much the same way digestion takes place in the animal organs. Just as he attributes mechanical, chemical, and organic processes to Matter, so he credits it in certain circumstances with the ability to think. He overlooks that all he has done is shift the problem to another place. The Materialist attributes the power of thinking to Matter, instead of to himself. And this brings him back to his starting point. How does Matter come to reflect upon its own nature? Why is it not perfectly content to be the way it is, and simply go on existing as it is? The Materialist has turned his attention away from the identifiable subject, from his own Self, and instead occupies himself with the nebulous and indeterminate nature of Matter. Here the same problem comes up again. The materialistic theory cannot solve the problem, it can only shift it to another place.

2.2 Spiritualism
[6] What of the Spiritualistic theory? The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself. From all that it achieves by its own spiritual effort, the material world is never found. This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to produce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do this either in knowledge or in action, as long as it regards its own nature as exclusively spiritual. It seems as if the Ego had to concede that the world would be a closed book to it, unless it could establish a non-spiritual relation to the world.

2.3 Realism
If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience Mind can have no content. Similarly, when we carry out actions, we have to realize our intentions on the real, practical level with the help of material things and forces. In other words, we are dependent on the external world.

2.4 Idealism
The most extreme Spiritualist or, better said, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole edifice of the world from the “Ego.” What he has actually accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the world without any experiential content. As little as it is possible for the Materialist to do away with the Mind, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do away with the external world.

2.5 Materialistic Idealism
[7] A curious variant of Idealism is the theory of F. A. Lange presented in his widely read “History of Materialism.” Lang accepts that the Materialists are right in declaring all phenomena in the world, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes. Conversely, he also accepts that Matter and its processes are the product of thinking.

"The senses give us only sense-effects... the effects that things have on them, not true copies, and certainly not the things themselves. But among these mere effects we must include the senses themselves together with the brain and the molecular movements within it.”

This would mean our thinking is produced by material processes, and material processes are produced by our thinking. When translated into concepts, Lange’s philosophy is a conceptual paradox. This makes it an equivalent to the tale of the bold Baron Münchhausen, who holds himself up in the air by his own pigtail.

2.6 Indivisible Unity
[8] The third form of Monism is the one that finds, even at the simple level of the atom, Matter and Mind are already united. But nothing is gained by this either, for here again the question that actually originates in our consciousness is shifted to another place. How does the simple entity come to manifest itself in two different ways when it is an indivisible unity?

2.7 Contrast Self
[9] Contrary to all these theories is a fact that must be emphasized. It is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.” Goethe has given classical expression to this in his essay “Nature”, even though his way of speaking may sound at first completely unscientific. “Living in the midst of her (nature), yet are we strangers to her. Ceaselessly she speaks to us, yet betrays not her secrets.” But Goethe also knows the other side: “Human beings are all within her, and she in each of them.”

2.8 Feeling Impulse
[10] It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we exist within Nature and belong to her. This feeling impulse can only be the outer working of nature living in us too.

2.9 Know Nature Within
[11] We must find the way back to her. A simple reflection can show us the way. While it is true we have torn ourselves away from Nature, we must have retained something of her in our own being. We must seek out this essence of Nature in us, and then we will discover our connection with her once more. Dualism fails to do this. It considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature. No wonder it cannot find the connecting link. We can find nature outside us only if we first know her within us. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide. This marks out our path of inquiry. We will not speculate about how Nature and Mind interact. Instead, we will probe into the depths of our own being, to find there the elements we retained in our flight from Nature.

2.10 Something More Than "I"
[12] The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the problem. We must reach a point where we can say, “Here we are no longer merely ‘I’, here is something more than ‘I’.

2.11 Description Of Consciousness
[13] I expect some who have read this far will not find my presentation to be in accordance with "the present standing of scholarship." I can only reply that I have not been concerned with scholarship of any kind, but rather with simple descriptions of what we all experience in our own consciousness. The inclusion of a few statements about attempts to reconcile Mind and the World have been used only to clarify the actual facts. For this reason, I have not found it necessary to use terms such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy.

2.12 Facts Without Interpretation
Ordinary consciousness does not know the sharp distinctions of scholarship. So far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life. To object that the above discussions have not been scholarly would be like quarreling with the reciter of a poem for failing to accompany every line at once with aesthetic criticism. I am not concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but with how we experience it from moment to moment.