Rhythmical Thinking: “Think of the What – Think Still More of the How” Consciousness and Civilization - Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol.1 by G.A. Bondarev The Events in Ukraine and Possible Future Scenarios G. A. Bondarev – Organon of the New Cultural Epoch Vol. 1 & 2 About the Initiative for Anthroposophy The Anthroposophical Research WIKI G. A. Bondarev – Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol. 1 (selections) A Short Introduction to the Topic of Anthroposophical Methodology

Rhythmical Thinking: “Think of the What – Think Still More of the How”

–  G. A. Bondarev

Rudolf Steiner stressed the following when he was characterizing his system of knowledge: “These matters of method are the most important thing in the realm of spiritual-scientific cognition – which our time so sorely needs” (GA 186, p.23). It follows from this “that one cannot know Anthroposophy without having acquired a mastery of its method.”  For all who are striving to know Anthroposophy this is an axiom, in the opinion of its creator. With regard to “our time”, the age we live in is only willing to recognize a science insofar as its claim to scientific status is justified from a strict methodological point of view. This applies to Anthroposophical spiritual science. Its “matters of method” in their totality build up the structure of its methodology. Spiritual science has come into the world in order to put its own methodology in the place of the methodology of our civilization, which has completely exhausted its possibilities.

The central principle of Anthroposophical methodology is to regard reality as a unitary whole and, at the same time, as consisting of two parts: the sensible and the supersensible. The core of the methodology is formed by the teaching concerning the essential nature and the evolution of consciousness. It is only by virtue of its metamorphoses that limits to knowledge can be overcome. Metamorphoses arise through the bringing of rhythm into the thought-process. Everything in the world that is alive possesses a rhythm. To fall out of rhythm means death. This is the danger confronting modern consciousness with its achievements. Modern man directs his attention to the sense-world and believes that he also abstracts his concepts from this realm. How can this one-sidedness find its counterbalance? – In conscious (supersensible) thinking experience. This becomes aware of how concepts unfold a lawfully-structured life of their own. While the sense-world is there without our active involvement, and therefore stands over against us as a world of objects, (pure) concepts only come to manifestation in individual, active thinking itself. This moves according to purely logical laws from concept to concept. The way in which the one leads to the other is grasped by dialectics. However, this movement has been given an entirely formal character.

The object-oriented consciousness of the human being today moves in accordance with the laws of dialectical logic. For spiritual science it is of fundamental importance to experience the independent, self-contained nature of thinking and, within this, the autonomous movement and formation of concepts. But spiritual science reaches beyond Hegelian dialectic and turns its gaze in the opposite direction – it directs its attention not merely to the shadowy, conceptual thought-content, but also to the willed, living thought-activity and its source, the supersensible and indeed, to begin with, superconscious (transcending consciousness) human ‘I’.

This is born in the realm of active, experienced thinking, and with it dialectic is extended in an individualized form. Anthroposophical methodology enlivens dialectic through taking account of the rhythm inherent in it. This is brought to consciousness through a living experience of the qualities of its elements. In this way, the rhythm of dialectic is brought into relation with the rhythm of the ‘power of judgment in beholding’ (anschauende Urteilskraft). In this process the object-like ‘I’ is transformed, through the intensifying of attentiveness of thought, into the ‘I’ that actively beholds.

Testimony to this is found in Rudolf Steiner’s writings and in the way Goethe studied nature. The texts written by Rudolf Steiner consist of seven-membered thought-cycles. The reader has the task of experiencing them and thus bringing rhythm, life and substance of the etheric body into the thinking. This practical work is effective when it has knowledge of the How and the Why. This is provided by Rudolf Steiner’s methodology and its metamorphosis pictorially represented in the epistemological lemniscate.

To exercise oneself in this cognitive activity on a practical level means to devote oneself consciously to the task of humanity, which is to transform one’s form of consciousness, and thereby oneself as a species. This is the main task confronting us today: to raise oneself from ‘homo sapiens’ to ‘homo liber’. If we do not fulfil this task, we have no future.

What are the qualities that are characteristic of the elements of the epistemological lemniscate? We will try to describe them briefly, as follows:

The lemniscate is seven-membered and consists of three triads: a) the dialectical triad, b) the triad of ‘beholding in thinking’, c) the triad of the three parts of the lemniscate.

'Rudolf Steiner's 'Philosophie der Freiheit'... - Organon Vol.1

Seven-membered Lemniscate of ‘Beholding’ Thinking

(1) The element with which the lemniscate begins is the thesis. It is the encompassing idea, its task and its problem. Its nature is to be statically self-contained and conservative. Ideologies are constructed on the basis of theses and are therefore initially rigid and dead. This one-sidedness evokes a compensatory response from the antithesis (2). The latter’s quality is mobility, it is restless, even aggressive. Its content plays a secondary role only. The mood of antithesis, made absolute, is typical of permanent revolutionaries. By contrast, a healthy antithesis is creative and is rooted in the thesis itself. For there lies latent within it, spellbound and paralyzed, a (supersensible) idea-egoity. It strives for release into the light from the darkness of its object-oriented, abstract prison, by means of lawfully-determined negations. The antithesis negates the thesis. This negation, itself negated, leads to the synthesis (3), a reconciliation of the opposites.

The laws that operate between the elements of rhythmical thinking are comparable to musical intervals. From the first element to the second, the interval of the second sounds or ‘blossoms forth’; from the first to the third, the interval of the third (negation of the negation). Here the dialectical rhythm comes to an end.

(4) Now the decisive step can be taken: metamorphosis into the rhythm of ‘I’-filled thinking-beholding. Corresponding to this we have the awakening experience of the interval of the fourth, and the third and most radical negation: the ‘setting aside’ or ‘superseding’ of the object-like conscious ‘I’ – for the sake of a living and creative existence. The mood of the threshold prevails. The thinking ‘I’ does, of course, survey the content of the lower triad – but in anticipation of a lightning-flash of cognition. Heightened attentiveness of thinking – in renunciation of thoughts – clears a space for itself and experiences in full wakefulness a kind of emptied consciousness, a liberation. The connection with the physical brain is severed: what was hitherto a shadowy, paralyzed thinking now acquires life-substance.

(5) A spiritual lightning-flash illumines the consciousness and instills life into the content of the lower triad – in a non-logical way – in the light of an ideal perception, a new discovery – something akin to e.g. Goethe’s archetypal plant.

(6) An individual relation needs to be found to this picture-like structure. As we work on its unfolding, it differentiates itself into parts of an organic whole, and we identify with it, but without losing ourselves in it.

(7) We recognize the unity of the cognitive cycle as a single (‘all-one’) wholeness.

(8) The sevenfoldness as a harmony of different members can thus be metamorphosed to the octave; a metamorphosis of the whole takes place and therewith a new cycle begins.

To living, rhythmical thinking are revealed moral intuition and fruitful ideas for the future.

For eighty years we Anthroposophists have neglected essential tasks of Anthroposophy, on the fulfilment of which the future of humanity depends. The Anthroposophical movement is therefore experiencing a decline. But it still has a chance to serve itself and the world. This consists in learning to master the methodology of spiritual science, and in its introduction into the social-cultural, spiritual and practical life of civilization. The basic role is played here by the conscious experiencing of thinking.

This book (G. A. Bondarev – Organon of the New Cultural Epoch. Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’ As the Foundation of Logic of Beholding Thinking. Religion of the Thinking Will. Organon of the New Cultural Epoch. An Introduction to Anthroposophical Methodology) attempts to give a systematic description of this methodology. Its special feature is that it is written, so to speak, in two languages: in conceptual language, and in the picture-language of its diagrams. These do not merely explain the text, but are richer than the text itself.

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