Wednesday 24 May 2017

When the problem, the limitation, is in my-self...

It is hard, but not impossible, to change oneself - including for the better.

That, indeed, is the problem at present - the barrier to doing what needs to be done is not in The World nor in My Circumstances but in myself - or perhaps more specifically my-self.

I am the constraint. I cannot proceed further until I myself have developed further.

I think I know what needs to be done, but doing it is not quick and not straightforward (else there would be more examples of success - and indeed there are very, very few I have heard of who have ever done what I intend to do in terms of developing my way of experiencing, being and thinking).

But there is precedent; Rudolf Steiner wrote his early philosophical books (the one about Goethe's implicit world view, the PhD thesis and his Philosophy of Freedom) a few years before he actually made the breakthrough into the kind of thinking he had already described in such detail.

The one led to the other: metaphysics preceded an evolution of consciousness.

From The Story of my Life - Rudolf Steiner's autobiography, chapter 22:

At the end of the Weimar period of my life I had passed my thirty-sixth year. One year previously a profound revolution had already begun in my mind. With my departure from Weimar this became a decisive experience. 

It was quite independent of the change in the external relationships of my life, even though this also was very great. The realization of that which can be experienced in the spiritual world had always been to me something self-evident; to grasp the sense world in full awareness had always caused me the greatest difficulty. It was as if I had not been able to pour the soul's experience deeply enough into the sense-organs to bring the soul into union with the full content of what was experienced by the senses. 

This changed entirely from the beginning of my thirty sixth year. My capacities for observing things and events in the physical world took form both in the direction of adequacy and of depth of penetration. This was true both in the matter of science and also of the external life. 

Whereas before this time the conditions had been such that large scientific combinations which must be grasped in a spiritual fashion were appropriated by me without mental effort, and that sense-perceptions, and especially the holding of such facts in memory, required the greatest effort on my part, everything now became quite different. 

An attentiveness not previously present to that which appeals to sense-perception now awakened in me. Details became important; I had the feeling that the sense-world had something to reveal which it alone could reveal. I came to think one's ideal should be to learn to know this world solely through that which it has to say, without man's interjecting himself into this by means of his thought, or by some other soul-content arising within him. I became aware that I was experiencing a human revolution at a far later period of life than other persons. 

But I saw also that this fact carried very special consequences for the soul's life. I learned that, because men pass early out of the soul's weaving in the spiritual world to an experience of the physical, they attain to no pure conception of either the spiritual or the physical world. They mingle permanently in a wholly instinctive way that which things say to their senses with that which the mind experiences through the spirit and which it then uses in combination in order to “conceive” things. 

For me the enhancement and deepening of the powers of sense-observation meant that I was given an entirely new world. The placing of oneself objectively, quite free from everything subjective in the mind, over against the sense-world revealed something concerning which a spiritual perception had nothing to say.

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