The Role of Skepticism in the Practice of Science
I just finished a careful listening to the Are Thoresen webinar.
Intentional doubt is an art. This Northern Mysteries shaman is very good at that – personal skepticism – if we listen to the tale of his journey. Skepticism is neither antipathetic, or sympathetic. In Are’s terms, where we ourselves want to be – in receiving his practical wisdom – is in the “middle”. Our middle.
In my terms, I would call this psychological/spiritual middle: the own heart’s mind.
I would also use these terms, describing “him”: a sainted practitioner of holy magic, via the mysticism of the veneration of the ideas inherent in an object of profound religious art: Steiner’s statue of the Representative of Humanity.
Healing through the laying on of hands. Are’s unearned atavistic clairvoyance (a karmic blessing) is, in a way, close to the Mother for it is She who guides – via divine providence – the wild talents, we could say. The terms atavistic and unearned are not meant to be more than descriptive. Steiner looked down on magic and mysticism, of necessity in order to keep on that path of “science” to which the surrounding culture of science might listen.
In my “system of thought” there are three kinds of “magic”. Sorcery, where the practitioner follows a traditional ceremonial practice, without understanding the “presence-forces” around this rite. If there is an effect, the sorcerer generally must rest afterward, given that the invisible beings that aided in the effect were of a “lower” order, as it were. They transformed his/her life forces (ethereal) into the inducement of the effect.
The polar-opposite of sorcery, is holy magic, where the practitioner is highly moral in nature, such that the effects are produced by grace from above. In the Hermetic tradition, the middle ground is the meditating scholar, whose study of this ancient science – and its disciplines – allows the “magician” aspect of the scholar, to consciously produce the “forces/psychic” energies out of themselves.
In my view – of the history of Anthroposophy – the appearance of two profoundly moral mystics (Are and JvH) is more grace from above. What is magical and mystical is part of being human, and living examples are usually the best means to reveal these mysteries, a kind of pagan (Platonist) Anthroposophy. This may help heal what was lost to Anthroposophy in Europe during the descent into madness, which turned many inwardly into intellectually practices alone. Steiner sez. Those are chains on the own imagination.
In Are’s lecture I did miss the presence of certain concepts. I don’t know if he knows of them, but his Way was not to read a lot of Steiner. He read nature, mostly, aided by the grace of his wild gift.
Steiner’s depictions of the ideas of the human threefold form I personally find to be more useful: the nerve-sense system, the rhythmic system, and the metabolic-limb system. In my first serious dip into the waters of thought inspired by Steiner, I read much, for example Victor Bott’s: Anthroposophical Medicine. The idea there is that there is no healing without strengthening the rhythmic system.
I also wished Are had some familiarity with projective geometry, and the relationship between center and periphery, which if understood get us the right “idea” of the relationship between point-centered physical/material existence and the peripherally “centered” life or ethereal formative forces (Steiner’s abstract name for the effects of the elemental kingdoms).
Then there is EMR.
What we get with Are’s teaching is mystical/magical means of moving life (elemental&primeval) forces from the self, or the surrounding “nature”, into an altered relationship between above and below (center and periphery). In E. Lehrs terms this might be described as an alteration of the gravity/levity balance in a particular locus of “space”.
For example, warmth (elemental fire) penetrates and expands. Rightly touch a tree, and grace helps that move through the whole. “Christ consciousness” is a kind of prayer to the Son – the middle – yet the results reveal there to be a kind of psychic energy* in movement (a kind of wave front in the astral).
Other folks have different “prayers”, and a good way to appreciate this is to picture a modern city as a collection of “temples”, where money, sex, greed, – all manner of lower appetites are “worshiped”, not just “higher” wishes.
Recent events have made us hyper conscious of EMR, and the increase in the presence and intensity of this “Being” (not a force) needs to be understood.
In Hermetic Science we can form the conception of the Son, out of a duality: Mother&Father. Although we use different “names”, there is no separation of these “principles – they remain a unity from any perspective. Primal Unity (the Father) moved upon the waters such that Heaven and Earth came into existence. Elemental Fire and Water cannot be separated. That duality is also a unity, so we get from Father to Son, with the role of the Mother these days forgotten. The primal duality is of One and Many. Unity and Chaos.
The material/physical reality, while “many”, is also ordered by an underlying foundational unity. Steiner once spoke of the idea that the material body was not the matter itself, but the laws which gave order to the matter. This quality of unchangeable lawfulness is the unity, aka: the Father at rest.
At rest, the Father is passive. Human adventurism in materialistic science drives away lawfulness. When we take “electricity” from its rightful place, we disturb this lawfulness. We give it new form&order, not realizing what lives in the “law”.
In the Marvel movies, the one-eyed king – Odin – sometimes goes to sleep. This sleep can be imposed, with the result that more chaos begins to rule the land. His daughter Hela, the Mother in the guise of Death, is given even more enormous powers, yet She remains the primal source of Chaos, with the result that social disaster follows.
EMR is untamed, because we took from matter it lawfulness and cohesion, converted what we believed was a controllable force, all the while not seeing the presence of the Divine Mystery in Everything.
For modern conceptual life, I believe that the use of the terms Ahrimanic and Lucifer is a kind of deception due to the attachment to these phenomena of the ideas of the duality of good&evil. What we need to understand is the qualitative nature of the processes evoked, there actually being no “evil” in the whole of the creation, except in the minds of human beings going through the evolutionary trials of becoming human.
This leads, however, to far too many other riddles for this place and time.
My thanks to Andrew and Are for gifting us with this experience of a remarkable heart’s mind in action