Friday, January 12, 2018

Anthroposophy: drawing supersensible reality into the cognitional sphere

"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."  — Matthew 9:17

Rudolf Steiner:  "To attain such a strengthening of one's soul life, one must begin by practicing pictorial thinking. Mental pictures are placed into one's consciousness which are as vivid and clear as those otherwise arising only under the influence of external sense perception. Thereby one lives in consciousness in a mobile activity such as is otherwise called forth only by external sound, or external color, or some other sense perception; this activity, however, is now brought about by the enacting of purely inner effort. This activity is at the same time a thinking one, but such a one that does not accompany sense perception with abstract concepts, but that intensifies itself to a vividness which in ordinary life lives only in sense pictures.
     It is not important here what one thinks, but that one becomes conscious of an activity which is never exercised by ordinary consciousness. In this way, one learns to experience oneself in the supersensible being of one's "I," which conceals itself behind the manifestations of the bodily, corporeal organism in ordinary soul life. With the transformed self-consciousness that has been acquired in this way one can begin to perceive supersensible reality.
     To go further with this, still other soul exercises are necessary, which relate to willing and feeling, whereas the ones suggested previously had to do with transformed forces of perception and thinking. In ordinary soul life, willing and feeling relate to beings or processes which lie outside one's own soul life. To draw supersensible reality into the cognitional sphere the soul must unfold the same activities that it otherwise does when it directs feeling and willing to outer things; however, these activities must only take hold of one's own inner life. To do research in the supersensible, man must direct willing and feeling entirely away from the outer world for the duration of this research and only allow them to take hold of what lives within the soul after the forces of perception and thinking have been transformed. One only feels and only permeates with will-impulses what one experiences — with thinking intensified to inner visibility — as transformed self-consciousness.... In this way, however, the soul's life undergoes a complete transformation. It experiences itself as an independent spiritual being in a real supersensible-spiritual environment, just as in ordinary consciousness man experiences himself in a physical sense environment by means of his senses and the thinking capacity attached to these."

Source: "Philosophy and Anthroposophy," page 34