Food for Thought

Food for Thought …

How to define, and / or describe: what “Anthroposophy” is? And, why do the administrators of the Anthroposophy Facebook page not get it (their version is the next to last one).

“Like the term “philosophy,” Anthroposophy denotes a method of inquiry, a path of research, rather than a content or fixed set of ideas.” Denver Waldorf School

Anthroposophy is a spiritualist movement [1] which was founded in the early 20th century by the esotericist Rudolf Steiner [2] that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, … “ Wikipedia

“1. Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge Anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.” First Leading Thought

“From one point of view,” Barfield notes, “Anthroposophy is a new and startling phenomenon in the history of the mind. From another it can be seen as the natural and inevitable development of intellectual and philosophical impulses which had begun to manifest before Steiner was born.”

“Working with Anthroposophy can help make our thinking and psychological being ever more independent of the predetermined structures of the brain and the physical body. The aim of studying anthroposophy, therefore, is not knowledge of some contents falsely considered as information, but is an activity, an event.” —from Working with Anthroposophy” Georg Kuhlewind

“To any anthroposophist, or anyone else who is sympathetically inclined to what I will call – loosely and for present purposes only – ‘that way of thinking’,” Barfield, again.

“The view to which we here refer is one which, once gained, is capable of becoming part and parcel of the very life of the soul itself. The answer given to the two problems will not be of the purely theoretical sort which, once mastered, may be carried about as a conviction preserved by memory. Such an answer would, for the whole manner of thinking adopted in this book, be no real answer at all. The book will not give a ready-made and conclusive answer of this sort, but point to a field of experience in which man’s own inward soul activity supplies a living answer to these questions at every moment when he needs one. “ preface to the 1918 version of The Philosophy of Freedom.

Then there are the terms: “anthroposophical spiritual science”, which Steiner frequently used. Most of his modern fans see those two terms as equivalent: the word “Anthroposophy” means the same as “Spiritual Science”. Unfortunately that is logically saying: “grape flavored, grape flavor”, which is meaningless.

In “Romanticism Comes of Age”, Barfield – in a lecture in Dornach in 1933, said “Anthroposophy is a method, and Spiritual Science the product”.

While this book is not without major flaws, its front page sez: “Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom”, with a subtitle: “Anthroposophy and its method of cognition” S. O. Prokofieff. Article is long, and discusses the real nature of the act of the new thinking.

“Anthroposophy was formed by Rudolf Steiner to be a Spiritual Science to nurture the soul. A movement where beings can work together towards spiritual development and community.” Anthroposophy Facebook page

Let us give the last word to Steiner … Here is what Steiner said about “cognition”, from the preface to Truth and Knowledge, his doctoral dissertation:

The object of knowledge is not to repeat in conceptual form something which already exists, but rather to create a completely new sphere, which when combined with the world given to our senses constitutes complete reality. Thus man’s highest activity, his spiritual creativeness, is an organic part of the universal world-process. The world-process should not be considered a complete, enclosed totality without this activity. Man is not a passive onlooker in relation to evolution, merely repeating in mental pictures cosmic events taking place without his participation; he is the active co-creator of the world-process, and cognition is the most perfect link in the organism of the universe.

For the Facebook page, an alternative introduction:

Anthroposophy is the name given by Rudolf Steiner to a new feature in human evolution. This is the capacity for personal direct experience of the spirit, though the act of “cognition”.

One result of Steiner’s works is a huge social movement, directed at seeking the spirit, while retaining the scientific method as the most modern Way of Knowledge.

This group is mostly for beginners, and all the same is frequently visited by folks, whose personal experiences prove Steiner’s observations.

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