What is organic thinking? It is a form of thinking which follows the pattern of organic growth.
Organic thinking is way of organizing your ideas and objects so that the compositional form resembles a natural process. Rudolf Steiner, the clairvoyant scientist and reformer, used this method of organic thinking in the writing of his books and lectures, pedagogy, and artistic projects. Steiner taught that if we based our work on the archetype of the human being, and other organic thought-forms, our lives, creations, and even social interactions would be enhanced.
There are two models Steiner made as the basis of all organic forms. In his early career, Steiner talked about Goethe’s archetypal plant. And later he presented the four-fold human being in its various manifestations: 9-fold, 7-fold, 3-fold etc. Steiner believed that this new thinking would be added to logical thinking, thereby creating an altogether new way of seeing the world.
According to Steiner, everything has at least four perspectives or levels.
In order to understand an organic or creative process, we function in the levels represented by the four-fold human being: Everything that exists or is created can be seen through these perspectives.
A lamp consists of a physical level (metal, glass, plastic, wood);
a life level (electricity, on and off switch);
a feeling level (design, purpose, beauty);
and a thinking level (name, inventor, idea).
None of these perspectives alone is the lamp and thus it requires us to see all of its level in order to know its true concept. Organic thinking expands consciousness and does not get stuck in limited perspectives. When we create, we start with the Thinking or idea level. For example, a house starts with an architect’s plan or idea. Then we go to the physical level and gather the necessary building materials. We combine these materials according to plan and we call this process building, which takes places on the life level. In order to insure our process is going according to plan, we check the work against the original plan and codes of building and live in the feeling or consciousness level. (We often move between the life and feeling levels.) Finally, when the building is complete we have completed the circle and have returned to the Thinking level: the finished plan.
The building process in short form:
Who? Finished Plan
Why? checking the process
How? the building process
What? the materials
Steiner used this type of organic thinking in the writing of his books. The archetypal plant and seven-fold human being serve as introductions to this new thinking. Everything Steiner wrote follows the four questions of what? how? why? and who? and imitates this organic growth. In addition to these questions are the organic inter-relationships of polarity and inversion. In the diagram of the archetypal plant we see the laws of growth that all plants follow: seed, leaf, bud, flower, pistil, fruit, and new seed.
There is also the seven-fold human model based on the seven-fold human being, which has the same stages as the archetypal plant. Steiner created about fifty different schema which writers could use for their work. Although this website is not exhaustive, below are examples of these archetypes which writers can use for their work. It helps to study the Philosophy of Freehood which gives flesh and blood to these skeletons of organic thinking.
Steiner called this process heart-thinking because he believed organic-living thought-structures engage our heart-chakra. Organic-living thought-structures exist in many texts in all languages and cultures. Steiner said that they are forms which are a vehicle for godly inspired thoughts. Organic-living thinking is not a set of rules, but a way of thinking that is dynamic. Practicing organic thinking strengthens our conceptualization powers by expanding our whole-to-the-parts vision. As we learn to see our thoughts from the whole to the parts, we slowly learn to overcome the limitations of the fragmented Western mind. Steiner never gave an exact or complete account of his work. George O’Neil, whose work is celebrated on this website, made the first discoveries concerning Steiner’s use of organic thinking in his books. I have made George’s pioneering attempts at deciphering Steiner’s work available here. Some of the mimeographed pages are hard to read, but the gist is clear. A more systematic and objective account of Steiner’s work is in Florin Lowndes’ Das Erwecken des Herz-denkens which is unfortunately only available in German. For the English speakers there is my booklet, A Primer for Spiritually Thinking Educators, and The Logik of the Heart both of which have the basics for learning how to read, study, and write in the organic-thinking thought-forms.
Rudolf Steiner is known for his Waldorf school, Bio-dynamic Farming, Architecture, spiritual ideas, and Christology. But his most significant contribution was his introduction of a new living thinking that he put into his writings! Because there is so little written about the NEW THINKING, ORGANIC THINKING, and HEART-LOGIK, most of Steiner's readers are unaware of its existence.
This website presents the forgotten work of George O'Neil, the research and spiritual adept, who first discovered the secret structures of the living thinking in Rudolf Steiner's basic books (Theosophy, Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, and Knowledge of Higher Worlds).
For those who need more proof from Steiner's own words, there is Florin Lowndes' Das Erwecken, a book which contains all the important quotes pertaining to this new thinking.
Florin Lowndes also wrote The Enlivening of the Chakra of the Heart. Although The Enlivening has been translated into many languages, Das Erwecken, the most important of Lowndes' work, has been ignored by the various Steiner Presses - thereby keeping a important aspect of Steiner's work hidden from the English speaking world. It is one thing to disagree with Lowndes, but it is quite another thing not to publish the most comprehensive study of Steiner's writing style. Just the cover alone is fantastic! When I met Lowndes' work, I just knew this is what I was looking for.
The book gives many examples and has an insert with colored diagrams explaining many aspects of this new thinking as Steiner applied it in his books, lecture, and projects. Unfortunately, the other volumes were not published because of lack of interested in the German speaking world. It does not come as a surprise for two reasons: 1) how many people have the heart to learn and to help inaugurate a new type of thinking; 2) adult Germans nearly always look to authority figures for consent to do something new. Steiner supposedly said that Germany would not do much with his ideas, but the Americans and the English speaking world would. This still remains to be seen. Just as the Greeks founded logical thinking, it however was the Romans who hammered it home.
The Logik of the Heart gives many models on how to improve your own writing templates by showing how Biblical authors, Plato, Emerson, Steiner, and Neale Donald Walsch composed their books in the heart-logik style. The book includes poems, prayers, and the Gettysburg Address. It develops a school of literary criticism and analysis: analyzing books according to their organic form. It provides educators a whole new way of mastering a text.
There is a thorough methodology given on how to work, read, and study a Steiner text (The Philosophy of Freehood) for
the purpose of developing the power of the Logik of the Heart.
If you are already familiar with Rudolf Steiner's books and projects, but not familiar with George O'Neil and Florin Lowndes' research, then you are missing out big time.