Steiner on Materialists

 

From: at
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:49 am
Subject: Steiner on Materialists

I came across this recently, and found it interesting. Dugan and the WC crowd would probably find it condescending at best.

"We can even say that spiritual research reveals the source of humanity's materialistic attitude. In this day at age, there are indeed materialistically-minded souls who say either that it is impossible for us to speak of the spiritual world or that we should not worry about that world because our human capacity for knowledge is restricted to the sensory world. They also say that it is unscientific to speak of the life of in the spirit. Nowadays such people go by the genteel name of monists; we used is simply call them materialists. They deem themselves especially scientific when they completely denied the existence of a spiritual world war say that science has nothing to do with that world. Of course, when we state the truth about spiritual phenomena, we can scarcely expect to find support among dyed-in-the-wool monists. This truth remains the truth however, and it is fear, rather than any logical reasons or proof, that keeps souls imprisoned in materialism or monism. People do not recognize this fear as such and do not acknowledge it to themselves. Nonetheless, fear gives rise to the idea that it is unscientific to investigate the spiritual world. Anyone who understands the factors involved knows that materialistic organizations attract souls dominated by fear of the spiritual world. It is not pleasant tell people with that they are basically fearful souls and that they are simply cloaking their fear in a semblance of logic, as if they could prove that only the phenomena of the physical world are entitled to exist."

Rudolf Steiner

First Steps in Inner Development

Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1999. Pages 77-78.

The lecture is titled: How does the soul discover its true being? (Kassel - May 8th, 1914)

Translated by Catherine Creeger

Posted by Daniel Hindes

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:59 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

It is not pleasant tell people with that they are basically fearful souls and that they are simply cloaking their fear in a semblance of logic, as if they could prove that only the phenomena of the physical world are entitled to exist."

Rudolf Steiner

First Steps in Inner Development

Thanks Daniel.

I asked this question on another list recently:

How should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own moral freedom?

Truth and Love

Mike

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From: at
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:27 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

I asked this question on another list recently:

How should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own moral freedom?

Truth and Love

Mike

Umm...
In the first person singular?

Daniel

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:44 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Mike:]

How should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own moral freedom?

Truth and Love

Mike

[Daniel:]

Umm...
In the first person singular?

Sorry about being so vague. The question came out of this context:

"...There is an evolutionary process though, both for me personally, and humanity as a whole. The limited vision of virtue seen in 1776 was that of freedom from tyranny. A good starting place. Now, the idea of freedom of conscience is an ideal that I think Steiner was pointing at. The problem that I have with this is How do we do it. How much moral intuition can be derived for us as individuals from our experience of the world as seen through the predominate corporate media. And how should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own moral freedom."

So I guess it is both: the first person singular, and then we as a whole. This is of course a huge question.

I was also thinking about how to approach someone that I see as living in fear (or denial) as Steiner mentioned in the great quote that you gave. Do I slap-em in the face and say "hey ya dub... wake up and smell the coffee!" Or do I passive aggressively prod and imply?

And what about the "necessary illusions" that are beamed into the millions of households in the world every day?

So How "I" speak about what I see as hindrances to my moral freedom is up to me.

So I guess what I'm really asking is, "How would you all speak about it?"

Truth and Love

Mike

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From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:38 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

Hi Mike,

I have a little problem understanding the word construct 'moral freedom', as I see moral and freedom as opposites.

But this one: Now, the idea of freedom of conscience is an ideal that I think Steiner was pointing at. The problem that I have with this is How do we do it.'

The world you live in defines the moral context.

What moral you have, depends fully on your development at a given time. The more developed you are, the less influence the world has on your moral. The moral depends on the experience developed through the lived incarnations, and on how long you are in repeating the incarnations in the single life.

In a way, you can say that the higher developed you are, the less moral you have, the more you act 'right'.

The best way to influence the 'moral' is to understand why you do what you do, and why others do what they do. Through understanding you can influence your karma and your development.

Kim

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:59 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

At 11:38 20.02.2004, Kim wrote:

But this one: Now, the idea of freedom of conscience is an ideal that I think Steiner was pointing at. The problem that I have with this is How do we do it.'

RS wrote in the PoF:

The highest stage of development of naïve realism in the sphere of morality is that where the moral commandment (moral idea) is separated from every being other than oneself and is thought of, hypothetically, as being an absolute power in one's own inner life. What man first took to be the external voice of God, he now takes as an independent power within him, and speaks of this inner voice in such a way as to identify it with conscience.

But in doing this he has already gone beyond the stage of naïve consciousness into the sphere where the moral laws have become independently existing standards. There they are no longer carried by real bearers, but have become metaphysical entities existing in their own right. They are analogous to the invisible "visible forces" of metaphysical realism, which does not seek reality through the part of it that man has in his thinking, but hypothetically adds it on to actual experience. These extra-human moral standards always occur as accompanying features of metaphysical realism. For metaphysical realism is bound to seek the origin of morality in the sphere of extra-human reality.

- Die Philosophie der Freiheit 1894, GA 4: kap. 10: Freiheitsphilosophie und Monismus.

My closing argument in "Anthropos Anarchos"
http://www.uncletaz.com/anthranark.html

"It probably appears incomprehensible for many people that a man who argued that a free spirit had to liberate itself even from the tyranny of conscience could be a thoroughly good and selfless person. A major argument against anarchism is that it will entail unencumbered evil and egoism. Throughout his years, Steiner placed a lot of emphasis on laying the foundation for the development of "moral impulses" and "moral imagination." By this he meant that the really free spirit would gain increasingly greater inner freedom by using the imagination for loving and self-sacrificing actions. He believed in the best in humanity because he had discovered this within himself. This is where we find anarchism in its highest form."

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: golden3000997
Date: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:35 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

In a message dated 2/20/2004 5:38:40 AM Eastern Standard Time, KMMConsult writes:

I have a little problem understanding the word construct 'moral freedom', as I see moral and freedom as opposites.

Good Morning Kim and Everyone,

I think there may be some need for more specific definitions here. Both words - morality and freedom have several semantic meanings. "Morals" can be rules of conduct imposed on an individual by society or inner "convictions" that the person has acquired through study, experience of life or the admiration of a person or several persons whose biographies he or she has come into contact with (or other factors). To me, the general meaning that I have developed through living with Rudolf Steiner's ideas and those of people who followed in his footsteps, is to do what one perceives as necessary in relation to the "other" out of a clear, concious perception of the needs of the situation and out of (what I call) love in action - not a "mushy" feeling of love (we may not even "like" the other person in the situation on a lower lever) but the kind of love that goes beyond the mundane antipathies and sympathies of life. We can recognize perhaps, "There is something about this person that really annoys me. But he (or she) needs something at the moment." It could be a look, a word, something material, some kind of defense in absentia, or even the need for us to be silent and allow them to speak or act freely. We give this to the other person even though no one calls upon us to do so, the other person doesn't ask for it, no one will observe and judge our actions (not even "God"), we won't receive any reward or "brownie points in heaven", we won't accumulate "good karma" (love this from Steiner - that every act of love merely is a payment on our karmic debt to the world - we don't "get" anything out of it!) Still we do what the other needs from us - in the face of our own antipathies or conflicts, in the face of ridicule or judgment of others, even in the face of possibly being despised by the very person we are doing it for. There is the need. We give to the need to the best of our ability. We catch a fleeting glimpse of something higher and finer both in ourself and in the "other". We go on.

This to my understanding, is the greatest freedom of all. Most people's internal definition of "freedom" in their lives is actually license. Simply to be allowed to follow their instincts for self-gratification and have the means to do so. But the true freedom can never be "amoral" because it is not bound by lower instincts, habits (of thought or action), unresolved psychological issues or societal pressure. It is not even bound by religious precepts or "commandments". We are only truly Free in those moments when our action (internal or external) arises from that which transcends all bounds and boundaries - namely Love. To me, the Ten Commandments have been overthrown, or at least supplanted by Christ with the Two Commandments that he gave: to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourself. In the state of development of being able to really love God and the person standing next to us, we are incapable of breaking any of the "Ten Commandments" - really incapable. "Crime" or "sin" is always the product of that which is the most unfree in us - the chains of habit or pyschological compulsion, the prison of societal opinion or propriety, the dark dungeon of hate, anger and fear. The more one works on resolving psychological pain and obsessions, working out for oneself the meaning and value of common law and rules of behavior and recognizing conciously the roots of the hate, anger and fear that live within one, the more one takes steps toward Freedom and toward Love. In fact, without Freedom there can be no real Love and without Love there can be no true Freedom.

Such is my understanding.

Christine

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From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:53 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Kim:]

I have a little problem understanding the word construct 'moral freedom', as I see moral and freedom as opposites.

It is a wee thorny, ain't it. But I think the idea - in Ph of F - is that when we can only be free if we decide oursleves what is moral and what is not. That is, if we accept the definition given by a church, a teacher, guru, that may be fine and enough, but is isn't really freedom, because we haven't come to our own conclusion, but have accepted what another person or institution says.

Frank

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From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:03 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Kim:]

I have a little problem understanding the word construct 'moral freedom', as I see moral and freedom as opposites.

It is a wee thorny, ain't it. But I think the idea - in Ph of F - is that when we can only be free if we decide oursleves what is moral and what is not. That is, if we accept the definition given by a church, a teacher, guru, that may be fine and enough, but is isn't really freedom, because we haven't come to our own conclusion, but have accepted what another person or institution says.

Frank

Kim:

Yes and no. The moral we receive from the world is a stick we use, until we can walk without.

The ten commandments is such a stick. When we learn to walk without the stick, understanding Love is the driving factor.

Moral is something you have, Love is something you are, and with Love you don't need Moral. (I think it is in line with Christine's letter).

In the first part of life, you are living with the Moral as presented by your surroundings. As you grow and experience the world, you more and more leave the moral dictated by your surroundings.

In the same way as Moral helps people live together, so does Sympathy and Antipathy help people to find kindred souls and be aware of possible dangers. As people grow, they leave the region of chaotic feelings and enters the region on sentient understanding.

This is the teoretical fundament. What is more interesting is how to implement it in practise.

This problem was one of the more problematic I had, when I was younger: the life is so short and the goal where so long away.

I have now learned, in practice, to see the development as part of many incarnations. Much of what I then thought as unreachable I have reached, not because of the development in this life, but because of what I have reached in earlier lives. I had, of course, to recapitulate the earlier incarnations, but, as I had been through it before, it was intense as long as it took. I think that you all must have had experiences in this direction, otherwise you would not be interested in anthroposophy.

The primary way to develop is to increase your understanding of yourself and others.

Steiner has good practices for increasing the learning speed. You need some will power to use them, which is a problem ;-) and the right methology. Try to find out why you act like you do, don't evaluate yourself morally, you want to understand yourself, not condemn yourself.

Kim

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 10:49 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Kim:]

Hi Mike,

I have a little problem understanding the word construct 'moral freedom', as I see moral and freedom as opposites.


Mike:

Hi Kim, sorry about the sloppy wording; but then again it did bring out some good stuff. I had never quite thought about Morals and freedom in such a way before.

After further thought, I would re-word my original question as such:

"How much moral intuition can be derived for us as individuals from our experience of the world as seen through the predominate corporate media? And how should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own experiences of moral imagination?

What I mean by this, is that there is a fine line between extremism and exalting what I think is "the Truth." Such as: "Consumer culture, grounded in a predominantly materialistic world view, has become a bane of humanity." Or, from an essay that I wrote on Rembrandt a while ago:

"The monotonous, imitative, ritualistic, compulsive and obsessive routines cultivated by modern advertising and the resulting “consumer culture,” render most of us incapable of responsive thought and action; which should be seen as a prerequisite to proliferating the idea of true human freedom. Without responsive thought and action, the illusion of freedom is experienced temporarily as a feeling, but soon it fades, leaving us with a desire to “consume” more."

I have an old friend that loves the Patriots, has a big boat, two houses, works 50 hours a week fixing air conditioners, drinks a six-pack every night after work while watching the TV (corporate news, sit-coms, "survivor"), drinks about a case of brew on the weekends, has dumperstickers on his truck for the Patriots, Miller-Lite, and Bush/Cheney, pays about $20,000 a year in Federal income taxes.

In a recent conversation with him, I told him that I predict that either Osama, or his bones, will be found just in time for the election. He belly laughed and said to his wife:

"Hey hunny, Mikes gone Liberal on us...Ha ha ha...Mike, I think you better start drinkin again....There's plenty in the fridge if you want one...

Anyway, he just cant fathom how I could live in New England, and not even know that the Patriots were in the stupid Bowl. (did they win?)

I better shut up because I can feel the rhetoric starting to flow inside me.

But this one: Now, the idea of freedom of conscience is an ideal that I think Steiner was pointing at. The problem that I have with this is How do we do it.'

The world you live in defines the moral context.

What moral you have, depends fully on your development at a given time. The more developed you are, the less influence the world has on your moral. The moral depends on the experience developed through the lived incarnations, and on how long you are in repeating the incarnations in the single life.

In a way, you can say that the higher developed you are, the less moral you have, the more you act 'right'.

The best way to influence the 'moral' is to understand why you do what you do, and why others do what they do. Through understanding you can influence your karma and your development.


Thanks Kim. Joel used to talk about the "What would Jesus do" movement. My reading of the Gospel of St John lectures, has put an entirely different light on my limited understanding of the POF. Also, I struggled with step six, which states, "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character," and step seven: "We humbly asked him, to remove our shortcomings." The wording of these two steps used to bother me; the God stuff smelled of dogma. But I think that the spirit of what they have to offer has undoubtedly impacted my life. Supposed societal moral standards (football, beer, 40 hour work week, taxes) really rub my fur the wrong way now, and like in Parzival, there's no turning back. But in can seem like a "long and winding road" at times.

I am completely blown away by the "Homelessness" of my experience of "Moral imagination." Out of the darkness of a dreamless sleep recently came the words:

"heresy is for new wings pleasure."

As I started to wake I asked.."what is pleasure then"

"Interesting" was the reply.

"I am not of this world."

Truth and Love

Mike

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From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:05 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Mike:]

Anyway, he just cant fathom how I could live in New England, and not even know that the Patriots were in the stupid Bowl.

Neither can I. I live in Argentina and saw the game.

(did they win?)
Yes, stupid!

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From: Kim Munch Michelsen
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:34 pm
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

Hello Mike

There is a lot of theoretical talk about 'Initiation', but in practice each and everyone, who is living, is participating in the Rosicrucian Initiation.

We have each reached a level which is equal to our individuality.

You can be a catalyst for others, that is, give them the key, when they are needing it, but you can't save them. You can give them a theoretical fundament for something they are questioning, but not yet fully solved, by themselves.

Your friend with the beer is who he is, and that you can't change. By understanding him, not as he sees himself, but as he is, and by accepting him as he is, you might be in a position where you can help him grow a little. And what he don't reaches in this life, he can try in the next.

"How much moral intuition can be derived for us as individuals from our experience of the world as seen through the predominate corporate media? And how should we speak about what we see as hindrances to our own experiences of moral imagination?

My first thought was that we here were in a situation comparable to the 'Relativity Theory', but lets try to look at the reality.

The first is that the Consumer Culture ..... has become the bane of humanity. No, it hasn't, it's the humanity who had made this culture, because they don't know any better. In other words, we harvest ...

The friend you mentioned is fully behind this culture, or nearly. There are a few things he thinks is stupid, but mostly he cant see that there is anything wrong.

The more developed (with more incarnations, and more sin, behind them) can see through much of the stupidity (Maya).

How do the single person get an idea of how much he himself is blinded by Maya?

If he takes things for granted, he acts without thinking.

But how do you find out if you are taking things for granted?

How many labels can you put on yourself?

Are you a democrat, republican, leftie, for the Patriots, or hooked on Budweiser?

Every time you have such a label, there is an area where you don't think, where you accept the world, without thinking.

If you don't have any labels, you can look through Maya, as it has no power over you. You can be a little irritated about the stupidity, but you don't see it as a personal indignity.

Even the label 'Anthroposoph' is an excuse for not thinking, but better than most.

I have great joy in Steiner's writings, but I am not an Anthroposoph, and I am not a Rosicrucian, but I am a Rosicrucian student.

The Rosicrucian way is through understanding.

The biggest obstacle to this understanding is the uncontrolled intelligence of Ahriman.

Steiner knew that Ahriman was the greatest foe in the future, therefore he gave Anthroposophy a slight Luciferic Feeling. But it don't hinder that it can be misused in Ahrimanic ways. To get around that:

*
When working with theories of any kind, match them with the physical world.
*
When working with the physical world, try to find the theories behind. Never take the physical world by face value.
*
Never build theory on theory without any connection to the physical world.

Enjoy,

Kim

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:05 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

Tarjei, thanks for this:

<snip> He believed in the best in humanity because he had discovered this within himself. This is where we find anarchism in its highest form."

Sweet.

Mike

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:13 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

You know Frank, I thought of you when I wrote that ;^)

I gave up on the Pats and Football in general when they lost the SB to the Bears in the 80's, and I never turned back.

Remember Steve Grogan?

Ee gads...how old am I?

Anyway, he just cant fathom how I could live in New England, and not even know that the Patriots were in the stupid Bowl.

Neither can I. I live in Argentina and saw the game.

(did they win?)
Yes, stupid!

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Feb 21, 2004 10:03 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

[Kim:]

The biggest obstacle to this understanding is the uncontrolled intelligence of Ahriman.

Steiner knew that Ahriman was the greatest foe in the future, therefore he gave Anthroposophy a slight Luciferic Feeling. But it don't hinder that it can be misused in Ahrimanic ways. To get around that:

*
When working with theories of any kind, match them with the physical world.
*
When working with the physical world, try to find the theories behind. Never take the physical world by face value.
*
Never build theory on theory without any connection to the physical world.


Dear Kim,

Thanks, you have given me much to chew on, and for that I am deeply greatful. And chew on it I will.

All the best. And "may the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house."

Mike

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:53 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

At 00:34 22.02.2004, Kim wrote:

Steiner knew that Ahriman was the greatest foe in the future, therefore he gave Anthroposophy a slight Luciferic Feeling.

That certainly rings a bell, not only because the magazine through which RS originally published "Aus der Akasha-Chronik" [Cosmic Memory] around 1902 was entitled "Lucifer-Gnosis", but because of an amusing episode I picked up on one of these lists some years ago:

It was in Berlin, I think, and some pastor had become inquisitive and mustered enough courage to attend a lecture by Steiner. As they were waiting for the doctor's arrival, the pastor began to get cold feet and looked nervously around in the auditorium, uncertain about whether or not he would feel at home there. There were a few elderly ladies sitting near him, and he decided to make an inquiry and ask if this was a Christian gathering.

One of the elderly ladies answered the pastor and said: "Wir sind ein luciferisches Volk." [=We are a luciferic people.] The pastor panicked and ran away immediately, missing the RS lecture.

Well, the ladies could have been a little more diplomatic, perhaps, but I do understand their luciferic temptation under the circumstances :)

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Tue Feb 24, 2004 9:32 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Steiner on Materialists

Mike,

Actually, I was cut off from football - as well as baseball and basketball for many years, until dish cable arrived here - so, no I never heard of Steve Grogan - or the Patriots until last year. I remember though, when the Green Bay Packers used to come to New York and kick the shit out of us. Someone would ask: "Where's Green Bay?" and no one knew. So I'm now a Packers fan. Btw, check out John Irving's "The Fourth Hand", in which the Packers and Bret Favre play an important role. And what has this all to do with Anthroposophy Tomorrow? Well, you started it, so I assume Steve Grogan was an anthroposophical class reader - nichts weniger.

Frank

[Mike:]

You know Frank, I thought of you when I wrote that ;^)

I gave up on the Pats and Football in general when they lost the SB to the Bears in the 80's, and I never turned back.

Remember Steve Grogan?

Ee gads...how old am I?

Anyway, he just cant fathom how I could live in New England, and not even know that the Patriots were in the stupid Bowl.

Neither can I. I live in Argentina and saw the game.

(did they win?)
Yes, stupid!

Steiner on Materialists/New Rules

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