Epistemology and the Double
Date: Mon Jan 12, 2004 9:40 pm
Subject: Epistemology and the Double
The Study of Rudolf Steiner's Lecture Cycles,
and the Problem of Cognition - musings on the epistemological
swampland of the Anthroposophical Movement (Das Studium der Vortrage
Rudolf Steiners und das Problem der Erkenntnis)
The sad thing is how simple this is. People
could easily discuss all this stuff using the vocabulary of the
books on the science of knowing (epistemology), but guess what?
They don't use that vocabulary, and don't contradict me on that
level. Instead they try insults, question my motives, make what
are often personal attacks, all at the same time as not really
addressing the questions I have been raising.
What is Spiritual Science? How do you practice
it? Is it being practiced here? How would we know?
The epistemological ground rules used in cognition,
in developing Eyes to See and Ears to hear are very interesting
in their cleansing philosophical discipline. Chilling the brain
and passion is part of the epistemological process of maturing
into cognition. I support the discipline of Chilling the Soul
- Revenge is best served Cold - I support the side of chilling
a wine so that it can be served. We might have a nice conversation
over the wine or we might open the windows, put on a cd and discuss
Dylan with the same epistemological taste as the wine we chilled.
It is good wine and I wish to give us a sample of this wine.
But before I do it is important for me to
SEE and not shy away from the Language of our culture and TIME,
just because part of our higher training is Epistemelogical.
Is there an Idolotry grown to monster in S.O.P.? Or is this the
case of inflated youth in premature adoration of Steiner? Has
the Goetheanum and Spiritual Science as a world movement become
trapped again in a hunger for a fascimile of Rudolf Steiner to
I'd like to dedicate this Epistemelogical
Song to Joel who apparently complained to the management because
he couldn't find his song amongst the selections in the jukebox
and god knows, the rest of us have no friggin taste. So here
"From the point of view
of Nicolas [ or Joel]
therefore, one cannot
say that there is only one kind of cognition. Cognition, on the
contrary, is clearly divided into what mediates a knowledge of
external things, and what is itself the object of which one acquires
knowledge. The former kind of cognition rules in the sciences
which we acquire concerning the things and processes of the sensory
world; the latter kind is in us when we ourselves live in what
has been acquired. The second kind of cognition develops from
Yet it is the same world to
which both kinds of cognition refer, and it is the same man who
shares in both. The question must arise, How does it come about
that one and the same man develops two kinds of cognition of
one and the same world? The direction in which the answer
to this question is to be sought was already indicated in our
discussion of Tauler (cf. above). Here this answer can be formulated
even more definitely with regard to Nicolas of Cusa.
First of all, man lives as
a separate (individual) being among other separate beings. To
the influences which the other beings exercise upon one another,
in him is added the faculty of (lower) cognition. Through his
senses he receives impressions of the other beings, and he works
upon these impressions with his spiritual faculties.
He directs his spiritual gaze
away from external things and looks at himself, at his own activity.
Thus self-knowledge arises in him. As long as he remains upon
this level of self-knowledge he does not yet look upon himself
in the true sense of the word. He can still believe that there
is some hidden entity active within him, and that what appears
to him as his activity are only the manifestations and actions
of this entity. But the point can come at which it becomes clear
to man through an incontrovertible inner experience that in what
he perceives and experiences within himself he possesses, not
the manifestation, the action, of a hidden force or entity, but
this entity itself in its primordial form. He can then say to
himself: All other things I encounter in a way ready-made, and
I, who stand outside them, add to them what the spirit has to
say with regard to them. But in what I myself thus creatively
add to things in myself, in that I myself live, that is what
I am, that is my own essence.
But what is it that speaks
in the depths of my spirit? It is knowledge that speaks, the
knowledge I have acquired about the things of the world. But
in this knowledge it is not some action, some manifestation which
speaks; something speaks which keeps nothing back of what it
has in itself. In this knowledge speaks the world in all its
But I have acquired this knowledge
from things and from myself, as from a thing among things. Out
of my own essence it is I myself and the things who speak. In
reality I no longer merely express my nature; I express the nature
of things. My "I" is the form, the organ through which
things declare themselves with regard to themselves. I have gained
the experience that I experience my own essence within myself,
and for me this experience becomes enlarged into another, that
in me and through me the universal essence expresses itself,
or, in other words, knows itself.
Now I can no longer feel myself
to be a thing among things; I can only feel myself to be a form
in which the universal essence has its life. It is therefore
only natural that one and the same man should have two kinds
of cognition. With regard to the sensory facts he is a thing
among things, and, insofar as this is the case, he acquires a
knowledge of these things; but at any moment he can have the
higher experience that he is the form in which the universal
essence looks upon itself. Then he himself is transformed from
a thing among things into a form of the universal essence
and with him the knowledge of things is changed into an utterance
of the nature of things. This transformation however can in fact
be accomplished only by man himself.
What is mediated in the higher
cognition is not yet present as long as this higher cognition
itself is not present. It is only in creating this higher cognition
that man develops his nature, and only through the higher cognition
of man does the nature of things come into actual existence.
If therefore it is required that man should not add anything
to the things of the senses through his higher cognition, but
should express only what already lies in them in the outside
world, then this simply means renouncing all higher cognition.
From the fact that, as regards
his sensory life, man is a thing among things, and that he only
attains higher cognition when as a sensory being he himself accomplishes
his transformation into a higher being, from this it follows
that he can never replace the one cognition by the other. Rather,
his spiritual life consists of a perpetual moving to and fro
between the two poles of cognition, between knowing and seeing.
If he shuts himself off from
seeing, he foregoes the nature of things; if he were to shut
himself off from sensory knowing, he would deprive himself of
the things whose nature he wants to understand. The same
things reveal themselves to the lower understanding and to the
higher seeing, only they do this at one time with regard to their
external appearance, at the other time with regard to their inner
essence. Thus it is not due to things themselves that
at a certain stage they appear only as external objects; rather
it is due to the fact that man must first transform himself to
the point where he can reach the stage at which things cease
to be external.
It is only with these considerations
in mind that certain views natural science elaborated in the
nineteenth century appear in their proper light. The adherents
of these views say to themselves: We hear, see, and touch the
things of the material world through the senses. The eye, for
instance, communicates to us a phenomenon of light, a color.
We say that a body emits red light when, by the mediation of
our eye, we have the sensation "red." But the eye gives
us this sensation in other cases too. If it is struck or pressed,
if an electric current passes through the head, the eye has a
sensation of light.
Hence in those instances also
in which we have the sensation that a body emits light of a certain
color, something may be occurring in that body which does not
have any resemblance to color. No matter what is occurring in
outside space, as long as this process is suitable for making
an impression upon the eye, a sensation of color arises in me.
What we perceive arises in us because we have organs that are
constituted in a certain way.
What goes on in outside space
remains outside of us; we know only the effects which external
processes bring forth in us. Hermann Helmholtz (18211894)
has given expression to this idea in a clearly defined way. "Our
perceptions are effects produced in our organs by external causes,
and the way such an effect manifests itself is of course substantially
dependent on the kind of apparatus acted upon. Insofar as the
quality of our perception gives us information about the characteristics
of the external influence by which it is caused, it can be considered
as a sign of the latter, but not as a likeness of it.
For of an image one requires
some kind of similarity to the object represented: of a statue,
similarity of form; of a drawing, similarity of the perspective
projection in the field of view; of a painting, in addition to
this, similarity of colors. But a sign need not have any kind
of resemblance to that of which it is a sign. The relationship
between the two is limited to this, that the same object, exercising
its influence under the same circumstances, calls forth the same
sign, and that therefore unlike signs always correspond to unlike
influences ... If in ripening berries of a certain variety develop
both a red pigment and sugar, then red color and sweet taste
will always be found together in our perception of berries of
this kind." (cf. Helmholtz: Die Tatsachen der Wahrnehmung,
The Facts of Perception, p. 12 f.)
I have characterized this
way of thinking in detail in my Philosophie der Freiheit, Philosophy
of Spiritual Activity, and in my Rätsel der Philosophie,
Riddles of Philosophy, 1918. Let us now follow step by
step the train of thought which is adopted in this view. A process
is assumed in outside space. It produces an effect upon my sensory
organ; my nervous system transmits to my brain the impression
produced. Another process is effected there. I now perceive "red."
Now it is said: The perception of "red" is thus not
outside; it is in me. All our perceptions are only signs of external
processes, the real character of which we know nothing. We live
and act among our perceptions, and know nothing about their origin.
In line with this way of thinking
one can also say: If we had no eye there would be no color; nothing
would then transform the external process, which is unknown to
us, into the perception "red." For many this train
of thought is something seductive. Nevertheless it rests upon
a complete misinterpretation of the facts under consideration.
(If many contemporary natural scientists and philosophers were
not deluded to a truly monstrous degree by this train of thought,
one would not have to talk about it so much. But this delusion
has in fact vitiated contemporary thinking in many respects.)
Since man is a thing among
things, it is of course necessary that things should make an
impression upon him if he is to find out anything about them.
A process outside of man must give rise to a process in man if
the phenomenon "red" is to appear in the field of vision.
One must only ask, What is outside, what inside? Outside is a
process which takes place in space and time. But inside doubtless
is a similar process. Such a process exists in the eye and communicates
itself to the brain when I perceive "red." I cannot
directly perceive the process which is "inside," any
more than I can immediately perceive the wave motion "outside,"
which physicists consider corresponds to the color "red."
But it is only in this sense
that I can speak of an "outside" and an "inside."
Only on the level of sensory perception does the contrast between
"outside" and "inside" have any validity.
This perception leads me to assume a spatial-temporal process
"outside," although I cannot perceive it directly.
And, further, the same perception
leads me to assume such a process within me, although I cannot
perceive it directly either. But, after all, I also assume spatial-temporal
processes in ordinary life which I cannot directly perceive.
For example, I hear a piano being played in the next room. Therefore
I assume that a human being with spatial dimensions sits at the
piano and plays. And my way of representing things to myself
is no different when I speak of processes within me and outside
Now firstly, Joel should feel free to bring
Gordienko by way of discussion, without having to rip up the
furniture and tear down the front door to get his point out.
Gordienko and our current Young Idol sitting on the Throne of
STeiner says, [read Simon says] our very own contemporary certainly
has preached the gospel of 'I can sure quote Steiner real good'
or bad. [S.O.P].... and like anybody else here on this list,
connecting intuition to the vast body of work that Steiner brought,
have we allowed the Anthro Society to create another Idol to
worship so it won't have to digest and Eat the Book of the Michael
School out of individual development?
For if we are all Ring Bearers; We all approach
hearing the Tone that Magdalene heard; We all have doubles etc..
etc.. and hovering in our present and future is meeting our I
AM face to face. We are that! But how do we accurately bring
a picture of our That to that which is us? How close have writers
and our culture come to seeing this? Do we go out into the wide
world and see the reality of what STeiner indicated or do we
see our fellow sheep in the society following a Demon master?
We know from the trials of Oscar Wilde that
he certainly allowed for what Joel is meaning to come to light.
His "Portrait of Dorian Gray" is a moldy mixture of
the deformity of both the Luciferic and Ahrimanic mass, like
the Brazen King eaten away by Will-O-wisps, and as Tarjei has
recently said, the Dragon with the horns made Oscar do it. But
are the followers, all followers of Steiner sick? Or just those
who fail to investigate Spiritual Science and prefer some Idolized
leader to refry STeiner beans and call it lean cuisine? We always
come back to they did this and they did that, but what does my
own I tell me without anyones permission except my own schooled
discernment? What Beings are out gunning for Spiritual Science?
Doesn't Gordienko insist that there is a Luciferic take over
of the Christ Impulse? We arrrive once again at an undetermined
loop of defining symptomology and tangling with Personality cults.
We could use Gollum or Lytton as projections
of inner portraits of our own slobbering obsequiousness as we
slavishly follow Steiner and into the world of Precious my Precious..Dr.
STeiner.. my Precious. Is this what we have become as the so
called Anthro society? Is this what I have become to my own thinking?
Do I grovel and crawl to the words and ideas of S.O.P. are do
I draw from a vast picture of nature, science, culture and verify
Steiner on my own with my own I?
To see with eyes of compassion is to see our
own coiling and uncoiling weaknesses..and it can cripple the
very will. So what is the intent here? To go over and over again
if the society has failed me? Or have I been left to fend for
myself? Are Mommy and Daddy the blame for my addictions?
Dwelling on the Dweller of the Threshold is
witch hunting to a difinitive conclusion as Gordienko has done.
It doesn't purge those who need purging, they don't wish to think
for themselves in the first place. Besides it is my I and my
discernment that must be schooled.
Joel has rightly said, that we need this double
to continue with us along our path. It comes with the territory
of our magnetic and flesh incarnation. However in studying John
Nash.. "A Beautiful Mind" we could examine and share
a very particular emancipation of this double that happens without
the help of Anthroposophy. It is just an Occult Fact. The unacknowledged
materialism and the abstract numbers and formulas of a universe
devoid of moral spine, or I Am conscience, leaves the I Am prone
to being overtaken.
Spiritual Beings and Creation, can be so solidly
unthought, removed, that the dense double can come right out
of the box and start walking around with us. These facts can
be observed and no Cult of Spiritual Science or S.O.P. has made
them happen. These observation can be made without Dwelling on
whether S.O.P. has betrayed me, but rather how I have searched
for what STeiner indicated as facts of development on my own.
Shall we take apart Michael Jackson and discuss
what god awful thing has happened to this human being? Shall
we examine the Luciferic double as it has become known to us
and distinquish between the Ahrimanic and luciferic dominating
doubles.. Or is the clan of the followers of S.O.P. and the AP
unable to overcome their Luciferic craving for someone to do
the work for them. God forbid it should have been Tomberg. There
we are back at creating rock stars, People magazine Idols, Personality
cults that harm the very personalities that allow such Luciferic
idolotry to enwrap them. Ah but you see, Gordienko and I would
agree that it would tend to the Luciferic double.
Anyways, there is nothing to fear in looking
and evaluating the dimensions of insight that Dr. Steiner or
rather, (removing it from the double of Dr. Steiner), to say,
what the Michael School that I am part of has researched from
all its members and all its parts. That naturally includes the
threshold testimony of Gordienko. A dramatic testimony to say
But I am not prone to Personality worship,
except myself..but I certainly have developed my own style of
discernment that I built without the help of S.O.P. However I
have never been a groupie or a follower and neither are those
who I recognize as clear thinking and spiritual striving individuals.
But I could be terribly wrong...
Groucho Marx and I agree. I'm not sure I want
to be a member of a club that would have me as a member. So,
like all of us who love the Michael School I have never managed
to convince my ego that I am really worthy of the kind of clubbiness
that was rumored in such a group worship of Michael as the "Kreis".
I have always been a renegade and follow my own intution. This
has never helped my case. Therefore my respect for the research
of the Michael School sees it reflected in every aspect of life,
from top to bottom and I can prove it even without quoting Dr.
This is what I see in some of the wonderful
souls from around the world who now are free from the bondage
of the games of the Society and can share with each other the
childlike wonders we have all experienced in our different ways.
I trust my discernment to detect those wonderful souls....and
I can't wait to meet them in life as well as in the phantasmagora
of electronic fallen intelligence.
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