Great Steiner quote on Theosophy, Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, March 3, 1923, GA 257
"But if anthroposophy is to serve man as a real means of entering the spiritual world, it may not be mere theory and abstraction. We must do more than just talk about spiritual beings; we must look for the opportunities nearest at hand to enter their company. The work of an anthroposophical group does not consist in a number of people merely discussing anthroposophical ideas. Its members should feel so linked with one another that human soul wakes up in the encounter with human soul and all are lifted into the spiritual world, into the company of spiritual beings, though it need not be a question of beholding them. We do not have to see them to have this experience. This is the strength-giving element that can emerge from groups that have come into being within the Society through the right practice of community building. Some of the fine things that really do exist in the Society must become more common; that is what new members have been missing. They have looked for them, but have not found them. What they have encountered has instead been some such statement as, “If you want to be a real anthroposophist you must believe in reincarnation and the etheric body,” and so on.
I have often pointed out that there are two ways of reading a book like my Theosophy. One is to read, “Man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, etc., and lives repeated earth lives and has a karma, etc.” A reader of this kind is taking in concepts. They are, of course, rather different concepts than one finds elsewhere, but the mental process that is going on is in many respects identical with what takes place when one studies a cookbook.
My point was exactly that the process is the important thing, not the absorption of ideas. It makes no difference whether you are reading, “Put butter into a frying pan, add flour, stir; add the beaten eggs, etc.,” or, “There is physical matter, etheric forces, astral forces, and they interpenetrate each other.” It is all one from the standpoint of the soul process involved whether butter, eggs and flour are being mixed at a stove or the human entelechy is conceived as a mixture of physical, etheric and astral bodies.
But one can also read Theosophy in such a manner as to realize that it contains concepts that stand in the same relation to the world of ordinary physical concepts as the latter does to the dream world. They belong to a world to which one has to awaken out of the ordinary physical realm in just the way one wakes out of one's dream world into the physical. It is the attitude one has in reading that gives things the right coloring. That attitude can, of course, be brought to life in present-day human beings in a variety of ways.
They are all described and there to choose from in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. But modern man also needs to go through the transitional phase — one not to be confused with actually beholding higher worlds — of waking up in the encounter with the soul-spiritual aspect of his fellowman to the point of living into the spiritual world just as he awakes from dreams into the physical world through the stimulus of light and sound, etc.
We must rise to an understanding of this matter. We have to come to understand what anthroposophy ought to be within the Anthroposophical Society. It should be a path to the spirit. When it becomes that, community building will be the outcome.
But anthroposophy must really be applied to life. That is the essential thing, my dear friends."
How to read Theosophy: Going from the whole to the parts
George O'Neil first cracked the form years ago and Florin Lowndes has made a first rate edition of Theosophie in his Code-X book series. Lowndes has produced excellent scholarly notes about all of Steiner's Theosophy editions and their alterations by Steiner himself. It is simply a fantastic contribution to the heart-thinking work. In particular Lowndes clarifies the chapters and sections, the particular punctuation, and numerous other techniques Steiner employed in his writing and thought-art. We are basing our study group on his new edition! Thank you Florin!
Paragraph: ¼ Catchphrase: Fichte new organ
Fichte new spiritual teaching requires a new sense organ: talking about light to the blind.
Paragraph: 2/4 Catchphrase: talk to people with good will
Talk to the blind anyway because the topic is important and good will is out there to open spiritual eyes
Paragraph: 3/2 Catchphrase: our true nature
Teacher have spoken about hidden wisdom about our true nature
Paragraph 4/4 Catchphrase: trust in hidden wisdom
People have certainty ( like seeing color) about this knowledge and need no proof: similar to believing a travel description of America.
Paragraph 5/12 Catchphrase: Listeners have different levels
Seers should talk to everyone no matter what their level because all people have a feeling for truth which feeds their spiritual development
Paragraph 6/1 Catchphrase: Every spiritual eye can be opened!
Not every physical eye can be opened but every spiritual eye can over time.
Paragraph 7/5 Catchphrase: Science as hindrance
Academic training and materialistic limits of what reality is can be a hindrance to opening up to the spiritual.
Paragraph 8/5 Catchphrase: Objection and refutation
Objection that one cannot research beyond limits of knowledge. Awakening faculties negates limits of knowledge.
Paragraph 9/5 Catchphrase: Talk to unawakened?
What is the use of talking to unawakened? The topics of the book will ring true for the open-minded read with dynamic thinking.
Paragraph 10/9 Catchphrase: Higher and lower knowledge: science and seeing
Spiritual teachers need scientific and moral education; uneducated people can benefit from learning life’s most important topics such as destiny.
Paragraph 11/5 Catchphrase: “theosophy” spiritual processes in man and world
The highest wisdom, theosophy, spiritual science: description of spiritual processes in man and world in this book.
Paragraph 12/2 Catchphrase: Steiner’s experience in book
This book is an outline of spiritual conception that was experienced Steiner.
Paragraph 13/6 Catchphrase: Reader’s soundness and patience
Book needs sound thinking and feeling, then experiencing for yourself.
One way to study a chapter by Scott F. It is amazing to see Scott come to grips with the essence of the written and unwritten content, and to follow him in his steady mastery of a Steiner text.
We will be posting various synopses and questions about how Rudolf Steiner composed his book Theosophy. Our first online meeting will be on January 7th 2018.
Scott gave us this copy of the A Rosicrucian Soul, Paul Marshall Allen. Paul seemingly studied with George O'Neil. Some really nice quotes about the type of study.
Chapter II, The Essential Nature of the Human Being
[Section 1. The Essential Nature of the Human Being] WHAT?
Paragraph 1/2: WHAT?: Goethe: The awareness of the objects around him lead the human being to judge them based on sympathy & antipathy but still he is exposed to errors which shame & embitterness him
Paragraph- 2/4: HOW? : The natural scientist must renounce sympathy & antipathy in order to observe carefully relationship between the objects he is studying instead of what he likes and doesn't like.
Paragraph 3/4: WHY? : Three distinct ways objects affect us, senses, sympathy & antipathy, knowledge of their essence.
Paragraph 4/2: WHO?: Human-beings are interwoven with the world in a threefold way.
Paragraph- 5/3: Inner WHY?: Objects as given facts; objects' relationship to me; Unceasing strive for the essence of the object.
Paragraph 6/4: Inner HOW?: Flowers in a meadow are given facts.
Paragraph 7/15: Inner WHAT?: The feelings invoked by the beauty of the flowers relates the flowers to me personally. New joys arise through new flowers; the old joys are a memory but the laws by which these species of flowers grow is the same as in the flowers of last year. What I recognize as constant in the flowers remains outside of me.
Paragraph 8/8: HOW?: Body-senses; Soul-sympathy & antipathy; Spirit-divine perspective of objects
Paragraph- 9/1: WHY?: man consists of body, soul and spirit
Paragraph 10/4: WHO?: Body-direct experience in the moment; Soul-retains the objects in memory; Spirit-what the objects contain in themselves.
Paragraph 11/11: Inner WHY?: Body is outwardly perceptible; Soul is hidden from the bodily senses; Spirit apprehends the essence of the outer world in the human's inner being.
Paragraph 12/2: Inner HOW?: We belong to outer world which we perceive through our body: Soul is our own world within us: Spirit reveals the world to us in a higher way.
Paragraph 13/1: Inner WHAT?: Three different modes of observation are necessary to understand the human-being in totality.
Section 2. The Physical-bodily Being of the Human Being, HOW?
Paragraph 1/6: The human is observed in the same way as the bodies of minerals, plants and animals therefore the human beings have aspects of the mineral, plant and animal within them.
Paragraph 2/7: The human-body contains mineral, plant and animal characteristics but the it is a step above all three and provided the basis for knowledge.
Paragraph 3/2: The human-being, due to his form, constitutes a kingdom in itself.
Section 3.The Soul Being of the Human Being WHY?
Paragraph 1/11: The experiences of the soul are inaccessible to other human-beings.
Paragraph- 2/2: Sensations belong to the soul.
Paragraph- 3/12: Feeling is linked to sensation; the will acts back on the outer world. The body is the foundation of the soul.
Section 4. The Spiritual Being of the Human being, INNER HOW?
Paragraph 1/8: The human soul is directed by physical necessity through the body and voluntarily by spiritual necessity through correct thinking.
Paragraph- 2/7: The Body is only atoms and molecules, the Soul is where feelings and experienced inwardly, the Spirit is based on soul-life.
Paragraph- 3/2: We must understand Body, Soul and Spirit if we want to understand the human-being
Synopses of Chapter Two, Theosophy
The Essential Nature of the Human Being
1/2 What? Goethe points to essential nature: aware of objects he judges them – necessary and full of errors
2/4 How? Task undertaken desires for knowledge observe objects in and of themselves, seek what is as a true botanist.
3/4 Why? Goethe directs our attention in three ways: 1) objects with 5 sense, 2) impression of objects, 3) secrets of objects
4/2 Who? Three divisions in life: human being aware of world in 3 fold way
5/3 Why? three types: 1) given facts, 2) own affair, 3) goal one ought to strive
6/4 How? Why three fold? Explanation: walking and see flowers – color is fact.
7/15 What? 1) rejoicing and thereby connecting to flowers 2) Joy becomes a memory, 3) notice same laws in flowers reappearance, 4) joy in me, laws in world.
8/8 How? Human being connects to world in three fold way: three terms “body” (connects to things), “soul” (not observable), and “spirit” (higher world in physical world)
9/1 Why? Human being consists of body, soul, and spirit
10/4 Who? Body as a vehicle to connect to things, soul as retaining impressions, spirit reveal “ding an sich”
11/11 Why? Bodily world from without in observation, soul not observed by sense, spirit outer world in higher world Starry heavens 3fold connection: facts, delight, eternal laws
12/2 How? Citizen of 3 worlds: belong to world, own world, exalted world.
13/1 What? obvious three modes of observation for three worlds
Section 2. The Physical-bodily Being of the Human Being,
1/6 What? Human being observed: related to mineral (body), plant (growth) and animal (perception/impression) thus 3 types of existence.
2/7 How? 3 different structures: shape, man’s nervous system unequal in man: macro cephalic; beautifully developed form is condition for higher cognition.
3/2 why? Human body relates to 3 forms of existence – distinctively human form= a kingdom
Section 3. The Soul Being of the Human Being
1/11 What? Soul nature is unto itself: we perceives sensations differently e.g. we both see some read table but not someone else’s
2/2 How? sensation belongs to the Soul, not to brain processes
3/12 why? Feeling - sensation causes pleasure or pain
Will - inner being on world
Soul - confronts the world
Section 4. The Spiritual Being of the Human Being
1/8 What? Soul nature – not only determined by body
We reflect on our actions and see inter-connections of life; natural necessity and laws of thought
2/7 How? become member of a higher order (spiritual) not particals but I taste
Soul is the basis of spirit
3/2 Why? Biologist, psychologist and spirit investigator.
Synopses Theosophy Chapter II, Section 5 Mark Riccio
1/9 What? Brain size: To understand human being you must know the role of thinking: Brain has to have proper form to be an organ of the thinking spirit. Morphology: Frog, mammals to human being’s brain is largest in proportion to rest of the body.
2/8 How? Prejudice reply: Higher knowledge is better attained thru warm feeling but highest feelings come from highest thoughts!
3/3 Why? Design of the body: Body and forces help thinking manifest definition of physical body
4/10 How? Growth of structures: Structure of mineral with brain as central is propagated i.e. quartz and Oaktree
5/7 What? Heredity: spontaneous generation? Species determines materials and life force determines species of plant and animals
6/8 What? Bodily senses: man perceives mineral forces: no eye, no light as is the case with simple organisms i.e. your organs allow for perceptions.
7/4 How? See life force: Ordinary sense can’t see life forces but no right to deny analogy of the blind.
8/4 Why? New world: unfolding supersensible organs you can see “life force” as spirit form. Ether body preserves physical body!
9/4 How? Nature of Life body: it is an independent force not a consequence of physical materiality but a maker of the living.
10/2 What? Opened spiritual eye: you can see the life body in other beings: or simply accept it existence on logical grounds.
11/6 what? Ether-body sizes: don’t take offense at the word “ether” from physics: Ether body is different in form in various plants and animals.
12/5 How? Various worlds: Man belongs to physical and ether world and at death the bodies go back to their respective worlds. The word “body means formation and can be applied to soul and spirit forms.
13/3 Why? stimuli/sensation: life body is external to man, stirrings of sensation are reactions to stimuli of the inner being.
14/6 How? Sentient Soul: color arises in the soul. Sensation arises as a response to stimuli is the sentient soul.
15/9 What? What spiritual eyes see: physical organs can’t see but that what is inner becomes an experience of vision just like seeing the ether body.
Chapter II section 5, subsection b, c and d
Subsection b, Main idea: between sentient soul and physical body
Paragraph 1 /2 The visible sentient soul: no misunderstandings: seer is aware of the sentient world as vision but not experience of other being
Paragraph 2/7 the sentient soul depends on ether body: Sentient soul depends on ether-body for sensation and also dependent on the physical body since the ether is connected. The sentient soul is limited by corporeality.
Paragraph 3/2 The physical body limits the Sentient soul: Seer sees how the physical body limit the sentient soul.
Paragraph 4/8 The expanse of the Sentient soul: It extends beyond the physical body and is mightier: the soul-body connects the Sentient soul to the body/ether body.
Paragraph 5/3 Sensation as part of soul: feeling, desire, drives, instincts, passions dependent on the physical body.
Chapter II section 5 subsection c
Theme of C: Thinking types, soul types
Paragraph 1/13 Overview of sentient soul: The sentient soul works interacts with the physical and the thinking, spirit. Thinking serves the sentient soul like the ether the body. Inventions of convenience and civilization are made when thinking serve the sentient soul.
Paragraph 2/8 From sentient soul to intellectual soul: The animals have a sentient soul but follow it directly. Humans have a thinking or intellectual soul in which thought serves the soul
Paragraph 3/2 Two separate souls: The intellectual soul penetrates the sentient soul, and can be seen as an independent entity.
Subsection D Main idea: Thought, truth, duty, 3 souls
1/14 Thinking’s significance: Thinking and laws found by thinking go beyond our soul have independent meaning.
My delight in the starry heavens: the truth within knowledge remains independent of my delight
2/6 Truth, striving, eternal truth: Transitory truth because they are recognized within a certain period of time. Our thoughts can be temporary forms of the eternal truth. Lessing and the eternal striving. Possibility of eternal meaning makes possibility of eternal striving toward TRUTH.
3/6 Moral Goodness and duty: What works for truth works for moral-goodness. Duty stands higher than pleasure and displeasure.
Man’s standing enhances when he ennobles his impulses without being forced!
4/6 Beyond the SS, the good and the spirit: One lifts oneself above the mere Sentient soul by letting the moral-good live within. The spirit shines in the SS and takes part in the eternal. The good becomes eternal in us.
5/1 ETERNAL and CS: What lives eternally in the soul is consciousness soul.
6/10 Consciousness, CS and IS: Consciousness is general and includes animal consciousness. The core of human consciousness is the CS.
The Intellectual soul is still tainted. The true for most people is what one’s feeling prefer.
Where the truth lives is without any residue of our preference.
7/3 Three souls: One has to differentiate of SS, IS, CS. The limiting and expanding effect of the body and the spirit.
8/3 Sizes of bodies and souls: The seer recognizes the effect of incorporating the eternal: phys, eth, SB (astral gestalt) going beyond SS and the IS to the extent the person incorporates the eternal. The person who lives in impulses in the SS has an IS that remains the same size. AURA
1 Thinking significance 8 sizes of bodies and souls
Paragraph 1/5 Jean Paul I consciousness Jean Paul had a distinct experience of the arrival of self-consciousness: surroundings became permanent. I am an I.
2/5 I-sense at 3: b, f, w Children speak in 3rd person until the sense of “I” arrives. Body and soul have the I in the center: feeling and willing.
3/14 The I is the person The I is the human being. Body and soul are sheaths. The word I is unique.
4/4 the I relates to AURA The invisible “I” is Lord over body/soul is expressed aurically as color.
5/9 I relates to Spirit et al. The I rays out light. True and good stream in when I yields to Spirit and the I is a member of 5 worlds: phys b. to SS
F Spirit world parallels physical world
1/9 Spirit, I form of CS Sp Self: I lives in the CS; Spirit develop the I and creates spirit-self and mineral world develop I: CS vs. Sp-Self’s (eternal)
2/4 2x revelations: sensation vs. intuition: two sides of revelation: physical world sensation vs. spirit intuition. Intuition comes thru spirit to the I
3/6 Lower vs. higher sensation and intuition: developed man observing the plant laws revealed thru intuition sensation universal, intuition special
4/2 spirit self/intuition > eyes/world: spirit self higher thinking creates intuition but not spiritual reality vs. sensation of physical world
5/3 I= individualized knowledge: spirit info is to intuition to I sensation is physical world info: thus individualizes knowledge from both sides
6/1 Body is to CS spirit substance is to Spirit-body: physic forces make body for CS but soul body spirit forces make spirit substance.
7/7 Inner/outer physical body and spirit man: physical world to physical body inner/outer vs. spirit body and spirit world inner/outer spirit birth (true and good).
F2 Spirit-man and physical skin/sheath
1/6 Inner/outer of physical body and spirit man: Physical body contains material of physical world and it is the same with spirit-man in that the external spiritual world pulsates into spirit-man.
Spiritual and physical skin: in spirit man it can extent in an unlimited extent.
F3 Miscellaneous notes on spirits:
1/4 Life spirit builds spirit man > ether to physical body: Spiritual life force builds the spirit man and the ether spirit is called LIFE SPIRIT bc it is analogous to ether and physical body’s relationship.
2/1 man’s three part spirit nature: composition of ss, ls,sm
3/9 seer’s vision of spirit sheath: higher part of aura is visible as life spirit and spirit man sheath that increases: 2 aura parts phys and spiritual
4/2 The I’s development the wings of spirit man: physical body makes a home for the soul, I in surrender to spirit builds up soul for spirit world: spirit man grows wings for movement in the spiritual world.
Subsection G chapter II Robert Frohlich
Paragraph 1/16: The nine-fold human being is described. The parts are organically linked to receive the influence of physical and spiritual experience.
9-fold human being
Paragraph 2/1: Soul body and sentient soul form a unity as sentient soul body, as do consciousness soul and spirit self as spirit-filled consciousness soul.
Two soul unities
Paragraph 3/1: This leads to a seven-fold human being.
Paragraph 4/4: The I appears in the soul as the self which participates in three worlds, rooted in the physical, flowering in spirit, and with its stalk in the soul.
I participates in 3 worlds.
Paragraph 5/28: We can simplify further by noting that the I is kernel to the intellectual soul and the consciousness soul, and that the sentient soul and the soul body are intimately connected as astral body. With spirit self, life spirit and spirit man as transmuted substance of the three lower bodies, we have a 7-fold human being.
3 bodies, I, and 3 spirits
Paragraph 6/1: The seven-fold human being is stated as Physical Body, Life Body, Astra Body, I, Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man.
Final 7-fold human
Chapter III Karma and Reincarnation
Paragraph 1/5 What? Soul needs body for information
The soul uses the bodily organs to gain transitory impressions such as color of the rose as long as eyes are open.
Paragraph 2/13 How? Rose, presence duration and soul.
What I know as truth (enduring) the rose: Spirit establishes it soul as memory, in the outer world thru actions.
subdivision a2 (space break in the original text)
Paragraph 1/ 4 What? Mental picture permanent in soul-life
Mental picture makes memory possible via spirit.
Paragraph 2/6 How? Actions permanence world
Action effects outer world: deeds like impressions made on my soul become permanent.
Paragraph 3/13 Why? Deeds vs Memory: deed retains a tendency to it back?
My deeds is not carried as a visualization in the memory. The impressions we hold of our own deeds is not registered as we may want to think!
Is it not possible that the way a memory is recalled by a stimulus, a deed retains a tendency it call it back to itself?
Paragraph 1/7 What? Learning: mp over corporality
Memory comes about through external mental picture becoming internal mental picture in spite of the body.
2/12 How? Memory process: soul perceives its own creation
Memory is a past experience united with me now. The soul conjures up the memory. The soul imprints the memory on the body.
3/6 Why? Soul’s treasure feed spirit
The soul saves treasures of the past for the spirit. I am a thinking being and truth can be thought even if I forget it. Soul feeds the spirit from the past.
4/4 Why? Spirits two treasures
Twofold treasures of the spirit: remembrance and true and good.
5/9 how? Soul preserves, spirit utilizes skills
Memories fade but not the fruits e.g. reading writing we forget but not the skills Soul preserves everything, the spirit uses it for power
6/1 What? Spirit result: not memory but abilities
The spirit does not contain the past experience but the effects in abilities.
Wing paragraph: 1/8 Talk about spirit and soul after death. The human form is not mere substances but its has a life-body and heredity.
What? 2/10 Life body comes from forebearers, but Spirit form is unique to every person: thus similar environmental influence has different outcomes.
How? 3/6 Nature of man: personality derived from materiality? Soul participates between HB and experience.
Why? 4/7 Human and animal form differ: all men are similar to each other than animal. Species only comes from forebearers.
How? 5/1 Physical human form is visible to physical eyes as spirit form to spirit gaze.
What? 6/11 Obvious fact: biography of HB vs. lion or dove. All birds are alike son, father etc but not humans.
7/5 Objection: biography as a collection of externals like a dog’s. Human uniqueness in biography = whole animal species. Refutation single animals have character.
8/6 Parallelism: Species is continued thru heredity where spiritual being thru spiritual heredity. Physical man repeats forebearers. Spiritual man? No explanation for man and clay!
9/16 spiritual human being: I come from myself including soul dispositions prior life.
10/3 Schiller: Physical form out of forebearers not earth spirit form from prior biography.
11/2 Same way - repeating physical forms, each person is his own species.
12/4 Objection: spinning of thoughts or demand external proof. Answer to go further you must trust the power of thinking - higher facts.
13/2 Opened spirit eye works like physical eye.
14/3 dangerous assumption: spiritual attributes explained by hereditary transmission. Goethe: and the materialistic spell.
15/11 Following man beyond death: first three worlds: BSSP. Fruitful relationship of the soul body to the consciousness soul to the spirit self.
What? 16/8 Interaction of the soul body and sentient soul: Soul body draw forces of heredity. Human races and being have similar physical and ether bodies but different soul bodies.
What? 17/6 although the soul is a whole it is still connected to the soul-body via the sentient soul and receives tendencies of personality like Goethe said about his father and mother. Genius is his.
How?18/6 The physical body renews itself every couple of years. This new matter is shaped by the ether body which is dependent o heredity. Soul qualities are also transmitted by heredity and vice versa as the sentient soul can influence the soul body!
Why? 19/11 how does the interaction between soul and spirit proceed? I brings Spirit brings true and good tendencies to the consciousness soul- experiences gone but fruits remain. This is learning!
how? 20/1 the fruits of transitory life are imprinted on the eternal spirit
what? 21/18 Do we perceive these fruits? Innate talents? Mozart case: Lessing fruits of experience that are taken up by the spirit self. This fruit incorporating spirit self is joined by the life-spirit. Ether body passes on heredity just as life spirit reproduces the soul from each incarnation.
Wing paragraph: 22/8 Validity of reincarnation: knowledge prior to experience,
1. Wing: The soul’s action lasts beyond death: in our earthly deeds: simile of sleep and death.
2. What? Yesterdays actions give me coherence today: I created my destiny yesterday and may be drawn to it today, I would have to newly create myself if I had no past.
3. How? What the spirit does when it incarnates anew: one gets body from heredity and the sentient soul passes information to the spirit for safe keeping. The body is physical impression gatherer, the soul connects us to the earthly.
4. Why? The Spirit is no stranger to the earthly: the earthly carried its imprint by carrying out the spirit’s deeds through the soul. Effects of our actions: we are the outcome of chances and choices. I recognize my own I in what happens to me just as a memory can come back to me. Explanation: only from a prior life. Opening up capacities.
5. Why? Deeds are in me and in the world: bugs lost their ability because of a choice. Human beings are united with their deeds. Fruits of prior actions give us predispositions to actions.
6. How? In a new life the spirit is linked to the prior by way of its actions.
7. What? Object to reincarnation: From Europe to American: one prior environment determines a later environment.
8. Why? Thus sleep is a good simile for death as we are out the field of action. We incarnate anew every morning.
9. How? We live in the surroundings that we created by prior actions. Soul seeks body and environment. Meeting people and destiny and timing. Spirit determines, soul is in the present, body hereditary.
10. What? Summary of body soul and spirit:
11. Wing: Pure logic can arrive at the truth of destiny.